It's hard to put into words exactly what drew me to the historic wet plate collodion process, or why this was the art form I chose to continue with long term, but it seemed to be able to combine so many of my interests into one medium. It melds the past to the present in a way no other form of photography can. While it involves chemistry and can be a notoriously troublesome and difficult format, the resulting portraits are so raw and intimate sometimes it seems like magic.
My artistic work tends to favor femininity, internal development, and regional subject matter. I seldom work make stand alone art pieces, I prefer working within the frame of a series. I find it gives me purpose and direction, and helps create a story for the viewer.
I enjoy experimenting with colored and using a variety of glass. My images are captured in natural light and are all long exposures. This lends an otherworldliness to the portraits that cannot be duplicated using another means. Everything I create, I hope, will ultimately take the viewer outside of themselves and connect them to the subject in a place in between the present world and the eternal moment.
After sitting for a portrait in spring of 2019 I decided I wanted to learn this Victorian form of photography for myself. I created my first Ambrotype using the wet plate collodion process in September 2019.
My natural light studio opened in the Dakota Business College building downtown Fargo, July 2021. I book private sittings, host walk-in portrait days once a month, and take commission work.
As a self-taught milliner, I repair and restore vintage and antique hats for my online business HighHatCouture.com that I have had since 2012. I have lived in the Fargo/Moorhead community since 2004 with my husband John Janousek.
Explanation of the process:
I create portraits made of sensitized silver on black glass and metal. This is an analog process blurring the line between science and art, using chemicals and water. This form of photography is one of the earliest and most successful means of making images. It was invented in 1851 by Frederick Scott Archer. It often requires the sitter to remain still for the exposure in natural light for about 6 seconds in my studio. The photo is then developed on location and can be seen in about 5 minutes.