Sep 262010

On Friday evening, I attended an engaging presentation by American photographer Tillman Crane, hosted by the Hexham Photography Group.

To me, it’s always fascinating to gain insight into the life and mind of such an energetic photographer and one who makes such a vast amount of work.  Easily done in this digital age, you may think, but Crane works meticulously and exclusively with large format film cameras ranging from 7×5″ to 11×14″.

Shooting literally thousands of sheets of Ilford’s legendary FP4 Plus, Crane rigorously whittles these down to the selected few images for his next book or exhibition.  And the final medium?  Platinum prints, a truly sumptuous way to complete the photographic process.

Now, the reason I felt compelled to write this post (other than this being a blog-worthy event in itself) is two-fold:

The first relates to film production.  Crane made an interesting observation relating to the exploding Chinese economy, that there is an extraordinary growing interest in film photography among the population.  Not just film photography but large format film photography.

Now, I guess the perception is that global film production is in continual decline?  However, there is a greater number of photographers per capita than there has ever been comparatively in The States.

So large is the Chinese population, of course, this means that there is an emerging market of some 25-30 million new film photographers!

Perhaps you can see where I’m going with this?  Ilford are actually now stepping up film production enormously to meet this revived demand and the future of film seems much more secure than it has done in years.  Strange but true…

My second reason for writing?  The discussion I enjoyed with Crane about the use of Digital Negatives.  To refresh your memories on this topic, you may like to see my first post on this subject by clicking here.

I have been carefully researching the subject of Digital Negative production and am glad to report that my first batch of material is now winging its way from The States.  “Watch this space”, as they say, and I will keep you posted with news on this exciting new service over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, it was great to hear from Tillman Crane that he has certainly found the Digital Negative to be more than equal to the task in the production of Fine Art analogue prints.

Clearly, these are also the findings of Mr. Elliott Erwitt.  I will shortly be making the time to nip down the East Coast to the Magnum Print Room to view his Platinum Prints & Classic Snaps—a collection of 30×40″ Platinum Prints made using the very methods that I am in the midst of exploring…

This has been by far my longest post (so far).  If you have made to here, thank you!  As a reward, here’s one of Elliott Erwitt’s sublime photographs:

  3 Responses to “Tillman Crane and the Analogue Explosion”

  1. Digital negatives. Mmmmmm very interesting

  2. Yes, very.

    Good to hear from you, Richard…


  3. Hi, interesting post. I enjoyed Tillman’s talk a lot and am intrigued by the use of digital negatives. Whilst I understand the benefits of an all digital workflow for client use, personally I feel I’ve come to the end of the road (or my current one) with bits and bytes. Something about photons and emulsion has a certain appeal. I’ll look forward to your future posts.

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