Sun’s out – cyanotype time!


The sun was shining brightly at last, providing an opportunity to experiment exposing a few more cyanotypes. Cutting out paper and card to make stencils was one of today’s explorations. These were then laid on top of the sensitised cotton fabric. An old modified contact printing frame, originally made for 35mm negatives to produce a 10×8 inch photographic contact print, is perfect for keeping the stencil in place, with enough pressure when closed, to stop light leaking underneath a heat-warped stencil in the noon-day sun. The exposure (at around midday) was 20 minutes, which produced a rich indigo blue in the exposed areas of fabric, and still registered the star printed mulberry paper ‘clothing’.
The orange fabric, with a similar exposure, produced a really deep indigo colour, but the mulberry paper detail was a little over exposed, (although I still like the effect).
It is a little hit-and-miss judging exposures, due to the different intensity of the sun as it arcs from morning to afternoon, and the variable of fabric cyanotype coatings from different batches, but is still really exciting when the densities ‘work’ and all parts of the stencil are visible.

Letter ‘A’ found

The letter ‘A’ found in objects and shadows one February morning on a station platform.
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The Things Found Series is a new photography series from The Sketchbook Project that encourages participants to capture an image of a common space. They are challenging artists to find something amazing by accident.
‘On your way to work, while sitting at a coffee shop, or maybe on an adventure. Photograph something that strikes you that you may never have noticed.’
This week, the challenge was to find the letter A hidden in everyday places and objects – anywhere but in an intentional letter A.
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Polapan instant 35mm film

It feels strange writing this with opposing sensations of elation and great sadness.

The joy I am feeling is due to my explorations yesterday with trusty Nikon loaded with firstly a roll of analogue Polachrome film, then subsequently a roll of Polapan film. The film had expired back at the beginning of 2001, so I guessed to 40asa colour film would need a bit more light, so exposed at 25asa. I shot quite bold contrasts, colours and figures purposely – somehow I had an anticipation of an image akin to an old autochrome transparency, rather than ektachrome quality.

Upon returning home, I unpacked the Polaroid autoprocessor for the first time. I read the instructions twice and, as Frankie Boyle once suggested of the shuttle, I read them a further time. Finally it was time to load the developing pack, then the film, close the lid and start winding the handle, which was hopefully going to process my film. After the final step, I opened the processor up, and removed the film canister. Eagerly I pulled out the film, wondering if there was anything there…sadly most was blank, dark, but traces of the images I shot were visible. I noticed that the negative gloop from development was smeared across the film, and to my suprise I discovered that removing this revealed my images. Washing the film removed the opaque residue and I was astounded to see finally that every image had come out perfectly. The actual film speed was probably lower than 25asa, but the rich colours of the slightly dense images was better than I could have hoped for!
The roll of Polapan black and white film, also needed washing following processing. Although I had again anticipated a loss of film speed, my compensation actually resulted in slight over-exposure, but rather beautiful images none the less.

Earlier I mentioned sadness, and yes despite the joy of the results I obtained from these two films, it is something of a tragedy that this Polaroid film is no longer available, with examples of their 35mm film increasingly hard to find. Had Polachrome continued to have been produced by Polaroid, I’m sure my fridge would be stocked with the stuff! So I guess it’s a message to those fantastic folks in Enschende at the Impossible Project to ask – can you make 35mm polachrome?
Please….

New photo portfolio on Sightjumping

My photography is featured on the cross art form Sightjumping website this February. My portfolio presents an eclectic mix that has resulted from an excitement for a blurring of the boundaries between analogue and digital processes. My passion for the monochrome and duotone image is always evident; letters and words; highlight and shadow; the figure in the landscape; and a fascination for the magical boundaries between visible and invisible light; these are all recurrent themes, and sources of inspiration. Future projects will explore and indulge my fascination with analogue instant / Polaroid films.

Check out all the talented featured artists here: http://www.sightjumping.com/photography/

I have always enjoyed image making, whether the process is drawing, painting, or photography. My first photographs date back to when I was nine years old, and was the proud owner of Kodak 127 roll film instamatic. Shooting mostly holiday landscapes and friends portraits, I then progressed to using a wonderful Russian SLR, further fuelling my passion for black and white.

My photography explores past events, experiences the present, and contemplates the future. The camera records, as a sketchbook, the essence of ideas, and the nuances of existence. Pathways are revealed in landscapes and faces that lead the explorer towards discoveries. I am fascinated by the area of shared experience and empathy between the photographer and his model. The creation of the image is a collaborative event, which extends beyond the moment to include the viewer within this collective process.

It is a real pleasure to view the diversity, the beautiful work, and the talented artists Sightjumping.com presents to the world – thank you for that experience.

Click the image to see more.

Morning Light: Experiments with Polaroid SX70

Morning Light (SX70)

Stretch (SX70)

Apres la Douche (SX70)

Stairway (SX70)

These images were shot with a classic Polaroid OneStep camera first introduced in 1977. The film stock is an original Polaroid manufactured SX70 pack. Easy to use and totally reliable, this was a super little camera to explore instant image-making with.