Alternative Process: Behind the Scenes with Exhibitor Anthony Firmin

Our Alternative Process exhibition currently running at The Engine Room, Manchester is well worth a visit if you are interested in some really creative and innovative photography by artists working with Polaroid Lift, Wet Plate Collodion, Gum Bichromate, Photogram, Pinhole, Mordançage, Photogravure, Cyanotype and more. The show has prompted questions from visitors about the processes involved and the stories behind the works, so we thought it would be a good idea to meet the artists individually to find out more by way of some short interviews. Our next interviewee in the series is Anthony Firmin…

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Anthony Firmin and I am a photography tutor, documentary and fine art photographer, journalist and social media consultant.

I think it is important these days to wear many hats to help pay the bills!!

What did you exhibit?

I am exhibiting two 5×4 tintypes, part of a larger body of work called “Wet Plate Tattoos.” The idea behind it was to document two old art forms that had made a resurgence to varying degrees over the last decade.

Interestingly, tattoos vary in both intensity and visibility when photographed using the wet plate collodion process due to the process only picking up primarily blue, violet and ultra violet light. The photographs were also shot using studio flash lighting conditions which made images more interesting and the process of taking them more challenging.

What made you take part in this exhibition?

The simple answer is I saw the open invitation and thought “why not?” However, I believe photographs are taken to be seen and I am very proud of the work I have so far completed and wanted to share it.

Wet plate collodion tintypes and ambrotypes also have an interesting aesthetic which I also believe members of the public will find engaging in this digital world.

Have you attended the exhibition in person and if so what did you think?

Absolutely. I attended the opening event and was blown away by the diversity of the work on show. In between talking with other exhibitors and members of the public, I just kept walking around taking it all in.

Other than your own work, which of the other works in the show appealed to you and why?

I think they all appealed in one way or another. I was also intrigued by the pinhole photography – something I really want to have a go at.

However, my favourite piece was the one used on the publicity material for the show, a “chemigram” by Brittonie Fletcher. I was entranced by it.


You can see the exhibition for yourself until Sun 7th December 2014, Saturday and Sunday 10am – 6pm at The Engine Room, Mill 1, Woodend Mills, Manchester Rd, Mossley, Ashton under Lyne, Lancs, OL5 9RR.(Viewing by appointment during the exhibition, contact John at The Engine Room on 07736 849 388) For further information about the exhibition see our previous post here.

You can also read our previous interviews with fellow exhibitors Brittonie Fletcher, Melanie King, Charlotte Davenport, Anthony Carr and John Brewer. Look out for more interviews with our Alternative Process contributors over the course of the exhibition!