It's been unnaturally sunny here in the UK this June and July, which leads me to try and make the most of the good weather whilst it lasts. Yet despite the lure of the summer sun I've still found time to venture indoors to see the odd exhibition here and there. And I've also been tempted back to my computer to tinker with the new Replichrome package.
Replichrome is a preset pack for Lightroom that emulates old film stock, working a little magic on your photos with just a click of a few buttons. The first package mainly revolved around Kodak and Fujifilm's 35mm stock. Although I enjoyed the colour film I found that it was their black and white emulations that inspired me the most. Anyway, the folks at Totally Rad must have been watching because they offered me a free copy in exchange for a few Replichrome'd images for use on their website. I've gotten a fair bit of use out of the first package and consider it money well spent, so getting the second free was extra nice. I found the first preset bundle to be perfect for moody landscapes, gritty portraits and street photography.
But with this new offering of theirs, Replichrome Slide, you can now get the rich, deep colours and smooth tonalities that slide films such as Velvia and Astia are famed for. Personally I think it does a good job, though it won't save a 'meh' photograph and the results are somewhat grisly in harsh sunlight, it will give a pleasing punch to a photograph with warm or moody light. Also, in learning how it works its magic on the sliders and curves, you'll find out how to use Lightroom to greater effect in creating your own vision. Compared to the first I think it works a little better with the subjects slide film traditionally excelled at - richer landscapes, art and studio photography and still life. I've been using it with my Fujifilm X-Pro1 and X100 and the results are pretty nice. Though of course with a non-medium format sensor don't expect anything quite as gorgeous as the results you'd get with some carefully developed 120 slide film - we're not working miracles here.
So I decided to give the slide presets a thorough workout by applying them to photographs I'd taken at three recent exhibitions. The first of which was held by Cardiff University art students at the Howard Gardens campus in Cardiff. Talented artist Rosie Benn had created a hugging machine for either world domination or as an artistic statement, I forget which. Any road, it trundled forth spreading a compelling mixture of mirth and terror to its blindfolded victims...
Down in Penarth the excellent ffotogallery is hosting an exhibition featuring a selection of great photographers currently working in Wales. Luke Boland, Catarina Fontoura, Freddy Griffiths, Jorge Lizalde, Sissel Thastum and my good Third Floor Gallery buddies Claire Kern, Bartosz Nowicki and Kirill Smolyakov. The exhibition's titled 'At Home He's A Tourist' and details can be found at the ffotogallery website.
Claire Kern's piece covers the salvage of family memories from a fire that destroyed her childhood home but mercifully spared the bulk of the family photo albums. Her work comes to terms with the loss and reveals how previously mundane photographs become treasured relics in the wake of such a disaster. Fascinatingly, from the burnt and warped edges of the photographs the heat and the impact of the fire seems to reach back through time to trouble the past as well the future. You can find her website at http://clairekern.co.uk
Bartosz Nowicki's work digs into return trips to his homeland of Poland. Visiting old haunts, the places he partied and watched football with his friends, the close bonds of family, these evocative black and white shots flicker with memories. Far from nostalgic picture-book, his photographs seem to dig into the formative experiences and feelings that made him the photographer - and more importantly the man - he is. His website can be found here.
The man who controls the beer supply at the Third Floor Gallery gatherings, Kirill is also a tremendous photographer and annoyingly modest. I don't think I've ever even heard him talk about his work once, but I guess it speaks for itself and it's bloody good. Specialising in environmental portraits, his shots are plain-spoken, rich with light and colour and often wryly amusing. A sampling of his work can be found online at the Galerie Stanislas Bourgain.
Finally I also headed off on a day trip to almost sunny Scarborough with the 'rents. There we checked out the local art gallery which was holding an open day and the geological Rotunda Museum, which amply satisfied my geeky curiosity. A varied sampling, from artists working with cyanotypes and fabrics to crusty old Victorians and their incredible labours of love in cataloguing and exhibiting fascinating things, memorialised in the form of stern, paternally frowning marble busts. I especially liked the Rotunda Museum building itself, a beautiful little structure made out of heavy stone and containing twisty staircases and a gorgeous dome. They don't make them like they used to, that's for sure.
If you want to find out more regarding Replichrome, why not visit their website with a breakdown of all the slide films it emulates and see if it's your kind of thing? I rather like it as a sort of recipe book I can dip into and draw inspiration from. Anyway, thanks for reading and don't forget to support your local gallery and artists, one of whom I leave you with an image of, looking cheery as the warm summer sunshine spills through the windows...
P.S: No, I don't know what this blog post title means either. Sounded good, though.