Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery - Capturing on Collodion

Capturing on Collodion

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Photographer Sean Hawkey has worked across the world documenting lives and diverse communities. His work as a photojournalist has led him to evaluate the impact of the photograph on the story of people's lives. For this exhibition Hawkey has chosen to work with the Victorian wet plate collodion process to make his images. Using original camera and lens from the 1870s, Hawkey captures portraits of people which have an intense, ethereal beauty to them. The photographic process involves a complex layering of chemicals, including silver nitrate, on a tin plate which is exposed to light through the camera lens and developed, producing a single image. This technique does not produce a perfect image but instead each imperfection on the plate becomes a feature within the portrait, enabling the essence of the sitter to emerge.