Tag: March (Page 2 of 2)

Personal – Notes – Evan Thomas

(Short summaries of the evening from notes made on the talk – apologies for any inaccuracies.)

Evan Thomas’s first photographs were taken at night. Why take photographs? For the aesthetic image – a pared down, flat surface, where the lack of detail, the missing, is as much a part of the experience as what is seen. Pure forms void of extraneous detail, just the subject. Interested in the mystery of the image, to not understand what is seen, disappointed if the who/what/where is obvious, it should be intriguing if nothing else.

Today, Thomas makes photographs for selfish pleasure and his own enjoyment. Amazed by the wealth of things in the world he does not understand, he uses photography as a tool for exploration. Youngest of a family of four, his father always took them to industrial sites – the logical workings, the process to how things worked became inherent to the photographs he made. Process driven, looking backwards to traditional techniques and inspired by “technology so advanced it could be magic to most people,” Thomas’s work is both romantic and nostalgic as he furthers the original explorations in colour.

His 2006 ECA degree show contained wispy black and white large format images of WWII plane crash sites. So remote, the wreckage remains in place, and the journey with the heavy equipment  pushed him to the limit.

The paring down of the image continued, culminating in work shown during the early DCC meetings. Groups of platonic solids formed  through the use of careful timing and manipulation of light in the darkroom on the two dimensional paper surface.

“The world is as abstract as you want to make it.”

Exploring the photogram using advanced techniques for lightening/darkening/montage which had never really been applied to the simple process. The possibilities and difficulties to now build up an image in a photogram by holding up the light were vast. Distillation down to the simple form of the luminogram (not from a negative but forming a subject purely through light) while pushing the limits of how the viewer sees more or less light – an illusion only of light, building up images to understand the principle.

At this point a comment was made “Wouldn’t it be nice in colour?” The process so difficult in the red light would be even more difficult in pitch darkness. How to create the colours? B&W was simply a tonal range, colour would have so many more variables.

The internet proved useless for colour darkroom photography, so Thomas set about creating ninety darkroom test strips covering all the CMY adjustments possible.  Joseph Albers’ book  Interaction of Color is recommended.  Initial experimental images of the same platonic solids were made. No acetates or negatives, just an image built out of masks carefully lifted to produce the solids and cubes, but the images veered towards the style of a screen print. A subject for the work was now required.

“like building a camera but not knowing what to point it at”

Subject inspiration struck when NASA released images of Saturn from the Cassini–Huygens space probe which were reported to be the most accurate colour renderings yet. “Saturn Returns” would be the subject.

To render Saturn using only light, Thomas constructed a “do nothing machine” – a Trammel of Archimedes – to produce the oval shape. Lighting was added to the lever arm using LEDs and fibre optics (more experiments to find the correct colours and intensity took place). The whole contraption was held onto the paper using magnets. A blend of the masking process and the trammel were used to produce beautifully coloured celestial rings around the planetary sphere.

Enjoying the process, Thomas continues to be influenced by the Cassini images and is now producing work inspired by the straight lines of the dust-fields.

Personal – Notes – Introduction

(Short summaries of the evening from notes made on the talk – apologies for any inaccuracies.)

Photography was invented for people who never really have thoughts of their own and who know no elevation of the soul or do not notice if it occurs…

David Grinly introduced the evening, starting with the concept of the ‘zone’. In the film Stalker the Soviet director fills the void left by banned religion with the contemplation of the mystical. Malevich’s Black Square could be seen as an empty void to fill or as a place with no meaning.  What is the void? What does the artist do with the void?

Evan Thomas  uses light and colour to bring illumination and meaning to the void. Morwenna Kearsley takes sacred objects out of the void  to make new castrated and humiliated forms. Caroline Douglas (unfortunately absent) listens to the political zeitgeist in the void and forms work commenting on what has been said. David Grinly considers the conflict between reason and belief in his work.


Personal – Pinhole at the DCC

The Personal for some lies not just in making imagery for themselves but in making the cameras too.


The March meeting of the DCC – Personal. Pinhole image. By D.Tainsh. Used with permission.

Using a film, an empty film spool and a custom designed “matchbox”, Donald produces poetic pinhole images.


The March meeting of the DCC – Personal. Pinhole image 2. By D.Tainsh. Used with permission.

These two images of the audience at Stills were taken while Donald introduced his work on the Personal theme. For more of Donald’s recent pinhole images please see flickr.


On March 5th from 7pm at Stills ; we have four photographers coming to speak to us about their work especially in relation to the theme: Personal.

Caroline Douglas is an artist working with traditional, digital and archival photographic processes on themes of history and the fictionalised historicity of meaning. She is also a Lecturer at Napier University and Edinburgh College of Art and a tutor at Stills. Caroline also works as a photographer.

Morwenna Kearsley is an artist working across mediums of photography, sculpture, installation and video on themes of meaning and remembrance. She is also a tutor at Stills and is studying on the MFA programme at Glasgow School of Art and works as a photographer and film-maker.

Evan Thomas is an artist working with colour darkroom photographic processes on themes of meaning and the aesthetic. He is also the Technical Manager at Stills and works as a photographer.

David James Grinly is an artist working with photography. He is also a lecturer.

To introduce the evening David will give a brief précis of each artists work based around his personal understanding of their work and they will then each show some of their work to date, some work they are making now, and attempt to answer the question “Why do I make photographs now?”

This will take about an hour, rather than the usual 20 minute introduction. I hope you will find it entertaining and perhaps useful to begin discussions.

Look forward to seeing you there, please bring any of your own new work which you would like to show in the group critique session too.

(See all posts on the Personal theme)

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