Format Photography Festival

Wendy Pye – 7/03/11

This weekend a few Tri-Podders popped up north to The Format Photography Festival in Derby. This year’s programme is curated around the theme of street photography. On Saturday I braved the cold and constant drizzle of rain and participated in the outdoor Master Class with Brian Griffin. Even though I was damp and chilly throughout, I just about managed to maintain my attention and get my head around learning some new location lighting techniques, mixing flash with daylight. Brian openly shared some of his trade mark portrait lighting scenarios, using multiple Broncolor flash heads that create beautiful dramatic light. I was impressed with Brian’s patience and attention to detail, I’ve been following his work since I started my photography education in the 8o’s and inspired by his clever use of light.

workshop test shot of Brian and his intern - using Broncolors & honeycomb


Brian finished off the day talking us through his latest personal project – ‘The Black Country’ a clever recreation of his childhood community & family memories that will be exhibited soon at The Walsall Art Gallery in April & will be well worth the visit.

© Brian Griffin 'Black Country Woman'

On Sunday the sun decided to make a welcome appearance and I wandered around some of the exhibitions. The festival is well curated around some quirky venues but my photographers beady eye couldn’t help noticing a fair amount of badly post produced and over sized prints. Some photographers are pushing print sizes from digital files too large and ruining the print quality. When you take a close look in to the print, the noise and chromatic aberration is not visually pleasant & I presume is unintentional and out of context with the theme of the work. Digital has opened up the world of photography but in terms of print quality it has taken a step backwards. I think some photographers need to seek more guidance from experts to understand the limitations of digital files and printing to ensure finer print quality. Besides this gripe I did particularly enjoy seeing Tehran’s self-portrait series at The Derby Museum by Mehraneh Atashi, the prints were also noisy and contained blown out pixels but this actually looked OK and worked within the raw context of the series.

© Mehraneh Atashi ' Self Portrait 5' (Tehran Project)

© Mehraneh Atashi - 'Self Portrait 7'(Tehran Project)

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