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The Original Landscape Workshop

Remembering Fay Godwin & Paul Hill

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Ed Hannam

My first camera cost me 3 quid from a workmate back in the late sixties, followed by a Yashica Minister 3 rangefinder from one of the ladies at work`s mail-order catalogue a short while later This cost me the grand sum of, as I remember. £39, paid for in instalments. Then the bug bit and I have been hooked ever since, going through various Pentax SLRs, a Mamiya 645, Hasselblad 503CW, still being used and on to various Nikon DSLRs. My latest acquisition is an Ebony 5x4 large format camera, so it is apparent that my film days are well and truly not over yet!



As far as I remember, and my memory is a little faded these days so please excuse me if some of the details are slightly vague, I first came across John Blakemore`s “Inscape” exhibition at Buxton Art Gallery in what must have been the early to mid 90s. I was struck by how the images “glowed” on the wall, something I had never seen in my own attempts at black and white processing and printing. This inspired me to try and move forward with my own work.

john blakemore

John Blakemore

I don`t recall how I then made the connection with Paul Hill. Bearing in mind that this was in the days before the internet opened up the opportunity for us all to research anything and everything, it must have been an article in the photographic press. I remember a publication called “You and Your Camera” in the early 1980s of which I bought every issue and it must have been here that I discovered Paul`s “The Photographer`s Place” workshop programme and also the work of Fay Godwin. Anyway I do remember telephoning him and having a chat and him posting me an application form. Yes, you had to apply to attend a workshop in those days, not that there were many, if any, others to choose from! (possibly the Inversnaid Photography Centre being a notable exception) I don`t recall what the questions on said application form were, but I do recall the idea being perfectly reasonable and acceptable. Anyway, I posted the form off, was duly accepted and sent off my fee. I think it was about £160 for the four days, accommodation included, albeit dormitory style accommodation.

ap1985

Taking a taxi from Ashbourne town centre to the venue in the tiny picturesque village of Bradbourne, I was greeted by Paul, his wife Angela and their small dog (whose name escapes me), and after depositing my luggage was shown round the establishment. This consisted of the small stone cottage used for accommodation and dining, and then just up the garden path, the wooden “super-shed” that Paul had constructed for classroom and darkroom purposes. All of us participants arrived at various times that afternoon and were then joined by Fay Godwin for our first evening meal, deliciously and lovingly prepared by Angela and served by Paul. That evening must have been spent acquainting ourselves with each other and discussing the next few days, also browsing our host`s not inconsiderable photographic library and studying various original photographs hanging around the walls. I seem to remember there being an original Ansel Adams print!



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  • Marc Elliott

    Can’t wait to get a minute to read this over a cuppa – nice one Ed.

  • A fascinating article Ed, wonderful to read the recollections of someone who was ‘there’ at such a seminal time. Thank you for sharing.

    DW

    • Tom Tit

      Thank you for your kind words, David. Looking back, I could have spent a week in Benidorm for the same money and not remembered a thing about it! Do you think i made the right choice?

  • Kevin Fidler

    Good article, Ed and a timely reminder for such as me – time with someone who cares about what they do is time well spent. Forget the megapixels etc and concentrate on making good pictures.

    • Ed Hannam

      Thank you Kevin. I agree with your sentiments entirely.

  • Thomas Fleckenstein

    Great article Ed.

    • Ed Hannam

      Thanks Thomas. That`s the first time I`ve tried to put something together like this and even surprised myself.

  • Susan Brown

    A great memory jogger. I went on one of these wonderful workshops. I was the only woman at the time so slept in the caravan in Paul’s garden. Fay arrived for the last day and I marvelled at her fitness watching her haul a huge Benbo etc up the steep hills. It was a great learning curve so many thanks for the recollections. You have made me homesick for my darkroom – all digital now for me.

    • Ed Hannam

      I`d forgotten about the caravan, Susan. On the workshop i attended there were, I think, two ladies. One was called Anthea Bickmore from Harlow and i wonder if she is still active in this photography malarky. (if you read this, Anthea, please let me know.) The tripod I remember Fay using, albeit with what these days we would call a compact, was an extremely lightweight spindly affair made, if memory serves by none other than Leica.

  • Thank you Ed. Absolutely fascinating! I have a copy of ‘Land’ and come back to it again and again. A special book by a special lady.

    • Ed Hannam

      Thanks, Jim. I bought my copy from Fay at that time (£25) It`s signed and a limited edition so probably worth a bob or two now. As they say on the Antiques Road Show on telly: “Oh! I`d never sell it”.

  • Andrew Forrester

    Ed, Thank you for your recollections of The Photographers Place. I attended a couple of workshops, spending time with like minded people, which was rewarding and itense, we lived and breathed photography for the few days we stayed with Paul and Angela.

    • Ed Hannam

      It`s pleasure, Andrew. I think you`ve hit the nail on the head with your appreciation of what those workshops were all about.

  • David OBrien

    Fascinating, Ed. A really enjoyable read. How things have changed in the current day. Some very useful reading material which I am sure I shall pursue. Many thanks, David

    • Ed Hannam

      Thank you David, your comment is truly appreciated. Things certainly have changed and by a great deal. All of those books are still relevant, though, even to folks who dismissed analogue photography long ago. If they only realised what they are missing!

  • Marc Elliott

    A brilliant article Ed – and your are so lucky to have met such wondefull and talented people from an important pre digital period in our history – A lovely read, and inspired me to study my Fay and John’s books a bit more.

    • Ed Hannam

      Thanks Marc, and don`t forget Paul`s books, particularly ‘Approaching Photography’.

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