The monstrous fish people created by J. Anthony Kosar and his team at Kosart Effects are amazing! I knew early on that I wanted to shoot portraits of these Deep One characters to compliment my main INNSMOUTH photograph. Because the story by H.P. Lovecraft Shadow Over Innsmouth was written in 1931 and describes generations of Innsmouth inhabitants going back decades, I decided to shoot the portraits as genuine wet plate photographs utilizing photo technology from the 1800’s.
This type of wet plate photography is like alchemy and utilizes dangerous chemicals that can asphyxiate you or even cause an explosion. Out of my depth technically, but still insistent upon authenticity, I recruited my friend and knowledgeable wet plate photographer Steve Wilson to come in and help. I met Steve Wilson when I worked for him at Hallmark Cards as a young photographer. He was an early important mentor and it was joyous and nostalgic to work with him again.
We shot the portraits in my home. Kosar and I dressed wooden mannequins in period costumes and posed them for the camera.
Steve used a powerful HMI light because wet plate has a very slow exposure time and requires a crazy amount of light. I loved the idea that some young man from Innsmouth participated in the Civil War as a Massachusetts resident.
Here you can see Steve manning the giant 8×10 View Camera. He was very generous in allowing me to help frame and light our portrait subjects.
After exposing a metal plate that he had prepared with a light-sensitive chemical coating, Steve would remove the plate from the camera and develop it my kitchen while we watched with amazement.
I think Steve’s artistry and the singular aesthetics of the wet plate process lend themselves beautifully to gothic subject matter, and hope for further collaborations in the future!
Interested in owning a print? 11×14 archival prints are currently for sale in my Online Store!
More Innsmouth goodies coming soon!