Islands and high lands – an exhibition of work by Anne Campbell and Chloe Garrick – Da Gadderie until 23 November.
This exhibition included four different types of printing techniques: cyanotype, bromoil, lith and photograms. Fortunately there is a good description of each process as you go in.
I still don’t fully understand each process except the cyanotype, which is similar to how architects’ plans used to be printed. I recall many years ago when I was a student working in an architect’s office mixing messy chemicals and having to clean the resulting sludge out of print machines. But the resulting prints did have a pleasing fuzziness.
This exhibition also has a very pleasing fuzziness, each technique resulting in an atmosphere that is so much more interesting than the megapixel results of our digital cameras.
The subject matter of Scottish and Shetland landscapes sit well together: without helpful captions it might be hard to tell where some of photographs were taken as the landscapes are so similar.
There are distinctive Shetland subjects we are all familiar with and also rocks and plant life, as well as sensitive detailed studies of birds and birds’ eggs.
What makes these images stunning is the way the prints have been produced, textures and the light in them.
The captions on each work also note the printing technique used and it’s worth spending time to understand the visual differences achieved by each method.
Most of the work is black and white and this helps the two artists’ work to sit well together. However the photographic techniques add tone and texture giving warmth to many of the images.
On the far end wall there is a panel of photographs of marine life in close detail. These are in colour (to have been in black and white would have lost much of the impact of the strange sea life), but the panel feels too different from the rest of the work and is like a small separate exhibition.
Some works jumped out at me; Wild Angelica by Chloe Garrick transformed the simple subject matter into a stunning print. The Blackhouse Village by Anne Campbell had an intense depth and richness despite its small size.
And Chloe’s image of the K sign at the Market Cross in a blizzard really has to be seen.
It was a bit of a travesty getting out my digital point and press camera to take my own photos of these stunning and technically complex images.