Working in his darkroom and studio, Adam Fuss creates a series of daguerreotypes of butterflies.
Your DSLR might be great, but fancy image sensors aren’t the only way to capture a spectacular image. A host of artists are producing great photography without hitting a single button. Their secret? Chemicals. Powerful chemicals. And serious talent.
The trick behind the cam-less captures is actually pretty simple—photographic paper is coated with silver salts, which cast an image onto the light-sensitive surface. But that’s just the start. Each artist has his or her own variations, some of which are incredibly complex—incorporating water, broken glass, and sometimes their own bodies into the photographic process.
Susan Derges, ‘Arch 4
Susan Derges, for example, dunks her photographic sheets in the river and uses the moon and a flashlight to expose the image. The moon! It’s almost enough to make your cam sound like cheating, eh? And the results are terrific.
If that impresses you, then prepare for Floris Neususs, who uses entire human bodies at once. Depending on the model’s position, the image cast varies from clear to cloudy, and creates a remarkable effect.
Floris Neusüss, ‘Untitled (Körperfotogramm)
The rest of the low tech approaches are equally impressive, and entirely unique. No disrespect to the digital cams we love so much, but there are some things you can only do the old fashioned way.