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Analogue Decay

09/05/2011

Collodion portrait by Carl Radford, with Alastair Cook and Deborah Parkin

I love the way that visual artists see light. My good friend, the photographer, filmmaker and — although he frequently denies it — poet Alastair Cook has a beautiful photography exhibition, Analogue Decay, at the Howden Park Centre in Livingston. Unfortunately, it finishes today but, if you possibly can, I recommend you get along and see it. If you really can’t, you can read a review here.

On account of being away so much lately, I only managed to see the show on Saturday. I’m doubly glad I did because, aside from seeing Al’s absolutely gorgeous photographs — some of which can be seen at the links above — I had the portrait to the left taken. It was made using a wet-plate collodion process, an early photographic technique but one that produces stunning results.

In support of the exhibition, Carl Radford with assistance from Al and Deborah Parkin was taking portraits of people using the process. We subjects had the opportunity to pop our heads into the mobile darkroom to watch the portrait emerge in negative before Carl brought it out into the light and applied the last chemical needed to bring the full glory of the picture out before our eyes. It was fascinating to watch; a magical experience.

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