Christopher John Ball Fine Arts Photographer and Writer

Photography Articles, Essays and Tutorials by Christopher John Ball:

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  • THE TORMENT OF ARIAS : THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF JEAN JACQUES ANDRÉ If one were to attempt to describe the photographs that Jean creates it would be in terms of a fusion of the images produced by Angus McBean (his theatrical photomontages), Ralph Gibson (particularly his ‘The Somnambulist’ 1970 era) and the Symbolist artists such as Gustave Moreau, Rodolphe Bresdin and Fernand Khnopff - writes Christopher John Ball

  • THE PHOTOGRAPHIC ECSTASY: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF DANIEL MURTAGH Just as he enjoys using female models to create much of his still imagery - Daniel predominantly casts women in the film roles because “there is an ideal balance to be found by expressing emotion and sensuality with woman as protagonist.” Asked to expand further he explains that he believes that women have “a face that looks out from some aspect of human experience I can never really know” - writes Christopher John Ball.

  • PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE OTHER - “ONCE YOU LABEL ME, YOU NEGATE ME” Much has been written by philosophers, such as Aristotle, Immanuel Kant and Wittgenstein, about the nature of beauty, aesthetics and the ever shifting values that we place upon what we see and observe; but what does it mean to be ‘seen’ by another and how does that impact upon us as individuals and how we perceive ourselves and our own appearance/beauty?

  • PRACTICAL DREAMER - THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF NICOLAS TUCKER Nic is on record as stating that he doesn’t see his work as an… “abstract, a symbol or a statement…I’m trying to make a decent picture, nothing more serious than that” but there is far too much going on within his imagery, too many references, quotations, symbolism and delightful constructs, for this to be anything more than just a playful conceit and further example of his self deprecating humour and, in truth, could possibly be a disservice to his work. The viewer is drawn into his images and encouraged to ask questions – to enter into a dialogue. His photographs are inherently about the sensuality and eroticism of looking and they refuse to be ignored - writes Christopher John Ball.
  • AN INTRODUCTION TO PHOTOGRAPHIC FILTERS AND THEIR APPLICATION Filters are used within photography to modify the light falling on the subject or passing through the camera lens. Even though we are now in the digital age and see the widespread use of photoshop, filters still have their uses and it doesn't hurt to have an understanding of how they work or can be used. - writes Christopher John Ball

  • CYANOTYPES AND DIGITAL NEGATIVES I favour making negatives via an inkjet printer and printing out to the desired size onto Overhead Projection Film. Inkjet negatives give the photographer greater control over the finished image - writes Christopher John Ball


  • BASIC PHOTOGRAPHIC LIGHTING EXPLAINED Whether you are using flash or tungsten the basics of good photographic lighting are the same - writes Christopher John Ball

  • A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO THE KALITYPE PROCESS The Kallitype is another process that uses ferric salts with silver nitrate and produces a brown-tone image. It was introduced by Dr. W. J. Nichol in 1899 and was based on Herschel's argentotype (1842). It is similar in appearance to a platinotype but is formed of a metallic silver instead of platinum - writes Christopher John Ball

  • HOW TO USE EXPOSURE METERS Though almost all of today's cameras come with a 'built-in' light meter this doesn't mean that the good old fashioned 'hand-held' meter should be thrown away as useless - writes Christopher John Ball

  • A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO THE GUM BICHROMATE PROCESS The gum bichromate process draws on techniques first developed by Alphonse Louis Poitevin in 1855. It was in this year that he patented a process he called 'helio-plastic'. He had found that when bichromated gelatine was exposed to a light, strong in UV, under a negative and then soaked in water; parts of the gelatine stood out in relief to form an image. This was because the bichromated colloid had undergone a hardening process, making it more or less insoluble, in proportion to the action of light - writes Christopher John Ball

  • DEPTH OF FIELD - When one focuses a camera upon a subject, to give a sharp image, objects nearer to the lens, and those further away from it, do not appear equally sharp. This decline in sharpness is gradual and progressive. There exists an area of apparent focus, both behind and in front of the subject, where the blur is too small to be noticeable and therefore appears sharp. This area, between the furthest and nearest parts of a subject that be photographed with acceptable sharpness, is known as the ' depth of field '.

  • DEPTH OF FOCUS - When the camera lens is focused on an object there is one position where the image is sharpest. The sharpness falls off as the film is moved away from this position of exact focus. There is a certain range of focusing movement within which it is not possible for the human eye to detect a difference between what is actually sharp and a very slightly blurred, or soft, image. In photography this is called depth of focus.

  • HYPERFOCAL DISTANCE - When a lens is focused on infinity, the depth of field extends from infinity towards a point nearer the camera lens. This distance from the camera to the near limit of sharp field is called the Hyperfocal distance.

  • A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO THE CASEIN PROCESS -This is a process that was patented by the Neue Photographische Gesellschaft in 1908. Casein, the main protein in milk, can be used in combination with a dye or pigment and potassium dichromate to make prints - writes Christopher John Ball

  • PHOTOGRAPHIC CHEMICALS - Descriptions of the various chemicals most used within conventional photography. Includes details of any health threats. Please note: All medical suggestions are for information and advice only. On all occasions please seek medical help, from a Doctor, immediately. Remember to take any packaging, bottles, descriptions etc to the hospital

  • HOW TO DEVELOP A MONOCHROME FILM.Whilst it may seem that digital has made film redundant many serious photographers are coming back to the medium or looking to try it for the first time. If you are one of them then this short article will give you some tips on how to process your first film - writes Christopher John Ball.

  • A BRIEF EXPLANATION OF THE ZONE SYSTEM The Zone System is a method of exposing, developing, and printing monochrome images and is based upon pre-visualising the subject matter - writes Christopher John Ball

  • THE PIN-HOLE CAMERA In this day of digital perfection and software correction the 'Pin-hole' camera is a breath of fresh air and a superb tool to consider using on your next photographic assignment - suggests Christopher John Ball

  • A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO THE ALBUMEN PROCESS Until 1850 prints had traditionally been made on salted paper (paper that had been impregnated with Silver Chloride) that had been coated with a solution of Silver Nitrate. This process was thought to have little strength. A base that could hold more silver was required. Blanquart-Evrard, of Lille, suggested coating the paper with a thin film of egg white (Albumen) prior to sensitising with a Silver Nitrate solution -writes Christopher John Ball

  • A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO THE PLATINUM PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESS - The platinum print has been called the most beautiful photographic process. It has a naturally warm colour and a greater tonal separation in the mid tones and highlights.Please note that this method of printing is expensive and can be complicated. Therefore this page can only give a brief overview - writes Christopher John Ball.


  • INTRODUCTION TO MAKING A SUCCESSFUL PHOTOGRAPHIC TEST STRIP/PRINT Though it is possible to purchase an 'exposure meter' for calculating print exposure times these can be expensive and, for fine art/exhibition printing, not always accurate. By far the best way to ascertain the correct exposure for any given negative/paper type is to produce a test strip - writes Christopher John Ball

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