Nov 282010
 

You may have noticed a quirk of life—initial disappointments invariably turn out to be suppliers of the best possible outcomes…

As part of my research into alternative printing processes using Digital Negatives, it has been on my list for a while to visit Bradford’s National Media Museum and, in particular, to see the work of Frederick H. Evans.

Frederick H. Evans

The press coverage has been widespread but alarm bells rang when the exhibition was nowhere to be seen on the NMM’s website.

A quick phone call confirmed that the tour wouldn’t reach the gallery after all. On the face of it, one of life’s disappointments.

Instead, however, the very helpful Ruth Kitchin at Insight, the Research Centre within the NMM, suggested an appointment to spend a couple of hours viewing the prints in the flesh.

What a treat this turned out to be, a very special afternoon…

Frederick H. Evans, 'Lincoln Cathedral: Stairway in the South West Turret'

Frederick H. Evans, 'Lincoln Cathedral: Stairway in the South West Turret'

Frederick H. Evans, 'Sea of Steps'

Perhaps the most famous image by Frederick H. Evans, 'Sea of Steps'

The beauty of Evans’ Platinum/Palladium and Photogravure prints verges on the indescribable. They command extraordinary depth, space and timelessness.

And then? A trolley brought forward carrying prints by Peter Henry Emerson, famous for his beautiful imagery depiciting working life in and around The Fens.

Peter Henry Emerson, "Setting the Bow Net"

Peter Henry Emerson, 'Setting the Bow Net'

To anyone working within the photographic industry, particularly in the digital era of instant gratification, this is surely an invaluable experience—to be reminded of the roots of our trade. Not only the recognition of a beautiful photographic print but also the understanding and realisation of true craftsmanship.

In appreciating this art-form, very little compares to seeing the fountain pen signature of a famous photographer accompanied by a date in the 1800′s…

Anybody can visit Insight by appointment and view works form their huge collection. Of course, most museums around the country have this facility too and, if you haven’t already, it’s one that you must try some time…

Richard Freestone with a print by Frederick H. Evans

Richard Freestone with a print by Frederick H. Evans

Nov 262010
 

Back in June, I posted the great news that Alec Finlay has made the shortlist for this year’s Northern Art Prize, which I attended at the Leeds Art Gallery last night.

A collaboration between the two of us, ‘Apple Wheel’, forms one of his show-pieces.

I also particularly enjoyed ‘Mesostic Remedy, 2008′—Alec is a man after my own heart when it comes to detail and finishing…

It was fantastic to see the print I made for the show—a special one metre wide version—nestled among the other entries and so generously credited to the two of us.

Apple Wheel by Alec Finlay and Jack Lowe at the Northern Art Prize 2010

'Apple Wheel' by Alec Finlay & Jack Lowe at the Northern Art Prize 2010

The print, made on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm with HP’s DJz3200, caught many an eye.

Congratulations once again, Alec, and we look forward to January for the announcement of the winner. Good luck!

The exhibition runs until February, so do make the time to visit if you can…

'Apple Wheel' by Alec Finlay and Jack Lowe

'Apple Wheel'

Nov 162010
 

In 2007, I was struck by the work of Dan Holdsworth after seeing his show At The Edge of Space, Parts 1-3 in Edinburgh.

The huge C-Types of a Puerto Rican radio telescope will stay with me for a long time.

I only wish I’d bought his book whilst I was there.  Now out of print, it sells for rather a lot more money than the asking price in 2007…!

Eighteen months after first meeting and working with Dan, I now find myself in the privileged position of making the Limited Edition prints for his exhibition ‘Blackout‘, now showing at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.

Dan Holdsworth's 'Blackout' Exhibition at BALTIC

One of the Pieces from Dan Holdsworth's 'Blackout' Exhibition at BALTIC

The Limited Edition of 100 Archival Pigment Prints are made with HP’s Vivera Pigment inks on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm and will shortly be on sale at BALTIC.

The show runs until 20th February 2011.

Nov 032010
 

“Expect the unexpected” is often the best approach when wondering into a new environment.

Travelling to Photokina with Paul Kenny in 2008, on the invitation of HP and Innova, we certainly weren’t ready for the experience awaiting us.

A truly bizarre event on a scale so very hard to describe.  So much hustle and bustle, much of which was composed of men wearing camera-shaped jewellery…

From the maelstrom emerged the calm of a new acquaintance, Jim McHugh.

We had a great couple of days with Jim — stumbling across this video of him on the Polaroid website brings back some happy memories:

Jim McHugh and Jack Lowe, Cologne, 2008

Jim McHugh and Jack Lowe, Cologne, 2008 (Photograph ©Paul Kenny)

Mountain, Jim McHugh 2010

©Jim McHugh 2010

Nov 022010
 

Last week provided interesting times at the Studio, not least through working with Anne Vibeke Mou on her latest piece.

Along with James Hugonin, also a client of mine, Anne Vibeke has been commissioned by Jamie Warde-Aldam to make one of two memorial windows for St. John’s Church in Healey, Northumberland.

High resolution scan of Anne Vibeke Mou's drawing for the Windows of St. John's Church, Healey, Northumberland

Left: Anne Vibeke Mou's Drawing | Right: The Window (Photography © John McKenzie)

Anne Vibeke commissioned me to record her original plan of the window—a large graphite drawing measuring 36x127cm.

In my usual painstaking manner, I scanned the drawing in six parts on my trusty Fuji Lanovia, stitching them together to make an enormous high resolution file—the detail of every tiny pencil stroke captured…

Detail from Anne Vibeke Mou's drawing for the window at St. John's Church, Healey, Northumberland

Detail from Anne Vibeke Mou's Drawing

Anne Vibeke writes:

“The piece is untitled and not an exact plan of the window, as each drawing I make is of itself and evolves through it’s own process.

“The making of my drawings involves the application of many tiny marks on a surface following a rigidly defined system of approach.

“The image evolves intuitively from this process as densities of marks vary over lengthy periods of time. The window was engraved (stippled) with a tungsten point and the image emerged through the layers of tiny opaque ‘stars’ created in the surface of the glass over months of work.”

A book has been published about the project—”The Windows of St John’s Church, Healey, Northumberland”
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