Out of the Ether
I fell in love again. I found my roots. My passion for photography has been rekindled.
I began my photography career 20 years ago, learning the ropes in the darkroom. Learning how to develop film and make prints. It was magic. It was rewarding. It was a lot of work.
For the first 10+ years of my career, film was king. I did head shots in black and white; developed, printed and delivered them in less then a week. I shot Polaroids to test lighting and used it for art projects, I shot colour transparencies and had to wait 2 or 3 days for the lab to process the rolls before I knew if what I shot actually turned out. I learned to use and trust a hand held light meter; there were no meters in the big cameras to rely on. I learned to manually balance flash with ambient light, I learned to trust my eye.
Then came digital. I became a slave to the camera with the big screen on the back and automatic everything. I began losing the trust, started second guessing my instincts and basically, got lazy. I got used to it too. It seemed to work... for a while.
But over the last few years it felt like something was missing from my photography, a lack of spirit, of depth, of feeling. I had tried a few times to get back into the darkroom, but for what ever reason, the timing was off.
Now, the time is right. I have discovered the "wet plate collodion" process, and I found what was missing.
Learning "the ways of the plate" is not easy, and it is a finicky, labour intensive, temperamental process. But the rewards are well worth the effort. Now instead of shooting 300 frames in an afternoon, I am truly satisfied to MAKE just one great hand-made photo in an entire day.
I found my passion again. I found it on a wet plate of aluminum as an image was appearing before my eyes; like an angel appearing out of the ether.