Inheriting a Leica camera from 1963 brought me back to the darkroom, a place I desired to explore as a 10-year old. It wasn’t to be back then, due to the circumstance called poverty, but 40 years down the road, the story was different.
The legendary historian and collector of esoterica, K. Frank Jensen, whose Leica I’m now using, also left me an archive of negatives based on work done with the Leica between 1954 and 1964. Among these negatives are some images that went on to win Frank many prestigious prizes.
The Danish Testament is about taking new pictures with this old camera, and going all the way, from developing the negative to processing the images as gelatin silver prints. For an upcoming exhibition, I also want to juxtapose them with Frank’s images, the ones that I select from his archive and print by myself in the darkroom.
Enjoy a small sample of photographs below. If any grabs your heart, don’t hesitate to ask for availability.
The high quality of a handmade print is difficult to render on any website that uses pixels rather than silver. Here I preferred to take a picture of my images with my iPhone, rather than scan them, as this will give you a better impression of the texture that goes into creating them.
While I greatly appreciate being a skilful technician, I prefer chance to precise metering, perfect exposure and focus. ‘If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t,’ I say to myself, welcoming the challenge to work with all types of negatives, from the very dense to the highly underexposed.
My process is simple and it follows three steps, whether we’re talking about taking pictures or darkroom work: strategic thinking, making decisions, and stumbling into grace, the latter also because I don’t meter the light or fiddle with electronic exposure. The Leica is fully mechanical. I guess the intensity and density of light because I like to see where chance takes me.
For a word on how a gelatin silver print is created, read my essay, A Touch of Silver.
For a sample of my photographs and ‘non-philosophy’ in pdf form that you can download, see The Danish Testament Portfolio.
You’re welcome to contact me for inquires about available single and editions of silver prints.
Currently I’m working on an exhibition featuring work in the darkroom based on my own negatives and those of K. Frank Jensen from the ’60s. All shot with the Leica M2.