The first meeting of The Calotype Society took place between 3rd and 5th August 2013 at Lacock Abbey. (The original name Calopalooza was concocted by Rachel Nordstrom and Roger Watson in a bar in Munich apparently). The Society started out as a Flickr group originated by Richard Cynan Jones in February 2010. The meeting was originally the suggestion of Rick Lanning and was meant to be a few people meeting up to buy some beers for Richard to thank him for creating the group and starting the culture of sharing so much information about the various calotype processes. However, it later gained momentum and became a more organised event with Richard, Rachel Nordstrom and Roger Watson from the Fox Talbot museum at Lacock doing all the organising.
The event was a pilot project for similar future meetings and so it was kept small and invitation only. There were 10 participant calotype practitioners, including Richard and Dan Estabrook who came from the US as one of the guest speakers.
On Sunday we made images all day. The weather was a bit mixed but there was enough light to work by in between the showers. In the early afternoon Richard brought out his homemade 12×16″ sliding box camera to make a group portrait using a Dallmeyer 4D, fast at f/4 so he used only a 2-minute exposure which was made by Laura’s partner John Bailey. John had to do some unexpected crowd control when some surly visitors insisted on using the main steps during the exposure, one suggesting that he should be in the image before being shooed away. He appeared as a faint ghost at the top of the steps in the calotype, if you look carefully at the image. On Sunday evening we were treated to another great talk, this time a presentation by the American artist Dan Estabrook about his practice and in particular his use of Talbot’s original method of which he is a master. He gave a very inspiring talk about his conceptual work. The evening ended up at a local pub with a round being bought in absentia by Rick Lanning who unfortunately couldn’t make it which was a real pity as the whole idea had stemmed from his original suggestion.