The Value of an image

Stating the ‘value’ of anything is simply a way of placing its desirability in relation to other, similar, items or to establish its usefulness in relation to a situation (a lifebelt to a drowning person for example is very valuable).

If photography is used to show images which cause a reaction which helps in any way – the image of a naked, burnt child in Vietnam, a Mother bathing her child in Japan who was crippled by mercury pollution, a Spanish soldier falling dead – these images are photographs which were made to be seen in a magazine and can be seen on a screen or on a wall or in a magazine and have a high value, they do something.

But to put a price on an image which is a digital presentation on a screen, or a printed version of this is, for me, ridiculous.

I have just put some prints into an exhibition locally – a little gallery asked me to let them show a few of my new photographs, so I printed some (on paper and glass) on a theme – there are five other photographers showing. Most used digital equipment, edited this with software and get them printed. They then ask hundreds of euro for these ‘prints’ – how can this ‘value’ be determined – by pressing a button hundreds, thousands of similar prints can be created, to me this is obscene.

I could not give any value to my prints, made in my darkroom. I was happy to show my ideas and what I am doing, but it is over 35 years since I had my last exhibition (where I sold stuff) and I am returning from a twilight zone into the light again after all these years.

A digital recorder (phone, table, camera etc) can record an important event and can be used to manipulate light to show a pleasing or a disturbing image, in this case the ‘camera’ operator should be rewarded by society for their perception – but as a digital image is only a lump of binary code, intrinsically it is almost worthless.

A crafted piece of paper, or glass, tin – whatever – with an image which shares a feeling or message is unique – the artist has touched it and put life into it and is sharing this – it can have true value – I hasten to add “in my opinion

I have stopped looking at any digital images if possible (it isn’t of course) and refuse to digitalise anything I make, so I doubt you will ever see my recent work unless you go to a gallery which is showing it, or, better still, come and stay with us and sit with us looking at prints and plates.

There is so much dross, overwhealming all media and so many people are using awful apps to make more rubbish (hipstamatic, ghost image camera etc) – it is sad – after many years I now refuse to use or own a telephone and limit my keyboard time (or try to) to an hour a day – slowly I am getting free

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.

Here is a pdf file with more information

John Brewer and Dr Kate Horsley are holding a weekend workshop on collodion, wet-plate, photography at VillaRoquette.

A prominent artist and lecturer, John Brewer is an expert in wet plate collodion and alternative photographic processes. In the last few years he has mentored hundreds of artists, photographers and hobbyists in wet plate collodion and a great range of students, including many well-known professional photographers, come from all over the world to attend his workshops. John has exhibited internationally and his work is held in private collections worldwide.

Educated at Oxford and Harvard, Dr Kate Horsley is a writer and university lecturer who specialises in gothic fiction and has just published her first novel. Kate’s wet plate collodion work has been exhibited nationally, collected privately and included in an international series. For the last two years she has taught wet plate photography with John in venues across the UK.

This two day residential course is designed for a group of six students, all of whom will be provided with John’s comprehensive thirty page wet plate collodion manual. To ensure close personal attention, John and Kate will have the support of Tony Tidswell, a professional photographer who is fluent in French.

Accommodation will be included and students are welcome to bring friends or partners not attending the course. They have the option of staying in the Villa Roquette for additional days, with full use of the equipment and services provided. A film darkroom area is available to guests for use after the workshop has finished and there is a range of photographic equipment available; students are welcome to bring their own large format camera if they wish.

The total price for the course, including two days’ tuition and accommodation, materials, use of equipment, meals and all services of Villa Roquette is £475. Students staying longer or bringing friends or family pay only the (very reasonable) standard supplementary charges.

Delivered in English, this course will cover John’s complete wet plate collodion syllabus, enriched by informal discussions over breakfast, lunch and the Saturday evening meal. Wonderful local food and wines are in unlimited supply for all. To add to this, the beautiful countryside, the Mediterranean, French farming villages and sunshine provide fantastic atmosphere as well as spectacular photographic subject-matter.

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

 

 

Collodion, wet-plate workshop in VillaRoquette

We have just fixed the dates for the first photo workshop at VillaRoquette for the weekend of October 11-12.

The course will be run by the Internationally acclaimed photographer and tutor, John Brewer. Students will have the chance to make positive images on glass (ambrotypes), metal (tintypes) and acrylic plates of different sizes using a variety of cameras and lenses.

To ensure personal attention there is a maximum of 6 students, but we have accommodation for accompanying friends and partners. There is plenty to do and see in the region and as a residential course, the opportunity to share ideas and glasses of wine over a barbecue is not to be missed.

The course is for the two day weekend, but you can come earlier and stay longer using the darkrooms and facilities and access to all the equipment and cameras.

VillaRoquette is an established B&B and also offers individual, self contained apartments. You can come for as long as you like, attend the workshop and then use the facilities to develop your skills.

Costs depend on the accommodation required (single or double) and include meals  – from £475 for the two day weekend which includes accommodation, tuition, materials and a 30 page workshop manual plus many extras.

We are easy to find and easy to get to.

October is a beautiful month, the swimming pool will be full, but I don’t guarantee how warm it will be.

Contact me for more information