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Mike Brown : Wet Plate Collodion


This work is not like the others for several reasons which combined will offer us works in their own right. Just to be clear, Mike Brown is a true professional photographer, with an excellent reputation in his native Ireland. True photographer means that he masters a large number of techniques, from cameras to studio lights, from laboratory products to computer settings. All this knowledge comes into his daily work and provides him with a basis for his personal creative research. The dexterity of his gesture, associated with his conceptions of the mind, give us a collection of nude photographs, in line with the great artistic constructions carried out around human bodies, since the dawn of time. These works of Mike, made with a set of delicate techniques, lead us with great realism, but without vulgarity, into the intellectual intricacies of his models.

In terms of technique, nothing extravagant at the outset. Wet collodion, a technique for freezing light on a glass plate, prepared in advance, in negative. The rise of the image is in large ranges of contrasting grays, often without the extremities. The shooting must be extremely well prepared, because the total duration of all the manipulations (including development) is limited to ten minutes. The click is made from a wooden chamber which must be preset down to the smallest detail. The general composition of the image must be acquired, the light beams are barely re-adjustable and the mannequin integrates its condition before the hermetic frame takes its place for a few short moments. This is not a lesson in wet collodion, nor a completely useless explanation; but it’s all that plus great craftsmanship that generates the images you see.

The rendering is magical. It transforms scenes whose content we can no longer even imagine to embark on the photographic imagination of his models, masterfully restored by Mike Brown.

Do not hesitate to discover these superb creations at the European Festival of Nude Photography, in Arles, unfortunately over a too short period of four days. Given the important work produced by all the authors and organizers, this timing is incomprehensible.

Thierry Maindrault
[email protected]


You can see artworks by Mike Brown at

Festival Européen de la Photographie de Nu
Palais de l’Archevêché
place de la République
13200 ARLES
from May 05, 2022 until May 08, 2022
from 10 am to 07 pm


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