As a photographer, I can appreciate when someone creates a whole other visual world through photography. In this case, a revival of the wet plate process from the 19th century. When you think of photographs from that time period, perhaps powerful images from the civil war or stiff family portraits come to mind. What stands out in these images, however, are her subjects.
Spanish artist Jacqueline Roberts‘ photography for her book, Nebula, captures a time of transition from childhood to adolescence through a collection of portraits that represent the psychological and emotional change of youth. The feeling that comes through in these images produced in a long abandoned process is haunting. Instead of trying to portray the innocent or adorable children prevalent today, Roberts uses the process, and it’s result, to show another side of child portraiture.
Wet plate photography was a desirable form of photography for it’s ability to make an unlimited number of prints from a single negative, providing the sharpest image possible. The technique quickly became popular and was used for portraiture, landscape work, architectural, and other types of photography. By the end of the 1850s, it had almost entirely replaced the first practical photographic process, the daguerreotype.
I hope Roberts continues to push this particular form of photography even further in the future. I’d love to see what else she can reimagine.