"Obsolete & Discontinued"
Obsolete & Discontinued explores the diversity of analogue photography through a collection of discarded photographic materials. In March 2015, photographer and photographic printer Mike Crawford, was given a large quantity of outdated photographic paper and film. Numerous boxes and packets, the majority of which had ceased production many years previously. Most were between 30 to 40 years old, some far older. Given that the paper had been stored for so long, it was a welcome surprise to Crawford that after testing, some encouraging results were produced. Photographic materials should be used soon after production for optimum results and naturally some of the papers showed the degraded effects of time. However, some which had appeared unusable and degraded with conventional photographic processes responded well to more specialist and alternative techniques.
Realising the potential within these old boxes of Kodak, Ilford and Agfa papers, Crawford then wondered what others could do with this material. He appealed to a wider community of photographers and artists to accept the challenge to produce new creative work using this paper or film. It was distributed to over 60 participants, purposely with an open brief, so each photographer could decide how to use their selected material. Over a period of months, prints were returned using a wide variety of processes including silver gelatin, lith printing, wet collodion, pinhole, paper negative and several hybrid analogue/digital techniques.
Obsolete & Discontinued was launched in May 2016, at the Revela-T festival of analogue photography in Catalonia, Spain. It has subsequently been exhibited in Cologne, Germany (2016), London, UK (2018) and at Magazzini Fotografici in Naples, 2019.
The project celebrates the unique qualities and potential of analogue photography. All the materials came from the darkroom of artist and teacher, the late Bret Sampson, donated by his nephew David Yates. It is sincerely hoped by Crawford that Sampson would have approved of the new work created and the inspiration provided by the paper he left behind.
Mike Crawford is a London based photographer and photographic printer. He works primarily in urban landscape and portraiture and has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad. For over 25 years he has run Lighthouse Darkroom, one of the UK’s premier photographic labs. He has lectured at several Universities and Institutes, is the author of four technical books and over 70 articles for various photographic publications.
The project Obsolete & Discontinued includes work by the following participants:
Joakim Ahnfelt, Andrew Atkinson, Laurie Baggett, Myka Baum, Molly Behagg, Daniel Berrange, Andy Billington, David Bruce, Jacquelene Butler, Andrew Chisholm, Mike Crawford, Beth Dow, Angela Easterling, Laura Ellenberger, Joachim Falck-Hansen, Andrew Firth, Brittonie Fletcher, Hannah Fletcher, Asya Gefter, Claus Dieter Geissler, Robin Gillanders, Brian Griffin, JJ Hastings, Rosie Holtom, Tobias D Kern, Melanie King, Morten Kolve, Andrej Lamut, Ky Lewis, James Lister, Constanza Isaza Martinez, Nicola Jayne Maskrey, Hiro Matsuoka, Gabriela Mazowiecka, Sheila McKinney, Wolfgang Moersch, Peter Moseley, Helen Nias, Douglas Nicolson, Yaz Norris, Andres Pantoja, Guy Patterson, Borut Peterlin, Almudena Romero, Tina Rowe, Debbie Sears, Holly Shackleton, Keith Taylor, Joan Teixidor, Evan Thomas, Madaleine Trigg, Sebnem Ugural, Tanja Verlak, Anna C Wagner, Andrew Whittle, Guillame Zuili.
— Grenze Arsenali Fotografici, September 2020