Last Saturday, the 3rd of May 2014 was World Wetplate Day. No, I won’t be surprised if many of you missed it – it’s not exactly a national holiday and it won’t get you any time off work. What it did do, is provide thousands of photographers to re-visit old work or create something fresh in wet collodion techniques.
I had seen Bobby’s portfolio on Purpleport and asked him to collaborate with me on a wet-plate project. Our initial theme for the shoot would have been ‘angelic’ with a twist, but as Bobby has a wonderfully expressive face, a good sense of drama and a fantastic ability to hold a pose – it kind of went a different way altogether. The resulting plates fit in perfectly with the sense of depression and storytelling that we wanted to put in them.
For the last plate of the day I had Bobby hold up 3 dead wasps and I love the feeling of the surreal that it evokes. I will have to add that the wasps died a natural death and were found in our windowsills.
For these images, I used a 1000W Halogen lighting unit as a single bare bulb. The camera was set to F5.6 for 10-15 seconds. The complete blacking out of the background was surprising, considering I took these images outdoors and there was a big hedge quite close behind Bobby. The ‘splattered’ look in image no. 5 was due to a (lucky) chemical reaction, possibly the collodion reaction to the silver nitrate. The same effect is visible in the edges of other plates, but no-where as dramatic as in this one.
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