Darkroom to White Room
Creativity has always been in my blood, as they say. I was provided and encouraged to find my own way creatively. Always praised and encouraged to take the next step and explore my creativity and thoughts. Never, being given an answer to a question but encouraged to find out and develop my thoughts.
Photography, has always been part of my life since an early age. Exploring the Yorkshire countryside and historic sites with my uncle. He taught me the magic of photography in the darkroom. My love of photography carried on through my life. Having a home darkroom which was a kitchen transformation at night. To later having a darkroom all of my own with enlarger, deep tanks and trays of magic liquids. Prints hanging from pegs drying. After many years of home printing and waiting for packs of prints to be returned from the Photo Shop which could take a week of anticipation before you saw the images. I started thinking more about my photography . How could I make it mine and add the arty side of me to them?
I sarted by adding a sheet of clear glass over the paper under the enlarger, to this I’d add various liquids, oils or cling film in various shapes and styles. In the darkroom you couldn’t rush. You could been the darkroom for the weekend and get little to show for the experiments. Just discarded prints and used up chemicals but like any learning process it takes time. Eventually I decided I want to share my work. I joined the local camera club, the mystic world of photography. The variety and skills, people and competitions. Starting at beginners level and watching the speakers and listening to the judges. I gradually realised it was a bigger world than I could ever imagine.
Six months passed and I decided to enter a competition.Three prints and I recieved two high scores and a Highly Commended I was over the moon. It took a while to realise what a judge was and how mach they varied. The realisation of the same images locations and subjects reappearing over and over again became slightly frustrating. Black Rock Cottage was a favourite at the time and probably still is.
One, night as the club we had a speaker, he was billed a photographer with his own style of photography. This was the night the lightbulb was switched on. Rikki O’Neill was the speaker, he showed all kinds of magical images none of which were straight mages. Polaroid images etched with a knitting needle and much more magic. This was the start of a whole new chapter of photography and an introduction to an very early version of Photoshop. The rest is history.