31 Jul 2020

Traditional and Alternative Photographic Processes

Even though I am all about film cameras, darkrooms and quirky 19th-century alternative printing techniques, during the day I work —perhaps somewhat ironically— in the Visual Effects industry for film post-production. Any film you see today in the cinema is likely to be comprised of a combination of real footage and photorealistic computer-generated imagery. And this is where we in VFX come into play: to extend or enhance what’s been recorded on set into what’s seen on the silver screen.

Business and pleasure are often best kept separate, but as luck would have it, the two were bound to collide.

The lovely folks at Framestore, where I work, set up an online gallery where people were encouraged to send artworks created during the COVID-19 lockdown. Amongst beautiful paintings and CG works, I submitted this scan of one or my palladium prints: Rose and magpie.

This kicked off a back-and-forth email exchange with the organiser. He was trying to establish whether this was a drawing or a photograph. How was it made? And what’s with those funny borders?

That’s nice, but what is it?

I hinted at the obsessive labour of love that lies behind producing prints like this. I have been known to ramble for ever when talking about a subject so dear to my heart. And some of this passion must have come across; I was asked to record a webinar followed by some Q&A which I’m happy to share with you.

This was really enjoyable, and a rare opportunity to bridge the world of high-end film making, with some of the purest forms of crafting photographic images. In the video, we talk about inspiration, darkroom and alternative photographic processes. It ended up being a bit long, but I hope you will find it entertaining. There are some cats, too!


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