Three Galleries – Seven Photographers: When F-Stop mattered and Photoshop was a gleam in the cameraman’s eye

When a child is a seventh son of a seventh son it is said he is gifted with special abilities, but an exception to that test that is when you have seven photographers at three venues each wonderful in their own way…

(Above Chief Justice Sir David Simmonds’ grandmother taken by Pearce Tappin around 1918) From the early 20th Century to the still-dawning 21st Century, the works showcase different styles and topics of many noted Bajan shutterbugs.

Curator Harclyde Walcott urged folk at the launch to acknowledge Carl Dottin & Eric Belgrave who were part of the vanguard to get these seven recognised – Willie Alleyne, Gordon Brooks, Pearce Tappin, Cecil Marshall, Felix Kerr, Ronnie Carrington and Gordon Brooks (whose work has graced many a Digicel Cricket release here). He also wants to see these arty works better protected – this Willie Alleyne classic below of Barbadian Independence was almost lost to water damage…

In fact, Ronnie Carrington had much to say on these original days of exposure and darkrooms – he told the audience he watched it evolve from fingers and film to pixels and photo-shop; from manipulating the media to the magic of a ‘mouse‘…

(Ronnie’s respect for generations is inherent in hisMirror Image‘) The old time cameras meant you had to be able to get it right the first time, since there was no internet to assist you. His take on the show is this is a form of a Time Capsule on what Dress and History has moved through six decades.

Mr Carrington also lauded the works of Paul Mandeville and Carlton Hackett, he says cameras and their snappers will remain significant no matter if digital or not as Barbadian history continues to change…

Like when sugar disappears altogether, or when the current crop of 112-thousand cars jumps to say a Quarter Of A Million in the next 15 years – it made him wonder if rumshops would also go the way of the Dinosaur, and some audience members vehemently objected to the last conjecture.

There will be chances to further your education and have a chat with some of those featured between now and the end of September, both Sundays 20th & 27th September – the former at Queen’s Park Gallery and the latter at Errol Barrow Centre is one such chance to hobnob with some of the Seven, while Saturday 25th September is a seminar at the Cinematech of the Errol Barrow Centre for NIFCA participants with Ronnie Carrington.

Each venue will have copies of a marvellously detailed catalogue which on the opening night was selling fast, excellent quality for a highly reasonable fifty dollars – in reality? A superb book for displaying on a coffee table and actually worth maybe four times what’s being asked…

As we put back on the lens-cap, here’s an example of a photographer’s serendipity – a glimpse of Virgil Broodhagen looking at a Willie Alleyne picture of his father Karl at work in 1985 with a smaller version of the Emancipation statue near him (click on image for superior MegaPixels).

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  1. Great to see these! It’s alot of work to get all of these old and extremely valuable historic documents scanned into large digital files as further insurance!
    This would be a great project for either the students at Community College or Cave Hill or both to help scan the film catalogs of photographers who are unable to do it or their estate doesn’t know what to do with them – and every hurricane season the chance of water and fungus damage is high.


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