By Laura Dale
These portraits appear to have been plucked out of the pages of history – despite the modern appearance of their subjects.
Spanish photographer Jacqueline Roberts has revived the Victorian art of wet plate photography, the primary method from the early 1850s to the 1880s.
To achieve the effect, she coats a plate in collodion, exposes it when it is wet, and then develops and fixes it at the scene.
It produces beautiful, strong images that transport their subjects into a timeless world.
Jacqueline said: “‘Nebula’ are portraits that I make on glass and metal plates.
“I use an old photographic technique called wet plate collodion.
“Collodion’s unique aesthetic produces timeless and ethereal images, and each plate is unique.
“For me, making wet plates goes beyond the photographic process itself. It is a sort of inner journey.
“Today we are swamped with images that are becoming meaningless and disposable. We are losing the emotional connection with photographs.
“Engaging with the sitter and capturing emotion is essential to how I approach photography.
“Taking time to create an image is also important to me. Ultimately, these portraits are about time.
“This photographic process requires long exposures which ease the sitters into detaching themselves from their surrounds, almost as if suspended in time and space.”
Jacqueline took up photography when she was holding down a full-time job, looking after her three-year-old triplets with her husband working abroad.
She was inspired to try wet plate photography after watching a BBC document on photography’s history.
She said: “Photography didn’t feel like a hobby or spare time activity to me. I didn’t have any spare time!
“I remember juggling it with everyday life was tricky but photography felt liberating.
“I did it simply because I loved it and did not expect anything in return.
“I had to do it relentlessly, selfishly almost.
“Most of my work is done with my own children, their cousins, their friends or our neighbours.
“I have noticed children’s behaviour is entirely different when they are in front of an old wooden camera.
“They seem to grasp the unique nature of collodion and that gives a sense of occasion to the whole process.”
Jacqueline’s photos have featured in numerous publications, and in 2016 the Royal Photographic Society acquired one of her ‘Nebula’ plates to enter their permanent collection, hosted by the Victoria and Albert Museum.
She has published three books with German publisher Galerie Vevais, and her fourth monograph ‘Nebula’ was published last year by Italian publisher Damiani.