Our 63rd In Focus interview is with our ILFORD Master printer, Andrew Sanderson. Andrew has been a professional photographer for over 35 years, and has established an international reputation as both practitioner and teacher of the photographic medium.
SECTION 1 - BACKGROUND
SHARE YOUR FAVOURITE IMAGE / PRINT SHOT ON ILFORD FILM AND TELL US WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU?
My favourite picture changes quite often. Usually it is the last print I made where everything came together in that magical way it sometimes does. Looking back through my portfolio to choose something for this, I find it quite hard to see the pictures objectively, I have seen them so many times. A few images stood out and today I think I’m going to choose this one; Walk, Walk, Walk. This was taken in St Ives, Cornwall on Ilford HP5.
JUST IN CASE ANYONE DOESN’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU DO CAN YOU GIVE US THE OVERVIEW?
I have been an active, obsessed photographer/printer since 1978. I have had work published in all of the top UK photographic magazines many times over, had three books published, taught at many Colleges and Universities all over England and I have worked closely with Ilford for the last fifteen years. The title that I am very proud of to hold is; Ilford Master Printer for my darkroom achievements.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU GET STARTED SHOOTING FILM?
My father was a keen amateur when I was a child, so I grew up with a darkroom at home, though he never showed me how it worked. When I was 13 we moved to Yorkshire and he didn’t have room for a darkroom, so everything went into the attic. I borrowed his Polaroid camera to take photographs of my friends and then moved onto his Flexaret 6x6 camera.
WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST PHOTOGRAPHIC INSPIRATION TO DATE?
I had no photographic inspiration until I started at art College, there I met Porl Medlock who was in the year above me. His work was my first inspiration and he introduced me to Bill Brandt’s work, as well as Sarah Moon, Bob Carlos Clarke, Edward Steichen and others.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF PHOTOGRAPHY TIP OR ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
The bit of advice that has stuck with me for its simplicity and usefulness came from Porl, he said; Always have the final print in your mind before you press the shutter.
WHAT FILM PHOTOGRAPHY RELATED PROJECTS ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON (OR ARE IN THE PIPELINE)?
I always have at least five different things buzzing round my head that I want to experiment with. Currently I’m shooting HP5 and trying out developers that are new to me, I’m experimenting with vintage lith film processed in 510 Pyro, I’m doing long exposures in full sunlight with some unusual X-ray film that is ten stops slower than Pan F 50!
WHAT / WHERE IS YOUR NEXT SHOOT AND HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT FILM / KIT YOU WILL USE?
I will soon be on my summer break in Cornwall where I have visited and photographed for the last 18 years. I try to take different equipment/materials/optics each time I go so that I’m not repeating myself. This year I’ll be shooting more XP2 which I really love, but don’t use often enough because I find it hard to stop using HP5.
WHAT ARE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC GOALS GOING FORWARD? (CAN BE BUSINESS OR PERSONAL).
Although I have had some lucky breaks in my career, I have not been pushy or ambitious. I tend to just get my head down and get on with producing the work. Consequently I don’t approach galleries, photo fairs, or publishers, though I am thinking that perhaps it is time to do that.
SECTION 2 - SHOUT OUTS
We all need a bit of inspiration and love so this is your chance to tell the community about yours – from the film photographers whose work inspires you, the labs you trust with your film, your ‘go to’ film photography stockists, your favourite community darkrooms or just anyone in the community who you feel deserves a special mention.
GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO YOUR 3 FAVOURITE FILM PHOTOGRAPHERS CURRENTLY ACTIVE ON IG OR TWITTER AND BRIEFLY TELL US WHY OTHERS SHOULD FOLLOW THEM.
There are a few people I would like to mention. On Instagram there are a few that I think deserve wider attention.
@agonzalezbaphotography who always produces something original and interesting.
@cumbrialandscapes Richard Mallinson creates carefully thought out landscapes with attention to light and composition.
@djangoknoth Oli Knoth uses film, wet plate and paper negatives to create interesting portraits and still life work.
GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO YOUR FAVOURITE PHOTOGRAPHIC RETAILERS.
GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO YOUR FAVOURITE LAB SERVICE, IF YOU HAVE ONE.
Dan Wheeler who runs a lab and a social get together in Nottingham he goes under the name of @makeiteasylab on Instagram. Previously it was known as The Photo Parlour. He is a photographer, teacher and darkroom practitioner who has a passion for building communities and supporting all photographers of any age, ability or background. He is a person who manages to cram such a lot into a day, and Dan is a nice guy too. https://makeiteasylab.com/
@zoneimagingltd James Lane, who runs Zone imaging lab in London. He has been very active on social media, promoting new developers, encouraging new photographers, answering questions as well as running his lab. I don’t know how he fits it all in. Plus he is a really nice guy and we need more of them. https://zoneimaging-photochemicals.co.uk/
SECTION 3 - FAVOURITE KIT
WHAT FILM CAMERAS DO YOU OWN AND WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE?
This isn’t an easy question to answer as I use a range of cameras in different sizes and formats. I use everything from half frame to 10x8, but the camera that I have a particular fondness for is the Mamiya RB67. This camera is beautifully designed, fully manual, has wonderful optics and has probably given me more ‘keepers’ than any other camera that I own.
I use a Nikon F3 and a Nikkormat most of the time when I am shooting 35mm, but I also own a few Pentax Spotmatics which are a delight to use. They are a design classic and the look that those Pentax screw fit lenses give when I am shooting HP5 is superb.
ASIDE FROM YOUR CAMERA, LENSES AND FILM WHAT ACCESSORIES MAKE IT INTO YOUR CAMERA BAG?
I have a small device that fits over the viewfinder lens of my Pentax Spotmatic and it magnifies the central part of the screen, making fine focusing a simple matter. It is extremely useful when focus is critical.
I have a number of home made bits that help me when I’m shooting, some are simply a hood to keep off stray light, some are adapted lenses for a particular look.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF PHOTOGRAPHY KIT YOU HAVE FOUND OR BEEN GIFTED?
I think this has to be the Manfrotto 055 tripod with the #115 head. I can use this tripod with cameras up to, and including 5x4. It is pretty light and sturdy enough for all of my needs.
AS THIS IS AN ILFORD INTERVIEW IT WOULD BE REMISS OF US NOT TO ASK ABOUT YOUR FAVOURITE ILFORD PRODUCTS. TELL US YOU FAVOURITE ILFORD FILM, PAPER OR CHEMS AND WHY?
Where do I begin? HP5 has been my mainstay since I began photography, but I also love FP4 and XP2, both of which are amazing films. Where would I be without Ilford Warmtone FB paper? This is the best paper available and the quality brings my images to life. A special mention should also go to ID11, Multigrade developer and Hypam fix.
NOMINATE ONE OTHER PERSON YOU THINK SHOULD FILL IN THIS FORM AND WE WILL REACH OUT TO THEM.
I would like to like to nominate an old friend who has in the last few years gone digital, but for thirty years was an excellent large format photographer and printer. Richard Littlewood @richardlittlewoodphoto
About The Author
Andrew is a professional photographer for over 35 years. He has established an international reputation as both practitioner and teacher of the photographic medium. Andrew has had three books published to date;
- Night Photography. Published by Argentum an imprint of Aurum books. ISBN 1 902538 12 9
- Hand Colouring and Alternative darkroom Processes. Published by Rotovision ISBN 2 88046 551 6
- Home Photography. Published by Argentum an imprint of Aurum books. ISBN 1 90253829 3
He has been published over 100 times in magazines and journals such as AG+Manual, Camera and Creative Photography, Photo Art International, Amateur Photographer, Black and white magazine, Lenscratch, Emulsive, The Online darkroom, Bokehonline, On Landscape, Royal Photographic Society, Friends of Photography, British Journal of Photography and View Camera, Andrew has exhibited regularly in the UK and New York, and has photographs in picture libraries in both Britain and the United States. Andrew been working closely with Ilford Harman Technology for the last fifteen years as one of their Master Printers. He runs workshops from his darkroom and studio in Holmfirth. Details can be found at https://thewebdarkroom.co.uk/workshops/