By contributing to this project you are helping me to make an expedition to the Gulf Coast with my wet colldoion photography equipment, chemicals, and dark box (portable "darkroom") to create unique glass plate positives of the people and environment that are currently under attack by the life blood of our modern existence: oil. A minimum of $2000.00 is needed to depart for Louisiana to begin work. Of course more will be needed so in the lucky event the initial $2000 goal has been met, please know you can continue to give and receive rewards until the project is closed. Because of the fast pace of unfolding events, I am planning for the departure to occur in about 7 to 9 days.
It is fitting to use a photographic method from the time when our lust for oil was just beginning in order to capture the spirit of this disaster. Working slowly with vintage large format cameras and with the slow wet collodion process will bound certain aspects of what images can be made, but the focus of this project is not simply to document events as they unfold. Instead, this unique approach will result in images that will tap into the elegiac qualities possible with the medium, as Mathew Brady, and others like him once did in capturing the disastrous realities of the American Civil War.
In 1859 Edwin L. Drake, working for the Seneca Oil Company in Pennsylvania drilled the first modern oil well ushering in the beginning of America's oil boom and our worldwide dependence on this resource. At the same time, the wet collodion photographic process that I will be using for this project was revolutionizing what photography could capture; ultimately changing the way people saw the world. The use of wet colldoion photography would eventually become obsolete as photographic technology evolved and improved; yet the use of oil would expand until modern life could not exist, as we know it without a continual supply of it.
Our dependence on oil is not without its dangers. For over a month oil has rushed into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, impacting ecosystems and all the life forms contained within them, including the humans who live in and derive their livings from the natural environment. Just as time is important in stopping the flow of oil from the sea floor, and trying to limit the impact of the released oil on the ecosystem, time is important to the success of this project and funds are needed quickly.
Your support will be used to facilitate the outfitting of the expedition with glass and photographic chemicals needed for two weeks of image making, transportation, fuel, and to offset living costs during the expedition. Without your help, this time sensitive opportunity to create important, powerful, one-of-a-kind images will pass without a single plate being exposed. By pledging a small amount you become a very important part of this expedition.
Thank you for taking the time to read about this project.
Videos of the wet collodion process can be seen here.
- (9 days)