An extraordinary exhibition of some of the most celebrated photographers and their iconic work is currently on show at the Museum in the Park in Stroud.

Hundreds of people attended the launch event of the new show, 31 years of 31 studio, on Friday which features unique works from the archives of a printing studio based in Horsley.

Stroud News and Journal:

Mirella Ricciardi's Turkana Girl taken at Lake Rudolf, Kenya, in 1968 is just one of the dozens of iconic photos on show

Works on show include prints from photographers and artists, across a diverse range of styles, produced using the platinum palladium process.  Amongst the images exhibited are those developed from the glass negatives of Frederick Evans and Jacques Henri Lartigue and photos by Bill Brandt, Bailey, Linda McCartney, Don McCullin, Sebastião Salgado and Idris Khan.

Stroud News and Journal:

Visitors to the exhibition can also see Jimi Hendrix photographed by Gered Mankowitz in 1967

Fred Chance, one of the organisers behind the exhibition, said that the show offered a unique opportunity to see the details in the photographs in a new way.

“Platinum printing is a distinctive photographic reproduction method because the prints have a unique tonal range - there are no absolute blacks or whites,” he said.

 “Instead the print is produced in incredibly subtle tones of grey, so that even the deepest shadows have an expressive character and detail.”

31 Studio, which is based just outside Nailsworth,  was the first dedicated studio of its kind in the UK to revive and specialise in the art of platinum/palladium printing.

Stroud News and Journal:

Frederick Evans, Wells Cathedral: A Sea of Steps, 1903, looks incredible as a platinum print 

The process  was hugely important at the end of the 19th century - but with the development of other easier photographic technologies and the prohibitive cost of the metal after the first world war, the process was largely forgotten by the 1920s.

When Paul Caffell started 31 Studio in 1988 he had to learn the process virtually from scratch, as there were no contemporary practitioners with the skills to guide him.  

A belief in the artistic potential of Platinum printing led the leading fashion photographer David Bailey to 31 Studio. 

Bailey’s interest in the Platinum process was matched by an increasing number of other photographers searching for a distinctive and sensitive means of printing their work. 

By the mid 1990s this led to an expansion of 31 Studio’s business, when Paul’s son Max joined. 

Max has now taken over direction of 31 Studio, working with a small creative team drawn from a variety of artistic disciplines and backgrounds.

  • Max Caffell will be talking about the photographs and the process in the gallery at the Museum on Wednesday, January 16, at 7.30pm. Free event. 
  • 31 Years of 31 Studio, Museum in the Park, Stroud until January 31 more information

Stroud News and Journal:

Boy Holding Chicken by David Bruce has been admired by many of those who have seen it in person at the show in Stroud