Sepulchral: A Journey in the Necropolis by Ellen Rogers: Open Doors


Where do you get your inspiration? More importantly and interestingly, where do inspiring people get their inspiration? Ellen Rogers shares photographic details about David Chow, a professional photographer who makes a living from doing analogue work.

I feel like a different human with a different mind. I am in a different place entirely since I last spoke to you. I won’t go into this now but I will share my mind, with those who care, on my blog in good time here but for now… in shifting times of honesty and admiration I want to open doors to my friends too.

I will start to ask questions to people who make a living from an alternative analogue lifestyle, in order to open minds up to new routes of photographic approaches and professions. I will call these ‘Open Doors’ for now, for want of a better name. I would like to begin here with a new and great friend of mine.

Please welcome David Chow, a dedicated and hardworking man out in the wilds of Cambridge in his immaculate studio.

I have been visiting here experimentally on my way to my more obscure and largely unseen photo shoots in Norfolk from Staffordshire where I now live. These days I drive more hours than I care to.

His keen eye and level of craftsmanship has lead to work with a broad range of photographic practitioners from leading fine artists to professional/commercial photographers in the country.

We began chatting on a chance email encounter after my book signing in London last month. Whilst quizzing him about his new approach to Platinum and Palladium printing we decided to do a few commissioned tests to see how my work would look in this style. I usually do my own printing in my darkroom but I was curious to see David’s take on my work. Here are the results…

Gum over platinum print on Fabriano paper
Platinum Print on Fabriano paper
Platinum Print on Fabriano paper

Here is also an interview I conducted with David last week. I hope you find as much inspiration as I do when chatting candidly to David about this wonderful process.

David, I see you have a rare ability to capture flowers, in both their prime and their demise, beautifully. What is it about the subject matter that first captured your imagination?
I started taking photographs of flowers around 8 years when I was recovering from a broken jaw. My mother being a floral designer would bring me an endless supply of flowers for me to photograph, I used them to learn all I could about lighting, technique and composition and soon became passionate about photographing flower specimens both alive and in there final stages of life. At the time I was greatly was inspired by such photographers as Kenro Izu, Tom Baril and Imogen Cunningham who in the past had created stunning photographs of flowers.

How do you go about deciding how to frame and show your original prints? Do you think the choice of frame is an important one?
I think framing is very important, there is no point producing an excellent print only to spoil the result through a poor choice of frame. I have found that it pays to look around to find a good framer who understands your exact requirements and who can be relied upon to produce good quality products For prints that have been hand made, I find it a a good idea to use Anti-Reflective glass (AR). This can be expensive however I feel that this it is worth the extra cost.

How did you acquire the current techniques you use?
Ever since I saw my first platinum print nearly ten years ago I was determined to try and recreate the magic I saw in that print. I searched for any workshops in U.K that could give me a head start however could not find any after an exhaustive search. I was aware that platinum printing was an expensive process to learn so started working on my own with Cyanotype, the least expensive. I found the internet a good resource for advice on various alterative printing techniques. As my confidence grew I started to experiment with silver alternative processes such as Kalitype and Van-Dyke and then finally platinum. Along the way I have met other people interested in alternative processes who have helped me in my development as an alternative printer most notably Mike Ware and Ian Leake who are great printers themselves.

Even though you work from digital negatives, have you, in the past, used a purely analogue route to making larger (i.e. from 35mm or medium format film) Cyanotype or platinum/palladium prints?
Its something I only tried a few times, personally using a digital negative approach has given me a tremendous amount of control over the final print result which I like and personally could not do without. I do shoot medium format film for the majority of my personal work which is then scanned in.

What is it about these chosen forms of printing that so draws you to them? When I think of platinum/palladium printing I think of Irving Penn and his beautifully toned images, was he an inspiration?
In terms of platinum printing I really like the way it reproduces mid and highlight tones. One of the keys to successful platinum printing is identifying the strengths of the process and pairing it with images that will take advantage of these.

In relation to inspiration, I think most contemporary platinum printers would cite Penn and I am no different, he was an exceptional platinum printer. However I would have to say my first inspiration was when I saw a collection of platinum prints photographed by Sally Mann and printed by friend and master platinum printer Stan Klimek for 21st Editions, a publisher of original print photo books based in the U.S. The book contained 10 bound platinum prints and featured Mann’s early drapery studies. Viewing this book for the first time had a profound effect on me that I have carried with me to this day, I am fortunate enough now own a copy and it inspires me every time I view it.

When did you decide to make photographic printing and teaching a profession and how did you go about doing so?
I started teaching alternative printing process around five years ago when I realised that there was know one in the U.K. teaching alternative processes with digital negatives.

Soon I started receiving requests from photographers to create platinum prints for exhibitions and so quite organically my platinum editions company was formed called DC Editions. We have been fortunate enough to have worked with some of the finest and well known photographers in the country and I am looking forward to the future.

Do you have any exhibitions or books in the pipeline?
I have quite a number of projects on the go at the moment; those interested should check my blog.

Thank you! and please find out more about David’s tutition and process here. X

written by ellenrogers on 2011-09-02 in #lifestyle #david-chow #open-doors #ellen-rogers #sepulchral-series


  1. adi_totp
    adi_totp ·


  2. discodrew
    discodrew ·

    Hi Ellen, I love your work too. I was looking into Gum Bichromate developing, there are a few tutorials online so I thought I'd give it a go. Have you ever tried this technique before? If so any advice for me? Where do you source your chemicals as they don't seem to available at your local Tesco, ha ha.

  3. ellenrogers
    ellenrogers ·

    Hi guys I just saw these, Discodrew, you say Tesco so I guess your Uk based right? I cam PM you with some good stockists for chemicals. X

  4. discodrew
    discodrew ·

    @ellenrogers yes that would be great, thanks

  5. badjuju
    badjuju ·


More Interesting Articles

  • Art Hunter Sardinas x STEEN

    written by mindofmyra on 2014-09-12 in #people #lomoamigos
    Art Hunter Sardinas x STEEN

    We asked some of New York’s hottest designers to lend their talent in designing some of our La Sardina DIY cameras, and we are very excited to share with you Steen of Steen Drawings. Steen is a New York based illustrator who likes to create her own fantasy world and creates stories from her wild imagination. Take a look at Steen's wonderful work and get inspired to do your own DIY project.

  • Angela Izzo on Shooting with the Diana Mini, Photographing Musicians, and Then Some

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-04-29 in #people #lifestyle
    Angela Izzo on Shooting with the Diana Mini, Photographing Musicians, and Then Some

    While many of us can only dream of working with musicians and photographing them, Angela Izzo's job entails exactly that. Apparently, this is a fulfillment of her own dream that she had when she was younger. In this interview, Izzo talks about her beginnings which, of course, included going to as many shows and festivals as she possibly can; some of her most memorable on-the-job-experiences with the likes of The Doors, Lykke Li, Jack White, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Chris Robinson Brotherhood; her inspirations and other interests; and her love for film photography and Diana Mini. And to those looking into fulfilling their own dreams of working in the same industry, Izzo also shares helpful advice based on her own experiences.

  • Lomography x Looper Rumble

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-05-11 in #world #competitions
    Lomography x Looper Rumble

    Looper is a Scottish Indie/Electronic band fronted by former Belle and Sebastian bassist Stuart David. Lomography has teamed up with Looper and Mute, a UK-based record label, to bring you this special rumble where you can win a LomoKino, a Looper bundle which includes a 5-CD Box Set signed by the band, live cassette and badge. On top of this Looper will be selecting their favourite photos to be featured in their latest music video which is aptly called “I’m a Photograph”! You’d be mad not to enter! Read on for details.

  • Shop News

    LC-Wide Elite Kit

    LC-Wide Elite Kit

    The LC-Wide Elite Kit gathers all the accessories you would ever need for your Lomo LC-Wide.

  • A Salute to the Masters: Judo (A Tribute to Sabine Weiss)

    written by sirio174 on 2015-04-18 in #world #lifestyle
    A Salute to the Masters: Judo (A Tribute to Sabine Weiss)

    This article is a tribute to the street and humanist photographer Sabine Weiss. Considered a living legend in street photography, she likes to photograph daily lives of people, trying to capture the emotions she recognizes around her. Weiss like to photograph people of all ages but she especially loves to take photos of children, masterfully immortalizing their spontaneous gestures and emotions. For this article, I was inspired by one of her rare sports photos of some children practicing judo. Do you want to know more about this great artist? Well, read on!

  • Petzval Interview Series: Dr. Anton Holzer on the Birth of the Petzval Lens

    written by pripri2000 on 2015-05-30 in #people #news
    Petzval Interview Series: Dr. Anton Holzer on the Birth of the Petzval Lens

    In this first interview, the Vienna-based photographic historian Dr. Anton Holzer talks about the invention of the first Petzval lens and its maker.

  • Trending LomoHomes of May 2015

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-05-29 in #world #news
    Trending LomoHomes of May 2015

    With all the fantastic lomographs they shared the entire month, it's no wonder these lomographers won our hearts and eyes over!

  • Shop News

    Fuji Instax Wide 300 & 10x Fuji Instax Wide Film

    Fuji Instax Wide 300 & 10x Fuji Instax Wide Film

    With this bundle you are ready to shoot with the Fuji Instax Wide 300 and dig in to the instax world – on top you save 20% on Fuji Wide film!

  • Reviews on Rewind: The New Petzval Lens 85

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-05-30 in #gear #reviews
    Reviews on Rewind: The New Petzval Lens 85

    The New Petzval Lens 85 continues to captivate the hearts of many photographers from its debut a couple of years back. A perfect balance between form and function, this lens closely mimics the look of the legendary Petzval lens of the 19th century and delivers eye-catching images with its signature tack sharp center and swirly bokeh background. Many photographers from both outside and inside the Lomography community have raved about the New Petzval 85. In this recap, we look back at four community-written reviews.

  • Awesome Albums: Polar Coordinates by Buckshot

    written by kenaz on 2015-05-29 in #world #lifestyle
    Awesome Albums: Polar Coordinates by Buckshot

    Twist your world into kaleidoscopic planets using this nifty visual trick.

  • Friday Movie Flashback: Blue Valentine

    written by Kwyn Kenaz Aquino on 2015-05-29 in #world #lifestyle
    Friday Movie Flashback: Blue Valentine

    To show, not just tell, how love withers is Derek Cianfrance and Andrij Parekh's poetic mission in Blue Valentine.

  • Shop News

    Sprocket Rocket Flash Bundle

    Sprocket Rocket Flash Bundle

    Sprocket Love: The Sprocket Rocket is the world’s first wide-angle camera dedicated to sprockets. It shoots 18 panoramas on a standard 35mm roll and exposes the whole width of film including sprocket holes. Use its dual winding knobs for easy multiple exposures and generate perfect nighttime shots with the bulb setting.

  • Top Shoutbox Users of May 2015

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-05-29 in #world #news
    Top Shoutbox Users of May 2015

    Are you new to the community? Or are you looking for a new place to explore aside from the photographs and articles? Head to the shoutbox and meet the friendliest bunch of lomographers!

  • Trending Newcomers of May 2015

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-05-29 in #world #news
    Trending Newcomers of May 2015

    What's your fondest memory as a newcomer in the community?

  • Top Photo Likers of May 2015

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-05-29 in #world #news
    Top Photo Likers of May 2015

    Guess who had been bitten hard by the "I like this photo" bug.