Fall 2007 Issue
Accolades from Across the Pond
Barry Fine Arts Associate Professor Scott Weber won the Abney Award for photographic excellence in antique processes in December. The award is named for Sir William Abney, president of the Royal Photographic Society from 1892-94, and again in 1896, 1903 and 1905. Abney also founded the Camera Club of London in 1885.
Weber's work first captured the attention of photo-aficionados across the pond while part of the North American Traveling Portfolio, a multi-stop photo exhibit. While visiting the exhibit, Camera Club of London exhibition officer Peter Mosley was so impressed with Weber's photographs that he requested Weber send them to London to be included in an exhibition at the Camera Club. While on display there, Weber's photograph, Orchid #39, won the Abney.
A photographer for 35 years, Weber first became interested in antique processing after he tried unsuccessfully to locate a salt print to show students in his History of Photography class. Weber then decided to make one himself using 19th century techniques to hand mix chemicals and to develop the photo paper. Considered to be one of the first photo-developing techniques, making a salt print involves using paper coated with salt and silver nitrate to develop the image. Salt printing, however, is just one type of antique processing. Weber also makes platinum prints, and the photograph which won him the Abney was a palladium-toned Van Dyke print.
While Weber's work is rewarding, it is also time consuming. With today's digital photo technology you can produce hundreds of photographs a day, whereas with antique processes, you may only be able to produce two or three a day, he noted.