The Art of Lee Finch – “The Aesthetics of Nostalgia”

This month’s chosen photographer is the quirky, very busy, and wonderfully multi talented Lee Finch. Lee is one of my friends, a work colleague, my first photography tutor, and was partly responsible for developing my love of macro photography. As I write this he will sat be on his recently converted narrow boat  (converted by Lee himself …..impressive.), exhibiting a collection of clever and quirky photograms,  as part of the New Mills Festival .

Lee’s images feature iconic pop culture objects ranging from toy dinosaurs and classic cars to Sci fi. The objects are placed in jars and then the light from the enlarger is skillfully manipulated to create the desired level of exposure and ultimately these cool photograms.

Lee Finch

Lee Finch

Photograms are Lee’s main specialism but he is also is an amazing photographer. I adore his series of photographs, Urbanites  “When your Mamma’s not Lookin”, which brilliantly capture the curiosity and energy of childhood. They  remind me of the iconic images in Ken Loache’s film Kes. Lee is also a qualified lecturer, print maker and artist who has had his work displayed from Bermuda to the North of England. He has also been resident artist in numerous places. Now over to Lee……


Lee Finch

Lee Finch

In the Artist’s own words

As a boy aged around 14 I had my first experience of working in a darkroom. I was curious and had asked my art teacher what the big machine was in his storeroom and he then gave several of us a printmaking demo and I made my first photogram. I was hooked. To see an image appearing on photographic paper was an amazing and ethereal experience and I have been making traditional prints and photograms ever since. I had my first enlarger and darkrom in my bedroom at the age of 16 and by this time had procured myself a working 35mm Yashica camera and a basic cine camera which I used to produce small stop frame animations with.

I mostly make Photograms. A very early and traditional photographic printmaking process.

They are made by exposing objects directly onto light sensitive materials.

My work seeks to explore the many wonderful, strange and surprising things that happen when objects are exposed directly to light sensitive paper.

I am intrigued by ways of seeing and how by looking a little deeper into the aesthetics of an object or the meaning behind an artwork revelations often occur.

These hidden secrets and qualities can be brought to the attention of the viewer through the Photogram. The wonderful imperfections found in glass, the subtle structures found in many natural forms, the visual impact of a child’s toy when exposed as a photogram.

I create Photograms on both a large and small scale, from shopping trolleys or people to the wings of a butterfly. I use a great number of methods and ways of working to make my images, many of which not commonly associated with the Art of the Photogram. I may simply expose the objects directly to my photographic papers. I may create photographic negatives to expose with the objects and on occasion may embrace contemporary digital processes to enhance the works. All of my works start life as a photogram.

I often describe my work as an investigation into the ‘Aesthetics of Nostalgia’


Lee’s Boat

Just over one year ago I bought myself a narrowboat which I have moored in the Peak district on the Peak forest canal.





I have spent the year of hard graft converting the boat into a floating workshop and studio which I have spent the year of hard graft I will use to (hopefully) keep the traditional art of photography alive. The boat will become both a darkroom and a huge floating pinhole camera.



















Lee Finch

Lee Finch


Lee Finch

Lee Finch




Lee Finch Urbanites


Lee Finch Urbanites


Lee Finch Urbanites


Lee Finch


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A big thanks to Lee for taking the time to contributing towards this post and sharing his inspiring photography.I  hope you have been inspired and enjoyed Lee’s narrow boat of curiosoties, and will also take more trips to his websites to see more of his cult cool images …….or even visit the boat itself for either part of the New Mills Festival (ends next weekend ) or book yourself on one of his workshops next year.



All these photographs are copyrighted to Lee Finch




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