The Analogue Revolution
I was in a meeting at Broughton Hall in North Yorkshire recently. The building I was in was very modern, all glass and wood, with modern tables, lighting, and all the usual AV equipment you’d find in any office in the land.
As soon as I walked in though I noticed the walls were covered with a collection of black and white prints shot sometime way back in the 20th century. I deduced this as I’m a master of deduction, and the Queen looked quite young in one of them. There’s a timeless quality about a good black & white print that just looks great in any home or office.
Like vinyl is to CD’s, so analogue photography is to the wave of digital equipment that has swept across the world in the last 15 years or so. It’s making a comeback in a big way. Film sales are on the rise, as are the sales of the second hand equipment needed to use it. Instant film has made a glorious return and there are new cameras with which to use the stuff.
But back to black & white prints. As a photographer who learned his trade in the 80’s and 90’s shooting film was all there was, and just about anyone who actually cared about the art was shooting black & white. Back then I was too busy to process and print my own stuff. I left that, as most of us did to people who knew what they were doing and more importantly, actually had a darkroom. The last thing you wanted to do was mess up your negs as there’s no second chance with analogue photography.
Fast forward a certain number of years. I’m looking through my back catalogue, going through all the E6 and contact sheets I hadn’t seen in years. Suddenly I had an epiphany..!! I must learn how to print black & white. So I did.
I got in touch with the owner of Black & White Basement in London who set up some lessons in the darkroom with their printing maestro Dave Champion. I’m hooked. It’s a long drawn out process, spending a whole day getting one print just right. I’m not going into the process here because that would take forever. I’ll just say that when you’ve got the perfect print in your hand at the end of the day and you can’t wait to get it framed and on the wall, it’s just priceless.
So with the launch of my new website I’m going to be offering genuine black & white prints for sale. Not digital. Not reproductions. Proper prints from the original negatives. Printed on fibre based Ilford Multigrade in limited editions. Signed and numbered. Every one made to order. Each one probably a little different to the last, and unique. Watch this space and check out my sales page in the next month or so. Meanwhile if there’s anything else you might like a print of, just get in touch using the number on the front page.
Laurence Baker. November 1st 2017.