A Little History of the Negative - Talk by Geoffrey Batchen


As photographers, it’s normal to be excited with our prints. After all, we make sure that we get the right components as we compose our shots. We get so hyped up about the results that oftentimes we take for granted other aspects of the photographic process. This is what Geoffrey Batchen aims to tackle in his new talk, A Little History of the Negative.

© Free Stocks

Geoffrey Batchen is a writer, curator, and historian who focuses on the history of photography. He has written and published a number of papers on the subject of photography and continues to explore the subject with great knowledge and curiosity. Batchen also teaches art history at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

Nilsson 1952 Congo negative © The Photographers' Gallery

A Little History of the Negative traces the history of the negative and explores some of the ways history itself affects changes the way we understand photography. In one of his essays, Batchen points out that the negative is often regarded as a secondary product of photography and is “rarely exhibited or discussed by scholars at any length.” Further adding that negatives seem to be the “dark side of photography”. This talk can shed some light on one of photography’s less talked about aspects.

The author’s talk, A Little History of the Negative will run up to September 6th, 2018 at The Photographers’ Gallery in Soho, London. If you’re interested in the event, you may contact them directly at info@tpg.org.uk or call them at +44 (0) 20 7087 9300. The Photographer’s Gallery is located at 16-18 Ramilies Street, London and is open seven days a week.

written by cheeo on 2018-07-21 #news #event #talk #geoffrey-batchen #a-little-history-of-the-negative

One Comment

  1. jm60
    jm60 ·

    There is a certain honesty to the image one gets from a negative. Sure, there are manipulations one can do in the darkroom to enhance the final image, or make corrections if needed, but fundamentally it still falls back to just the negative as the permanent record of the image. In this day and age of editing software, it makes some of the process faster, and software allows you to do things with an image that were either time consuming, or not possible in a darkroom, but that takes the honesty of the original away.

    I think a lot of people do not really understand the significance of the negative itself, and some people have difficulty grasping the idea "subtractive color theory", which was a must for the darkroom, but not really needed with editing software. Sadly, too many people shooting digital seem to feel they MUST use photo editing software for the images- so much so that a lot of young people do not really see any images that are not manipulated. Plus editing software becomes a crutch for some because they lose sight of the actual creativity they can excercise with just the camera- digital or analog.

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