Secrets of an art studio – Photography | London, Hampstead

Secrets of an art studio – Photography | London, Hampstead.

 

The Affordable Art Fair ‘news’ about the Drugstore Gallery and the Hampstead AAF  13-16 June 2013

 

Secrets of an art studio – Photography

We are all familiar with the concept of a photograph, they capture moments in time. For the more technically minded of you though, photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images.

With so many different ways to produce a photograph, the technique used very much depends on the effect the photographer wishes to achieve. Practitioners of the art, photographic duo Barry Cawston and Soraya Schofield, are the founders of The Drugstore Gallery in Somerset. Here they have kindly shared a few of their trade secrets and provided a very beautiful glimpse into how they produce their work by way of, well, a few photographs:

1. Firstly they select their tools, from a 5/4 Wista Field Camera, Rolleiflex, 120 Roll Film, or Nikon D3S.

2. Then it’s off to shoot on location and take some amazing shots.

3. Once the perfect image has been captured, Barry and Soraya work on the composition and appearance of their images. Calibrated machines are used to ensure accuracy of colour for on-screen editing, and retouching takes place at Printspace in East London. For some images, etching and transfer are used to create the desired effect.

4. Or, it’s into the darkroom where they use an enlarger, in this case a De Vere 504, for colour printing and B&W’s. Using an enlarger means they can print images that are of different sizes to the negative. To help with the darkroom process, Barry and Soraya advocate wine and vinyl as good sources of inspiration!

5. The negative is put in a carrier on a light box to check it is clean, before being focused on the easel. The print is then put into a colour machine to produce a colour print, or placed in a developing tray to create a B&W print, which is then washed and dried.

6. Once the composition has been perfected, the images are printed in limited editions, some as archival C-types, others as Giclee prints.

7. The prints are signed, before being prepared for mounting and framing.

8. Lastly, they are hung in pride of place in the homes of their new owners!

Mandala

Sphere.

Almost my first memory was of dreaming an image which looked like this though it was all around me like a universe and the circles were spinning around each other.

As a child I thought I was seeing what was inside my head, that this was my soul so to speak. Every so often I have forgotten about the dream which I could visualise as a day dream/meditation, and then I would remember it again.

I always wanted to show it to others, 4am and I have just finished a first attempt at visualising it. Would love to make a little immersive film of it sometime —

News article in the Independent

 view gallery

There’s something very American about Barry Cawston’s photographs. It’s odd, really, since none were taken in the US; instead they feature scenes from Italy, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil – even Bristol. Yet, be it in the contrasting colours of a Havana pool, the perfect clapboards of an Avonmouth cottage, or the crooked hat of a Tibetan cowboy, Crawston’s images recall both the New World melancholy of Edward Hopper and the dazzling modernity of David Hockney’s Berkeley days.

Cawston began his career in the early 1990s. With a degree in sociology and a diploma in photography, he freelanced while nurturing his interest in fine art. Winner of the Exeter Contemporary Open and the Chairman’s Choice Award at the RWA Photographic Open, he joined with a friend Al Deane under the collective pseudonym Boris Baggs to photograph a series of English Heritage buildings. Since then, he has opened the Drugstore Gallery in Abridge, North Somerset and exhibited around the world. Frequently, he says, admirers note the ghosts of American painters past in his subjects: “It all began with the photo of the pool. I just stumbled across it after waking up one morning and thought: that is a photographic version of a Hockney painting. Had I been an hour later, or an hour earlier, it would have been totally different. That is how photographs happen.”

Though occasionally dabbling in digital photography, most of his work is done using a Wista Field camera, complete with hood, wooden tripod and bellows. “To an extent what I do is social documentation,” he says.

“Though there was something in that Minor White which I really like: ‘No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photograph It has chosen.’ It’s the picture that is in control, really, not the photographer. I’ve experienced that many times.”

Axbridge Pageant

The Axbridge Pageant is an extraordinary event staged every ten years in which the local inhabitants re-enact the history of the town. Photographing the event was a revealing experience, as the amateur ‘actors’ became like ghostly echoes of their fore-bears. The photograph of the young soldier could have been a portrait of his great grandfather heading off to war. It was as though the whole thing existed ‘out of time’.

The 2010 event was staged over three days and each performance was applauded by the audience with a standing ovation. The Axbridge Pageant organisers and participants produced an event which touched the hearts of the community and those lucky enough to get tickets. By creating an historical play with an engaging tenderness and empathy in an age of special effects and the spectacular, one was left with a feeling that something magical had been witnessed.

Below are a few of the historical figures who wandered through the town including Harry Mottram (the last image) who helped write the play….