First time at sea

Well, wet plate wise then 🙂 We visited Normandy last year and decided to go back another time. Enjoyed the scenery and little gite we rented a lot! Covid-wise also wise for a swift return when needed. And this time accompanied by my wet plate camera.

The weather during this visit was a bit more what one would expect from Normandy, so things got a bit more wet than wet plate normally holds, but great nonetheless! Thank you, you modern cars with built-in heaters for drying the plates 🙂

Granville has all the quirks for a good Norman impression. Although the Norman landcape away from the sea also has its specific characteristics, the sea is what drew us to this area in the first place. I might go back again for the more rural environment, as well as for its villages; it’s so different and picturesquely beautiful.

Collodion out in the field really is something very special to do, every time again. There are numerous of things you have to take into account; there’s not one setting the same. I did encounter some problems too: black spots on the plates. Might be pollution of the silver bath, or too little rinsing on the spot. Have to solve that fast though…but it gives this rush and is so enjoyable at the same time; life is about doing what you love; this is it (or, better said, one of them)!

Aside from the fun and obvious challenges working with this process, it has this ability to confuse time. The first two plates show modern boats which, even though the look and feel of the images evoke a feeling of historicalness, when you look closer, reveals its contemporary origin. The last two plates lack every hint of time and therefor could have existed forever. This feeling of time, imposed by the characteristics of a chosen process, is a strong mechanism how to perceive a given image, and which context we choose to provide it with, when little or even none is given. This silent language of an image, inherent to the process used to create the image with, has always fascinated me, and always reminds me of the wonderful piece on this subject I read in “The Keepers of Light” by William Crawford.

All wet plates shown below are black glass ambrotypes 4×10″
Aperture approx. f/8, shutter speed approx. 2 – 4 seconds
All plates are shot in and around the harbour in Granville.

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