Silviya Deshkova
Silviya DeshkovaAlexander ManchevYoanna LaguYoana KaludovaVanessa LouKaloyan BogdanovIvan BogdanovLilyana Karadjova (self-portrait)

Levels of Transparency
2017, wet plate collodion, tintype, 18x13 cm


I was provoked to make Levels of Transparency by the specific sense of photographic transparency in the wet plate collodion process. The familiar transparency in the classic black-and-white and colour photography invokes a lightness and free vision through the surface of the picture which is perceived as a window to the world. In the wet plate collodion process, instead of seeing through ethereal air, the picture triggers a sudden perceptive penetration through a liquid curtain where the image seems to magically surface up from the bottom of a deep lake. This is why the collodion pictures are most impressive in the portrait genre and in landscapes that capture metaphorical states of nature. The psychological intensity of the portraits is further strengthened by this peculiar “liquid” transparency, created by the long exposure, which evokes undercurrents and goings-on hidden under the frozen and emotionally limited facial expressions.


In the sequence I examine the changes in this peculiar liquid transparency by experimenting with the possibilities of the chemical process. By interfering in the stages of chemical processing, in the development and fixing, I steer the process of the emergence of the image. As a result, the surface is developed as an imaginary liquid curtain with a structure which entangles the images in its filaments.