Obsolete & Discontinued explores the diversity of analogue photography through a collection of discarded photographic materials. In March 2015 I was given a quantity of outdated photographic paper and film; numerous boxes and packets, the majority of which had ceased production years ago. Most were 20 to 30 years old, indeed some far older. For optimum results, photographic paper does have a limited shelf life. Given that this paper had been stored for so long, it was a welcome surprise that after testing, some encouraging results were produced. Papers that seemed unusable and degraded with conventional photographic processes responded well to more specialist and alternative techniques.

I then wondered what others could do with this material. I appealed to a wider community of photographers and artists to accept the challenge to produce new work using the paper or film. It was distributed to over 60 participants, purposely with an open brief, so each photographer could decide how to use their selected material.

Over a period of months, prints were returned using a wide variety of processes including silver gelatin, lith printing, wet collodion, paper negative and several hybrid analogue/digital techniques.

Obsolete & Discontinued was launched in May 2016, at the Revela-T festival of photography in Vilassar de Dalt, Catalonia, Spain. It has subsequently been exhibited in November 2016 at Schaelpic Photokunstbar in Cologne Germany and will next be shown in London in October 2018.

The project celebrates the unique qualities and potential of analogue photography. All the materials came from the darkroom of artist and teacher, the late Bret Sampson, donated by his nephew David Yates. It is sincerely hoped he would have approved of the new work created and the inspiration provided by the paper he left behind.

Mike Crawford