'Silverprint's Podcasts' ? Early days, let's see how it goes. Trevor Crone is the first in a series of audio recordings of featured photographer & printers, and we would also like to involve figures from the UK photo industry. As well as hopefully being of interest to all coming through our site, it should also act as an audio archive of the rapidly changing photographic environment.
Bill Rowlinson Remembered
Although traditional printing, as in 'bromide' printing, will probably always be around, one aspect of it starting to fade, the trade of commercial fine art printing. It flourished very briefly, and only really encompassed one generation. Until the 1960's black and white printing was very much the province of technicians in brown coats, who usually started straight from school. Darkrooms tended to be service departments attached to other operations, including photo studios, government research labs, newspaper publishing etc.
This changed as the 60's moved on, and the independent laboratory arrived, which possibly started with Grove-Hardy. , Photographer Bert Hardy got together with Gerry Grove, a star printer from his Fleet Street associates, and set up a new type of lab aimed at the emerging breed of reportage photographers. The no-frills approach of such labs left gaps, and the demands of the fashion and advertising industries created a need for labs which were able to empathise with the requirements of the work and bring additional techniques to bear to visualise them. Hence the rise of the 'celebrity' printers, who were much in demand throughout the '80's and '90's. At the front of them was Bill Rowlinson.
'At the front' isn't quite the correct expression - Bill was a retiring person, not averse to a good night out, but that was low on his list. He was virtually unknown outside his field, but was revered by most other creative printers. After many jobs and experiences in different countries he gravitated towards printing in London, and became the best in his field. Working on his own from his flat in Fulham he dedicated the rest of his working life to pushing forward his creative printing techniques. Some of them were definitely outside health & safety law one of his methods by which he split toned Ilford Multigrade was to boil up selenium powder in a saucepan, and pour it over the print. Don't do this at home - or anywhere.
Eventually burning the candle at both ends, and as he ruminated himself, possibly the selenium, caught up with him. As he entered a long period of ill health he disposed of his darkroom and became a virtual recluse. Meanwhile the traditional darkroom industry disintegrated, and by the time he died in 2008 the remaining handful of labs were themselves one-man bands.
He bequeathed his collection of prints to Photofusion Gallery in Brixton, who have mounted them as an exhibition, which is running from 27/11/09 until 27/01/10. Examples of his work for all his major clients are there, Bill Brandt, Sarah Moon, Barry Lategan, Jon Swannell, Jimmy Wormser, as well as historical images including his reprinting of the negatives of Julia Margaret Cameron.
We have some audio and visual material on the Silverprint website to complement this. There is a video of printer Adrian Ensor in conversation with Bob Miller -soon online-, a client and friend of Bills. We also have a rare gem, an audio download of Bill himself in conversation with Branka Jukic, material that was possibly destined for a book that never saw the light of day.
Click 'play button ↑' in the player on top right or download the mp3 file (16.1mb) →
Bill Rowlinson Remembered
Adrian and Bob
A conversation between Bob Miller and Adrian Ensor, recorded by Martin Reed on 20/11/09click on the image to enlarge
Bill Rowlinson was the front leader of a movement towards introducing an artistic & creative approach into commercial photographic printing. His influence started in the 1960's, and he shaped the approach of a generation of printers in the 1970's.
Long before the advent of high end digital image control, advertising agencies looked to him when they wanted something 'special'. Photographers including Bill Brandt & Sarah Moon valued him for the special skills he brought to bear, and he became the first printer to charge by the hour, rather than by the print.
On his death in 2008 he bequeathed his personal print collection to Photofusion. This will be exhibited from 27/11/09 to 27/01/10
Bob Miller began his career as a full-time photographer in 1978 and for the last thirty years has managed to balance major photographic advertising and editorial assignments in America and Europe with his own personal photographic projects. He knew Bill Rowlinson both personally and professionally for many years.
Adrian Ensor is one of Britain's finest black and white printers. He has been a master printer for over 30 years and has twice won the prestigious Ilford Printer of the Year Award. His London darkroom attracts orders from many of Britain's top photographers, as well as photographers from around the world. His relationship with Bill Rowlinson, as professional colleague and friend extended back for many years.
The extended video recording of this interview will be shown as part of the Bill Rowlinson exhibition at Photofusion, running from 26'th November until 27'th Jan 2010.
Click 'play button ↑' in the player on top right or download the mp3 file (19.7mb) →
Not so much a programme... more a photographic way of life
Trevor Crone Interview:
We are kicking off a series of downloadable audio interviews with people involved in photography, and are starting here with an interview with Trevor Crone.click on the image to enlarge
Trevor is exhibiting a set of photographs at our premises later in November, and delivering a workshop to accompany the opening, so it seemed an excellent opportunity to delve into his motivations a little further with a face to face interview.
The interview was conducted by Shane Gilliver, engineered by Martin Reed.
We are hoping to follow this with more material, and apart from photographers work, areas to explore will include experiences of professional photo printers, and input from manufacturers in the photographic trade.
Click 'play button ↑' in the player on top right or download the mp3 file (8.1mb) →
Trevor Crone - the forward path
When I was about 10 my father gave me a Kodak Brownie 127 (I think that was the model) and I took b&w pictures of holiday events. The film and prints were D&P and I just loved looking back at the moments I had captured. Then I lost interest in photography. It wasn't until the mid 1970's that I returned to photography when I bought an SLR (Praktica LTL with 35mm Zeiss Flektagon lens) to photograph my young children.
My interest in photography was growing but other then photographing the kids I didn't really turn the camera to anything else. I then went to see the seminal LAND exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. This was 1976 and I still have the exhibition catalogue. This just blew me away, b&w photographs by the greats, Ansel Adams, Edward and Brett Weston, Minor White, Wynn Bullock, H.Cartier-Bresson, Bill Brandt, Paul Strand, Harry Callahan, Alfred Stieglitz, the list just goes on. I knew then that I just wanted to produce b&w photographs. A year latter I joined my local camera club (Greenwich Photographic Club) to meet with like minded people who were as passionate about photography as I was.
I've tried colour, even did some part-time Cibachrome printing for a couple of magazines. But it wasn't for me.
I had a long love affair with b&w IR photography but eventually I tired of it along with 35mm and fixed lens cameras which were becoming increasingly limiting for my type of photography; I could not get the quality that I had witnessed at the Land exhibition so I moved into medium format. I bought a Pentax 67, a brute of a camera. This went some way in giving me the quality I was after but it was the limiting factor of having a fixed lens system that drove me to go with view cameras. Image management at the taking stage is very important to me.
I purchased my first view camera in 1994, called a Photox 6789 because it could handle formats from 6x6 to 6x9cm. I still have this little cherry wood camera. Soon after I went with a Horseman VH 6x9cm technical camera and used this for a number of years, although excellent it was limited in the use of wide angle lenses which my vision was heading towards. I love the wider view, it gives me a greater sense of space and place which is how I see the world.
1999 I PX'ed the VH for an Ebony SW23 which handles wide angle lenses with ease. My vision felt suddenly free to photograph what I wanted to capture on film. A year later I took the leap to 4x5 and bought myself an Ebony SW45 the 23's big brother.
Last year, 2008 I decide it was my last chance to go larger, so I got myself an Ebony SLW810. I've always loved contact prints; ever since I first laid eyes on Weston's 8x10's back in 1976, the desire to get on board has always been there. I'm just a little bit regretful it has taken me so long. The 8x10 frame is a wonderful window on the world, almost life size. It has allowed me to realize a vision that I hadn't been aware of with the smaller cameras.
Cameras are tools but they are tools that give us the freedom to express ourselves, to help us see and frame what we see in the form of the photograph.
I have to work on a series of images I cannot work on the single image. I have several projects and portfolios on the go.