Work started last week on the first of my prints for Throw Up 20.18. Based on two 19th-century photos of Skye shinty players, one taken against a gable wall of the Lovat Arms Hotel in Beauly by Strathpeffer-based photographer John MacMahon. He had businesses in Aberdeen, Inverness and Nairn. He was trained as a lithographer with George Washington Wilson (of the famous postcards) and also worked with the London company Autotype. One of Autotype’s (formerly The Autotype Fine Art Company) specialist products was the paper required to produce traditional copper plate photogravure prints.
So it seems fitting that the images are going to be produced using a modern slant on photogravure, using digital positives and steel-backed, light-sensitive polymer plates. These are still hand inked and printed on an etching press. The images show small test plates being worked up to check exposures before committing to the final plates.
When posing for the original photos, could the Skye players have anticipated being represented through polymerisation and hand-polished by a strange man in 2017?