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Perth Photography Workshops 2016 Canning River

Perth Photography Workshops 2016

Perth Photography Workshops 2016: here is the list of weekend workshops dates I will be running for the coming year.

  • March 12/13th
  • May 21/22nd
  • August 27/28th
  • October 29/30th

The workshops are for those who wish to learn about film based photography, using black and white film, chemistry and paper. We use large format 4×5 cameras down to medium format 6×6 and 35mm. You will be photographing on day 1 and developing and printing your work on day 2, hence the weekend time slot.

These workshops will be held here in Perth metropolitan area at Kent St Weir, on the Canning River, with nearby facilities including a cafe.

Workshop participant numbers are kept to a maximum of two people. We supply camera equipment, film and all necessary darkroom equipment and materials for you to make your prints.

For Perth Photography Workshops 2016 booking details please go to my workshops page. The dog costs extra.


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Film Workshop Heathcote Gallery learn to develop film

film workshop Alex Bond Photography Exhibition

Last Sunday at Heathcote Museum & Gallery I conducted a film workshop offered during the course of my exhibition “dissociation”. We started by making a 4×5 exposure inside the gallery of the workshop participants, using my 4×5 field camera and a wide lens. The exposed negative was then transferred to a daylight tank and processed, during which the development steps were discussed and questions asked. After the final rinse the 4×5 neg was passed around the table for everyone to view (wet!).

This is a scan from that neg. HP5 EI 200, 65mm Nikkor 1 second f11. Developed in Blanco Negro Fomadon R09 1+50, 6.5min at 27ºC. It was fun, with that little exclamation of surprise from the participants when I pulled the 4×5 inch negative from the tank, with their image on it.

I will be holding one more film workshop at Heathcote on Saturday April 11 at 1pm. It too booked out quickly. Don’t forget I offer workshops during the year, so check my workshop web page for dates  or leave your email to be notified of future workshops.

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Soft contemplative light with plus development

Soft contemplative light

Soft contemplative light is perfect for contemplating subject shapes, textures and forms. I pass this tree nearly every day, observing its slow process of decay. It first shed its outer bark layer, its fibrous texture littering the ground around the base of the tree. Slowly the silver like glow of the tree’s internal wood structure was revealed. At various times of the day the wood glowed with different intensities. So often the harsh direct sunlight hides textural details as our eyes struggle to adjust to the wide contrast range between bright sunlit areas and deep shadow details. Although the light was rather flat I gave the negative reduced exposure and additional development to increase the contrast between the tree and background. This image was made within the city bushland of Canning River Regional Park, Perth, where I will be this weekend, running a photography workshop.

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polaroid type 55 positive negative film

Polaroid Type 55 Pos Neg Deep River walpole

Polaroid type 55 positive negative film. Some of my final images made during a hiking trip in November made on this beautiful 4×5 film which was well past its expiry date by a few years and needed using. The image was processed after I returned from my trip, I seldom developed out the polaroid in the field, rather I used it as a conventional film. I will miss it.

Last weekend I ran a 2 day workshop covering an introduction to 4×5 on the first day, then developing and printing those images in a darkroom on the second day. For some it was the first time they had been inside a darkroom, seen their films developed and enlarged their own photographs and watched them develop in the tray.  I suspect that the second day, the darkroom day, is possibly the highlight for most who attend. The first day we are out in the field, learning how to operate the camera in the morning and photographing for the remainder of the day. But the second day brings the whole experience of working with a new format and film,  full circle.  Yesterday’s photographic ideas and compositions are brought into existence as real silver gelatin prints through the application of standard darkroom procedures. And with that experience comes a new found knowledge about the simple, tangible, controls possible over the film and paper mediums. That experience is something that can be taken with them and applied throughout their photography.

Photography has always been on the cutting edge of technology, and I still marvel at beautiful tonal range of these negatives and the sophisticated technology that underlies its apparent simplicity. Technology is a topic that generally surfaces in one form or another at workshops as comparisons are made between film and digital approaches. One common theme that seems to emerge, is that whilst there will always be new photographic products and technologies enabling faster outcomes and greater volumes, it is not always the speed at which you arrive at a photographic point, but the journey in getting there, because it is in undertaking that journey that you begin to understand. Once you understand this you have the skills to make your own interpretation.

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Traditional Darkroom Workshops

Traditional Darkroom

Traditional darkroom practise is slowly disappearing. It seems like there are less and less opportunities around Perth to learn about film photography and the making of traditional silver gelatin photographic prints, using a wet darkroom. Someone was telling me that even the local colleges are cutting back on resourcing film based photography for their students. I guess for colleges it is also a numbers game, you can put more bums on seats in a classroom staring at computer monitors than you can fit into a traditional darkroom. In my lifetime film based photography is considered as “old school”.

Well, if film is “old school” I am definitely for it. In my work as a photographer and publisher I get more than enough daily opportunity to work with digital photography and a plethora of programs, which have, in my line of work, brought many benefits and some disadvantages.

But I love the hands on, organic nature of film based photography. You are dealing with a material which has inherent properties and characteristics. With film there is a tactile aspect to the entire process in your photography, from clicking the shutter to making the print, something that the digital world is largely devoid of. OK, sure, you can press a button and watch someone’s inkjet, running someone else’s algorithms convert the zeros and ones stored on your flash card into a print made up of spray droplets onto a substrate. But it’s not quite the same thing as watching your image develop in a tray into a richly toned silver print that you have had physical contact with throughout its making, and that your decisions, skills and craftsmanship are the culmination of the process.   It brings the whole process from visualisation  of a potential image to its realisation and display full circle, with the photographer right at the centre.

I’m often asked by students about the availability of black and white films.  Film is alive and well, with reports from Freestyle Photographics in the US  that there has been a resurgence in usage, especially in the larger formats. Jobo, who discontinued their processing line around 2010, have just announced that, due to growing demand,  they are launching a brand new Jobo CPP-3 processor later this year at Photokina 2012. I buy my Foma fibre based silver paper from Blanco Negro Supplies in Sydney, and they have a full range of Foma papers, chemistry and film to choose from. If local retailers don’t carry what you want you can always take full advantage of the digital age and source your supplies worldwide. What may be “old school” in Perth may in fact be a thriving, well resourced community elsewhere in the world.

From time to time I run small photographic workshops providing an introduction to film photography and traditional darkroom printing. If you have a film camera, regardless of format, and you would like to know how to load, process and develop your black and white film and how to print from a negative, then you may want to consider attending. My next workshop is the weekend of the 6th and 7th of October. Darkroom participants are limited to two. You can find more details on my web site and you are welcome to contact me should you want further information.

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Introductory Darkroom View Camera

Introductory Darkroom View Camera Seashell details Cape Leeuwin Augusta Western Australia

Last weekend a workshop student got to use my 4×5 field camera. Earlier we had spent some time outside by the Canning River discussing the controls and movements of the camera, how to set it up and how to load it with film. We tried out several lenses and practised using tilts and swings of the lens standard and back, as well as the rise and fall of the lens board. Being outside in the real world made it easier to observe and directly practise a new technique rather than sitting down in a classroom only to discuss  theory. Some people learn faster practising,  and with good guidance you can always come back to theory later to refine your technique.

After lunch at the local cafe we spent the remainder of the afternoon photographing in the park. The bushland and river setting is an ideal location providing a range of subject matter. Without any previous experience with a 4×5,  my student selected compositions, set up the camera, metered the contrast range of a scene (another new technique they were introduced to) and exposed their film. By the end of day 1 they had made 6,  4×5 film exposures and completed their introduction to the 4×5 camera. They now knew a lot more about how the camera works, its advantages in both format and controls over other cameras and what features to look for in their own future 4×5.

The following morning we processed the previous day’s images, going through the procedure of black and white film processing, discussing the minimal equipment involved. As the films dried we took a morning break and I showed completed prints which had been framed for exhibiting. This opened up the whole topic of presentation and conservation of your photographic work. Back into the darkroom before lunch and we completed making contact sheet proofs of all yesterday’s negatives. The importance of this stage was demonstrated later when we came to select and enlarge negatives to make a print.

After lunch, the remainder of day 2 was spent in the darkroom understanding the the steps involved in making a print. All of this was completely new for my student as they selected a negative of interest and with guidance produced their first prints. As their confidence grew they chose a more difficult negative which they had initially thought may have not worked out. Some intermediate printing techniques were introduced and their initial vision of the scene emerged into a print.

At the end of day 2 they left with their processed negatives and prints of the work they had completed over the weekend. In the darkroom as they saw the prints emerge for the first time they easily recalled what it was in the scene they were responding to and trying to capture on film, the challenges they met in achieving this, and to their surprise, how the materials and techniques could be employed to direct the print towards achieving that vision. The result was professional, clean,  first  prints that received more individual care and attention than what they would have received at some pro labs.  Now they know what is possible and their next steps towards achieving a personal photographic vision.

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August photography workshop

Kent St Weir Bridge, Canning River, Perth

I’m getting in early to let you know that I will hold a photography workshop, here in Perth, in early August.

Like earlier workshops it will provide an introduction to using a 4×5 view camera. What’s different is that I have increased the workshop time to two full days. This allows you to spend the first full day learning about and making actual large format photographs. The second day offers you the opportunity to experience the darkroom techniques and procedure to bring those negatives alive, by making your own silver gelatin print from one of your negatives. Numbers are strictly limited. For full details visit my website.

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Large Format Photography Workshop Point Walter Perth

film photography Point Walter Workshop

Large format photography Point Walter Workshop: we had an enthusiastic crew  turn up for the introductory large format photography workshop, including some fine art students from Curtin University, a musician and someone with bee keeping experience. The later came in handy when a wayward swarm of bees briefly investigated our group before heading further afield. After some basic instruction everyone got down to looking under the focusing cloth and using a 4×5 camera, making some film exposures.  There were lots of questions, a lot to cover, and the time flew by. The afternoon warmed up and we finished off at the local cafe.  Thanks to Peter Kovacsy for his assistance on the day, and thanks to  Fitzgerald Photo, and Jamie Paterson helping to spread the luv.

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Perth photography workshop filling up fast Fotofreo.

Alex Bond photography workshop Perth

Perth photography workshops places are filling fast for the March 24th workshop. This workshop will be held on the banks of the Swan River at Point Walter. If you want an opportunity to see what large format photography can offer in realising your photographic vision, then this workshop is for you. We will be outdoors, using 4×5 cameras, you and a workshop colleague setting up a camera, viewing the composition, getting first hand experience and expert guidance.  We are not just stuck in some boring classroom discussing theories and looking at an example. Only two spots left. So grab a spot before they run out! Details online.