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Henry Iddon

The idea is to remind people of the original photographic process

Photographer Henry Iddon has received Arts Council funding to photograph contemporary adventure sports with a remarkable antique camera.

Henry’s work will be an homage to the work of George and Ashley Abraham, brothers who grew up in Keswick in the Lake District in the late 1800s. The Abraham brothers were passionate early rock-climbers and were the first to take cameras up into the hills of the Lake District to capture landscapes and action shots of their climbing.

The camera that Henry is using is on loan from the Mountain Heritage Trust, an organisation that aims to record and preserve Britain’s rich heritage in climbing, mountaineering and mountain culture, and is the very same camera that was used by the Abraham brothers.

The Underwood Instanto whole plate camera that the Abrahams, and now Henry, used, is made from solid mahogany, and is a heavy object. It uses 10”x12” glass plates, which have to be carried up the mountain alongside the camera and other equipment.

Henry Iddon said, “The idea is to remind people of the original photographic process, and how much effort went into something that today seems very simple.

“With mobile phone cameras and Instagram, photography has become something very immediate, something that is easy to do with little thought. Professional photographers can take thousands of photos on a shoot and later edit the best ones to make them perfect.

“That sort of technology wasn’t available to the Abraham brothers. Firstly, the camera and equipment were much, much bulkier and heavier than their modern-day counterparts. They had to be carried up some of England’s biggest mountains to get the necessary shots.

“When they had climbed the mountain, they then had to be very careful with the way they prepared the shot. They were extremely limited with the number of photographs they could take – the glass plates the camera used were heavy so they could only take a handful with them on each expedition.

“For me, after three years of bringing aspects of the project together and thanks to the support of Keswick Museum and Art Gallery and Arts Council England, it is really exciting to start moving ahead and shooting a new body of work with a camera that has such unique heritage.

“It is amazing to think that over 100 years ago rock-climbing was in its infancy and ‘adventure sports photography’ was a phrase that had never been heard – yet with this camera, the Abraham brothers were instigating a whole new genre of photography. It’s a real privilege to take that process full circle and shoot the extreme sports of 2016 with a camera that was doing the same thing in the late 1890s."

Like the Abrahams brothers before him, Henry Iddon works with some of the world’s best climbers. For example, he photographed renowned American climber Lisa Rands on the Bowderstone in Borrowdale.

An exhibition of Henry’s photography using the Instanto camera will take place at the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, Cumbria, from January until May 2017.


Henry Iddon:
Mountain Heritage Trust:
Keswick Museum and Art Gallery:


High resolution imagery and interviews are available on request.

Media information provided by Famous Publicity. For more information, please contact Tina Fotherby at 07703 409 622 or or George Murdoch at 0333 344 2341 or

About Henry Iddon:

Henry Iddon has over 18 years’ experience as a professional photographer supplying location photography of action, architecture, documentary and modern lifestyles. Always finding the aesthetic in the everyday. Working to a tight creative brief or within uncontrollable 'live' situations and street casting, his aim is to produce images that not only sit within the discourse that is contemporary art and culture but also compliment the very best in commercial print and digital media.

He received an individual Arts Council Grant award in 2006 and has been nominated for the National Media Museum Bursary Award, shortlisted for the And/or Book Awards as well as the Foto8 Best in Show Award. His personal work is held in a number of collections: Kraszna-Krausz Collection, National Media Museum, UK; The North West Film Archive, Manchester Metropolitan University; Scottish National Screen Archive; George Eastman House, Rochester, USA; State Library of New South Wales, Australia; Banff Centre for Mountain Culture, Canada; Centre for Contemporary Photography, University of Arizona, USA.

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