In the era of digital photography and mural-sized color enlargements, Sokosh is part of the renaissance in hand-crafted photography, on an intimate scale. Using the mid-nineteenth century technique of Wet Plate Collodion, his unique pieces on metal and glass are often presented as objects, to be held in the hand.
Cabinet of Curiosities is the debut of a new body of work by David Sokosh. These one-of-a-kind photographs are created using the Wet-Plate Collodion method, popular during the middle of the 19th century. It is the process used by the famous Civil War photographer Matthew Brady.
These images explore the photographer's collecting obsessions. From plaster casts of Renaissance sculpture through animal skulls and other natural history materials to antique electric light bulbs and early scientific equipment, the photographs provide a rare glimpse into this photographer's unique world.
Wet-Plate Collodion was the second major photo technique, the first being Daguerreotype. From the 1850’s through the 1870’s most of the photographs made in America were created using this method. Contemporary photography uses gelatin as the vehicle for photosensitive silver. Wet-Plate uses Collodion, which is gun-cotton dissolved in ether and alcohol, as the vehicle. The process requires that a plate of metal or glass be coated with Collodion, then photosensitized, exposed and developed while still wet, all within a narrow window of opportunity (approx. 5 minutes) before the Collodion has irreversibly dried. These images are unique originals, each created separately in the camera, not printed from negatives.
Sokosh uses original lenses from the period, on cameras of his own design and fabrication. The chemical mixtures are identical to those used in the 19th century. Images on glass are known as ambrotypes, and are seen as positives when viewed against a black background. HIs images on metal could be referred to as tintypes, but in a departure from 19th century techniques, Sokosh uses aluminum rather than tin plates. Some are calling these images Aluminotypes.
In our world of digital, mass-produced, photography, Sokosh is drawn to the hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind nature of these photographs. Sokosh says: “I’m a 21st Century person, living in a self-created 19th Century world full of period objects of all kinds. This authentic process lets me explore the mindset of the early photographer/scientist/collector. I’m drawn to the quality of photograph-as-object that Wet-Plate yields, and excited by the hands-on aspect of the process.”