Tuesday, 11 December 2012


  I’m afraid my straight up prints have been suffering lately due to my being obsessed with lith printing.  I literally can’t stop doing it.  I shot a wedding a few weeks ago as a backup for my wife and the negatives haven’t even been scanned yet, i’ve been too occupied lithing!

  I did a 16” x 16” lith a few months ago and it is taking forever to scan.  Because it’s so big i have to split it into 6 separate scans and then try and stitch them together in photoshop but it isn’t quite working...yet.  I hope to have it uploaded soon anyway.  I do, however, have two prints which i can show you now:

  This first one was taken using a Lomography Diana F+ and lith printed onto Orwo BN118 paper which i won on EBay for a steal.  I love the brownish tones you get with this paper and im looking forward to trying out some more contrasty negatives soon.

   This second one was taken in an abandoned power station not far from my house using an old Lubitel 166B.  It was my first camera with variable aperture/shutter speed which was a little confusing at the time but operating it is second nature now.  Normally this paper gives me a rich golden yellow tone in the mids but this time i got a pale pinkish brown which was a nice change and (i think) compliments the image well.

  Anyway i just thought id share my latest prints with you all – my next post will (hopefully) have some of these wedding photos on once i pull my finger out and get cracking on them!

  Oh by the way – remember i bought an Epson 4490 to replace my V500 which broke?  Turns out the 4490 power supply will run the V500 which is a major bonus in my opinion!

How To: Save Money on Chemical Storage bottles

  If you're anything like me you'll have more chemicals in your darkroom than storage bottles.  I am always loth to buy photo-chem bottles as (although they are only a few pounds each) buying ten at a time soon adds up and to be honest i'd rather spend that money on film, paper and chemicals.  That being said i also don't like using empty water bottles because they feel too thin and flimsy.  I recently found a simple solution and that is home brewing shops.  Pretty obvious when you think about it - if you make your own beer at home you need something to put it in!  Anyway, i found these bottles in a store pretty close to where i live.  Theyre 1 ltr, plastic and chemical resistant - exactly what i need.  They also do amber glass bottles but only in 500ml unfortunately.  Still, can't complain at 60p a bottle!  They will post within the UK; if you're outside the UK i'm sure you'll be able to find somewhere near you where you can source home brewing supplies.

  Just thought i'd share a quick find with you anyway.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Your New Favourite Person... Ellen Rogers

  Do you know who Ellen Rogers is?  If not then prepare to be amazed!  I have been a fan of her work ever since i started getting into photography some two years or so ago.  You know how it is when you first get into something – you’re super-keen and you hit the internet hard soaking up everything about your chosen subject that you can fit into your head.  I came across an article Ellen had written about some of her work (i believe it was on the Lomo website) and the pictures i saw stopped me in my tracks.  I had never seen anything like it, and to be honest i still haven’t even now.  After a bit of research i discovered all her images were analogue and she did all her own darkroom work to get each image how it is.  I just love the look of her photos; how every image is similar yet different.  Im going to stop there or ill just keep going on and on and ill start sounding like a psycho stalker - let's let her photos speak for themselves:

  And that's just a tiny glimpse into her work.  Recently i got talking to Ellen on Twitter and managed to persuade her to let me have a little email interview with her (which i really appreciate as from the sound of it she is one busy body)!  Anyway, here we go...

To start with tell us all a little bit about yourself – who you are and what you do.
Hi there! I am Ellen Rogers, I am a photographer. I only shoot with analogue equipment and all my photography is hand worked, be it colour or the print itself.

How long have you been taking photographs?
For a very long time as my father is a photographer but really I have been shooting with my own eyes ever since I was around 14.

I know it’s always a bit of a silly question to some but how would you describe your photographic style to those who haven’t yet seen your work?
I would urge the viewer to have a look, I relinquish the responsibility to either answer that question or interpret it for you. 

All of your work is produced in the darkroom – what is it that draws you to working with film, paper and chemicals as opposed to computers?
I just like making a mess really, getting my hands dirty and all that. I suppose I can feel more attached to the work also. There are a myriad of reasons why I prefer it but the main one is it suits me and I’m rubbish with computers anyway.

Do you do all your processing yourself or do you have darkroom minions?
All of it that is done by myself, no one is allowed to bother me in the darkroom hehe.
      Every photographer has at least one shot they have taken that really speaks to them on a personal level.  Which of your photographs has a special meaning to you and why?
It is the pessimist in me that tells you this (as her voice is strongest) that I don’t have a favourite. I am a constant disappointment to myself, I must try harder. Some have a certain sentimental value to me such as one image of my late mother’s funeral flowers but on a technical level I never feel content. I think this comes from having a father who is a much better technical photographer than I am ever likely to be.

From looking through your gallery it seems that a lot of your photographs have a contrast of gritty textures and soft pastel colours – is this something you intentionally set out to accomplish with each photo or is it just a by-product of your processing that you have adopted into your style?
Yeah my style was and continues to be quite an organic evolution, a gradual shift in technique - and it is just that, a style, not something I am heavily invested in. I hope it constantly evolves and I hope to improve.  But to answer your question no it’s not intentional it’s just instinctive. However you could argue that I am intentionally letting my instincts take over... 

How much thought/research do you put into an idea/shoot before loading your camera?
Ah well that depends on the shoot. If it’s fashion... very little, if it’s something a little more substantial, quite a bit more. I shot a story on the 1888 match girls in London. That took considerable research. 

Without giving away your processing secrets (unless you really want to), can you give us a general outline of how you go from original concept to final print?

Well, the way any photographer works isn’t much of a secret. It’s an idea first then I try and fumble around until it’s executed. Literally in my case, it was Iris Murdoch that said ‘“Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.” That’s how I feel about my photography; it is a literal manifestation of my own failure.

Gear-wise do you have a favourite camera, film or paper that you tend to be drawn to or do you just use what is to hand at the time?
Yeah I have a few kits but they are ‘hand me downs’, they are also a secret.

What, for you, has been the biggest challenge you have had to face while continuing to use film and darkroom products in an age of digital growth?
Commercial work! ‘Commercial work’ for clients who want things changed or want things exceedingly fast. This poses a problem on a not so regular basis but enough to be a problem. It takes time to do what I do and it’s pretty much unchangeable once it’s done. I’m not going to out the companies that pose these problems though...

You do a fair bit of commission work – what has been your favourite commission to work on and which has been the most challenging.
Piers Atkinson’s look book was great as I loved the team. I just completed a book for a hair stylist too with almost the same team and that was somewhat challenging as I had to make an entire book from 12 hours of solid shooting. It was a great deal of fun but a few people fell asleep on set. I had to make lots of images that looked connected but different enough to keep the viewer interested for a whole book.  I guess you will see if I failed or succeeded, it comes out in February next year.

      Which photographers do you think have influenced your style and which photographers do you admire?
Photographers I admire the most are war correspondents, most notably Don Mccullin but no I don’t think he has influenced my style. 

You made a book called Aberrant Necropolis.  Why did you decide to make it and what was the process like?
I decided to make it because people asked me for it. That is really the only reason. The process was pretty straight forward really; it’s just a selection of images from my first 2 years of fashion photography 2008-2010.

      The world is saturated with photos due to the availability of cameras, apps like instagram and social networking sites.  What advice can you give to those who are trying to carve out a unique style in a world where everything seems to have been done already?
I would say don’t blindly copy your idols; you will only live in their shadows.
Any last words?
Thank you very much David! 

  So hopefully that's been informative for some of you fans out there and if you weren't aware of Ellen Rogers before hopefully you've enjoyed learning a little about her and gained some inspiration.  

  All that's left to say is thank you very much for taking part Ellen and her are some links where you can see her work and buy her book:

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