Peter Goldfield

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by Fraxinus, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. Fraxinus

    Fraxinus Subscriber

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    Probably only of significance to certain UK photographers who remember his fantastic contribution in supporting 'the cause' over the years is the news that Peter Goldfield, of Goldfinger and Duckspool fame, sadly passed away last week.

    Peter was a staunch supporter and enabler of independent photography in the UK from the early 1970s onwards, both through his company Goldfinger in the early days - importing Agfa Record Rapid Paper originally and then a whole range of hard-to-get materials - through to the establishment of 'Photographers at Duckspool' in 1985 - his workshop centre in rural Somerset.

    So many photographers are indebted to Peter's contribution to the medium that I'm sure tributes will abound. So far, the following remembrances have appeared: Pradip Malde; Idiotic Hat; F64 & Beyond; Re:tongue:hoto; and my own.
     
  2. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

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    De mortuis nil nisi bonum?

    After waiting a short time for the tributes to flood in, I would like to make the following comment:

    In principle, I applaud anyone who follows their heart and tries to realize their lifelong passion by making it their main occupation. In some cases, persistence and effort pay off – in others, it proves that the person concerned is entirely unsuited to the task in hand. Goldfield combined a strong desire to stand at center stage with a knowledge of photography which was elementary at best and compounded this with non-existent business and interpersonal skills. I attended numerous workshops at Duckspool in the 1990s, each time hoping that Goldfield would allow the guest workshop leader (the subject of my interest) to speak and not drown him/her out with crass and insensitive interventions. In almost all cases, I was disappointed. I was also less than impressed by the fact that the seminar room was furnished with chairs rescued from a junkman’s bonfire and that the darkroom was similarly equipped with busted-up enlargers given to Goldfield for free and was so filthy that I could not stay in it for longer than 15 minutes without succumbing to a dust allergy.

    The last workshop I attended (in 1997) was by Charles Harbutt, a man whom Goldfield idealized but whose main if not only goal I felt was to get his hands on his fee for minimum effort and who in my view (based on over 40 years as a media pro) had not had an original idea in over 20 years. I raised my concerns with Goldfield in a quiet and diplomatic way, he chose to respond by engaging in a screaming fit in front of all the other attendees such that I was forced to match his decibel level. The impression which this and other examples of his behavior made on his customers must surely have led to the collapse of his workshop business two to three years later.

    I am truly sorry to say it, but I believe the effect of all this has been to create a general impression among photo enthusiasts that workshops lasting several days (and costing £400, £500 or more) are likely to be overpriced, badly organized and of little value and thus kill the workshop market in the UK stone dead.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Peter was a excellent teacher/workshop leader, he acted as a catalyst to help photographers find their own ways of working, I met him on numerous occasions and went on 3 or4 of his workshops at Duckspool in the mid 80's, often at very short notice when he struggled for numbers while getting established.

    Peter embraced new technologies and moved awy from the more traditional approach in recent years but he passed on his wisdom and enthusiasm to a generation of photographers through his workshops and also his teachin at St Martins in London. He was always one of those genuinely nice people in life.

    Ian
     
  4. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    I'm glad I had the priviledge of meeting him. I was lucky enough to have attended a Fay Godwin workshop at Duckspool back in 1992. I loved his 'Fearful Symmetry' work. He will be missed.
     
  5. Martin Reed

    Martin Reed Advertiser Advertiser

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    Peter Goldfield & The Craftbook

    I'm not sure how best to refer to another thread, but this one links through to a downloadable copy of the 'Goldfinger Craftbook', which Peter oversaw - we were always commercially naive, this was printed in-house on an old stencil duplicator, hence the 'woodcut' quality.

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum56/27826-after-gap-20-years-its-back.html

    or straight to the page;

    http://www.silverprint.co.uk/pdf.asp

    For some it will epitomise a heady time in the '70's and early '80's when traditional photography being rediscovered and revitalised.
     
  6. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    I met Peter, his wife Sue and daughter at Duckspool in September 2000 on a John Blakemore workshop, which was the only time I ever went there. Peter was well into digital imaging back then. I wish I discovered Duckspool much earlier. Sad news.