A steampunkish way to creativity in Hackney


WHO IN this age of tech-ubiquity is not open to the idea of steampunk, also confusingly known as retro-futurism? Consider, for example, the success of Lomography, with its super-cool old/low-tech cameras.

Two ventures in Hackney have a sense of the steampunk about them, which is why Loving Dalston has decided to select them from the many arty ventures that seek publicity.

The Double Negative Darkroom (DNDR), above, began in 2009 but came to this site’s attention only last month April 2014 when its editor was corralled to pose, as were many other Saturday ambulators, for a pinhole camera set up in Ridley Road market.

DNDR, which says its Clapton premises is “becoming a European centre for alternative photographic and silver gelatin practice, research, teaching and learning”, is busy preparing its annual salon

This will show the analogue work of DNDR members, tutors and friends from the last year. The key word is analogue: the other end of the photographic spectrum from the digital camera “alternative photography ideas”.

Smile! Pic supplied by DNDR

Craig and Kelly Stead are steampunk in that they have not had to reinvent themselves, as so often seems near mandatory in Hipsterville, but are born East Enders.

They were raised in Stepney, and in the family were pubs, among them the Horn of Plenty in Globe Road.

Under that name theyve just opened an online art gallery that they launched with a popup in an, uhm, physical gallery, the exhibition space at Arch 402 in Shoreditch E2 8HD.

Craig Stead says: My wife [Kelly] and I have always wanted to tell the story behind the creation of art.” They want to make art for the [ahem] massesmore accessible by introducing themthe masses, us common folkto the artists world.

He adds: Our East London heritage has largely informed the creation of our brand and we feel that art presents a huge opportunity to help to drive the regeneration of the area.

David Altheer 050514 

* Open studios at DNDR, 178a Glyn Road E5 0JE, Thurs 8 May 2014, Fri 9 May and Sat 10 May. Private view, with installations and refreshments, Sat 10 May 2014 at 7pm. Tintype portrait session on Sun 11 May  2014. Website for times. Free entry. Disabled access.

* For the online gallery, press Horn of Plenty.

* Backstory: Pinholed down in Dalston

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

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