In January 2011, one of our finest actors passed on to The Great Mystery.
Pete Postlethwaite commanded the screen and stage with his formidable presence, his film career punctuated with startling roles in Brassed Off, Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo + Juliet, The Usual Suspects and let’s not forget Jurassic Park…
Paul described to me how he made such a gentle portrait:
“Pete Postlethwaite lived with his family in south Shropshire. Close by is a local beauty spot and National Trust area called the Long Mynd. As Pete was himself a lover of the natural beauty of the south Shropshire hills, he wrote the foreword to a book written about the area.
“I covered the event for a society magazine. During a quiet moment I asked him if I may take his portrait to which he agreed. Totally unassuming and down to earth, he stared straight into the lens with those soulful eyes.
“The impromptu shoot was over in less than five minutes. Actually, I had photographed him on other occasions, but this image captured his integrity and for me reflected more faithfully my feelings of who he was.”
Although brief, it sounds like a wonderful moment for Paul with such a beautiful outcome.
Following some canvassing on Twitter and in ‘real life’, I’d like to leave you with a clip of one of Pete’s performances.
There are so many to choose from but this tear-jerking scene in Brassed Off came up consistently — as a friend of mine described it, “The most poetic piece of swearing ever filmed.”
Hankies at the ready…
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Rather 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.
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.
I’ll make no apologies for a second successive post on matters analogue. You appear to enjoy them and I have a further post drafted (to follow in due course) offering my thoughts on why that might be.
Not only matters analogue, of course, as this is a marriage with digital technology too!
Last week, I spent a couple of days working with my friend and colleague, Richard Freestone, in his domain, 139 Printroom.
I first enjoyed the darkroom experience at the age of twelve when I converted my bedroom to meet my new artistic and entrepreneurial requirements. Sadly, I haven’t revisited these analogue methods since my university days.
Under the dim tungsten glow, I had forgotten what a gentle, calm experience the darkroom can be.
Everything slows right down to a strolling pace and goes a long way to creating the huge ‘pause button’ that I reckon the Western World craves…
Until now, my part in the Alternative Printing process has been to craft perfect Digital Negatives. So, it was sublime to make my first Platinum/Palladium print from an image I have captured, scanned, made the Digital Negative and now printed using a process invented in 1873.
As you might imagine, I made some photographs of this rather special printing process and I thought you might like to see them too…
Remember, you can learn more about this truly special service by clicking here…
My intended opening gambit on how “Autumn has arrived” seems tenuous to say the least now!
In using my Autumnal title, I had intended to then link neatly with the beautiful Platinum/Palladium leaf print we have made for Paul Kenny.
At the start of what would appear to be a wonderful Indian Summer, Autumn suddenly seems a long way away. So, perhaps a different tack is required…
On 9th July 2010, I posted the news that HP had launched their Large Format Photo Negative Application.
Little did I realise the impact this would have on my working life.
A little later, around about this time last year, Richard Freestone and I embarked on what has become a phenomenal journey of research and intrigue; a journey attempting to successfully marry the old and new technologies of Alternative Printing processes with Digital Negatives.
Although not a new concept by any means, we have approached this in a very specific and new way with the help of our friends at Hewlett Packard.
Our thanks to Angel Albarran who designed The HP Large Format Photo Negative Application and helped us extensively throughout the process.
In conjunction with 139 Printroom, we are now able to make Platinum/Palladium prints from your digital files. This is a truly exciting addition to Jack Lowe Studio and one that could open up a whole window of opportunity in your approach to photography.
You may have already noticed the new Platinum/Palladium tab towards the top of this page and it is here that you will find more information…
My eyes have been opened to a new world of possibilities. I have gently been sifting through my own photographs and having them reworked as Platinum/Palladium prints.
Here’s an example from 1999—originally shot on 10×8 Polaroid, now scanned and made into a Digital Negative from which the print was made:
And the beautiful leaf print for Paul Kenny I mentioned?
Entitled OS 206, Paul explains the image for us:
“At the time I was obsessed with seeing leaves as maps or aerial photographs; landscape maps of the imagination.
“The OS series starts with sheet 1 at Lands End and finishes with sheet 205 at the Shetland Isles…I made my imaginary sheet 206.”
Scanned from a 6×6 negative, here is OS 206 for your viewing pleasure:
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.
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…
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.
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…