Photography is something everyone and their brother thinks they can do well.
After all, with the latest technology, including phones that are more powerful than our computers, it’s pretty easy for anyone to take a decent picture nowadays. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because we’re able to capture memories that people just 10 years ago couldn’t have imagined being able to save.
In light of all this new technology, however, some professional photographers are turning to the past to create photos that are original and fresh. One woman is taking the vintage look to the extreme by using a developing technique created way back in 1851.
Jacqueline Roberts is an artist in Spain whose work mostly focuses on children and adolescence more generally. But she doesn’t see kids the same way most people do.
“I disagree with the common perception that sees children as cute, innocent creatures. I find this notion condescending and manipulative. What I love about them is their rawness, their fresh unawareness, their uncompromising ability to be as they are,” she said.
To create the haunting looks that emphasize this fascination, Roberts uses a technique called wet plate photography.
Wet plate photography was created in 1851, and it meant photographers could create many prints from one negative and make the images crisp and sharp.
This process required a portable darkroom, but even though it was difficult, it became very popular in the 19th century.
“For me, wet plate photography is a fascinating process on so many levels,” Roberts said in an interview. “From preparing the chemistry, cutting the glass, flooding the plate, developing and fixing to finally holding in my hands a beautiful glass photograph. I love the ceremonial aspect of it as much as the craft involved.”
By looking to the past, Roberts is able to capture something special that few photographers today can replicate.