In this video produced by The Guardian, Australian Photographer Adrian Cook shows a reporter how he utilizes a mobile darkroom to produce striking images using the Collodion Wet Plate Process. It’s a short video but it has a wonderful tempo to it, mimicking the excitement one might feel when creating an image using this technique. It starts off slow and thoughtful, but the music builds towards an exciting crescendo while the plate is sensitized and exposed, then settles again as the plate is bathed, magically revealing the beautifully toned scene superimposed on the aluminum sheet.
In the age of disposable digital, run and gun, spray and pray, whatever you want to call it, older more methodical techniques are making a resurgence. There’s a lot to be said for slowing down and taking a meditative approach to the craft, to any craft. But I think as photographers, with the Instagram grind, the side hustle, and prevalence of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) in our community, we are perhaps more guilty than others of forgetting to slow down.
Some photographers are basing at least part of their business on the slower and, some might say, a more authentic process of producing images the old-fashioned way. Cook is one of those people, and it’s both refreshing and comforting to see that there are people out there willing to spend the extra few bucks to get something that little bit different. Not only do his clients get a unique image but they also get to see the process first hand, which creates another distinct selling point for his business.
Much is made these days of the client experience and of how important it is to give something different, make the client feel special. I can only imagine what goes through a person’s mind as they watch the alchemist manipulate the elements to not only produce a physical memory that a client can hold in their hands, but to also develop a unique memory in the person’s mind.
Images used with permission.
[via The Guardian]