The Fisherman and the Weather Wife was written by Angela Readman, read by Gerard Rudolf and features a soundtrack by Yvonne Lyon. Made as part of Alastair’s McArthur’s Store project, the film complemented a series of wet plate collodion tintype portraits of the fishermen who work from McArthur’s Store, an historic creel store on the Old Harbour in the small Scottish fishing town of Dunbar.
WET PLATE COLLODION is a photographic process dating from 1851 and was a primary method of capturing images until the 1880s. The process must be completed within ten minutes before the plate dries; this brings a certain intensity, offering the ability to produce mercurial and unique images.
The process captures an image directly onto glass or tin, which has been coated with collodion then steeped in silver nitrate to render it sensitive to light. Wet plate collodion balances light and time – the photographer’s decision – with a chemical process involving cleaning, washing, dipping, coating, mixing, fixing and drying. When the image first appears in the fix, a little smoky at first, it is startling, as if alchemy has been witnessed. This is a skilled craft and can be disrupted by many variables. What sets my work apart is its sheer physicality – these are sensuous, vital, vulnerable, proud portraits.
“Arresting and nostalgic, contemplative and intriguing…Cook’s portraits create their own atmosphere and intrigue. Rooted in place, they reflect its spirit, at once harsh and poetic; the tracings of light from a northern sky on raw metal.”
Giles Sutherland, The Times [4 Stars].
This series of work was funded through North Light Arts by Creative Scotland as part of Year of Creative Scotland and Year of Natural Scotland.