Great North Greats, currently exhibited at the Discovery Museum, explores some of the most important luminaries, inventors and innovators in the industrial and social history of the north east and celebrates the region as the birthplace of many great scientific developments and inventions. Among them, Joseph Swan, a physicist and chemist, inventor of the incandescent light bulb and an early pioneer of wet plate photography.
In recent years we have seen a resurgence of interest in 19th Century processes, and of the materiality of the resultant prints and their function as art objects and collector’s items. The wet plate photograph is a one-off, a limited edition work and exists as a counterpoint to the throwaway, point and shoot nature of the digital photograph.
A number of questions arise for practicing contemporary photographers when exploring this medium. Can the delicate craft and skill needed to use this process be combined with concept and can the created works be said to be ‘critically-engaged’? What is the relationship between traditional and digital process, particularly when our images are now shared through digital networks and social media. Do photographs created in this way become artefacts?
5 photographers, selected through open call, will be offered a free collodion photography workshop, to be delivered by photographer Paul Cordes, and access to the rich stores held at the Discovery Museum to inform a short enquiry relevant to their current research interests.
The wet plate workshop will be held on Monday 12 October 2015, applicants will need to be available on this date. A tour of the archive is scheduled to take place on Saturday 3 October.
The selected cohort will be invited to share their learning at an informal reading group for participants and a small number of invited practicing photographers.
Applicants should consider how this practical workshop and visit to the museum stores would benefit their professional practice and inform their conceptual enquiries when submitting:
- A short (1 page max.) letter of interest which should include description of a short enquiry or project they are pursuing of relevance.
- Up to a max. of 3 images of previous work or links to portfolio
Please email application to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Application: Photography’
Opportunity supported by Great North Run Culture, The Great Run Company Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council and Port of Tyne.