Celebration of early photography continues

Workshops, live performance and exhibitions – Developed in Birmingham continues throughout August.

Developed in Birmingham celebrates early photography in the city, devised by curator and photographic historian Pete James and artist Jo Gane with workshops, live performances and exhibitions continuing throughout August.

This week is your last chance to see Thresholds, a virtual reality artwork by Mat Collishaw at the Waterhall Gallery, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Conceived and developed by Mat Collishaw and Pete James, Thresholds restages one of the earliest exhibitions of photography which took place in 1839 when British scientist William Henry Fox Talbot presented his photographic prints to the public at King Edward’s School in Birmingham.

The experience is fully immersive with visitors walking freely through a digitally reconstructed room with a soundscape which includes the sound of demonstrations of the Chartist protesters who rioted in 1839 on the streets of Birmingham. Alongside the exhibition visitors can view rare archive material from The King Edwards Foundation Archive as well as a series of new works by sculptor and installation artist Cornelia Parker.

A White House on Paradise Street by Jo Gane in collaboration with Pete James and Leon Trimble at Birmingham Open Media runs until 19th August. The exhibition is inspired by the absence of what has been claimed by some writers to be the first photographic image made in Birmingham, and potentially the first image made in England using the daguerreotype photographic process. Now missing, the image is said to have depicted a White House on Paradise Street, and is thought to have been made by George Shaw in late August or early September 1839.

In response to research by Pete James, the exhibition places small time machine camera devices around the city in locations relevant to key moments and events in the early history of photography in Birmingham. These devices are constructed using historic techniques in mahogany by master cabinetmaker Jamie Hubbard, to resemble the Wolcott daguerreotype camera patented in 1840.

Artist Leon Trimble has used Raspberry Pi micro computers to enable them to live stream analogue images from inside the camera back into the gallery space and online. To get hands on experience of how this technology works, join Leon for a workshop on 10 August at Waterstones, Birmingham.

On 16 August, members of the public can tune into the live stream either from the Paradise Street websiteor at BOM as the cameras reveal characters from the 1840s interacting within the contemporary cityscape.

Artist Pete Ashton will transform Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s studio over six days from 7th–12th August inviting visitors to the gallery to trace a portrait of their friends and family and learn about the history of photography. On Saturday 19 August Pete Ashton will also lead a one-off workshop for young people, inviting them to get involved in rethinking photography and hacking cameras at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Children and their families can join artist Melanie King and Birmingham Camera Obscura and take part in a giant cyanotype / sun print workshop on 29 August at Millennium Point using a selection of objects and a giant piece of fabric.

If that’s not enough, look out for Wolcott, the Big Sleuth Bear, hanging around Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Wolcott. is adorned with a collaged coat which celebrates the history of photography in Birmingham. Decorated with images relating to the city’s rich history of image making, he is a totem of this summer’s season of photography themed exhibitions events and activities.

Pete James, Artistic Director for Developed in Birmingham said: “Our season of events and exhibitions celebrates Birmingham’s incredible role in the development of photography both in terms of the processes pioneered here through to the first photographs and exhibitions. To-date thousands of people have participated in events or visited the exhibitions running as part of our programme, it is fantastic to see people taking another look at their city in relation to photography.”

Jo Gane, Artistic Director for Developed in Birmingham added: “There really is something for everyone during August, from budding young photographers to established artists looking to expand their knowledge of those first processes and photographs taken right here in Birmingham. There are opportunities for people to get involved both in person and online and I am particularly looking forward to the live stream from A White House on Paradise Street on 16th August.”

Full event details are available on the Developed in Birmingham website