Artist’s Statement: Kasia Wozniak has made a new fashion photo series for the Museum of London, inspired by the Adventures of Sherlock HolmesClick on the picture to launch the gallery
I couldn’t take that many photos on it, as we didn’t have the money for film. But I would still take it with me everywhere.
My relationship with my first camera was almost like fighting solitude: a companion thing.
I’m fascinated by the idea of creating a photographic image that is both permanent and fragile, created once and never repeated.
I use the wet plate collodion process, one of the first photography techniques pioneered in the mid-19th century.
It’s an incredible book that features many photographers and methods, from daguerreotypes and photograms to the work of Chuck Close, Sally Mann and Ansel Adams.
I saw it and thought: ‘I’m going to do it.’ A lot of people advised me against it, but I persevered and found a way that worked for me.
The first photo I took was of a single flower in a vase. I still have that series.
My images are the outcome of an elaborate ceremony. It begins with the preparation of chemical solutions; pouring these onto a glass or aluminium plate; placing it in the camera and exposing it to the subject.
It ends with developing the image in the darkroom. The final fixed plate becomes a hand-crafted photograph; an object in its own right in an age of digital image making.
I guess I am looking to question the authenticity of images and how photographs are viewed today.
In the studio, I tend to shoot on a large format camera dating from the early 1900s. I also have a field camera dating from the 1890s which is more portable.
I do take digital photos every now and then. But I just don’t feel the same connection to it as I do with wet plate photography.
There is a real alchemy involved that you don’t get with digital. I’m fascinated by the idea of creating something that is tangible.
I have long been inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I couldn’t resist the chance to create a new and timeless fashion fantasy, using them as a springboard.
My photography is an incredibly manual process and uses a great deal of chemistry – almost alchemy.
I love how manual the wet plate process is: being in the darkroom; and the fact that I can mix my own chemistry and develop my photographs from scratch.
While mixing the chemical solutions needed to take my wet-plate photographs and developing in my dark room, I felt a great affinity with Sherlock Holmes. He often spends his days at the chemical laboratory, too.”
- He wasn’t an Easy Gentleman to Describe: Fashion Photography Inspired by the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is at the Museum of London, London from October 15 2014 – March 1 2015. Sherlock Holmes: The Man who Never Lived and Will Never Die is at the museum from October 17 – April 12.
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