Ravages of Time

I was asked to do a couple of hand portraits to raise money for a worthy cause: Write on Sports – an organization that teaches inner city kids to write by writing news articles about sports. Back in 2005 I photographed about 100 people for my MANUAL Project. But I hadn’t done any “hand portraits” since then. So I had to make sure I was back in the groove when the winning bidders came to my studio. That meant mixing up some new collodion chemistry and setting up my camera and lighting to replicate the 2005 work. And I needed a test subject. So I drafted the only willing victim: me. I did this every time I would set up for a hand portrait session. I test my chemistry and setup by photographing my own hand before the subject arrives.

This time I got some good plates fairly quickly. After discovering my old collodion wasn’t going to work I mixed a new batch and shot some plates of my right hand. Then I went back into my archives and found a similar shot of the same hand to see how I’ve aged. Despite the differences in lighting it is pretty clear that I’ve gained more than a few wrinkles in the past 12 years. The good news is that I’m a lot better at pouring plates!

2005 (left) to 2017 (right)