The Process

Long exposure photography is a process where the camera shutter is left open for extended periods. To put this in perspective, when you take an image with a modern compact digital camera, it typically opens its shutter for perhaps 1/125 of a second, a fraction of the time it takes to blink an eye lid.

I shoot on large format 4×5 cameras using both film and Phase One backs. Think “ye olde camera” and you may be on the right track. The very nature of large format photography means one is forced to work slowly, with intent and focus (sorry, bad pun), but it allows me to capture subtle and delicate tonal variations and to print at large sizes whilst still retaining the highest possible quality. This is not possible on even the best Digital SLRs.

To start, I hide away behind the camera under a dark cloth to compose each image on a ground glass, seeing the image up-side-down and using old school dials to adjust and refine the composition. It is not unusual for me to spend half an hour setting up a shot, employing large format camera movements such as rise, shift and tilt and then hiding back away under the dark cloth to make sure everything is perfect. It needs to be to make sure the wait is worth it!

The photographs you see on this site have been captured using exposure times reaching eight hours. With the camera set in a fixed position on a tripod, I carefully load the film, open the shutter and then the wait begins.

The result of such long exposures is that I am able to capture a series of events, rather than a single moment. As water flows and clouds pass by they slowly paint themselves onto the film and the image evolves into a visual average of the entire exposure time.

Once a photograph is shot, it’s processed and a film negative is produced. I scan this negative into a computer and then spend hours correcting inherent imperfections, like dust and specs on the image. The next steps are to agonise over some more minute details, prepare it for print, drink lots of tea, procrastinate and once I’m satisfied, and upload an image I think is worth someone having and loving in their home.

All photographic prints for sale on my website are produced in limited editions using museum quality archival pigment inks on fine art cotton rag paper. For the majority of images I have selected a rag paper with a smooth matte finish, it renders delicate colours and is selected to match the look and feel of my photography. For some of the darker images I have selected a rag paper with a semigloss finish so as to render deeper blacks. For the less obsessive among us this basically means these prints are produced using the same techniques and materials found in high end art galleries the world over. Please contact us for edition sizes and prices.

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