July 16, 2008

The Beauty of a Process...

Music | Beautiful Calm Driving by Sia

On this late morning, I was asked to sit for a portrait by Ray Bidegain, a local photographer who I've been getting to know for the past few months. He is as well a master Platinum | Palladium printer and quickly mastering the technique of Wet Plate Collodion, a process discovered in the early 1850's. I couldn't turn down a session to see him work.

Stepping into an artists work area is magical. I know some of Ray's work, have seen a few up close and many on the internet. But to step into the space and see works of art placed here and there, images just recently created and images that had brought inspiration from years ago tell volumes of an artist. Not only would today render a portrait of me, but again, I would also see Ray in action and I would to my surprise get the chance to create an image the way it was done over 150 years ago.

Ray managed to nail a wonderful portrait of me on his first try showing the Wet Plate Collodion process as we went along. After another exposure, he let me make a go of it, from coating my own plate, shooting and then processing. The entire process is within minutes as the coated plate (film) has to stay wet thru out the process.

Not only did was I able to see the magic, I'm quite happy with the portrait I photographed of Mr. Bidegain.

I didn't quite get the coating of the plate correct, hence the black uncoated areas of the image, but it is a one of a kind piece of art. I have to say there aren't many prints that I have that rival the beauty and depth of a Wet Plate Collodion image.

As much as I would love to dive in, I don't feel I am ready. I think there is a period one must work to get to a point to be able to create in this manner. Every step of the way is a very personal journey. I was shown the ropes, but I can also appreciate that it took Ray years to get where he is right now. At this time, I'll be in an appreciation mode.

1 comment:

sj said...

Ted, you don't think your application of the coating was a success, but I love this portrait. I see straightforward strength and determination in this portrait. And its technical imperfections suggest vulnerability -- a quality we all possess.

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