A nostalgic study of old photographic items.

I recently dug out a couple of boxes containing old photo and darkroom kit, to revisit an earlier project.

These are random items belonging to my Dad and myself but also familiar with any photographer working in the pre digital age.
Equipment that would once be essential, expensive and of very specific use, now years out of date or broken but somehow difficult to throw away.

I’ve rarely looked back since turning digital in 2002, however I did shoot this series using my old 5”x4” camera.
I'm reminded of the disciplines - the intense patience, knowledge and precision required working with film and chemistry.
One thing I do miss from this era is Polaroid, especially large format with its unique quality and immediacy, which still to this day seems like a magical process.

Red glass filter to fit the Kodak 'beehive' safelights

Print tongs, marked with dymo tape to avoid chemical cross contamination

Agfa and Kodak specialist film stock

Linhof retro tripod head

Print developer in powder form

Micro focus finders for focusing on the grain of a negative when enlarging

Classic Weston Master light meter (broken)
The more experienced pro's could just guess accurate light levels  

Instructions to the lab to brighten the exposure by 1/3 stop 

Wetting agent to prevent drying spots on film

Film spools, loading film in complete darkness often a frustrating task requiring practice and patience

Filters to adjust the colour balance by micro amounts usually to compensate for a films / lab colour cast

Quite a skill printing and toning especially on fibre based paper, this has sat on a darkroom shelf for years

Type 55 B+W Polaroid, positive and negative. I love this film and still have a couple of boxes left

Vintage Ilford film. Like most photographic packaging, this handy box looks nice and still very useful for storage.

Lovely retro packaging

5"x 4" Camera bellows 

Ilford FP4 expires Feb 1990

2 broken Metz flash units

Old Nikon lenses

Flash synch lead (broken)

My 1st CF card all 256 MB of storage power, quite expensive at the time!

Good to dust off my old 5x4 camera to shoot these

Merry Christmas 2017

There were no plans for a Raggle card this year, as she is rather elderly (approx 17yrs) and a bit wobbly on her legs to star in one of our traditional staged Christmas creations. 

However after a recent trip to an antiques market, I came up with an idea that would involve just a simple walk (wheel) on part!

Tempted by leftovers from our Sunday roast, Raggle happily wondered into this attic set, to strike the perfect pose.

The idea of a spoof eBay listing idea came about while looking for references on how to make the props.

Click image to enlarge.

Click to see more images from my Christmas Dogs project. 
or watch 25 festive years squeezed into this 2.5 min video 

Abandoned chapel

On a recent holiday in Pembrokeshire during a circular coastal walk, I chanced upon this derelict chapel. The door was open, just nettles and brambles blocking the way, It looked like a good photo opportunity, so with my camera, I tiptoed around the rotten floorboards and spent a little time in church!

Merry Christmas 2016

May I welcome to the stage Whisky, Eric, Lenny, Mazey and of course Raggle.

As part of the promotion for our new book 'Bark! The Herald Angels Sing', our publishers WW Norton ran a competition to find a new canine star for the 2016 xmas card. In fact we selected two, Lenny + Mazey.

Knowing we faced the challenge of working with unfamiliar dogs, I designed the shot to work with a variety of characters and tested it first with two of our friends' dogs Whisky and Eric. It was an unexpected bonus to have Raggle appear in this year’s Christmas card - once she saw the set, my eldery, sleepy but greedy studio companion jumped in and waited for the treats.
All prepared, we had great fun with the competition shoot and we were very happy to get lovely shots of all 5 dogs. 


Sleepy Raggle



Charlotte and Mazey

Charlotte and Mazey

Click to see more images from my Christmas Dogs project. 
or watch 25 festive years squeezed into this 2.5 min video 


New Book - Bark! The Herald Angels Sing

25 Years - 2 Dogs - No Photoshop!

Since 1990 photographer Peter Thorpe has created a unique Christmas card in his Bristol studio. Each year a different scene featuring his rescue terriers Paddy and Raggle.
The entire project is collected here in this new book, along with behind the scenes pictures and notes explaining the inspiration for each image.
Below are some spreads from the book: 

Bark! The Herald Angels Sing is available at most online stores including Amazon and WW. Norton and for UK customers I can sign and dedicate books purchased at Raggle Cards

Click here for more images from the Christmas Dog project or watch 25 festive years squeezed into this 2.5 min video

Further updates available on Facebook