Wet Plate Photography Workshop Preparation

We are now taking reservations for the first Collodion, WetPlate workshop in VillaRoquette.

Photography at Villa Roquette

Some of the Equipment for the Collodion Ambrotype WetPlate workshops at VillaRoquette

The dates are set for October 11th and 12th 2014.

John Brewer is teaching a weekend workshop for anyone interested in traditional photographic techniques at VillaRoquette.

John is a well known and established artist and lecturer in classic photographic processes. An expert in wet plate, collodion, photography and other traditional techniques and processes, John has shared his skills and experience with hundreds of students who have attended his UK workshops from all over the world.

This is a residential course over a two day period and will be for a group of 6 students. To ensure close personal attention, John has the support of two assistants.

Accommodation s included and students can come with friends or partners not attending the course and can stay for additional days, with full use of the equipment and services provided.

Total price for the two day tuition, including two days accommodation, materials, use of all equipment, meals and all services of Villa Roquette is £475. Students staying longer or coming with friends or family pay only the (very reasonable) standard supplementary charges at VillaRoquette.

The course will be given in English and students are given a comprehensive 30 page manual of the chemistry and processes written by John Brewer. There are French speaking assistants working in the course and translations of data sheets and processes can be provided and printed at any time in most languages (thanks to Google Translation).

Students can bring their own large format camera and there is a range of adapters on loan so 19th century lenses can be fitted to some digital cameras (put a Petzval on your 4/3).

Full Plate Camera with 385mm Rodenstock Petzval portrait lens for Collodion workshop

Full Plate Camera with 385mm Rodenstock Petzval portrait lens for Collodion workshop

The scope of the course is similar to those offered by John in the UK, the the added bonus of breakfast and lunch discussions and the Saturday evening meal, where local food and the wonderful local wines are in unlimited supply for all (as well as stimulating conversation). Plus the beautiful countryside, the Mediterranean, French farming villages and sunshine



Ghosts and Shadows

It is so long since I have written, anything, that I now have many thoughts and things I wish to say. A lot has occupied me during the last couple of years, perhaps working backwards from the strongest impressions may help slowly focus on a purpose.

Today is a good starting point – I wanted a pocket-sized book to read in a waiting room and picked up Ezra Pounds “ABC of Reading” - although I bought it over 50 years ago when I was an aspiring beatnik in the 1950s, I had never read it as it seemed heavy and was not his poetry – I remember buying the book (which was a large percentage of my Saturday jobs 25 shillings) because Kerouac mentioned it in the Dharma Bums (or was it On the Road) and I yearned to find their freedom.

Now, I find every page scintillating and concise, it seems an important book.

Already, the hope if some chronological voyage of my thoughts is lost – I jump to shadows – here I am immersed in the short book In Praise of Shadows, it is beautiful and helps me see images in my head I overlooked, I hope to find them through cameras – this led me to another book, Kusamakura -  so much to read – wonderful.

I have always (certainly since I was 7 years old at least) been influenced by Japanese expression and images – I am discovering fresh passions for many forms again – Butoh, Boro and some films.  the repeating interweaving of ghosts in life is a strong effect – look at Ugetsu monogatari (1953) - it is beautiful – I am tweeting about butoh so look there for links.

My love of photography strengthens and my understanding of ghosts and shadows grows, soon to be flowing onto a glass plate, I hope

And Now….

For Something, but not completely different.

It is eighteen months since I last posted on this blog, or on any blog, or anywhere in fact.

I have been getting ready to do something I wanted to do when we first moved to France over a quarter of a century ago. – To work on my photography ideas. Simple it sounds, but I have found many many excuses to put off the day when I can get back into my darkrooms.

Actually not having a darkroom for most of the time is a fair excuse, but I had planned to start some basic photo courses here in VillaRoquette early in 2013 so I have been working on darkrooms and photo-labs and stuff.

But I got sidetracked – I looked at platinum printing and collodion techniques – it  seduced me and I have been learning new skills and building new equipment for the last year, setting aside my plans for silver-gelatine film and papers (for a while).

No excuse now – I am starting with this first posting to get the ball rolling for the services we offer in VillaRoquette for photographers. The darkrooms are open now and I have a good selection of classic cameras and lenses, in many formats, from 1860 to 1960 you can come and use. I have a good selection of chemistry, all collodion materials (OK, you can’t use my KCn, yet) and lots of odd stuff which should be in museums, but I love to work with it.

So where are all the pictures you ask – rightly so – they are coming, but voyages starting with steps and all that – this is the first step, to make the statement, now to add the poetry and images.

Come and join in.