September 20, 2015 mblum6180_l6d6qy

Glass Portraits

In 2015, the “Glass Portraits” exhibition by Matthew Blum was a stirring collection of ambrotype portraits that captures the essence of its subjects through the time-honored wet plate collodion process. This technique, dating back to the 1850s, creates images with a haunting depth and timeless quality that digital photography cannot replicate. Each portrait is a unique piece, reflecting not only the subject’s image but also the distinctive characteristics of the medium, including its unpredictability and the way it interacts with light and chemicals.

Presented in the Alternative Gallery, this exhibit offered a night of reflection on the permanence of glass, the fluidity of time, and the profound simplicity of the human face. It was a reminder of the power of traditional photographic processes and their ability to connect us with history in a tangible, visceral way. Through “Glass Portraits,” Blum not only preserves the past but breathes new life into a nearly lost art form, inviting contemporary audiences to partake in the beauty of this old-world craft.