The tradition of professionally made family portraiture goes back way before the invention of photography. Those portraits still hang in homes and museums all over the world. When, in 1839 Jacque Monde Louis Daguerre patented the Daguerreotype and gave it free to the world it was the portrait that captured the imagination. Daguerreotype studios sprung up in every major city and large town in Europe and America. People flocked to have their likeness recorded.
In recent years “High Street” studios have catered for the need to record our family history. As late as the nineties most families would be regular visitors to portrait studios, sometimes 2 or 3 times a year. Since most of us now carry a camera inbuilt in our phones, the need to have professional portraits made is less urgent. A professional portrait in 2015 is more likely to be made on a special occasion. We can make pretty reasonable images of our families on our phones, we can add a filter and share them on Instagram and Facebook, and for most of the time that is fine. More and more families now are realising the importance of not just having a professional portrait made but ordering high quality prints to frame for their walls, to have portraits that you don’t need to “log in” to look at but that live with us everyday.
Steven and Josh Taylor are not just photographers, they are printmakers. The portraits they make are special, unique. They use traditional “analogue” cameras loaded with black and white film. No white studio backgrounds either, they come to you or meet you at a location that is special to you. The portraits they make are natural, flattering and creative. If you are smiling in your portrait it is because you are happy and enjoying the experience, not because you are being asked to smile. Steven and Josh also understand that the most enduring expression might not be a smile, a deeper more meaningful expression often makes for a portrait that you will never tire of.
The pictures you choose for your wall are handprinted by Steven in a traditional darkroom. Steven is an Ilford Artisan Partner, one of only a handful selected by the black and white film and paper manufacturer to act as an ambassador and teacher of the craft. The negatives are gently teased, dodging and burning using hand movements, to bring out the very best from each image. The paper they are printed on is a heavyweight, fibre based material. The emulsion soaks deep into the fibres so that a physical and visual depth is apparent. No modern machine or digital print comes close to a well made silver gelatine print. The prints are archive processed. The process, that is demanded by museums and galleries, involves careful fixing and clearing, extended washing and selenium toning before they are gently air dried overnight. Your portraits are then mounted and framed using acid free materials. All of that ensures your portraits will look as good in 50 years as they did when you collected them from the gallery.
Steven and Josh Taylor can make vouchers for a portrait sitting and your choice of finished portrait that you can give as a very unique Christmas present. Call 01539 737497 to discuss.