An Analogue BBQ - or - when a Fluffy Hedgehog Came To Tea

By Paul McKay

A few weeks ago John Whitmore - community stalwart and analogue photographer extraordinaire - took an astonishingly brave step. He publicly invited the film world to a Print Party and BBQ at his house! This was no simple social occasion, but the kick-off for Warwickshire's biggest FREE arts event: Open Studios. We asked John how the day went, and how film photographers can support such a great initiative. John, over to you!

Every year, during the last 2 weeks of June, artists across Coventry and Warwickshire open up their studios and homes to invite the public in and show them what and how they create. This is the second year I have joined Warwickshire Open Studios and decided to celebrate the opening day with an analogue photography themed BBQ. A quick callout on Twitter to the film community and suddenly a print party was on the horizon!

Can you spot Bincam?

 The Garage Gallery

The first stage of my exhibition was to convert a particularly messy and dumping ground of a garage.  Last year I exhibited in a gazebo in the garden but wanted something a little more permanent and traditional gallery looking this year.

For a great write up of other elements of exhibiting take a read of Rhys Davies’ post here.

Hanging Complete


The Analogue Arrival

Unsurprisingly, everyone seemed to bring a camera, they were either placed on the table or ready in hand to capture the day.

Camera Table - (c) Hamish Gill

Steve ‘Chroma’ Lloyd brought along his latest build of the Chroma.

Chroma - (c) Steve Lloyd

Hamish Gill (he of 35mmc fame) got trapped in the kitchen and made to answer some questions about the Pixl-latr with only half a batch (that’s bread roll in Coventry speak) to defend himself. Graeme came to his rescue, fending everyone off with a fluffy hedgehog.

Pixl-latr 2 - (c) Simon Forster


The Darkroom Demonstrations

It wasn’t long before the rain came pouring down and the attention was drawn towards some darkroom printing. Many of the guests had brought negatives along with them and had never printed from them before. Magic ensued...

Steve Lloyd - Darkroom Shed

We went through the process including selecting negatives, loading them into the enlarger, producing test strips, contrast control and some dodging and burning.

Graeme and Rachel from the Sunny 16 Podcast even recorded a show from The Darkshed! You can listen to the (highly-edited) ramblings of people trying to explain darkroom printing as it happens in the latest episode.

Darkroom demonstration - darkroom shed

Thank you to everyone who attended, it was a wonderful day and great to meet so many of the community in real life.

How Can People Still Get Involved?

Please come for a visit and stay for a cuppa and some printing! Full details can be found here.

Open studios runs until 30th June and my exhibition and darkroom are open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Darkshed Sunny16

Check out Warwickshire Open Studios and Coventry Arts Trail for a full list of artists, plan a road trip and make a day of visiting some incredible artists.


Follow John Whitmore on Twitter, Instagram, or via his website

 Darkshed - Enlarger

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