Possibly some of the earliest unexposed photographic plates in existence? This sealed package has just arrived via the Ebay time machine. Dating them by the logo, these could have been made as early as 1885, when Alfred Harman was still in his cottage in Ilford, hand pouring his plates from a silver teapot.
If it’s possible to make images on them it will be something along the lines of tapping a ouija board & getting a response. Early slow blue sensitive plates can often still function – but 130 years on?
Or like the Turin Shroud should are they better left intact as an artefact to drift on through time? Decisions…
The customer is annoyed. She has got tired of her current enlarging paper. “I want those nice blue-black tones I used to get” she complains. “What can you give me?”
And now look at the smile on the face of the customer! Now her prints are right up to FOMA standard.
Retropan 320 is an unusual film with a character of it’s own, grainy, but also with a strange delicacy. Possibly reminiscent of Kodak Infrared, the film seems to use a different silver halide crystal structure to impose it’s own veiled quality.
A good film to tool up with while investigating the occult, showing here the results of a search for the lingering afterlife of Dr Dee, the eminent 17th century scientist. Full-frame results of a one roll test around London’s Clerkenwell.
Mike Crawford of Lighthouse Darkroom has initiated an arts project to use a large store of out-dated photo material;
“In March 2015, a client gave me a quantity of old photographic paper and film. He had been clearing out his late uncle’s darkroom and decided I could either have it all or it would be thrown out. Over two visits I received a number of boxes and packets of material, the majority of which were papers that had ceased production many years ago. Most were at least 20 or 30 years old, indeed some far older. I sifted through boxes of familiar names such as Kodak Bromesko and Agfa Brovira considering what I should do with them.
Out of interest, I tested some of the paper in the darkroom. I was surprised at how well some of the older material printed. With further testing, it appeared that some paper, which was fogged and had proved useless with conventional developers, could produce quite interesting and compelling results using different processes such as lith printing. After conversations with fellow members of the London Alternative Photographic Collective, I decided it might be of interest to give out the paper to different photographers and artists to see what individual results each could produce.”
Not many photographers & printers have the clout to make a book out of their old test strips. Of the few contenders who could pull it off, David Bailey has managed just such an event, & in doing so paid respectful homage to the film, enlarging paper & darkroom world that he was brought up in, & which sadly is being left behind.
“Determining the perfect exposure time for a photographic print in a traditional darkroom can be a time-consuming and tedious process, and the irreverent David Bailey has never had much patience for it. Normally a photographer makes a number of test strips, each showing different exposure times; but Bailey has always just intuitively torn off strips of the unexposed paper to find the desired result: “I would usually have it in the bag after three tears.” Over the decades Bailey has kept his “test tears,” re-fixing and washing them to preserve the unpredictable and unique qualities of these “accidents.” This book contains a selection of Bailey’s tears, which transform some of his most famous motifs into fascinating abstract pictures through their torn edges and myriad tones.”
Priced around £40, but there seem to be plenty of reduced price new & traded on Amazon;
John Claridge has a new book out, which goes back to his early photographic roots. ‘John Claridge’s EAST END’ collects together over 200 of John Claridge’s astonishing photographs of the old East End in print for the first time. Published by Spitalfields Life Books, it comprises a handsome 270 page clothbound hardback volume, priced at £25.
Wednesday 1st June : EXHIBITION OPENING of John Claridge’s EAST END photography from 6pm at VOUT-O-RENEES, 30 Prescot St, Aldgate, E1 8BB. (Exhibition runs until 21st July)
Friday 3rd June : JOHN CLARIDGE IN CONVERSATION talking about his EAST END photography with Stefan Dickers at 7pm at WATERSTONES PICCADILLY, W1J 9HD. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve free tickets.
Zero Pinhole cameras are coming… Darkside has commenced working with the Hong Kong based company, as a previous UK importer fell by the wayside.
When most camera products now are collections of microchips & driven by menus, the Zero Image pinhole cameras come as a refreshing change. No microchips, no plastic & not even a lens! Beautifully crafted from teak hardwood, and brought to a high standard of finish, these cameras are unique, and an ornament as well as a functional machine.
A wide choice of formats, from 35mm, then taking in a wide range of roll film formats, 5×4″ and even a 10×8″ is on the way.