My wet plate projects

This is where I’ll write a bit about the projects I’m working on. I’ll try to update often.

Picture of Gardaskolan

Gårdaskolan (Gårda school)

Gårdaskolan hasn’t educated children for more than 30 years, instead it has become a building for artists, musicians, architects, actors and others to hone their skills. The Polish Cultural Society has been a tenant here for many, many years. Gårdaskolan is a place for creating. I have been active here as a drummer in a band for many years, and now my focus is on photography. The rooms me and my former band members rent, are nowadays used for many different things: music rehearsal, carpentry, photography, music recording, music performance, bar, etc. Unfortunately, there is a grave threat of demolition looming above the Gårda school. The nearby Swedish Fair wants to expand and tear down a host of residential buildings, offices, and the Gårda school to make (tada!): parking lots. As tenants in the Gårda school, we do our best to prevent this from happening, but things are looking bad. I’ve decided to try to document the school, and most importantly its tenants, using the wet plate collodion process. If you want to see some of the images in this project, click here.

Creating something new of something old

I feel attracted to the illusion of history that wet plate collodion photography provides. Images have an »old« look. The Gårda school was built around 1900, so there is a link between the age of the building, and the age of the photographic process. But the people I’m photographing are the opposite. They are modern, young people of today and I like the tension that emerges from that juxtaposition.

Fighting the winter

Swedish winters are not at all suitable for wet plate photography. They are very dark, cold and wet. The Gårdaskolan project would be impossible to work on during the winter, if it wasn’t for my light banks. I’ve designed and built light banks that are tailored to work with the wet plate collodion process. They emit lots of blue and UV light, which makes it possible to photograph indoors, with very reasonable exposure times. The downside is that they are big and heavy, and best suited to a studio environment.

Wetplate Oversikt 250px

Genealogy

In the summer of 2008 I was determined to show my first wet plates at a local photo exhibition. I wanted it to be portraits, as wet plate collodion portraits have a certain look that many people are mesmerized by. Also, I wanted to practice photographing people. But in my general dislike of »categories« rather than projects I decided to use the wet plate process to create an illusion of history. I’ve made this faked family tree or genealogy, and certain elements in the images reveal the illusion. Sneakers, rangefinder cameras, funny hats. The people in the pictures are my parents, my girlfriend and some of my close friends. And me of course. The show was very well received and it was a lot of fun. You can see all the images here.