Thursday, 25 August 2011

News on Exhibitions and Courses

Lots happening all at once!

Roughly in order:

Exhibitions -

Greenbelt Festival, Cheltenham: 26-29 August

Exhibiting as part of the "Angels of the North" show of Northern artists.

Artists in Business exhibition, Keighley: 5th September-4th October

Central Hall, Keighley

Great North Art Show, Ripon 3rd-24th September
Exhibiting as part of the city art trail

British Science Festival - Bradford, 10th-15th September
I'll be exhibiting the work I did converting a narrowoat into a camera last October (see earlier post in this blog) - in the Atrium, Bradford University: website


Harewood House, Leeds:
A series of photography workshops starting on 18th September: Harewood House Events website

Leeds City College:
Intermediate & advanced level creative digital photography - see college website for details

Bradford College:
Beginners & intermediate photography & photoshop - see college website

For more information or advice contact me by email - CLICK HERE

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Photo workshops in Howarth

New courses in Howarth - June & July 2011.

To book either or both of these contact Steve either by email here: email
or by phone - 01943 876207 (leave a message if necessary).


I have been asked to run an afternoon workshop at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery at Leeds University on Saturday 2nd July. As soon as I have a link to this I'll post it here.

Also Harewood House have asked me to run a series of workshops for them again in the Autumn, details of dates will appear here soon.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Exhibition at South Square, Thornton

Come along to the opening, you'll be welcome!

More to follow shortly on upcoming workshop sessions in Howarth. To keep updated email me here

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Lots of questions you need to ask? 
Can't find what you want to know in the manual? 
Pictures never seem to turn out just right? 
Can't work out the controls?

Get the most out of your shiny new (or old) digital camera with easy to understand hands-on training at a local workshop session.
Whether you have a simple compact camera or the latest SLR, there’ll be one suitable for you.

Bookings are now being taken for workshops at Vicars cafe, Victoria Road, Saltaire which will take place on on Saturdays 29th January 2011 (best for compact camera users and beginners) and 12th February 2011 (for SLR users and those with some prior knowledge).

Workshops are run by Steve Rayner, a photographer with over 20 years experience of professional work, who has been teaching and leading workshops for the last 15 years.

The cost for each session is £45, they run from 10.30am - 3.30pm and include  a buffet lunch. If you want to do both, you'll get a discount of £10. Discounts are also available for groups or couples booking.

For more info or to book, contact
01943 876207
or email me here: email

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Turning a boat into a camera slideshow

I've collated a set of pictures from the three days of the project and made them into a slideshow. If you're interested, the slideshow will be shown at the Leeds Corn Exchange from 11 November for 2 weeks, along with some other work that was part of the East Street Arts "Over Yonder" project. (See Over Yonder Website and click on the projects link)

(Your sound card hasn't broken - it's silent)

Here is the full text that will accompany the slideshow:

Navicula Obscura (Darkened Boat)

The Canal:
The Leeds-Liverpool canal was a remarkable engineering achievement of the 18th century, designed to carry goods including coal, lime and wool from Yorkshire to Lancashire and the port of Liverpool, and to carry cotton and other goods to the growing cities of Yorkshire and the ports of Goole and Hull. The first part to open, in 1773, was the lock-free 18 mile stretch from Crossflatts to Gargrave. The technical feat of the Bingley 5-rise and 3-rise locks, which drop the canal almost 100 feet on its way to Leeds, were completed in 1775.
The Boat:

“Rahab” is a 45foot narrowboat with a cruiser stern and a 28hp Isuzu engine. We bought her in 2005 and have lived on board for two years.

The name was chosen because
a)      it is short, and fits easily on the side
b)      it is the only boat we have ever seen with this name
c)      it is the same as that of a biblical character who started off messed up & then pulled herself together.

We discovered afterwards that in Hebraic tradition it means a great sea monster or demon of the deep. It is also easily mistaken for “rehab” which is terribly funny for some people.

The Idea:

I have been a keen photographer since I was about 12. I still think it’s magical, even though mostly now I use digital cameras. In my teaching I like to introduce students to the basics of photography by having them make a camera, and one of the things I like to stress is that you can make a camera from any light-tight container. Several years ago I conceived the idea of using the boat as a camera and left it at the back of my mind to germinate. The project title, “navicula obscura” is a back-construction from the the latin “camera obscura” – darkened room, “navicula” meaning boat – or so I am told.

The simplicity of the science and practice of the camera obscura, and the fact that as a technology it very popular as an entertainment at the time of the construction of the canal, made it seem a good match.

Images captured from the camera will eventually be printed using one of the earliest stable photographic technologies, the gum bichromate print. This is a process which I investigated and used extensively some fifteen years ago – it was originated in the mid 19th century in France and involves direct contact printing onto a prepared surface treated with a mixture of sensitive salts and pigment, the light fixing the pigment to the surface. Each print is unique, the surface being manipulated during development.

The Project

Simply, to capture  images of the historic Leeds & Liverpool Canal and its surroundings using 18th century technology, and to reproduce them using one of the the earliest available stable photographic print media. Additionally it will provide the opportunity for anyone interested in the processes of photography to see how a camera obscura works, to assist in documenting the project, and to have a go at capturing an image themselves.

The project is in three parts:

  1. Setting up and testing the cameras
  2. Making a voyage and capturing images
  3. Assessing, printing and exhibiting the results.

The first part was completed on Monday 25th October at Rahab’s home mooring of Airedale Boat Club, and involved a test cruise a short distance to the top of the Bingley 5 Rise locks and back followed by assessment of the results.

Part two involved cruising between Stocksbridge and Shipley over three days, passing twice through the historic Bingley 3 rise and 5 rise locks and welcoming guest crew members who came bearing cake or biscuits. Ten people in all participated in the event, and several of them have given permission for their photographs to be included in this presentation.

Part three will be taken at a slightly more leisurely pace – gum prints can take a long time – but an exhibition will be produced in due course.

The project will be continued on further cruises as time and weather allows.

Photographs by:
Steve Rayner
Chris Nelson
June Russell
Steve Goodfellow
Michael Park
Steve Sykes
Hamish Morgan
Sheila Jones

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Navicula Obscura - status report

Should have posted some pics yesterday butb problems with the electrics made it impossible. Here's some samples: flickr gallery

And one to look at here:

Today (Tuesday) we're slightly behind schedule, mooring between Saltaire & Bingley, will be setting off up the 3 rise & then the 5 rise locks tomorrow morning if anyone cares to join us!


Friday, 22 October 2010

Navicula Obscura

Making a boat into a camera

25th-27th October - Leeds & Liverpool Canal

 (Navicula obscura = "darkened boat" in latin)

A project  to record a journey on an 18th century piece of civil engineering (the Leeds Liverpool Canal) using a popular 18th Century optical device(the camera obscura).

Featuring Narrowboat “Rahab” and a cast of assorted volunteers

 Monday 25th October

– Starting at Airedale Boat Club, Crossflatts

Morning -  Assemble and test the cameras obscura on the boat

Afternoon -  Cruise to Saltaire passing Bingley 5 rise & 3 rise locks, Bingley town centre, The Fisherman pub on Primrose Lane (behind Beckfoot School), Dowley Gap locks, Hirst Wood Lock, Salts Mill and on to Shipley, turning just before the dock swing bridge off Dockfield Road, and returning to Saltaire.

Tuesday 26th October

Cruise back up Hirst lock, Dowley Gap locks by the Fishermans pub, through Bingley town, up the Bingley 3 Rise & 5 Rise locks, continuing past the moorings at Crossflatts and on to Stockbridge near Keighley, and if time allows mooring near Silsden.

Wednesday 27th October
From Stockbridge (or Silsden if we got that far) continue to Kildwick, passing through the road bridge and turning at Farnhill, returning towards Bingley and all being well arriving back at Crossflatts in time for tea.

This is intended to be a paricipatory project, and visitors are welcome, and indeed may be necessary to help with some parts of the journey. Bring your cameras, bring some biscuits or cakes (I’ll have the kettle on permanently), join in and see how the most basic of cameras works - and how to make one yourself.

Just in case you’re wondering – it will happen whatever the weather. All timings are approximate and dependent on the weather and functioning canal equipment

Throughout the journey we will be stopping to capture images with the onboard equipment – this will be open for anyone who is interested to have a look and see what’s happening. Be aware that as with all activities on the waterways we need to be aware of potential dangers so visitors will need to abide by instructions they are given for their own and others’ safety.

A diary will be posted on here my blog and on Flickr –
Info will also be available through East Street Arts “over yonder” projects section –

Once the project is complete the resulting images will be printed using one of the first stable photographic printmaking media, gum bichromate (photo aquatint) and exhibited at a venue to be confirmed.

To find out more or check on the voyage's progress email steve at - this will be checked periodically and answered when possible.