It’s been a while since my last blog post. But it’s been a VERY productive while.
I’ve learnt loads since then. I can now say that I’m pretty confident at the wet plate collodion process. As well as creating many (failed) experiements, I have managed to succeed in my quest to make 29 ambrotypes of male residents of Altrincham, South Manchester.
Because this journey was ultimately to learn the processes required to make a body of work which had been in my head for almost two years. I’ve been wanting to create a memorial to the lost men of Chapel Street, Altrincham. When WW1 broke out, 161 men from this small street enlisted; 29 failed to return, and a further 20 died of their wounds. The street was razed to the ground in the 1950’s, and with it the story was lost. Until recently, when a blue plaque was erected on the building near where the street once stood.
I wanted to create a memorial to these men. I wanted to photograph current male residents of Altrincham, but I wanted their image to be on glass, to reflect the fragility of life. Wet plate collodion allows me to do this.
Shooting was incredibly enjoyable. I recruited the men through social media, and had many volunteers. The process is slow, and reflective, and produces unique (and sometimes unexpected!) results. The images are ghostly and transport us back in time…
The final work will be exhibited in the town of Altrincham from 15 November, at AIR Gallery. All are welcome!