Quinn Jacobson Exhibits His Wet Plate Collodion Photos in Paris

Not long ago i visited the exhibition The American West Portraits by American artist Quinn Jacobson at the Centre Eyes in Paris. I experienced already seen his work in the same space two years ago and was seduced by the wonderful quality of his wet plate collodion photo taking images-until recently a good overlooked photographic process from the middle of the nineteenth century that has experienced a rebirth in the last decade. Foto op dibond

On show is a selection of prints on glass and others on aluminum plates-each being an extraordinary image. To be honest, I am just unclear whether those on metal are positive styles produced from the glass downsides or if they are also one of a kind exposures made straight in camera. Regardless, the hand-made quality of the images with their typical imperfections at the sides of the plates and a really exceptional quality of luminosity and details need to be seen in person to fully appreciate. 

I’ve been seduced by this process for at least ten years and especially having seen the brilliant work of Sally Mann in this technique. When I have done many of my experiments with a variety of older photographic operations, this is one My spouse and i haven’t pursued in revenge of its great charm. It’s one of the more constraining photography operations that was ever created and one can discover why when “dry plate” technology came around the “wet platers” disappeared over evening. The plate negative needs to be sensitized very quickly before the exposure is made in camera, the glass or metal platter is put into the large formate view camera while still wet and then the processing of the image takes place immediately afterward. One can understand from the necessity to have a darkroom close to that this process has mostly been used for making portraits.

While overall Now i’m a major fan of this work, I really do have a couple reservations/suggestions. You are a tiny detail, namely picking away titles for the specific images. Often the labels of the photographs are simply the first labels of the subject: Kyleigh, James, etc. However, oddly, there are also names like “Black Woman” and “School Marm. ” I was somewhat confused that there should on the other hand be more personal and intimate titles merged in with impersonal titles-a bit in design for September Sander with his various professions in Germany in the 1920s. Personally, I’d personally move in one path and also the other-at least in the context of such an exhibition to make it conceptually more logical.

The other issue for me was the replication of a number of images presented at different sizes. One can think that Kyleigh was a favorite subject of the photographer as she looks as many as 5 fold in the display at different sizes. If each image is from the same original negative or they are all a separate exposure there was little or no distinction between the images apart from the scale and I found this somewhat troubling for an exhibition-seeing the same (or practically the same image) 4 – 5 times didn’t make it more interesting.

While My spouse and i understand that some potential buyers may well not have the budget to spring 3800 euros for one of the bigger prints and so having a second at a smaller size for an amount of a thousand euros may help promote sales. However, in the context of an event I found this stressed the strength of the overall show. My recommendation would be to show only unique images and hold the others in reserve to show according to the requirements to potential buyers.

The work has a real beauty to it. Some of the portraits are quite impressive (others less so), the technique, in the hands of an experienced “wet plater” like Jacobson, produces beautiful results. I do worry, however-and this is often a concern for photographers working with more obscure photography processes-that the artist may sometimes be too seduced by the process at the cost of more insightful image-making. To get me, the weakest area of the show is an absence of a powerful conceptual entrave between all the images on exhibit. It appears that there are perhaps two different projects on exhibit, nor of which feels complete. And then there is the challenge of too many repeat images that deteriorate the overall effect.