Click to preview Collodion Travelogue photo book

Landscapes made in the Northwest and Midwest United States from 2000 to 2004 by wetplate collodion photographer Dale Bernstein.


About the Author

Dale Bernstein

During the 1980s I had the honor of working for some of the 20th Century's great photographers. Penn, Horst, Avedon, Mapplethorpe and Arnold Newman amongst others. I have a genuine appreciation for their work and that of their contemporaries. Growing up in New York with a budding interest in photography I was taken with the often romantic gum and platinum prints of the Photo-Secessionists. It was not until some years later, approaching the tender age of forty that I really began to appreciate the work of 19th Century photographers. I found my passion in wetplate collodion photography.

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fotomonk says

I have followed Dale Bernstein's work for many years now. I have seen him work in many photographic processes and in many genres. His wet-plate work seems to me to be where his heart truly resides.
I greatly enjoy Dale's work and this book is no exception. His love for the process clearly shows through this work. He mentions being influenced by Carleton Watkins but I see much more here. There is a more modern influence at work in these images. I was reminded of Richard Misrach's work when I saw them. Dale has managed to bring two very different approaches to photography together in this book. While many photographers try to define a very wide view of the western landscape, these images are frequently intimate views and I believe the images are more powerful for that fact.
With these evocative photographs the author has shown us once more that he is a true master of the collodion process.

posted at 03:04pm Jan 31 PST


sigmund says

The book arrived a few days ago and I just wanted to say that I think it is terrific.

The images are evocative and knotty--the viewer can imagine just how intensely focused the wet-plate photographer must be to achieve a successful image/print . The process is non-forgiving, physically demanding and at least for me, not sentimental at all. Although the process is 150 years old it is refreshingly devoid of nostalgia. I suppose the photographer has little time for these feelings when the clock is ticking and the plate is drying out.

What you get is simply stark powerful images---empty sky, rolling hills, craggy rock, brick buildings. Well done!

posted at 07:19am Sep 09 PST


amonkst3 says

“Collodion Travelogue” is a throwback to what seems and increasingly “old fashioned” way of making art – it is all done by hand. Enormous manual labor went into the making of each photograph in this book. Reading the essay about how these pictures are actually made, I was left considering that the results, considering how many things can go wrong in the process, are each like a small miracle. I was as well reminded of what I’ve heard said of the game of baseball – that there are many more ways to lose a game than win one.
The structure of the book, Dale Bernstein presents a narrative which forms a visual dichotomy of presence and confrontation. We can look at the opening half of the book with it’s’ images of large natural space, barely impeded on by humanity, from the stance of being either fully present and accepting of nature as it is. Or we can feel our response as rational beings to a sense of emptiness, a completeness of which we may not be capable of comprehending, and in response to that confront the space with dreams, conceits, ideas and then the action of constructs. I n its’ second half we can then look at the pictured results of these ideas, their consequent actions, and investigate either accepting them as they are or confront what they might say to us. This presents an opportunity to compare and contrast these two stances and maybe ask “How well did it turn out? Did the ideas work or the dreams come true? What are we left with here?”
Dale Bernstein’s visual art works in this book are in addition beyond photography in that they are also very painterly. If you return again to reading the essay of the split second fragility in which these images were found and then created and look again closely at them, you can see subtle waves of background tone created by the application of the washes on the plates looking as if it were applied as a watercolor wash all randomly affected by the motion or light of a moment. In the silence which fills all of his images Dale Bernstein has created an almost meditative tension between permanence and transience that runs like an undertone through this “travelogue”. He has allowed both the process of creation and his scenes to speak utterly for and of themselves.
This book displays a very fine and rewarding body of work which will yield more as the viewer spends time with it. My only regret here is that the book itself was not larger as many of Dale Bernstein’s images shown here, although very intimate, are bigger than the pages they are reproduced on. TAM/VT

posted at 10:34am Aug 26 PST


jsudek says

I have known Dale Bernstein for 15 years or so but have been separated by half the country for 10 of those. His book is a welcome reminder of the prints and ambrotypes I miss seeing so much. Mr. Bernstein's images seem right at home with the look of the wet plate process, but aren't dependent on it. His art would be just as relevant presented in any process.

posted at 08:18pm Aug 06 PST


nytreader says

As a photography collector and someone who has worked in the art gallery field for years, I can only say how awestruck I was when I received the book. It's beautiful. I have been aware of Mr. Bernstein's work for years. I've seen his name as an instructor for many alternative process workshops. I knew he was as knowledgeable as anyone in the field today. But I was still filled with pleasure and happiness when I first looked at this book. It's a serious book, not to be taken carelessly. The process is time consuming, so each photograph is thought out, not mere random photographs that todays digital process affords. The book reads like a travel diary as such we get the title Collodian Travelogue. Mr. Bernstein is Dean Moriarity with a camera, starting west and heading east, he examines with the utmost detail, things small and large that are typically glanced over, but for this particular photographer nothing escapes the his vision.
This book is a treat for anyone. I highly recommend it and also ask Mr. Bernstein one question...when will you photograph New York City?
It awaits your treatment!

posted at 10:59am Jul 24 PST


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