A Portrait In Time

In an age of digital photography, where every mobile phone has a built-in camera, it's easy to forget that photography once involved a bewildering array of chemicals. This week our apartment  was transported back in time with the arrival of Carlo Furgeri Gilbert, a London born photographer who was raised in Ravenna, and now lives between Milan and London. He came loaded with bags and boxes of photographic equipment, the kind of gear any self-respecting photographer would have carried around before George Eastman invented the Kodak process in 1880.

Our little time travel experiment began with lights...

Lights

Then some serious camera equipment, supported by industrial grade tripods...

Cameras

A tent like thingy for a dark room...

A Dark Room

And chemicals...lots of chemicals!

Evening Rimini-1-2

One thing was certain, taking pictures with this gear wasn't going to be a snap. A set of 'wet plates' would need to be made. A whole process involving salts like potassium bromide and silver nitrate, the plates would be slotted into the camera (no multi-shot function here), and then dunked in a bath...carefully observed by master photographer Gigi De Luigi.

Gigi

Basically, while I used my iPhone to photograph this whole process, these guys needed a bucketload of chemicals; some serious camera equipment; a tent type thing to keep everything dark while the plates were prepared, exposed and developed; and a cat to direct the whole process.

The result...some truly magnificent photographs and a window into the past for me.

Evening Rimini-1-3