Photography Society Workshop

The MCR Photography Society, with the help of some members of the SCR , organised a wet plate workshop in 7th week, offering students a unique opportunity to explore this old photographic process, dating from 1850.

The workshop covered:

  • A brief history of the process
  • Cameras and lenses
  • Other equipment needed
  • Chemistry, including health and safety
  • Substrates: both traditional and contemporary such as glass and metal
  • Preparing, exposing, processing and finishing plates

Participants had the opportunity to make positive images on metal (tintypes), experience large format or alternative process photography on vintage equipment and learn how to conduct models. Participants, as well as Trinity students who volunteered as models, were able to take samples of their photographs away with them. Due to the unfamiliarity of most participants with the process and the delicate handling of the chemicals that needs to be carefully supervised, the workshop was conducted in a small group in which students were given a very hands-on training in this niche photographical process.

The workshop was conducted by Graham CopeKoga, a photographer working exclusively with film and the wet plate collodion process, who has an interest in traditional photographic print making and historical printing methods using chemical-based techniques. He is known for his portraits of artists, intellectuals and celebrities, which include Professor Stephen Hawking, Sir Terence Conran, Lord (Norman) Foster, and Lord (Richard) Rogers. He considers the silver gelatin print to be a pure form, touched only by light. He views digital photography to be computer imaging and not a photographic process, a world detached from the Camera obscura and reliant on algorithms and licensing. A world devoid of feeling and emotion.

All work is printed to archival standards using traditional processes using vintage equipment. For CopeKoga, the subject and content of the work is the most important factor in his work, as well as the craftsmanship and materials used in the realisation of a work.

Posted: 29 November 2018

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