Last night, I attended the annual photographers lecture organised by The Scottish Society of the History of Photography (SSHoP).  Since 1994, SSHoP has organised a series of Annual Lectures delivered both by photographers invited to Scotland and by those resident in the country.  This year, the talk was given by Garry Fabian Miller. 

With the concept of “camera-less photography” being unfamiliar to me, we learnt that since the mid-1980s, Miller has worked without a camera using the techniques of early nineteenth century photographic exploration to experiment with the nature and possibilities of light as both medium and subject. 

©Garry Fabian Miller

Miller does this by using the Cibachrome process – a process of creating a colour print colour print made from a colour transparency enlarged directly onto reversal colour paper. The paper is unique in that dyes are incorporated into the emulsion on the paper instead of being formed chemically. This gives exceptional colour image brilliance. The paper is exposed to a transparency and the colours are recorded by complementary layers in the paper. A dye destruction print made in this way is more permanent than a chromogenic print.

Garry Fabian Miller is regarded as one of the most progressive figures in fine art photography. Born in 1957, he has made exclusively ‘camera-less’ photographs since the mid 1980s.  These rudimentary methods recall the earliest days of photography, when the effects of light on sensitised paper seemed magical.

I, along with many members of the audience, found this talk both informative and inspiring.  The talk began with Miller saying that, when aged Sixteen, he travelled to the Shetland Isles to pursue a social documentary.  During this introduction, Miller provided us with the first of two inspiring quotations; which is Photography is important, and you are going to do it – you should do something important with it.  Later, during the Question’s and Answer’s at the end of the talk, Miller said: (in relation to the future of photography) Chemical Photography is one of humanity’s optimum human moments.

If the opportunity presents itself for you to see any of the work Garry Fabian Miller, I would encourage you to take it.  In the meantime, with the the two afore mentioned quotations rolling around in my mind, I hope that I will be able have some thoughts available for this blog in due course…