Portraits From The Elephant
In May 2017, Almudena Romero was commissioned by PARC to open a free studio in the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, to make a series of portraits of residents, shoppers and visitors, using the Wet Collodion process. Almudena was assisted by Hannah Fletcher and Naroa Perez.
Open for four days, over 100 women, men and children were photographed, making a remarkable portrait of the people who passed through this much-loved building, which stands at the centre of change in this iconic London neighbourhood. Almudena’s portraits are part memorial to, and part celebration of its unique character.
Wet collodion was the most popular photographic process between 1850 and 1880. It was the cheapest and most light-sensitive, but its most distinctive characteristic was that it allowed the first glass negatives, and therefore, the reproduction of images in albumen, salt and carbon prints from one same negative. The ability of collodion to produce negatives led to the proliferation of the Carte de Visite prints, which were 10x6 cm portraits that were used as a means of presenting oneself in society and which sparked an interest among the rising bourgeoisie in controlling their public image through photographic portraits.
The Wet collodion process creates a robust, light-sensitive gelatine that can be applied to a wide variety of substrates such as metal, glass, acrylic, plastic and paper.It is an archival process that produces thin negative images that when leaned against a black background can be read as positives. Collodion plates can be preserved in very good condition over the centuries, making it ideal for creating documents to be used to leave a legacy. Due to the slowness of the process, wet collodion is particularly appropriate for artistic collaboration and allows the subjects being photographed to have an input in the exposure of the light-sensitive plate, which can take from seconds to several minutes.
Almudena Romero //
Almudena’s practice uses photographic processes to reflect on issues relating to identity, representation and ideology; for instance, the role of photography in the construction of a public identity over the centuries, or self-commodification through the development of technology and the networked image. Her work focuses on how photographic processes and technology transform the notions of public, private, individuality, identity, memory, archive and, in general, the concept of the individual. Her works touch on how perception affects existence and how photographic processes contribute to organising perception.
She is currently working on a series titled Growing Concerns that focuses on the increasing restrictions of movement for persons and addresses links between photography, colonialism and migration. The work explores how photography contributed to the development of national identities as well as to create an encyclopaedic classification of the other. For more information visit: http://www.almudenaromero.co.uk/
Born in Madrid in 1986, Almudena Romero is a visual artist working with a wide range of photographic processes from early printing techniques such as wet plate collodion, to new technologies including 3Dscanning and printing. Since 2015, Almudena has shown and presented her practice at TATE Modern-TATE Exchange, TATE Britain, The Photographers’ Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum (Tokyo), the Mapfre Foundation, the Sotheby's Institute of Art and the London Art Fair. She has also received commissions to produce installations in public spaces from Team London Bridge, Southwark Council, Emergency Exit Artist as well as pop up studios and darkrooms for The Photographers' Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Wellcome Trust and University College London. Her work has been exhibited at galleries and festivals such as Brighton Photo Biennial and PhotoIreland, and has been published in TimeOut, DUST magazine, Uncertain States and Photomonitor.
Exhibition : 24 January to 20 March 2018
London College of Communication
London SE1 6SB