The Mountains Where I Grew Up

PhotographerGilles Lorin
PrizeHonorable Mention
City/CountryWinter Park, United States
Photo Date2011
Technical InfoPt/Pd on vellum & gold leaf
Entry Description

It is often when you leave something that you realize what you've left behind. I grew up in a village of the French Alps, surrounded by nature and beauty. When I was 15, I moved far away to a totally different landscape, but the mountains remained in my heart. It always has been a goal of mine to find a unique way of portraying the mountains of my childhood the way I see them today: magnificent and sacred. The three prints of the portfolio "The Mountains Where I Grew Up" are the beginning of a series I have been working on for the past few years. Finding a medium that would give each image a poetic impression yet tactile expression was also very important for me. After month of experimentation, I finally found the right medium, choosing three of the most precious metals: platinum, palladium and 24-carat gold. The following images are platinum-palladium printed on vellum and 24-carat gold leaf.

About Photographer

I was born in Aix-en-Provence and grew up dividing my time between the French Alps and the South of France. I moved to the United States when I was a teenager and attended high school in Florida. While adapting to a completely new culture and language, I discovered new ways to express myself through painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography. Upon graduating, I attended Loyola University in Chicago, where I studied business, art history and applied arts. I quickly realized I wanted to pursue a career in the arts and moved to Paris, where I attended the Université Paris I Sorbonne. I obtained the U.S. equivalence of a bachelor's degree and a masters with Honors in Art History and Archeology. My interest for photography goes back almost as far as I can remember; I recall as a young child being fascinated by my older brother's color darkroom in our basement, and by the time I was a teenager, I had converted my closet into a black and white darkroom. But it is not until I moved to New Orleans in 2004 that I discovered my photographic eye: after a nearly fatal car accident, all I could think of was taking pictures. The world looked different and I saw details I hadn't seen before. From there I started experimenting with all sorts of equipment and techniques, from digital to analog to alternative processes, which brought me to wet plate collodion. Wet plate collodion is undeniably an amazing process to capture someone's mood and emotions, and this has been an ongoing project of mine for the past two years. While these portraits were typically printed in albumen back in the late 1800's and early 1900's, I prefer the subtlety and tonal range of platinum-palladium, which remains at the core of most of my prints. I now regard printmaking almost as important as taking photographs, and my interest has shifted from taking pictures to crafting images. Some may not see any difference between the two, but I do. I look at prints like objects, and I find that certain processes can greatly complement the aesthetic of a photograph. Along with wet plate collodion portraiture, I am currently working on two other portfolios; the first one is seascapes of Maine which I am printing in cyanotype over platinum-palladium. The second portfolio contains images of the Alps printed in platinum-palladium on vellum and 24-karat gold. Each of these mediums gives the specific portfolio a poetic impression yet tactile expression. While I failed every chemistry classes as a teenager, today I enjoy working with labor-intensive and slow antique photographic processes, incorporating old techniques and equipment with new ones, and mixing them with contemporary or timeless subjects.