Darkroom Dave is my alter-ego. I’m really the photographer Dave Butcher.
Since 1988 I have lived in the Derbyshire Peak District village of Tunstead Milton, near Whaley Bridge and have been married to Janice since 1976 although I was born and brought up in Welwyn, Hertfordshire (25 miles north of London).
Played football in local leagues, until 1984, for the Frythe (Unilever), Colworth House (Unilever), Steeple Claydon near Buckingham, Biggleswade Town, Churchill College Cambridge, St Andrews (Cambridge), Toft Red Lion (near Cambridge), University of Cambridge Chemical Labs and Ilford Ltd.
I trained and worked as a chemist, with a PhD from the University of Cambridge, until 2005 when I decided to turn my love of black and white photography into a full-time career. Working for Ilford Photo for 21 years, including running the photographic printing department for many years, helped this quite a bit. I still keep close ties with them after they made me one of only six Ilford Master Darkroom Printers in the country. In fact all the materials used in our courses and workshops are from them. A lot of my work has been used on their packaging and marketing material.
I develop and print my own work using Ilford Multigrade fibre based papers, sell framed prints from my studio in the UK’s Peak District as well as at fairs and exhibitions and sell unframed prints, courses and books through my website www.davebutcher.co.uk. As well as running photography and darkroom courses I have a busy schedule of lectures and exhibitions up and down the country.
Walks, treks, skiing and peaks
Lots of my work involves mountain treks and skiing to reach the most dramatic landscapes. I have walked, skied and snowshoed extensively in Britain, including all 284 Munro’s (Scotland’s highest mountains), walked 330 miles over 26 mountains from Glasgow to Cape Wrath using my own unique route, the 300 miles Pennine Way, Wainwright’s Coast to Coast twice, as well as the Tour of Mont Blanc twice, the Alpine Pass Route across Switzerland, the skiers Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt, and many more in France, Austria, Italy and Germany (including 5 Alpine 4000m peaks and dozens of lower peaks), as well as places like California, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Zealand.
My back injury prevents me doing any more ski mountaineering – uphill kick turns are too painful for my lower back. Thankfully I can still ski downhill but use lifts to gain the height. I also use snowshoes where previously I would have skied.
Most of my work comes from my trips abroad and round the UK. I have also published six books, including one that is a slight departure, as all of the images were from my urban expeditions where I swapped climbing, skiing and hiking for trams, buses and hotels.
I run landscape photography courses for small groups of up to 4 people and darkroom workshops for 1 or 2 clients. I also run darkroom workshops for universities and colleges as well as giving print lectures to clubs in the UK and at events like PhotoLive in London. Private courses are a speciality, on dates to suit you and with flexibility to rearrange at short notice.