Trevor Ashby at The Eden Project

Discussion in 'Book, Magazine, Gallery Reviews, Shows & Contests' started by bwakel, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. bwakel

    bwakel Member

    Nov 7, 2006
    Med. Format RF
    We enjoyed a sunny long weekend down at Mousehole in Cornwall, England last weekend and on our way back we dropped into The Eden Project.

    I can't particularly recommend The Eden Project itself - it's £15 per adult to get in and then you're jostled and bumped around in huge groups of people as you trudge around the steamy 'biomes'. But, the installation by Peter Randall-Page called 'Seed' and the exhibition of black and white images by Trevor Ashby called 'Earthly Delights' in 'The Core' education centre were quite stunning.

    'Seed' is a sizeable concrete pineapple shaped sculpture that sits at the heart of the building in a purpose built space that follows the shape of the installation. You can read more about it here:

    It makes for an interesting subject in black and white and can be explored by walking round its base or from a gallery near the top of the seed. Well worth a look.

    Trevor Ashby's sizeable collection of prints is simply beautiful. Trevor shot images of the plants and seeds in the Eden Project biomes in-situ. He placed a screen of black velvet behind each subject and, presumably, used some form of lighting to get some wonderful contrasts. By carefully arranging his subjects he's produced some very effective compositions and the tonality and detail is superb when printed large as they are at the exhibition.

    Interestingly he used a Mamiya TLR for these images which, as he admits, was a strange choice as most of the images are pretty close-up meaning that he would compose with the composing lens then have to physically move the camera to align the taking lens with his subject! Additionally, the humid conditions in the biomes meant that at least one camera failed and had to undergo costly repairs.

    Trevor used Delta 100 and FP4+ and printed his images on Ilford MG Warmtone then toned with sepia and selenium. The velvet black backgrounds have that real selenium inky darkness which makes the subjects really stand out. My only complaint is that he used a mask on all of the prints to create a rough edge to the image. The problem is that the edge is a little too contrived and is the same on every print which makes it look a little digital.

    It's probably not worth spending £15 to see this exhibition alone but if you're considering going to The Eden Project then now's a good time as the exhibition really is worth seeing. Unfortunately Trevor's pricing is a little bit too elitist for the venue. The large prints are £850 and smaller ones something like £450. There were many comments in the comments book wishing that the prices were lower and I for one would probably have bought a large print for up to £350 but couldn't justify £850. It's a shame as the exhibition obviously moved many of those who visited and it would be great to have such superb 'real' photography made available to a broader buying public.

    You can see a selection of the exhibition on Trevor's site here:

  2. bill spears

    bill spears Member

    May 30, 2007
    Cornwall Eng
    Multi Format
    Thanks for that info. I'm making a visit there very soon. Lived in Cornwall all my life but yet to visit Eden.
    I'd heard about the B+W exhibition when he had a feature in B+W magazine some time ago.

  3. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

    Apr 12, 2006
    Belfast, UK
    Medium Format