Friday, 22 February 2013

Edward Chambre-Hardman - Open Eye Liverpool

The trip to Liverpool for the OCA study day consisted of two exhibitions at the Open Eye Gallery. The first has been posted in my previous blog entry. The second was to see the work of Edward Chambre-Hardman. The photographer produced a large body of work made between 1923-66 which consisted of commercial portraiture (including many notable figures from the period) and Pictorial landscape work.

Hardman has created a large body of work and it was his landscape images that were on display. The remainder of the archive is being brought together after many years to be housed at Liverpool library (refurbished and due to open May 2013.)

My tutor for this module, Keith W Roberts, is actively involved in resurrecting Hardman's archive and gave a talk to the students at the exhibition. It was interesting to hear about the fate of the collection and the challenges that faced those that wanted to preserve it over the years. Hardman was a bit of a rogue and when he initially sold his entire body of work to Liverpool Library in 1975 the Library was unaware that he had removed some of his best pieces including some of the famous portraits - unethical yes, but the story made me smile.

I'm not a traditional landscape person myself. But, the images are technically accomplished, and it was interesting to hear about the dark room techniques used to control the exposure for maximum Pictorial effect. The best treatment to apply to an image is something I am still learning. Selective processing is a technique that needs to be used with a lot of thought in the digital age. It is easy to overdo it and I definitely think less is more.

The visit was rounded off by an unexpected mini-drama as a gallery visitor (not connected to the OCA study visit) took umbrage at the comments of the other tutor, Peter, on the nature of landscape photography. The notion that the images portrayed an idealised countryside that never really existed and ignored social change, creeping urbanisation and rural poverty were too much for the visitor and she gave us her scornful opinion and then stormed off - discussion about art can make people so angry!

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