Wet Plate: A Potted History

On Mark Tucker‘s blog, I’ve just stumbled across a potted history of the wet plate collodion process by George Eastman House.

The original work of the 1850s is often so beautiful. Some of it is shown in their short video, not least a stunning glass negative of an American steam locomotive.

During the commentary, the narrator mentions one of the aspects that I love about wet plate — that each one has a narrative derived from the very hand of the photographer. Every part of a wet plate tells a story in some way, whether it’s to do with the content or the process.

Lovely to see the famous image of Roger Fenton’s Photographic Van featured too.

Anyway, enjoy a few moments with this…

From The Cobb

From The Cobb, Lyme Regis, 7th July 2013 by Jack Lowe

From The Cobb, Lyme Regis, 7th July 2013

Now available as a signed, numbered and embossed print in The Sea Collection.

England, Scotland and Berwick

Almost as far North as you can possibly journey within the bounds of England lies Berwick upon Tweed, nestled just a couple of miles from the Scottish border.

On Saturday, I made the 65 mile rail journey north with a friend to see Paul Kenny’s latest show open at The Berwick Watchtower.

As we wandered the streets of this garrison town, the sensations we experienced were odd and uneasy, enough for us to discuss it regularly throughout the day…

The mouth of the River Tweed — Berwick on the left to the North East and Tweedmouth on the right to the South West...

The mouth of the River Tweed — Berwick on the left to the North East and Tweedmouth on the right to the South West…

On the face of it, Berwick is pretty. However, it doesn’t take too long to sense a melancholy and fatigue hanging over the town.

There are small pockets where this isn’t the case but, overall, Berwick certainly appears to be a very northern outpost burdened with a tangible raw edge, perhaps the bleeding edge of the ongoing economic crisis.

Buildings look tired with many high street shops closing or, indeed, closed down. Local estate agents, too, seem awash with property for sale.

There is, however, plenty to admire as some of the architecture is stunning, not least the beautifully named Royal Border Bridge — a vital artery carrying the East Coast Mainline, connecting this remote town at high speed with the rest of the country.

The Royal Tweed bridge over the River Tweed, joining Berwick upon Tweed with Tweedmouth

The Royal Tweed road bridge — an East Coast Mainline train heads to London over the Royal Border Bridge in the distance…

To my mind, Berwick’s outpost feel is largely due to its geography, eclectic history and confused identity where, in the modern era, one can still be left wondering, “Is Berwick Scottish or English?”

Embroiled in bitter, bloody border wars for so many years, it’s hard to know.

The Tweed boils beneath the Old Bridge at Berwick upon Tweed

The Tweed boils beneath the Old Bridge…

Technically, Berwick is English after the most recent capture in 1482 but that’s not always been the case.

In fact, it was even recently pondered whether or not Berwick was technically at war with Russia after it was ‘left out’ of the conclusion to the Crimean War in the 1856 Treaty of Paris!

Perhaps you can now begin to see why I describe an eclectic history?

Not helping matters, Berwick Rangers FC remains the only English football club in the land to compete in the Scottish Football League.

Railway Street, Berwick upon Tweed

My kinda street…

All-in-all, an unconventional day out and one to get the cogs turning.

Paul’s show, of course, look resplendent — his Seaworks so appropriately on display at the coast.

Ultimately, though, it was time to journey home and leave this very northern outpost behind, carrying plenty of feelings to digest and thoughts to ponder about this quirky nation of ours…

Berwick upon Tweed Railway Station

Home time — a train rushes through the pretty railway station at Berwick upon Tweed…

London: A Painterly Portrait

London from Primrose Hill, Photography by Jack Lowe

A portrait of London at sunrise from Primrose Hill…

Imagine you are standing at sunrise on Primrose Hill, looking south across the vast cityscape of London.

Now rewind the clock to the turn of the Century: ‘Pre-Shard’ and ‘pre-Gherkin’, it’s hard to believe that the newest structure on the horizon was the London Eye (the Millennium Wheel).

Construction cranes can be seen in the distance, beavering away to build the new future that seems so normal today and, unusually, there’s not a single human in sight.

My peaceful, painterly portrait of London heralds the new Millennium — a slice of time from a skyline that will never look the same again…

London from Primrose Hill, Photography by Jack Lowe

Print Detail — The trees at the bottom of Primrose Hill, with the silhouette of St. Paul’s Cathedral in the distance…

London from Primrose Hill, Photography by Jack Lowe

Print Detail — The Snowdon Aviary of London Zoo nestles among the trees and the BT Tower in Fitzrovia makes its iconic statement on the skyline…

If you would like to own one of these beautiful prints — made, numbered, signed and embossed by me — you can buy it directly from my Cornerstone Collection.

London from Primrose Hill, Photography by Jack Lowe

Click the image to see the 12×8″ Archival Pigment Print in my Cornerstone Collection…