Judy F. Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens: Nocturnes


Judy F. Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens, Nocturnes 2, wet plate collodion pinhole tintype, 20 in x 20 in., 2012

Our Nocturnes series began as an experiment, an adventure, a collaboration. A pinhole camera-maker and a wet-plate collodion artist collaborated to produce mammoth plate tintypes, echoing the work and process of the early survey photographers. Carleton Watkins, William Henry Jackson, and Timothy O’Sullivan, surveying the expansive landscape of the western US, found themselves at the mercy of nature.


Judy F. Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens, Nocturnes 1, wet plate collodion pinhole tintype, 20 in x 20 in., 2012

James McNeill Whistler, inspired by the visual melody he found in dark skies and seas, titled many of his paintings nocturnes. In turn, these paintings provided inspiration for the orchestral nocturnes written by Debussy, musical impressions which ebb and flow.


Judy F. Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens, Nocturnes 24, wet plate collodion pinhole tintype, 20 in x 20 in., 2012

Inspired by these artists and the waters of the gulf in Pass Christian Mississippi we too found ourselves at the mercy of the tides, our images determined by the capriciousness of the water before us. 


Judy F. Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens, Nocturnes 3, wet plate collodion pinhole tintype, 20 in x 20 in., 2012

Because of its infinite depth of field, the pinhole camera conveys the vast expanse of the sea while the collodion-silver emulsion flows across the plate like the waves across the sand. The plates delivered an unexpected serendipity – a daytime nighttime, a sunny moonscape.


Judy F. Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens, Nocturnes 11, wet plate collodion pinhole tintype, 20 in x 20 in., 2012

There is ebb and flow between night and day, dark and light, as silent sentinels watch waves writing verse in the sand. This push and pull of tides, this melody of the waves, this lyric creates a visual dialogue that is the inspiration for Nocturnes, a little night music.


Judy F. Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens, Nocturnes 21, wet plate collodion pinhole tintype, 20 in x 20 in., 2012

One year ago, Judy Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens embarked on a new adventure, a collaboration entitled Nocturnes, born of the gulf in Pass Christian, Mississippi. Stevens, a wet plate collodion artist, and Sherrod, a pinhole camera maker, joined together to create something not done before: mammoth plate pinhole wet plate tintypes. They have been very successful at it. Their collaboration has resulted in such publications as South by Southeast magazine and Lenscratch, and will be included in the next edition of Christopher James, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes. Exhibitions include: Alternative Processes at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, where they were awarded both the Director’s and the Juror’s Honorable Mention, Beheld at Homespace Gallery, Call and Response at New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery, Center Forward, V at Homespace, Currents 2012 at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and Sun to Moon Gallery, among others. Over the course of a year, the duet shot forty-nine twenty-by-twenty inch pinhole tintypes of the gulf.



Denis Roussel: A collection of somewhat random specimens

A collection of somewhat random specimens” is a series of photographs focusing on mundane elements of Nature. I found the subjects of my images on hikes in the prairies and foothills of Colorado or simply in my backyard. For most of us Nature has become a concept rather than a physical experience. We live in cities and dream of the grandiose landscapes of the American west, of the noble animals of the Alaska’s wilderness. We’ve come to consider these elements as worthy of our respect and protection. With these photographs I wanted to bring to light specimens of Nature that are mostly ignored or overlooked, and present them as beautiful and precious components of our environment.

All my subjects are past their prime; most have withered; some have died. All have stayed ignored by passersby. There is nothing exotic about the subjects of my photographs and yet to me they possessed an intrinsic quality. They looked intricate. They seemed fragile. They evoked feeling of loneliness, melancholy or foreboding. They reminded me of the value of transient life. They illustrated the ambiguous beauty of decay. These objects became little treasures that I collected and cherished. They acquired a very real (even if temporary) value to me and needed protection until their appearance was preserved in the form of a photograph. These overlooked and ordinary specimens become the center of attention and take on an extraordinary significance.

The photographs were created using the wet-plate collodion process. In my past work, I have physically and chemically stressed my negatives to crack the emulsion, distort the subject, and change the colors of the image. Continuing down this path, I was drawn to wet-plate collodion because this method creates marks and artifacts that become an integral part of the photograph. The aesthetic of the collodion process transforms the series from an objective and straightforward documentation of Nature into a lyrical depiction of its beauty.