Wednesday, July 12th, 2023

It’s time to say goodbye – a story about an end and a new start

In todays post I’ll use photography to make memories for my cherry tree that I grew up with since I was a little boy.

Many years ago I renovated the house of my grandma and with that came also a big garden full of trees. Every year I am lucky to harvest fresh raspberries, apples, pears, cherries and many other fruits. It’s so wonderful to wake up in the morning and get yourself some fresh breakfast from the garden.

This was the garden when I inherited it, you can see parts of the huge cherry tree in the background

The biggest and probably oldest tree of all is my cherry tree. I remember climbing it when I was little. It brings a wonderful big shade during the hot days and it’s fruits are so delicious.

you can see how big my cherry tree was many years ago
The recent years thunder storms and heavy rain hit really hard on the tree. Its missing about half of its branches on one side.

I always thought this giant beauty will outlive me for sure. But after the last visit from a gardner I learned that the tree is probably completely hollow already and it it will be soon not save anymore to walk under it. That really made me sad, because I have so many memories with this tree. That was the moment, when I realised, that I want to capture a last memory on an ultra large format ambrotype. I captured already a tintype of some cherry blossoms of this tree many years ago. and I am really glad that I did.

For this project I brought my 12×16″ wooden Ultra Large Format came into my garden. Lenswise I decided to go with my 360mm Voigtländer Heliar universal.

I did a similar plate with the same setup last year, when I captured the rebirth of one of my apple trees.
The tree looked like It was dying, but it grew out of it self again. When I thought it was dying, I gave it another year. And exactly in this year it grew new branches. And yesterday I had the first of its apples again for breakfast.

I exposed the apple tree ambrotype for the trunk of the tree to get a bright look. With that I get lots of solarization where the branches touch the sky and I think this looks great on glass plates.

But for the cherry tree I wanted to do things a bit differently. Thats why I used a very old collodion, old developer and a stronger fixer. With overexposing again, this should give me a warmer look with again lots of solarization.

The wet plate process is mostly seeing blue light and thats why the sky is easily overexposed. I really love how this turned out.

Maybe you ask yourself why I exposed for the tree trunk on both of these images. If I would have exposed for the green leaves or thin branches, the ambrotypes would have been much more contrasty you may think. My thoughts are, that the trunk is one of the most important parts of the tree. If it gets hollow, there is a great chance, that the tree will die.

As always I did a scan of the plate, to have kind of a copy of it. If you want to know more about this huge scanner, have a look here:
I always try to get the scan as close to the real thing, but to see the light reflecting on the silver when it hits the glass plate is not is something you can not replicate in a scan.
This will be a memory that lasts forever . To see these two plates side by side, please check the end of my video, a photo or scan just won’t do justice. For me the apple tree plate stands for a new beginning and the Cherry tree p late for the end.
I am really sad that the tree must go. But where life ends there will be a new one. After it is gone, I will plant a new cherry tree there. And for sure I will do some plates of it. portrait (c) Michael Liebert

I chose these portrait of me here, because it fits in perfectly into this story. Some time ago I booked a portrait session with Michael Liebert. He knew that I am connected to my garden and to this tree, thats why he choose to take my portrait there. And now this portrait is the prefect fit for my story today.

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  • Posted by Marketa on July 12th, 2023 | Filed in ambrotype, analog, darkroom, Heliar, nassplatte, nature, wetplate | Comment now »

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