Silver Alchemy’s ‘Portrait of an Artist’ – An event Review.

Jo Cound, Jamie Grant and myself (Dave Hunt) teamed up to celebrate all things analogue photography and it has to be said that our Platfiom 18  event rather exceeded expectation.

The brief to ourselves was to simply capture a handful of Perthshire based artists using our preferred analogue photography format and present each one in our individual style of photographic process whilst sharing the techniques used.

Jo using her vintage Large Format MPP film Camera captured 2 main images of each artist, one showing the person and the second a shot to represent their working practice. Also using her Pinhole box camera she illustrated their studio space with a wide angle long exposure.

Jamie chose his Hasselblad Medium Format to capture each artists character with a single emotive image presented as a large framed print.

And I chose my trusty Victorian plate camera to portray each artists with a pair of whole plate sized Wet Plate Collodion images on glass and as a Tintype.

Preparations for the exhibition went extremely well, organisers Culture Perth and Kinross gifted us the rather fine Civic Hall in Perth city centre which was a somewhat larger venue than expected but gave us space to host demonstrations with a working darkroom plus an area for presenting groups talks.

What amazed us all was the level of interest and engagement from both the younger and the more seasoned visitor with several returning for the demonstrations and our end of event talk. Many folk found stepping into the darkroom either an alien but intriguing experience or something of a trip down memory lane, we even had a few folk leave with renewed interest to revive their analogue capture and darkroom processing skills which was one of the more rewarding experiences of the whole event.

Assistance from the members of Culture Perthshire Created and Perthshire Creates allowed us to turn an idea into a truly memorable event for all. We even had the events Poet in Residence Jim Mackintosh pen some words after our opening speech, he certainly captured the spirit of the collective with his poem ‘Slow Down’, this rather said it all.

On reflection we could not have done any more to celebrate analogue photography in our 8 days and we have come out of the experience with a real boost of enthusiasm to arrange more events in the near future.

So, a challenge.

If you have an old film camera hiding away in the attic then dust it down, load up a roll of film and share in the feeling of taking photography back to its basics. It reminds us that it’s about creating a life long physical memory of our subject that has been created with a deeper level of thought, something that is in danger of becoming lost in today’s virtual existence.

Read the Silver Alchemy Manifesto.

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