time travel

March 26, 2015

Two weeks ago I travelled in time. Photography-wise. It was the weekend of my long-awaited wetplate workshop. Wetplate photography is one of the earliest photographic processes and has lost nothing of its fascination over all those years. On the contrary. Especially nowadays when it doesn't matter if you take 10 or 100 pictures, the constraints and requirements that these old processes impose upon us are an experience that goes far beyond photography.

That weekend all of us created about 10 plates and we were working on it almost eight hours a day. It's a fully "physical" process that requires craft, chemicals and finesse. You start from cutting and polishing the glas plate, over to mix and put the chemical liquid on it. Then you have about three minutes to take a picture until you have to develop your plate, fix and water it. After that it needs drying and varnishing. All in all I think I needed about an hour for a plate. An hour! You can imagine how much the picture means to you afterwards.  And you will never be able to create exactly the same picture twice. It's sad and good at the same time.

When I compare the techniques of today and the past I cannot say that one is better than the other. They are too different and I see advantages and disadvantages on both sides. But the moment when the plate is in the fixer and you watch the actual picture appear bit by bit while carefully swaying the tray... this is magic.

Thank you so much, Dave, for sharing your knowledge and for creating this fantastic workshop!


  1. das ist wirklich pure magie - und ich würde auch so so gerne mal bei so einem workshop teilnehmen, ich glaub da gehen einem wirklich die augen auf, was für ein glück und vorteil wir mit unseren schnellen, leichten digi/spiegelreflexkameras haben.
    die bilder sind dir übrigens sehr gelungen und ich finde du hast das alles großartig dokumentiert :)

  2. Wow, so beautiful. It's crazy to think that it used to take so long to develop one photo, but like you said it's so much more precious that way... definitely very bitter-sweet. Lovely post and stunning photographs to complement it, really enjoyed reading :)

    Jo x

  3. I love all kinds of retro photography. It's forever alive.

  4. the results are SO beautiful ...