Runcorn student develops self portrait from the 1850s

Beth Roberts developed this self portrait with the help of experts from Black Glass Studios

Beth Roberts developed this self portrait with the help of experts from Black Glass Studios

First published in News Runcorn and Widnes World: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A RUNCORN photography student has stepped back in time and produced a self portrait from the 1850s.

Beth Roberts, aged 18, from Higher Runcorn, worked with experts in the old town to create images using techniques used in the last century.

She is studying at Priestley College.

Casey Carlin, from Black Glass Studios in High Street, said: “We aim to open up new ways of thinking about image making and the students really engaged with the pre-digital techniques they were introduced to.

“Creative thinking is actively encouraged by the tutors so it was fantastic to hear the ideas that the workshop generated.”

Wet plate is one of the earliest forms of photography having been invented in the 1850s and involved models sitting for between five and 15 seconds while the image is taken.

It revolutionised Victorian society leading to a global explosion of portrait studios.

The images are photographed directly onto glass or metal and a clever use of chemicals and skill in the darkroom transforms the milky-looking negative into a recognisable photograph.

All of this must be done whilst the chemicals on the plate are still wet, which gives the process its name.

The pictures are a mirror image of ‘real life’ so any writing appears backwards.

Tutor Kevin Crooks said: “We are encouraging the students to think differently about photography rather than just being on a computer and working digitally.

“They become intrigued by what is about to appear and the end result is magical.”


Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree