When: 14th January – 12th May 2017, 10am – 4pm
Where: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, Station Road, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 4NF
£: Admission costs £4 for adults, £3 for a student, and £2.50 for children
What is it?
A collection of images by photographer Henry Iddon, using a unique historic camera, is set to open at the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery in Cumbria. The Instanto Outdoors Exhibition will open on Saturday 14th January, and runs until Friday 12th May.
Iddon’s work is a homage to the work of George and Ashley Abraham, brothers who grew up in Keswick, in the Lake District, during the late 1800s. The Abraham brothers were passionate early rock-climbers and were the first to take cameras up into the hills of the Lake District, to capture landscapes and action shots of their climbing.
The camera that Iddon used was on loan from The Wasdale Collection Ltd via the Mountain Heritage Trust, an organisation that aims to record and preserve Britain’s rich heritage in climbing, mountaineering and mountain culture. The very same camera that was used by the Abraham brothers.
The Underwood Instanto whole plate camera, that the Abraham brothers and Henry Iddon used, is made from solid mahogany and is a rather heavy object. It uses 10”x 12” glass plates, which have to be carried up the mountain alongside the camera and other equipment.
Henry Iddon said, “The idea is to remind people of the original photographic process, and how much effort went into something that today seems very simple.
“With mobile phone cameras and Instagram, photography has become something very immediate, something that is easy to do with little thought. Professional photographers can take thousands of photos on a shoot and later edit the best ones to make them perfect.
“That sort of technology wasn’t available to the Abraham brothers. Firstly, the camera and equipment were much, much bulkier and heavier than their modern-day counterparts. They had to be carried up some of England’s biggest mountains to get the necessary shots.
“When they had climbed the mountain, they then had to be very careful with the way they prepared the shot. They were extremely limited with the number of photographs they could take – the glass plates the camera used were heavy so they could only take a handful with them on each expedition.
“For me, after three years of bringing aspects of the project together and thanks to the support of Keswick Museum and Art Gallery and Arts Council England, it is really exciting to able to finally show these photos in the town where the Abraham brothers lived.
“It is amazing to think that over 100 years ago rock-climbing was in its infancy and ‘adventure sports photography’ was a phrase that had never been heard – yet with this camera, the Abraham brothers were instigating a whole new genre of photography. It’s a real privilege to take that process full circle and shoot the extreme sports of today with a camera that was doing the same thing in the late 1890s.”
Like the Abrahams brothers before him, Henry Iddon works with some of the world’s best climbers, including Shauna Coxsey, Leah Crane, Chris Fisher, Neil Gresham, Leo Houlding and Lisa Rands, as well as internationally renowned paraglide pilot Jocky Sanderson.
More info: keswickmuseum.org.uk