I have always been interested in photography but only became serious in 2007 when I bought my first digital camera. Since then I have been working back in time to the dawn of photography. First via the pinhole camera , toy cameras and various vintage film cameras my favourite of which is a battered but fully working Rolleiflex.
The Calotype which was one one of the first photographic processes first came to my attention in 2012 when I visited an exhibition called the Photographers Own , Paper negatives from the 1850s at the Daniel Blau gallery at Hoxton in London. I was astonished at their beauty and wanted to find out more and even make one myself. My imagination was well and truly fired.
With help from a small band of Calotypists and photo historians - the Calotype Society on the photo sharing web site flicker I made my first Calotype in May 2012. I was now hooked. I would at this point like to mention Richard Cynan Jones , Wlodek Witek and Roxanne Guez without who's help and encouragment making a Calotype would have been almost impossible. Our small band of world wide Calotypists have met twice, In 2013 we met at Lacock Abbey the birth place of modern photography and in August 2015 we met at St Andrews the town where photography grew and developed into an art form.
When I set out on this path I hadn't realised how interested I would become in Victorian history as I sought to find out and absorb everything to do with the Calotype. Making a Calotype is as much a craft as it is a science. It has required me to expand my knowledge of many subjects including Chemistry , maths , health and safety, history, research , optics , art ,woodwork and paper. On top of which it gives you a pretty good work out and above all teaches you patience. It is a slow process !
For me the Calotype allows me to express how I see the world , or may be that should be how I would like to see the world.
I have always been drawn to the landscape and my eye is usually steered to the same subjects as our photographic ancestors. I am particularly interested in the photography of William Henry Fox Talbot the inventor of photography , the Scottish partnership of David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson who's art at the dawn of photography is still rarely surpassed. And then of course there is Benjamin Brecknell Turner one of the worlds greatest landscape photographers. Recently the work of John Adamson the elder brother of Robert had piqued my interest , as a figure in early photography I feel that his work and influence has been greatly underestimated , something that I hope will be rectified in the near future.
In the Autumn of 2015 I had the privilege of being invited to have four of my pictures displayed at the Collecting Shadows Exhibition at the University of Louisville .
In August 2015 the Calotype Society met at St Andrews in Fife Scotland. Where we were allowed to view the work of the original Calotypists from the 1840s.
as well as produce our own Calotypes.
I returned in early October to record the old paper Mill at Guardbridge before it is renovated. A Photographic process involving paper seemed fitting. I also got to see some of William Henry Fox Talbots work close up as well as the Govan album which is an amazing collection of early photography.
Recently I have had the great honour of having my work at Guardbridge archived in the Special Collections at St Andrews.
In 2016 I had a Calotype and the corresponding print displayed at The History of Photography exhibition at Warwick Arts centre organised by Jo Gane. And in the summer I have had great pleasure in presenting two Calotype demonstrations at the inaugural St Andrews photography festival as well as having two of my prints from Guardbridge displayed at Martys Kirk along side prints by Hill and Adamson and Thomas Rodger. Which was unexpected and a huge honour . My thanks goes to Rachel Nordstrom head of the St Andrews special collections for that opportunity.
In 2017 I had three of my prints displayed in the Memory of Shadows exhibition in Oslo , thanks to Wlodek for that opportunity .As well as an exhibition of my St Andrews Calotypes and prints in the St Andrews photographic festival in September. A big thanks to Rachel Nordstrom for this.
In April of this year 2018 I had the great honour of being guest Speaker at the book launch in Bristol of Ali Bacons historical novel "In the Blink of the eye ."
Later that month I gave my first lessons in the making of Calotypes to the talented Caroline Douglas , in Edinburgh . Where we achieved some remarkable results.
This Website is a response to the many people who come up to me when I am out in the field , intrigued by the big camera. I am often asked if I have a website. So here it is .