Faye Griffiths Orb

Wet Plate Collodion Orbs

by Faye Griffiths

Website: www.fayegriffiths-photography.co.uk

The “City” is the continuing theme of my photographic work, particularly the architecture and changing light found in such man-made environments. 

My series of Orbs was created using Wet Plate Collodion methods as part of my final body of work for a Master in Fine Art at Aberystwyth University. The photographic series resulted from revisiting a number of places where I have lived and loved. Documenting the changes over time in each of these urban places became a process of reconnection for me personally. However, the intention was also to capture something of the atmosphere and sensibility of those places that will resonate with the viewer.

The locations across the United Kingdom have been a long and enduring source of inspiration. The different styles of architecture and materials used to create these familiar places are significant to the location and place themselves. Through various projects, I complied images and notes of the subtle differences I observed in the towns and cities. From the design features conceived by the skilled craftsmen who originally created them, it is possible to tell which side of the river you are on, county you are travelling through, or country you are in.

Some of these small details can be found in the lampposts and ironwork around the cities. I can walk the same route through a city and notice something new each time.

From a technical point of view, I use the historic process of Wet Plate Collodion. The process has technical and aesthetic qualities different from that of digital and other negative processes. Indeed, on the BBC Four series Britain in Focus: A Photographic History, the Photographer John Brewer said, “Wet Plate Collodion is like Victorian Polaroid”. The speed, unpredictability and fragility in the processing stages certainly support this view. Exposure times and the sensitivity to light can be manipulated to distort the image and consequently engender a certain nostalgic or romantic emotional response to each scene.

I am firstly inspired by the connections I have with a location-how the structures, smells, and sound of the place stick in my mind, and secondly, by how I can capture that moment through photographic processes that have developed and grown since these cities were forged.