Hill End Analogue

Autochrome lumiere, daguerreotype, cyanotypes, wet plate collodion process, heliography, and silver gelatin. If these terms spark your interest, you are already in the world of all things analogue: Welcome to Hill End Analogue.

Lauded for its higher dynamic range, analogue photography captures the ephemeral moment with all its nuance and detail. Colour for example is true to the moment, as are the idiosyncrasies of photographer, film, light, and exposure. It is also responsive to dark room process, where on-the-spot decisions influence tone, contrast and serendipity. As Hill End Analogue (HEA) President Bill Moseley explains, “The darkroom gives more opportunity for swerves to happen, particularly when you’re welcoming the chance of things that happen, and things go off in another direction.”

In 2019 when Moseley exhibited and Genevieve Carroll attended the Analogue photography festival, Revela´t Festiva in Spain, the Hill End-located pair found common ground for their own artistic direction: “They held the festival in a small village outside Barcelona; it just seemed that it would be terrific here,” says Moseley, citing the Holtermann collection (which features Hill End and the greater Central West Goldfields) as a prime motivator.

Working with Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (which has in its collection silver gelatin prints from the original glass plate negatives from 1872 held in the State Library of NSW) HEA will exhibit these prints at the Hill End Sacred Heart Church. “This celebration of analogue photography will invite us to ask, ‘what is photography?’ The glass plates, by Beaufoy Merlin and Charles Bayliss, retain the moment of their creation. The silver gelatin prints from those plates are a direct link to something that was ‘real’,” says Moseley. The images will be projected onto the building by Peter Solness and others, “to bring the human presence back to the buildings.”

Transplanting the analogue festival idea to Hill End is just the start: “We aim to make Hill End the Australian focal point for analogue photography,” Moseley says. Moseley and Carroll have spent the past four years honing their delivery: “The intention is to acquaint those curious spirits amongst us with the amazing world of alternative photography that may or may not involve a lens, but will definitely involve a bit of simple—or not so simple—chemistry, and a lot of fun,” says Moseley, with Carroll adding, “There is something magical in analogue image-making that we want to share.” The HEA is a member of the Analog Photography Festival Network. Their support has been integral to the festival: “We’re in contact with the international group of analogue festivals, which are everywhere, it is a very big movement. Everybody in the global movement supports each other,” says Moseley.

Moseley and Carroll are the curators, with curatorial and production assistance from Lisa Sharkey. The exhibiting artists bring a breadth of talent and expertise: Bill Moseley, wet plate collodion and installation; Steven Cavanagh, cyanotype; James Farley, tintype (also called ferrotype or melainotype); Silvi Glattauer, photogravure; Irene Ridgeway, silver gelatin and mixed media; Craig Tuffin, daguerreotype; silver gelatin from Enrico Scotece, Kurt Sorenson, Amanda Williams and Sammy Hawker; and Eloise Maree; tintype. Artists outside the program will display and sell works.

Hill End is hosting the festival: “We’re activating empty buildings in our unique town,” says Moseley. The pair have worked with NSW National Parks to secure major historical buildings, which will house photography determined by the differing levels of light. The Sacred Heart Church for example, but also the hospital, morgue, bakery, Royal hall and Holtermann’s Corner Store.

To acquaint the curious with analogue, many of the works will represent some of the more obscure techniques. Moseley explains, “Images displayed at the festival won’t necessarily represent any profound reality other than the magic of the process itself and the wonders of chemistry.” Ellie Young of Gold Street Studios, for example, will be demonstrating some of the more involved techniques of the alternative photography process, chrysotype.

Artist talks, workshops (including cyanotype jewellery making) and demonstrations are planned: “As a real treat, F.Stop workshops will be creating a giant cyanotype ‘photogram’ of all the students of Hill End Public School,” says Moseley. F.Stop will be holding workshops for people to try historic techniques. Music and food at the Royal Hotel, a pop-up cafe, General Store, and Hill End Estate will keep visitors fuelled. There’s a variety of accommodation available (go to the HEA website). If you want to dive into Hill End early, take the road through Sofala to follow the Gold Trail.

This article was originally published in Artist Profile, issue 65

Hill End Analogue 
18 – 19 November 2023 
Bularidee Country / Wiradjuri Nation / Hill End

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