The Analogue Studio is Ireland's first wet plate and vintage photography studio and we spoke to founder Alex Sapienza about the studio, his photography and inspiration.
Based on South William Street in Dublin, Alex offers a completely unique photography experience and armed with his Victorian camera and specialist chemicals, his customers leave with something truly one-of-a-kind and timeless.
Where did the idea for The Analogue Studio come from?
"I have been taking photographs for over 20 years and I'm passionate about historical photographic processes. I did a workshop in England few years back and I fell in love with the images produced by this amazing process. I can now offer this additional service at my studio on South William Street."
Was it difficult to perfect your craft and to track down the right equipment?
"It took a bit of time to get up to speed with the technique and the mixing of the chemicals. The approach to this type of photography is quite different from digital. It can take me up to 20 minutes to set up for one shot so I'm very aware of the importance to get it right and not to waste chemicals and materials - unlike digital stills where I can shoot probably 100 pictures in the time that takes me to shoot one with my Victorian camera. The equipment was bought in New York and London, mostly from antique shops dealing with photographic equipment from Victorian times. It took probably a couple of months to get the right gear.
With Jennifer Maguire and Aidan Power among his celebrity clientele, we wondered who his favourite person to shoot was but Alex wouldn't give any names, "I have too many photographs that I like so can’t really single one out… I enjoyed the most seeing the expression on people faces when they see their image appearing on the glass. It's quite magical!"
With apps like Instagram more people are taking photos and sharing them online but this is vastly different from the kind of photography that you will witness at The Analogue Studio, "I don't consider selfies, look what I ate for dinner and some other related social media photographs as having anything to do with the craft of photography. I'm not against camera phones by the way, as I'm a very avid user of apps like Instagram and I shoot regularly on digital formats at my studio, but the approach to what I do is the total opposite to camera phones.
"It's slow, mercurial, quite dangerous because of the chemicals involved in the process, like Cyanide, and with not much control over the final image there's always an element of surprise. The images are all one of a kind and cannot be reproduced. That is what I really love about wet plate collodion photography."
See some of Alex's portraits here:
For more information visit www.theanaloguestudio.ie or find them on Facebook.