Impression & Expression

PhotographerGilles Lorin
Entry Description

Black and white portraiture has always attracted me, but I never really made it my own work until I started shooting wet plate collodion two years ago. Very quickly I realized that this very early photographic process invented in the 1850\'s, is undeniably a special medium to capture someone\'s essence, wether it is a character trait, or simply a fleeting emotion the moment I press the shutter. I enjoy the slow pace of the process and the simplicity of the equipment which often create a dialog and complicity between the sitter and I. Wet plate collodion allows me to play the role of an alchemist: from a piece of glass or tin, some natural liquids and spirits, a sprinkle of salts and the right amount of light, a unique image is created, often with a few imperfections adding more character to the image. While these portraits were typically printed in albumen back in the late 1800\'s and early 1900\'s, I chose to print them in 16x20\"/ 40x50 cm platinum-palladium for its subtlety and beautiful tonal range.

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.