Brutality at the photographer’s analogue paradise

There is a photographer’s paradise called Double Negative Darkroom in Hackney, 178A Glyn Road E50JE. Sebastian Sussmann, photographer and photographic printer dedicated to analogue processes, started Double Negative Darkroom in the summer of 2009. The old school haven equipped with authentic necessities, including an original camera obscura and technical knowledge from past times, is steadily developing with the help of a few passionate individuals. CT was invited to “DND” by  American photographer and collector Brad Feurhelm during the documentation of his collection on Brutality. 

Being the former director of Daniel Blau Gallery in Hoxton square, Brad Feuerhelm, is now devoting his time to the international photographic company Ordinary-Light, with a main focus on presenting the history of the photographic medium and on the collection of the same, although there is also an interest in contemporary photography. The name Ordinary-Light is deceiving, since Brad Feuerhelm is a big fan of all things obscure, such as vintage astrological imagery, Czech surrealist work (Waclav Chochola), experimental collages (and an abstract gelatin silver print) by Edmund Teske, smoking children soldiers with a Kalashnikov, microphotographs of vegetable cells, atomic explosions, China in the 1860s, etc. The vast collection of thousands of images are presented in thematic shows and at a number of art fairs.

Below: CT’s documentation of the collector documenting the documentation…

The commercial catalogue on Brutality does not only consist of historical evidences of brutal incidents, but challenges the interpretation of brutality with the inclusion of images such as ordinary portraits of murder victims and ladies reading the newspaper on the day of Kennedy’s assassination next to a newspaper stand. In this way, the collection invites the viewers to take a step out of the savagery and consider the consequences of brutal actions and to contemplate the fragility of human existence.

On 8/9 of September Double Negative Darkroom is hosting a wet collodion course with Manchester-based John Brewer, who is specialized in historic photographic processes, particularly wetplate collodion, cyanotype, platinum/palladium and gum bichromate. There are at present six places available. John Brewer’s on the wet collodion course: “Images can be made on clear glass, coloured glass, metal and acrylic. Because of the nature of the process each image is unique and non reproducible, it is a one of a kind. The process from clear glass to the finished image, sealed with a nineteenth century lavender varnish takes around twenty minutes or less. Plate sizes can be from 5″x4″ up to 12″x15″. I can also offer a framing service.”

Below: From John Brewer’s personal portfolio

Double Negative Darkroom are entirely committed to B&W processing – all formats, Colour – bleach, bypass and Xpro – all formats, Fine Art B&W Handprinting, Liquid Emulsion and Lith Printing, Alternative Processes – Salt, gum, Cyanotype, Albumen, VDB, Enlarged negatives for all alternative process and contact printing, Portrait and photographic services, Traditional darkroom and alternative process courses/workshops, Photo Studio hire – specialist analogue space, Large format camera hire, On-site processing and proofing for studio clients.

Sebastian Sussmann explains the aim of DND, in his own words: “One of the purposes of the studio and the gallery is to help drive and energise the burgeoning analogue photo community we started building when Double Negative moved from the Wick to Homerton. Currently there are over 30 darkroom members, a mix of artists, amateurs and professionals. I’d like the space to be just as much somewhere where people can do studio shoots (on film) as it is a place for learning, experimenting, exhibiting and meeting like-minded people. “