From his Engine Room HQ at Woodend Mill, John Kiely gives us a quick update on the progress and development of The Engine Room, his alternative photography space in the old cotton mill town of Mossley.
My last minute submission to the Shutter Hub OPEN Exhibition made me realise that I hadn’t contributed to the blog for a while. Don’t worry, I’ve not been sitting idly by but have been swamped with people wanting to use The Engine Room. When I first decided on the project I thought that there would be a few dedicated photographers wanting to keep existing skills alive. Boy was I wrong! It has been a real eye opener to realise just how any people are interested in discovering and developing new skills in traditional and historical photography.
Usually two full days per week are now taken up with students from The Manchester College, both Level 3 and Degree. Weekends and evening see a steady stream of eager printers and photographers using the studio and darkrooms.
The great part of all this activity is the ever growing band of regulars are not die hard purists or pixel haters, but are photographers who are using both film and digital. The new generation of photographers are starting to realise that you don’t have to be digital or analogue (a term I personally hate), but you use the medium that suits the job in hand. Just tonight the darkroom was used by a photography student, who had realized that black and white, medium format film could give her moorland landscapes the atmosphere that had been lacking in her digital images. While tomorrow I will be assisting Sylwia Pawlowska make A1 prints from images that would have been impossible to shoot on film.
It would seem that at last photographers are realizing that the creative world isn’t polarized, but every format and media has it’s strength. All we need to do now is convince the popular magazines about this.