New Platinum Print: Paddington Station

If you’re a photographer, you might empathise with this — occasionally (or regularly) making a photograph that you know you like but you’re not quite sure how or what will be the right way to finish it off, to properly close the loop…

I must say, it doesn’t normally take as long as fourteen years to come to a decision.

However, back in 1999, I captured the layered platform rooves of Paddington Station, a mainline railway station in West London.

Although I loved the graphic simplicity of the scene, it was an image that went on the back-burner.

Finding the photograph a couple of weeks ago put me straight into the mindset of a vintage Paddington Station.

Some of the buildings are clearly more modern but nevertheless it reminds me of a time gone by.

I’m not sure why, maybe it’s the weightiness or the puff of white rising from one of the platforms; maybe it’s simply the fact that it was shot on nostalgic ol’ black and white film with my Nikon.

Whatever the reasons, I knew instantly that it would make a fine Platinum/Palladium print.

I set to work making the Digital Negative and sent it off to Richard (take a look at the process here).

When Prints No.1 and No.2 arrived back, I was over the moon — just what I’d hoped for:

Paddington Station, West London, UK, 1999, photographed by Jack Lowe

In hindsight, I think I was a little ahead of myself when I released the shutter on this scene.

Rather than the photographic tastes I had then, it was as if I was seeing ahead to the tastes I would have now with an older head on my shoulders.

Perhaps that’s why it’s taken so long for me to close this particular loop.

Anyway, I managed to find a clip of The Last Journey, a story about Bob Holt’s last journey as a railway engine driver before his retirement.

The clip depicts Paddington in the 1930s, a time when Platinum printing had already become scarce due to the war effort, and a good example of the station back in the day:

If you would like to buy one of these beautiful signed, numbered and embossed prints, you can find it nestled among others here in my Platinum Collection.

Paddington Station, West London, UK, 1999, photographed by Jack Lowe

My Own Perfect Landscape

I’ve been looking forward to writing about Cambois (pronounced Kammus) for a long time now — in particular, introducing you to the photograph featured in this post.

A small Northumbrian coastal village born from the mining industry in 1862, Cambois is a wild, bizarre location.

Like many before me, I initially journeyed there to see the wind turbines mounted on the breakwater, as well as those planted out to sea.

The turbines were impressive enough and made lovely photographs but you’ve seen one turbine and you’ve seen them all, right?

On turning round to drive back home, I was overwhelmed by the scene that unravelled before me as I saw the same location but, this time, from the other direction.

Cambois, Northumberland, UK, Photography by Jack Lowe

Cambois (pronounced ‘Kammus’)

Stepping out from the car, my memory tells me that I was rubbing my eyes in disbelief but, in all honesty, that probably didn’t happen.

The scene looked splendid but wasn’t quite right for the kind of photograph I would like to make.  Some secret sauce was required.

The necessary approach was obvious to me, a neat tip to all landscape photographers that has made the difference to so many of my landscapes…

What is that secret sauce?  A step-ladder!

In this instance, those extra few feet gave me the elevation required to distinguish the elements of this landscape that, as a fan of infrastructure, holds everything for me — community, industry, power, road, rail, sea and air.

So many fundamental facets of modern living all featuring in one photograph, my own perfect landscape.

An Historical Document

To me, this photograph now has an added dimension, as the scene cannot be captured in the same way again.

A few years ago, on a frosty December morning, I drove back to the area to witness and photograph the demolition of Blyth Power Station’s four famous chimneys.

It was a moving, spectacular event and one that made my photograph of Cambois a particularly special and unique record of the area; a true moment in time.

Demolition of Blyth Power Station, Northumberland, UK, Photography by Jack Lowe

The demolition of Blyth Power Station’s chimneys, the backdrop to my photograph.

The Print

Shot on 5×4 negative film, I still enjoy poring over the details of Cambois

High Resolution File Detail of Cambois, Photography by Jack Lowe

A hole in a roof with Blyth Power Station looming in the background…

High Resolution File Detail of Cambois, Photography by Jack Lowe

The tracks wind their way to the aluminium smelter further along the coast…

High Resolution File Detail of Cambois, Photography by Jack Lowe

To the left, a lone figure stands in the distance on the jetty (a detail I only noticed after scanning the film)…

High Resolution File Detail of Cambois, Photography by Jack Lowe

The heavy plates bolting the tracks to their respective sleepers…

Printed signed, numbered and embossed by me, this release measures 12×8″ on 20×16″ paper.

Visit my Northumberland Print Collection to buy this print directly from this site (despite appearances, a PayPal account is not required to complete transactions).

Recently remastered for availability on this site, I was delighted that print No.1 sold within moments.

Signed and numbered print of Cambois, Photography by Jack Lowe

Signed, numbered and embossed print of Cambois by Jack Lowe

A Final Aside…

Paul Kenny spotted this postcard of the Cambois miners’ banner for me, which I now often show beside my print as a nod to the heritage of this small mining community…

Framed Postcard of Cambois and Bates Miners' Banner