Through These Doors

Platinum Paradise

Mary Abbe, Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 26th, 2004

Growing up in Kent, a verdant region of England southeast of his London birthplace, Keith Taylor came to love history and architecture. Though he moved to Minneapolis nine years ago to work as a photographic printer doing custom printing for exhibitions and books, he never lost his affection for the historic homes and gardens he often had visited as a child.

During the past two years, Taylor photographed some of his favorite English sites with his wife, Beth Dow, who is also a photographer. Twenty of Taylor's images are featured through Dec. 31 in an elegantly personal exhibit at Icebox Gallery.

Many of the sites are properties of England's National Trust, which maintains historically significant buildings. Several were home to important writers and artists: architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, children's book author Beatrix Potter, Arts and Crafts designer William Morris, novelist Rudyard Kipling, writer and gardener Vita Sackville-West, among them.

The show is called "Through these Doors," because about half of the pictures include doorways, but there are also atmospheric images of parks, gardens and statuary.

"I had no plan," Taylor said. "These have accumulated over the past couple of years, but I've known these properties for many more years. The doorways and underlying themes were set ... and I decided I would photograph what was important to me, what I felt about the houses."

Taylor is known for dusky, richly detailed images more reminiscent of etchings than conventional photographs. They are made with a laborious 19th-century printing process involving platinum and palladium instead of the more common silver salts used in most 20th-century photographs. Recently he invented a technique that includes using a computer to enlarge his negatives, but he still mixes his own light-sensitive solutions of platinum and palladium and brushes them onto the watercolor type paper on which the photos are printed.

"I'm interested in the way people live their lives, so it's just fascinating for me to walk around these places and things that were important to them," he said.

©2004 Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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