John Austin: Black and White Photography, Rae Starr: Pinhole, Cyanotype and Textiles


STEVIE, Bath, September 1973

Jul 10th, 2024 • Stories


This portrait is a continuity still made at the end of a day working on a 16mm black and white film with Stevie.  It was as a record to get the bangles, baubles and beads right for the next session on the film.

In contrast to the casual “fix it in editing” way we worked in the BFU, an offshoot of Bath Arts Workshop, my personal film was scripted with a fountain pen in a notebook.

Although the HP5 film stock was free, all the other aspects of making a 16mm film were not.  Due to the lack of funding the film was never processed so never completed and the cans of film were unwound from the cores into a bin the week before I left for Australia in 1981.  This was a mistake, they should have been left in a fridge ‘till I could get them processed when I visited UK in 1984.

Despite the losses, I still treasure this film-still and others made during the film’s shooting sessions.

After this I returned to still photography when I moved to Taunton in 1975 to work as a small-town newspaper photographer, then to Oxford in 1978 to work as photo-technician in the Design Dep't of Oxford Polytechnic.  Fifty years later I have returned to moving pictures in the form of video, an utterly different medium to film.  The good point with video is that the material costs are relatively cheap SD cards.

Interesting point was that Stevie later said she felt disturbed when I was using an Alpa 35mm SLR as my face was replaced by the camera.  When we were working with the 16mm Bolex I was standing beside or behind the camera with my face visible as I gave directions.  With my face visible she felt at ease.


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