Aug 242012
 

In this, our Olympic year, the world has witnessed an extraordinary multi-cultural spectacle in the London Games.

For most, I’m sure, it has been joyous, exciting and fascinating to see so many people from so many diverse walks of life meet for one huge event.

As you may have read earlier in the year, I have had a small part to play in the Olympics too.  However, I have also been working on the culmination of another huge multi-cultural project — Julian Germain’s Classroom Portraits.

Julian Germain, Classroom Portraits, The Future Is Ours, Nigeria

Julian Germain | Classroom Portraits | Kuramo Junior, Nigeria

I have worked with Julian on this project for seven years — scanning and printing some 200 images selected from the 500 or so made.

Largely commissioned by The British Council, this body of work has now become a huge documentation of the world’s youth in their schools around the globe.

Over the last few months, I have really enjoyed preparing many of these photographs for Julian’s major show The Future Is Ours at Nederlands Fotomuseum and for the accompanying book, Classroom Portraits published by Prestel.

Julian Germain, Classroom Portraits, The Future Is Ours, Peru

Print Detail | HP Vivera Pigment Ink | Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm

Over the years, so many discussions have arisen in the making of these photographs.

In preparing this article, I posed a question to Julian:

“In your preface to the book Classroom Portraits, you describe the seemingly magical moment where ‘you are waiting for them and they are waiting for you’.

“Having visited so many schools in so many countries across the globe, you have clearly had a unique insight into the lives of thousands of children from so many backgrounds and cultures.

“I wonder, on your travels making these portraits, can you recall where you experienced the greatest vibe of happiness?”

Julian replied:

“Well, that isn’t an easy question…

“Firstly, I found mostly happy, interesting kids everywhere I went, as well as a few surly difficult ones. I enjoyed every country too, although I did find Saudi Arabia and Qatar more difficult to acclimatise to.

“I guess you are really referring to a vibe coming from the pupils but I can’t avoid my response being coloured by the vibe that I was getting not simply from them, but from being in their country, experiencing their culture beyond the classrooms.

“On that basis, I was probably most deeply affected by experiences in Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Yemen — all extraordinary places with particularly friendly and, let’s not pretend otherwise, very poor people, without access to the consumerism that defines our (or any) modern economy.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if I was seduced by the idea of this kind of innocence of materialism — lets face it, in a way this is one of the themes of For Every Minute You Are Angry You Lose Sixty Seconds of Happiness isn’t it?”

Julian Germain, Classroom Portraits, The Future Is Ours, UK

Print Detail | HP Vivera Pigment Ink | Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm

 

Julian continues:

“Nevertheless, to try and give you an example of a happiness vibe moment…

“In Ethiopia, because of the rain and mud, I had to abandon my truck, lights, generator and walk two miles to a village primary school.

“It was a beautiful walk past open countryside and occasional round wooden houses with thatched roofs, no electricity or running water. The few people I saw smiled and waved.

“It was quiet, tranquil even, just the sound of the birds and the light breeze in the trees. The school was crowded with kids (so they must have come from far and wide) and it was missing at least two teachers that day.

“Some pupils had notebooks and pens but most didn’t. The teaching was obviously basic. There were just a few textbooks. No desks or tables, just benches and a blackboard, mud floor and walls.

“I photographed every class, two in lessons and the other three outside because every class was desperate to be photographed. They took it very seriously and were very proud.

“At the end of the morning (a different crowd of kids arrived for the afternoon session) I walked back along the track with several pupils, each of them eager to show off their handwriting before peeling off at various points on the track to follow their own particular paths home.

“They told me that if and when they graduated to secondary school they would walk 9 miles there and 9 miles back, not a prospect that bothered them in the least — in fact, they were looking forward to it.

“That afternoon I visited that secondary school and made a portrait of a Grade 12 Physics class with at least 70 pupils, several of whom had gone to the aforementioned primary and would shortly be embarking on that long walk home.

“The lesson was on the First Law of Thermodynamics — way over my head. The teacher was amazing, dressed in a sparkling white lab coat, passionate about his subject and very proud of his pupils.

“I was moved, overwhelmed by the vibe created by a room full of young people with such enthusiasm to learn.”

 

Julian Germain, Classroom Portraits, The Future Is Ours, Nigeria

Print Detail | HP Vivera Pigment Ink | Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm

Julian Germain, Classroom Portraits, The Future Is Ours, Nigeria

Print Detail | HP Vivera Pigment Ink | Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm

Julian Germain, Classroom Portraits, The Future Is Ours, Taiwan

Julian pores over a print of a Taiwanese class…

Julian Germain, Classroom Portraits, The Future Is Ours, Taiwan

Print Detail | HP Vivera Pigment Ink | Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm

The Book…

 

As well as the exhibition, I also prepared the photographs for the 208 page book Classroom Portraits published by Prestel.

In addition to the photographs, the reader is treated to a foreword by Dr. Leonid Llyushin, Professor of Pedagogy at St. Petersburg State University along with a preface by Julian.

A truly stunning, engaging publication and an essential addition to any photo book collection…

 

Julian Germain, Classroom Portraits, The Future Is Ours, Prestel

Checking proofs in the studio…

Julian Germain, Classroom Portraits, The Future Is Ours, Prestel

With the work completed, my signed book arrives…

The Exhibition…

 

The exhibition of 140 prints is running at the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, until 2nd September.

Jul 262012
 

Muhammad Ali by Thomas HoepkerRather than working solely in the digital arena, I consider myself a fan of all things photographic.

Over the past twelve years or so, I have dedicated my life to the highest quality inkjet printing (sometimes know as Giclée).  However, keen followers will know that I have also been working intensively on the analogue side for the last two years or so with Richard Freestone of 139 Printroom.

Together, we have been bridging Centuries to produce sumptuous analogue Platinum/Palladium prints from modern Digital Negatives.

This side of our working lives has been steadily taking shape as increasing numbers of photographers, collectors and galleries begin to understand the beautiful nature of the service we are now able to offer.

Every now and then, the most wonderful convergence of events can happen in photographic printing — Richard and I have been privileged to enjoy such a convergence over the last fortnight or so…

Picture this: A commission from a world-famous photographic collective to make a Platinum/Palladium print edition of one of the most iconic humans ever to grace the planet.

Well, last week that commission came through for us from Magnum in the form of a spontaneous moment grabbed by Thomas Hoepker in 1966 of Muhammad Ali.

Platinum/Palladium edition print made by Jack Lowe Studio and 139 Printroom of Muhammad Ali by Thomas Hoepker

Platinum/Palladium Edition Print of Muhammad Ali by Thomas Hoepker for Magnum

Thomas Hoepker (b.1936) joined Magnum in 1964, becoming a full member in 1989.  He has many incredible photographs, exhibitions and publications to his name.

Richard asked Thomas how this image came about and he gave a candid reply:

“I got this shot when I worked on a reportage on Ali in Chicago in 1966. I watched him during training in the gym and during a short break he saw me sitting there in a corner.

“He danced up to me, stopped briefly in front of my seat and threw three quick pushes in my direction. Then Ali turned around and was gone.

“Only one shot is sharp, the other two underexposed. There was very little light.”


Thomas has also just published a book on Ali called CHAMP carrying the same image on the cover.

The Platinum/Palladium process suits the photograph perfectly — with each print carrying a stone-like quality, it really feels as though the viewer is about to be hit by a fist of rock!

If you would like to learn how we can make Platinum/Palladium prints for you from your digital files, remember to take a look at this page.

Jun 182012
 

The Association of Photographers (AoP) Awards 2012It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again — the Association of Photographers Awards are just around the corner and print orders are already flooding in from entrants who have successfully reached the second round.

When that much-anticipated email from the AoP lands in their inbox, I’m pleased that so many photographers around the country make Jack Lowe Studio their first port of call.

I take great pride and care in making the prints, many of which are shown in the Awards exhibition and book.  Below is a previous successful entry, Madagascar Sky by Kelvin Murray.

If you would like me to make your 2012 Awards prints, do let me know as soon as possible — Page 4 of my 2012 Price List should tell you all you need to know…

Kelvin Murray's 'Madagascar Sky' for the Association of Photographers Awards

‘Madagascar Sky’ by Kelvin Murray

 

 

Apr 172012
 

Julian Calverley shooting his North Northwest Beginnings series on Skye using his Alpa camera fitted with a Phase One IQ180 digital backI’ve written many words on these pages and elsewhere about the work of Julian Calverley — it’s a true pleasure to now be introducing you to his imminent show at Gallery 1066.

We first worked together in October 2010, which I wrote about at the time.

Since then, Julian and I have made many more prints together as his success in the world of edition printing gathers momentum.

Working with Julian is a real opportunity for us both to revel in the current capabilities of digital photographic practice. You may remember that he works with one of the finest cameras around, made by Alpa of Switzerland, which he currently uses in conjunction with the very latest in single capture technology — the Phase One IQ180.

This is an 80 megapixel digital back, which produces a 16bit single capture of around 450MB — when making many of the large prints for Julian, I often have to reduce the files produced from this camera!

Print Detail from Julian Calverley's North Northwest Beginnings edition prints

Detail from Archival Pigment Print | HP Vivera Ink, Hahnemühle Bamboo 290gsm

Print Detail from Julian Calverley's North Northwest Beginnings edition prints
Detail from Archival Pigment Print | HP Vivera Ink, Hahnemühle Bamboo 290gsm
Print Detail from Julian Calverley's North Northwest Beginnings edition prints

Detail from Archival Pigment Print | HP Vivera Ink, Hahnemühle Bamboo 290gsm

Print Detail from Julian Calverley's North Northwest Beginnings edition prints

Detail from Archival Pigment Print | HP Vivera Ink, Hahnemühle Bamboo 290gsm

Julian’s background is described at Edition Prints:

“Julian Calverley has been creating imagery in one form or another since he was old enough to hold a paint brush.

“Born in Hertfordshire in 1964, he very quickly demonstrated a love and natural talent for drawing and painting, in particular watercolour landscape work.

“After a brief and uninspiring spell at art college, Julian realised it was the mix of photography and traditional darkroom skills that would allow him to express himself most effectively.

“The next few years saw experience gained with various studios and in 1988, at 24 years old, Julian set up his first studio and darkroom.

“He now divides his time between personal and assigned work, his attentions mainly focussed on capturing landscapes in their various atmospheric conditions.”

Julian Calverley signs and embosses his North Northwest Beginnings edition prints

Each print is signed and embossed by Julian...

Julian Calverley signs and embosses his North Northwest Beginnings edition prints

I really enjoy how the exemplary workflow from start to finish sings through the final prints. As written on the Edition Prints Process page:

“The finished pieces command a theatrical air; so wonderfully crafted, as if each facet to the image has been summoned into place at the click of a finger.”

Wayne Ford has also written a wonderful blog post on Julian’s work entitled, The Theatrical Sonnets of the British Landscape Photographer Julian Calverley.

If you haven’t seen Wayne’s blog yet, do pay it a visit — he has nurtured it into the ultimate photography archive.

I don’t often get to see the prints I make in their final destination, so I can’t wait to make the journey south next week to Baldock and see the framed pieces on the wall.

The show runs from 20th April to 3rd May, full details are listed here.

Print Detail from Julian Calverley's North Northwest Beginnings edition prints

Detail from Archival Pigment Print | HP Vivera Ink, Hahnemühle Bamboo 290gsm

Print Detail from Julian Calverley's North Northwest Beginnings edition prints

Detail from Archival Pigment Print | HP Vivera Ink, Hahnemühle Bamboo 290gsm

Julian Calverley shooting his North Northwest Beginnings series on Skye using his Alpa camera fitted with a Phase One IQ180 digital back

Julian at work, complete with his famous storm umbrella!

Mar 212012
 

Regular visitors to this site will know that the marriage of analogue and digital photographic practice is a hot discussion at the moment.

With such topics close to my heart,  I was very pleased to be invited by the University of Northumbria to take part in a group show being held right here on Hoults Yard at Unit 44.

Print Detail from 'Scafell' by Jack Lowe, Platinum Palladium Print from HP Digital Negative

Print Detail | 'Scafell' by Jack Lowe | Platinum/Palladium Print from HP Digital Negative

The photographers taking part:

Alysia Anne, David Bilbrough, Fiona Crisp, Agnieszka Kozlowska, John Lavell, Jack Lowe, Joanne Tatham & John O’Sullivan, Louise Todd and Ginny Reed.

It opens this Friday 23rd March — with the preview from 6:30pm until 9pm — and closes on 5th April.

Alongside the other photographers’ work, I’ll be showing a selection of my Platinum/Palladium prints made from Digital Negatives – if you’re in the area, do pop by…

Digilogue, analogue and digital photography exhibition

 

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