Material Light

ln her series Stillness in Time, Parkin photographs children using the wet plate collodion process – a slow and careful process that is the antithesis to the frantic, sometimes pressurized world these children live in. Working in a dark tent, in a garden, studio or field, Parkin pours the collodion on to a metal (tintype) or glass (ambrotype) plate, sensitizes it in a bath of silver nitrate, and places the wet plate in the camera for exposure. Once the image is exposed, it is developed and fixed in the dark tent and then varnished. The collodion process is painstaking and temperamental, with many factors including temperature, the age of the collodion, and the handling of the plates affecting the final outcome. Like Julia Margaret Cameron, Parkin uses the imperfections of the process to her advantage, making each image uniquely hers, with the trace of her hand imprinted in the surface of each plate during every phase of the image-making process.

Deborah Parkin is a photographer based in rural Northumberland, UK. She holds a Ph.D in Women’s War Writing and an MA in Holocaust Studies. Parkin’s work has been published by Galerie Vevais. She has exhibited intemationally and her work is held in collections around the world.