Canterbury Photographic Society
Chris Shore travelled from Dungeness to present his talk ‘My Photography in Large Format’
He is a premier Judge and former President of the Kent County Photographic Society who has many photographic distinctions and awards for his printed images, the majority of which are in monochrome.
Chris has not succumbed to the digital age of photography. He has a passion for medium and large format photography and takes great care mixing his own chemical ingredients in his dedicated dark room, enjoying the whole process of image making from point of capture to the final mounted printed image.
Many members sat enthralled as Chris demonstrated setting up his medium format Ebony camera and all the considerations necessary for a successful image capture. Composing the shot is a lengthy process;
Before the film plate is slid into position Chris showed members how focusing is achieved by using a magnifying glass to inspect the upside down image through the glass plate at the back of the camera, often carried out under a dark cloth in order to see the image more clearly. Depth of field and perspective is controlled by moving the front or back of the camera and manipulating the bellows. Avoiding converging verticals in architectural images is achieved by keeping the back and front of the camera parallel to the subject and utilising a movement similar to modern day tilt and shift lens. Only then is he ready to slide the film plate into position and take an exposure. He showed some of his beautiful Monochrome mounted prints and a few colour prints taken in this way.
Following the refreshment break Chris produced an even bigger box of tricks, the Gandalph 10x8 large format camera believed to date back to the 1920’s. It was beautifully hand made out of mahogany and brass and only the bellows were sub contracted out. Chris spoke a little of the history of the camera’s origins. The company was founded in 1885 and passed down through the generations until the last brother died in 1993 but the company continued to produce bespoke cameras until late 2000. All the brass fittings including the screws were hand crafted and because, at the time, Mahogany was cheap and plentiful it became the wood of choice. Boats returning to our docks from China and India carrying silk, tea and spices, required heavy ballast to stabilise the ships. Mahogany trees were felled in these countries and the trunks were loaded on board. Chippendale also made use of this plentiful supply. They were then dumped having served their purpose. Now, all these years later, petrified Mahogany is being reclaimed from the mud in our docklands and can be thinly sliced to create veneers for furniture and musical instruments.
Members learned so much about the painstaking effort required for this process to be successful compared to the digital age of capturing many images, reviewing immediately and deleting and retaking at no cost.
Chris’s wit and anecdotes added to the enjoyment of the evening.