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

  2 Responses to “A Private Audience with Evans & Emerson”

  1. They look very beautiful and timeless. Your photographs of the photographs are very good too.

  2. Thank you, Reed…

    Glad you enjoyed the post and my photography too…!


Share Your Thoughts

%d bloggers like this: