Nov 30th, 2020 by Large Format Photography Podcast
From a recent interview with Intrepid Camera.
“Nick Brandreth is the Historic Process Specialist at the George Eastman Museum, where he runs workshops that teach people how to create images using photographic techniques that span the whole of the medium’s history. The workshops provide alternative methods of creating images as opposed to simply buying consumer film for people who want to get their hands dirty.
“With a lot of photography pre-1900, everything was made by hand,” Brandreth says. “You'd go out and purchase chemicals and mix 'em together and make your own material. And there was a culture, at the beginning of photography, where everything was made by hand. I think people like that.”
Brandreth’s hands-on approach naturally suits the experimentation that large format photography offers. With the right attitude, the possibilities really are endless.
“Because of the beauty of large format, you can Frankenstein a different lens with the camera and make your own format sizes,” Brandreth says. “It's the best. It's actually cheaper for me now because I have the skills and know-how, so I just make my own emulsion and all I have to pay for is raw material.”
Things we chatted about on the show:
Nick attended a workshop at the George Eastman Museum on historical processes with Mark Osterman who we seem to mention every show – here is an interview by Robert Gojevic.
Soon after this Nick found himself working as Mark’s apprentice at the museum and now teaches anyone who cares to listen through workshops in person or, increasingly these days, via social media.
Nick’s recent work was informed by the historic “horror theatre” known as Phantasmagoria – Wikipedia comes to the rescue yet again.
The full interview with Intrepid Camera can be read and seen here.
And all the images on Nick’s website.
Nick’s earlier work after leaving college where he studied photojournalism, was influenced by the work of, amongst others, Eddie Adams (you will know the image of the Vietnam Police officer shooting a Vietcong member in the head in the street).
If you have any questions about emulsion making then speak with Nick as he has mastered numerous techniques inspired by Ron Mowry and Nick tells the story of his now hard to find book at the end of the show.
If you don’t want to make your own emulsion you can buy it from a number of sources. Andrew uses (with mixed success so far) the Rollei Black Magic Nick mentions.
If you are in the UK you can get it from Nova Darkroom and various others.
Mel Digiacomo was a mentor to Nick as he strived to express his photojournalist voice. Here is a YouTube video to watch when you have a spare hour or so.
Erik spoke of Ed Drew’s Afghanistan LF work.
And last but not lease Andrew bought a cool looking Chroma Camera Snapshot and Simon bought a Chroma Carbon Adventurer that is mostly orange.
Instagram seems to be the place where you can get the best sense of what Nick is up to on a day by day basis.
To see his “Seeking Shadows” and other work we touched on in the show go to his website.
The Six Towns Darkroom was OPEN but is now CLOSED as Stoke enters Tier 3 Covid restrictions.
And watch out for a link if you want to join us for our next LFPP virtual gathering in the forest on Saturday December 5th.
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