Search for Shadows in the West of Ireland




Search for Shadows in the West of Ireland




Search for Shadows in the West of Ireland




Search for Shadows in the West of Ireland

Maam Trasna © 1996 Mark Osterman

O'Brien's Field II © 1996 France Scully Osterman

Ghost in the Graveyard © 1996 Mark Osterman

Altar Stone © 1996 France Scully Osterman

Elaine at Eleven © 1996 France Scully Osterman

We traveled to the west of Ireland, an area we love and know well, to photograph on glass plates that rugged and beautiful region. The process we used dictated our approach and allowed us to record views in a way no one has seen for more than a hundred years.

In order to make wet-plate collodion negatives we had to process the plates on-site in a portable darkroom. Like tinkers camped on the side of the road, we set up our refuge from wind and light, and later moved on to new sites.

Collodion plates are extremely slow by modern standards. Exposure times ranged from 20 seconds to four minutes or longer, for a negative taken on a cloudy day. The longest exposures produced images with a feeling of movement not often seen in modern photographs. We also used vintage 19th century lenses. They have a wonderfully different field of focus, weaving areas of crystal clarity with a dreamlike atmosphere.

Mark Osterman &
France Scully Osterman


.Turf Drying © 1996 Mark Osterman

Abbey Window © 1996 France Scully Osterman

Ross Abbey © 1996 Mark Osterman

The prints in this exhibit are presented to feature the edges of the original glass plates, allowing the viewer to see the trappings of a hand-made artifact. Finger prints and specks of airborne dust delivered by Connemara winds are all part of the image. Like some form of alchemy, this is a magical process -- crafting with precious metals and painting with light. Collodion being insensitive to red, yellow, amber and green made every beautiful landscape a challenge as we searched for shadows to make our impressions on glass.

These images are printed in limited editions of 15. To order, contact France Scully Osterman at the SCULLY & OSTERMAN Studio.



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