Portrait Of Lincoln Green, Burmantofts & Mabgate 

During May 2021 Lens Lab made portraits of the community in our neighbourhood. We wanted to make work rooted in the location of our studio, so we set up a series of popup street-based photo studios in community spaces, from shop fronts and roadside pavements to Lincoln Green Mosque on Eid. 
We wanted to find ways to encourage the community to get involved, so we chose to use a couple of different photographic techniques, spanning the lifetime of photography. This included using a Victorian-era Collodion wet plate process on an old large format camera, and a brand new digital camera, with a really old lens on it! 

The Collodion Wetplate process involves coating a 5x4” plate with wet chemistry (collodion & silver nitrate) and making an exposure. As the collodion has an ISO value of around one the exposures can be quite long… 1-10 seconds outdoors, longer if indoors. The plates then needed to be developed in Lens Labs mobile darkroom (an old pram) before they dried out. Simple process really.

These were then placed next to a beautiful colour image, shot on a brand new DSLR. The contrast between the two images was really interesting, and we were bowled over by how enthusiastic folks were to be involved. People loved being able to watch their wet plate portrait develop in the fixer tray, and then see their colour digital image on the back of the DSLR. 

Portrait Of Lincoln Green, Mabgate & Burmantofts was funded by Leeds 2023.