Artist Emma Howell‘s landscape images are unlike any we’ve ever run across. Not because she’s capturing something unique, or using a process we’ve not seen before. They are unique because her images, captured using the wet plate collodion method, are exposed directly onto handblown glass vessels she creates herself.
The idea, Howell tells Wired, came to her because she was taking a class in alternative photographic methods and a class in glass blowing at the same time. Sitting there, holing her first glass plate negative in her hand and thinking about her glass blowing class, she realized that the glass didn’t necessarily have to be flat.
It dawned on me that I was holding glass and could potentially change its form, yet photos could be exposed onto it in the same way. I went to the glass department and started blowing forms that were similar to glass plates, but with curved sides that had more of a presence as an object.
Each vessel is exposed in a custom-built camera that Howell designed herself — since your typical large format camera wasn’t made to work with her ‘film’ — and a lot of thought goes into what composition will best compliment each unique ‘plate.’
Here’s a selection of the images she has exposed so far:
Each of these exposures is a labor of love. Carrying her massive camera and all of her darkroom equipment with her, she hikes to each location, mixes chemicals, coats the plate, exposes and develops the image right then and there.
Howell hopes that her unique photographs breathe new life into the landscape genre, turning a photo into an experience.
“Most people are not able to experience a place that is unaffected by the human presence,” she tells Wired. “So I’m creating a way for others to experience this in a way that’s more than looking at a flat print of the cliché beach we all see and know.”
To see more of Howell’s work, head over to her website by clicking here.
Image credits: Photographs by Emma Howell and used with permission