This weekend’s Talbot Conference centred on the marvelous photographic archive of the late Wally Talbot and his son, Howard. The father and son partnership photographed all aspects of Blackburn life from the 1930s to the 1990s. Their combined legacy of thousands of negatives and plates has recently been donated to the town and is now being painstakingly researched, catalogued and restored by Blackburn college photographer, Peter Graham. The restored photographs are steadily being published online on Blackburn Library’s “Cotton Town” website.
The conference and associated exhibition celebrated Wally and Howard’s achievement, explored its context and considered the role of photography in defining Blackburn today. Howard was in attendance thoughout, answering questions about the work, while lecturers and students delivered a series of illustrated papers.
Professor Paul Hill MBE gave the opening address and chaired the afternoon plenary session. The context of the Talbot photographs filled the morning session and the current role of photography defined the afternoon, including the plenary. The interaction of heritage, community, public perception and photography shaped the discussion.
This was a tremendous event and a credit to Blackburn college, its staff and students, and all those involved in its organisation.