Saturday 29 November 2008

Back to Brunel

This is an interesting project (go to White on Brunel, under Projects, for the slideshow)...
There's an extraordinary beauty about the images produced by these slow chemical techniques, I think - a depth and softness, a richness of tone that's quite lost in slicker, sharper modern photography. And all achieved in what is misleadingly called 'black and white'. These pictures feel as if they are indeed 'light drawings', not instant impressions. They are products of time, through which ghostly people stroll, swans swim and trains pass, and they perfectly reflect the monumentality of Brunel's great structures. It seems to me rather wonderful that someone should revive this art, and put it to such good use.


  1. The old sepia toned prints and the older ones made with nuclear waste have a life all of their own, although with time and patience exactly the same effect can now be achieved in either Photoshop or Maya. That photo of Brunel has fascinated me for years, the size of the chains for one, I'm not sure if they are anchor chains, unlikely, or the drag chains used to slow the ships entry into the water during launch (a fantastic site, I saw the launch of the supertanker Northumbria, this ship was the same length as the width of the Tyne)
    Then there's the togs, they all looked the same, slept in 'em for the past three weeks.
    The hairdo always looks as though the tonsorial parlour was visited every second leap year.
    White must have had some patience to undertake that project and is fortunate that he didn't. look like an opposition MP or plod would have arrested him.
    Interestingly some photographers have turned away from digital and back to film (Fuji Velvia still being available)

  2. I actually miss the smell of developing my own pictures. I spent many happy hours in a very cramped airing cupboard removing the rolls of film, winding them on the spool and into the developing bucket. All that said, I do love my digital camera and I really can't see any reason to go back.

  3. Hi Nige,

    duckrabbit was really chuffed with what you said about our Brunel slideshow. Its led me to become a regular reader of your excellent blog.

    Just thought you might be interested in our latest slideshow which is about child soldiers in Sri Lanka.


  4. In my view one and all should browse on this.