Postby Julie Parmenter » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:38 pm


Photography is now an ‘every-man’ medium, but what of the founding techniques of photography, of the pure essence of ‘capturing light’?

Non obsolescence, a new exhibition at Down Stairs in Herefordshire, addresses this important question. The exhibition consists of three contemporary photographers using founding and traditional photographic techniques, such as camera obscuras, collodion and film photography.

Non obsolescence has been conceived in response to Down Stairs‘ recently-opened exhibition, Change The World Or Go Home, and forms a key element of the world-renowned Hereford Photography Festival 2011.

Non obsolescence is curated by Charlie Levine, director of Birmingham’s independent contemporary art gallery TROVE. She says: “The location for this important exhibition at Down Stairs is entirely intentional. These classic photographic formats changed the world, revolutionised documentation and altered our perceptions of life and truth. These artists represent how our views of the world have changed, and represent a reason why the everyman photographer should ‘go home’.”

Non obsolescence opens at Down Stairs with a preview reception on Saturday 29th October from 12-8pm, with hot cider served from 3pm onwards. It then runs throughout the duration of Hereford Photography Festival 2011 from 28th October – 26th November.

Matthew Andrew explores preconceptions of what a reference photograph should be and how much information is conveyed to the viewer using a visual medium. His featured work, Mimesis, uses film photography and is a series of images exploring truth, knowledge and photographic representation.

Jo Gane’s work, Ancient and Modern, uses the wet plate collodion process, an historic photographic process invented in 1850. It involves coating glass plates with collodion chemistry, sensitizing plates in silver nitrate then exposing in the camera before developing or fixing, all in less than 10 minutes. Her work aims to question the value placed on age and authenticity within the art/photographic market.

Minnie Weisz’s photographs are taken in abandoned and forgotten buildings in and around London. Within their rooms she creates narratives from the abandoned objects found inside that relate to the building’s history, and the view that floods the room from outside. Using pinhole technique, traditional photography and documentary, Weisz weaves stories into the interior world of a building, creating an ode to each place she inhabits through photography.

Running concurrently to Non obsolescence, the exhibition Change The World Or Go Home brings together a diverse range of artists both established and up and coming, ranging from Turner Prize winners to artists who grew up within 500 yards of the gallery. It questions the relevance of artists in today’s society and whether their work can change the status quo.

Change The World Or Go Home is open from Friday to Sunday 12-5pm until 30th December, or by appointment outside of these hours.

Also running at Down Stairs from 28th October – 26th November is Upstare, an exhibition by Hay-on-Wye based artist Mark Houghton. The show will consist of works conceived for, and in response to the flat roof area of Great Brampton House. Alongside this, a number of works illustrating a preoccupation with readymades will line the stairway leading up to the roof space.

Houghton’s practice is concerned with the search for potential narrative in the overlooked and seemingly insignificant aspects of the everyday - suggesting from the evidence of impact and detritus of mankind that any landscape can essentially be read as an inescapable narrative of intervention, Houghton uses discarded items, worn out things, everyday bits, reconfiguring them not beyond recognition, but rather just enough to illustrate the complexity of the environments we inhabit.

Upstare commandeers the roof area of Great Brampton House as exhibition space. Visitors will find their gaze struggles to find a view that one would traditionally expect when ascending a building. Instead the horizon is punctuated all around by a row of raised balustrades. Thus one is either forced to look upwards for a vista or confront the area immediately around them. Working with this dynamic, Houghton will produce site specific works that drift in and out of what one would or wouldn’t expect to find on such a non-space.

Non-obsolescence – Hereford Photography Festival Event
As part of HPF’s opening conference, James Stevenson, V&A Photographic Manager, will present new processes in digital 3D modelling and film at the V&A, followed by a panel conversation with James Stevenson, Charlie Levine, Matthew Andrew, Jo Gane and Minnie Weisz on classic photographic methods in contemporary practice such as collodion, camera obscuras and cyanotypes.

Saturday 29th October 3-5pm
Folly Theatre, Hereford College of Arts, Folly Lane, Hereford HR1 1LT
For full details, visit
For tickets, call 01432 340555
Non obsolescence is presented in association with


Notes to Editors:

For images and further information, please contact:
Julie Parmenter, Brampton PR, tel: 07775 715936, e:
Craig Barnes, Gallery Manager, Down Stairs, tel: 01981 251094,

Down Stairs is a new 6,000 square feet artist-run gallery space located at Great Brampton House in Madley, Herefordshire. The gallery showcases new work from emerging to internationally-acclaimed artists with an ambitious program incorporating installation, sculpture, performance, film, painting and drawing, both in the gallery spaces and in Great Brampton House’s extensive grounds and gardens.

TROVE is a contemporary art gallery whose programme rotates monthly by month. Since its launch in October 2009, TROVE has shown artists from all around the world from all different stages in their careers.

Hereford Photography Festival takes place from Friday 28th October – Saturday 26th November 2011 and is the UK’s longest running photography festival. In 2010, the festival showcased 75 artists and documentary photographers across the region in 40 exhibitions. It has always been a photographers’ project; started by enthusiasts and sustained by artists happy to see their work reach new audiences outside of predictable city spaces. It has maintained an open submission show alongside the curated exhibitions, with many of those photographers invited back in subsequent years.

Tel: 01981 251 094
Julie Parmenter
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Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:01 pm

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