What's the most challenging and/or rewarding part of working with your chosen medium?
Working with wet plate collodion is all about weather and preparation. The chemistry must be mixed prior to shooting, and preparedness is key. Getting to the designated location with all the moving parts in order signals that I am off to a good start.
I would say that I have a love-hate relationship with this medium. When it goes well, it's incredibly rewarding and the results are worth all the time and energy spent on getting just a few images. When it doesn't go well, it beats me up rather badly, resulting in bad plates and silver-stained hands.]
One of the most challenging parts is the gear and trekking with it to the location of choice. The most rewarding are the pictures and the responses that they elicit in my subjects. Once I'm on location and shooting, the pictures create a dialogue with a community that is lovely and infectious.
Take one photograph on view in MOCA Jacksonville's exhibition and share what you'd like a visitor to know about it.
The Dirt Lot triptych is a good picture to discuss. Typically, my work comprises a single plate. Combining images means creating a narrative and connection. The camera swings about 110 to 150 degrees, depending on my lens, and the dividing lines must be carefully considered in advance. It's technically challenging to get all three plates to have the same exact density (of exposure and development), as well as to have them line up correctly. Then there's the feat of making an interesting and compelling photo that makes sense in three parts. In this picture, I used the van as my initial dividing line and swung the camera in a westerly direction (for shadows mostly.) Sometimes, I use the same people in more than one plate, as I did in this photograph.