Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
The impact of digital technology on print photography and music production is the subject of ANALOG. The exhibition invites us inside the last of London’s photographic darkrooms as well as taking a visit to a working reel-to-reel music studio, courtesy of an installation by Lewis Durham of the band Kitty, Daisy & Lewis.
In 2006, when Richard Nicholson began photographing London’s professional darkrooms there were some 214 still in existence; when he completed the project four years later only 5 remained. In these labs many of the iconic images of 20th-century culture were processed, from the high-contrast b/w prints of the cast of Trainspotting to lith portrait album covers for U2.
Photographer Richard Nicholson began to shoot images of professional photographic darkrooms in and around London in 2006. At that time the darkrooms formed the engine of the British photographic industry. Major players like Joe’s Basement, Primary, Metro Soho, Keishi Colour, Ceta, Team
Photographic and Sky have all closed. Polaroid has stopped making instant film and Kodak and Fuji are discontinuing one format after another. Hardware companies have ceased production of print enlargers and scanners; the recently introduced Canon 5D camera having persuaded many diehard film photographers that digital is the future. Those who remain unconvinced are facing clients who no longer have the budgets for film, Polaroid, clip-tests, contact sheets and prints anyway.
Many of the iconic images of recent decades were made by so-called ‘master printers’ in the rooms pictured. These include Mike Spry's high-contrast prints of U2 and Depeche Mode for music photographer Anton Corbijn, Peter Guest's black-and-white prints of the Trainspotting cast for portrait
photographer Lorenzo Agius and Brian Dowling's intricately masked colour prints for fashion photographer Nick Knight.
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