The Interim

While we are waiting for the new module, Sustainable Prospects, to start, I have set myself a year-long challenge – to create a new cyanotype each day.

I will be sharing my work via #365cyanotypechallenge via my social media.

The reason for this task was in part to help establish my business, ShutterPod, as Cornwall’s most known alternative photography company, and to keep the creative juices flowing at all times. I know that when winter is coming my usual upbeat outlook can dip (I’m not keen on the cold and short daylight hours) and this will help keep the spring and summer positive vibes alive.

I am particularly taken with the effects that wet cyanotype techniques can produce, while also experimenting with kitchen ‘chemistry’ and paints.

Below are the first four:

And here are some of the stages:

The joy of this process is that it provides an opportunity for the different exposure lengths to become digital records of the final outcome.

I can see an exhibition of the work already, with the pre-final cyanotype digital versions being shown alongside the final result, be that on paper, fabric, glass or even stone.

During this interim stage of the MA, we have been set a task of assisting a photographer we admire. Given my pre-booked holidays and day job commitments, this seemed an unlikely option but, given also that in Cornwall there are not many other alternative photographers, I decided to ask Newquay-based The Tintype Company if I could join them on a shoot.

Luckily they said yes. We are now waiting to sort out a mutually convenient date – it will be fab to give this a go (it’s been a very long time). In the mean time, at my annual visit to the End of the Road festival, I joined the Tintype Trailer Company in front of the camera. Here is the result – very dark and gothic indeed.

tintype

To make the most of the break, I am also researching my options for my own studio/darkroom space. I have one or two before but this time I’m thinking of trying to secure affordable space within an arts facility. This would enable me to run regular workshops and allow a place that is away from my home life where I can spread my camera-less wings.

Since I set up ShutterPod in 2011 it has been my dream to create the equivalent of the Photographers Gallery (or similar) in Cornwall. It is one of the most photographed counties in the UK (and world), it has a world-class photography teaching university, it has an abundance of museums, it has Cornwall Film Festival, it has a vibrant art scene yet it does not seem to celebrate photography specifically. If I want to take part in photography festivals I always need to put my ‘walking boots’ on. I am determined that either through something such as a Cornwall/South West Photo Fest or a dedicated photography venue, Cornwall will become part of the world-wide photography festival trail. And why not – had life not taken Penzance-born Sir Humphry Davy in a different direction, it may well have been him, through his acquaintance with photography pioneer Thomas Wedgwood, to be labelled as photography’s ‘inventor’.