Ian Wallace Photographer and Photo Historian
Original Photography and Photographic History
I’m happy with a camera in my hand. I’m happy in my darkroom. Photography gives me a way to be creative and I’m fortunate its been that way almost all of my life.
My uncle bought me a camera for my 10th birthday and my Father (I think horrified at the processing costs) blacked out the kitchen and taught me to process the film myself. I’ve been fascinated ever since. While I do of course take digital images, there is just nothing for me like the experience of film. I love the whole process from the sound of mechanical shutter to watching your picture appear in the developing tray, therefore most of my creative work is analogue.
As a teenager I would have happily joined the press core as a photographer. However, life took me another route and I’ve spent a career in IT. I’ve always wanted to publish my creative work, but time, business and all the other things that happen to us in life have never allowed me to do this until now. I work largely with 35mm but also 120, 5×4 and Whole plate. Now I am eagerly seeking out new photographic projects both personal and sponsored.
Darkrooms have encouraged my creativity
I always hankered after a dedicated darkroom and in 2015 my wife encouraged me to build one. Now I’m delighted to be able to start to show my work.
I often think of my photographic work in terms of the different darkrooms I’ve had or used. For me greater photographic activity has always been associated with the ready availability of a darkroom. Each darkroom I’ve used seems to have a certain body of work associated with it. The creation of my new darkroom (shed) released me to start doing more of the kind of work I’ve always wanted to do.
I was delighted and encouraged to find there is currently a really friendly Analogue scene with many people coming to film photography for the first time from digital. Podcasts in particular have spurred me on to really do something with my work. My favourite podcasts are The Sunny16podcast, The Negative Positive Film Podcast, All Through a Lens and The Large Format Photography Podcast all of which I’m very happy to recommend. I love the process of taking pictures. However, I really feel unless I can do something tangible to share my work I’m not finishing the job.
What’s going on here?
When you look at my work I hope you will ask “What’s going on here?” and look twice. I do take what I call “Ooooh and Aaah” pictures but I’d rather try to make the viewer think. That means I like to picture things you don’t always notice. I photograph what my eye is drawn to, and I don’t confine myself to taking one type of photograph. I like to experiment and tell a story. You’ll find plenty of Street and documentary work and some portraits amongst my portfolio.
I have a long interest in the history of photography and influences on my work include: Victor Blackman, Eugène Atget, Arthur ‘Weegee’ Fellig, Julia Cameron and many others.
All things photographic
In addition to taking photographs, like many photographers I’ve ended up with an interest in all things photographic. The history of photography particularly interests me. Today I’m undertaking research in a number of areas and volunteer at the local museum assisting with cataloguing their photographic collection. My page on the British Photographic History website is here and you can find my work on the story of Henry Fox Talbots 1846 Art Union publication at www.1846artunion.org
I’ve put my IT skills to good use with projects like my shutter timer and LF Meter.
North Wessex Downs, North Hampshire