14 November, 2009
'Magnificent Light on Catbells'
I've just returned from a magnificent week in the Lake District on the Light and Land Advanced Large Format (ALF) Workshop. It was a chance to meet up with 12 other like minded photographers who still practice the dark arts of view camera photography in one the most beautiful parts of the country.
The photography was excellent and we were able to work several locations during the week in light to die for. We were very lucky with the weather, with a mixture of lighting conditions that allowed us to make many different types of image - from still overcast conditions, perfect for details work, to an astonishing misty dawn over Buttermere and the lighting conditions in Newlands Valley above that Joe Cornish is enjoying.
But such gatherings are only partly about the photographic opportunities. The company, the discussion, the humour (which is what you expect with David Ward around!) and the food and wine was excellent. It was a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones. Above all, it was an opportunity to gain inspiration from viewing the work of others.
For those who have never been privileged to see a well exposed 5x4 inch transparency film on a light box, it is hard to appreciate how wonderful it can look. It is the ultimate photographic viewing experience and it is a shame that so few images are viewed this way by so few people. A 500x400 pixel web image never comes close to doing justice to a trannie on a light box.
There was some magnificent work on view from all the participants, including images by Joe and David Ward which of course were a delight to view and they remain a constant source of inspiration. However it was the work of two photographers in particular that completely astonished me and simply made my jaw drop - Anna Booth and Melanie Foster.
Anna put up several images on the light box that were the most stunning transparencies I had ever seen. Such brilliant use of colour and formal attention to intricate detail.
Mel put up image after image that took my breath away with subtle use of colour, precision and above all balance - compositional, tonal and colour. Wonderful and inspirational.
I will send my own pictures away to be developed today and will post them over the next few weeks.