John Kiely Talks us Through The First Month of The Engine Room, Alternative Photography Space


One of the photographs in February's exhibition at The Engine Room Mina Ahmed

One of the photographs in February's exhibition at The Engine Room Mina Ahmed

Last month we introduced you to Lancashire's newest alternative photography space, The Engine Room. Run by photgrapher, and Shutter Hub member, John Kiely, and situated in the old cotton mill town of Mossley, the workshop is aptly at home within Woodend Mill. Here John gives us an insight into the first month of opening, and share news of The Engine Rooms first exhibition. 


The Engine Room opened properly this month, January, after several months of building walls, plumbing the darkroom and fitting miles of wiring.  We are not pretty, yet, but we are functional.  The aim of the Engine Room is to provide a venue where photographers, particularly analogue, can meet and work.  There are workshops offered plus facilities and equipment for hire for realistic rates.  The aim isn’t to make a huge profit, but to cover costs.  Despite the cold we are attracting a few regulars plus we are about to launch our first exhibition.

Nic Pass is a level 3 photography student, who has a tremendous passion for photography.  She is a weekly visitor, travelling quite some distance along with her three year old daughter Ellie.  Nic had an introduction to wet collodion photography, specifically ambrotypes.  Ambrotypes are glass positives made by coating plates in a collodion mix which is then immersed in a silver nitrate bath.  This produces a light sensitive emulsion, which has to be exposed while still wet.  Since seeing the process she has become the latest addict to this Victorian process.

Eleanor Kalaher is a young photographer, artist and musician from Manchester.  She originally came to use the darkroom to produce some black and white prints and has also discovered the delights of wet plate photography.  In addition to her photographs there is also now one of Eleanor’s paintings on display in The Engine Room.  Not to be left out, Nic’s daughter Ellie has one of her drawings displayed as well.

Another friend of the workshop from day one is Mina Ahmed, a photographer from Oldham.  On February 8th we celebrate both the opening of the workshop, and an exhibition of Mina’s photographs.  Hot on the heals of her recent exhibition of night shots in Oldham Gallery, Mina now shows how flexible her approach is with a series shot in derelict buildings and high access locations.  If you are in the area on the evening of the 8th then call in and help us celebrate.

Don't forget, Shutter Hub members will be exhibiting at The Engine Room in September… watch this space!