Ray Spence

Ray Spence

Locked in Silver

5 September – 31 October 2020
Live launch on Facebook Saturday 5th September 2:00 pm

Artist’s Statement
This work combines two of my loves – photography and plants. As a biologist and teacher I have always been attracted to the beauty and form of plants. As a photographer I have tried to capture this using a Victorian photographic process known as Wet Plate Collodion. This process was invented in 1851 by Frederick Scott Archer but had been largely replaced by dry plate photography in the 1880’s. The process has seen a resurgence in the past 20 years or so and I find it ideal for the images I want to produce. Each image is created by hand coating a piece of glass with collodion (a mixture of cotton, ether and alcohol and iodides), which is then sensitised in silver nitrate solution. When still wet, the glass plate is inserted into a large format camera and a single exposure lasting up to a minute is made. On development the image appears as a silver image on glass – usually known as an Ambrotype. ‘Ambrotype’ in Greek translates as immortal impression. Each image is unique and the original glass plates once varnished will last for centuries.

Due to Covid-19, I have like most people been in lockdown, so it has been an ideal opportunity to produce this work at home using plants from my own garden.

Ray Spence
August 2020