Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wet Plate Collodian Photographs

{photos by Robert Szabo}
If you've travelled anywhere in the midwest or southern United States, you have inevitably come across one of those wonderfully kitschy old-time photo booths. On a summer vacation many years ago, my sisters and I had our photos taken dressed as Southern Belles. There is just something so fun about imagining yourself as you might have been in another time, don't you think? I like to imagine I would have been a woman who lived on the fringe of society: A hooker with a heart of gold? A rogue girl-pirate who stole from the rich and gave to the poor?

Robert Szabo is a contemporary photographer that takes the idea of the old-time photo booth to the next level. He is one of the few photographers in the world who produces wet-plate collodian prints using much the same process as was used during the 1800's. There is just something so uncannily authentic about his work, partly due to his eye for historical detail and nuance. Let's face it, the vintage iPhone camera apps and the Bakamatsu Koshashin Antique Photo Generator are awesome toys, but there is just no comparison. I will officially be removing one of my items from the "101 Things to do before I Die" list and replacing it with: having my photograph taken as a dead Victorian corpse by Robert Szabo...or maybe a circus performer...or an eccentric countess. I'll need to narrow it down.

::Also, check out the amazing photos Anna over at Wildflowers:Pretty had taken by Robert!


Anonymous said...

Oh, I want to be in a photo like that, too! But it would probably be impossible - I wouldn't be able to choose a character! ;) Although a circus performer is hightly tempting... Ooh, imagine having band photos taken by Robert Szabo! Hm. Well, I might not be able to reach (or afford!) the man himself, but we could definitely be inspired by him! Thanks for the idea, kitten!

A Thought Is The Blossom said...

these are amazing! at first i thought they really were antiques and i thought, wow those stocking are in style now too. lol.

it's funny you mentioned the victorian corpse thing too. the past couple days i've been doing a lot of browsing through those photographs online. it all began with a ton of phantasmagoria internet searches and eventually led to that. i wanna do a post but feel it may be a little too weird...posting about death?

anyhow, back to the phantasmagoria. are you familiar with it? it's the process of projecting ghosts into a room with a mirrored light box. they did a lot of shows and such in the 1800's and i just think they're absolutely fascinating!

unfortunately marilyn manson is directing a movie called phantasmagoria due out early next year, so internet searches are kind of tough! regardless it's still so interesting!

Joanne Faith said...

Those do produce a genuinely good effect, how amazing would it be to be photographed like that? You are onto good things. :)

Poke Salad Annie said...

wow. those photos are incredible. there's an award for you on my blog :)

ambika said...

You know, I've never thought of old time photobooths as being southern but that may explain why I've never come across one!

{Tara} said...

Lost -- Band photos by him would be incredible!

A Thought -- I'm so excited you agreed to do a post for me on the phantasmagoria photos!

Joanne -- thanks so much -- I think it would be an amazing experience to be photographed by him!

Annie -- Thanks for the award, my dear!

Ambika -- You come across them everyone around these parts ;)