LIP Film and Darkroom Group February 2019 meeting

Sam Tanner

Jo Stapleton

Don Holtum

Steve Jones

We were straight in to the agreed meeting format this month, beginning with Sam Tanner showing and telling us about some of his work – a selection from hospitals and the care system, for which Sam was happy to acknowledge that Eugene Smith had been the starting point many years ago. He also showed us part of an ongoing series on shop window displays and briefly mentioned the simplicity of the equipment and process he mostly favours: Nikon F80 with standard 50mm lens, using HP5 developed in ID11.

Illustrating a completely different approach, Jo Stapleton was next. Although also using 35mm film with a standard lens, Jo uses close up filters to allow the viewer a glimpse into her constructed realities which she has named ‘Dolls’ House Drama’. Lith printing, chance, chemical manipulations, photograms and found antiquated negatives/objects all play a part in Jo’s work.

Don Holtum, on the other hand, despite his opening announcement that he “doesn’t do projects or series”, appears to have turned his meticulous approach to measuring and recording the printing process into a project in itself. Don showed us many examples of the same negative printed on a variety of papers, each carefully annotated. He also likes to employ left over stocks of papers that are no longer made.

During a pause for tea we discussed setting up a Google group, and that is now up and running. The possibility of extending future meetings was considered, which would allow beginners’ questions to be given more time for discussion. Sam also made the point that the group welcomes people bringing work in progress or ‘problematic’ work to discuss as often this can be helpful in furthering the photographer’s progress. Looking further into the future, the possibility of a group exhibition was mentioned. The issue was raised of whether we would cover shooting on film and then scanning the negative to digital for printing. It was agreed that the group would be kept fully ‘analogue’ and not venture into hybrid processes at this time.

Ironically, the fourth and final speaker was Steve Jones whose work involves solarising the print in the darkroom and then often scanning it into the computer for further manipulation. Steve spoke about all the elements which can affect the appearance of a solarised print, many of which are unpredictable such as developer age and temperature. Nonetheless he has created several series of annotated test prints to help decipher some of the unpredictability.

The rest of the meeting was spent discussing upcoming exhibitions and Don McCullin, Diane Arbus, Paul Hart, Roman Vishniac, Dave Heath and Tom Hunter were all mentioned. There was also a brief discussion of book printing and Blissetts was recommended.

The next meeting is on Wednesday 20th March at 6.30pm. Anyone interested in coming along is asked to contact Ted Kinsey at Roberto Arendse

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