Contemporary Chinese photographer Luo Dan

For his “Simple Song” project, Luo Dan employed the traditional collodion wet plate photographic process invented in 1850, spending several months traveling with a portable darkroom in remote and mountainous regions of China’s southern Yunnan Province. Looking to capture the purity of this photographic process, Luo Dan was able to reflect the authenticity found in rural life for many of China’s yet undeveloped regions, where the way of life has remained largely intact for hundreds of years. More than 100 years ago many of the villages in this region were influenced by early Christian missionaries, resulting in many of the local villagers becoming people of faith and devout churchgoers, often seen dressing up in their ethnic garments, or Sunday’s best. By bringing a reverence to both this antiquated photographic process and subject matter, Luo Dan’s “Simple Song” series is an effort to capture a sense of timelessness. An incredibly popular process in the mid-nineteenth century, wet plate collodion could render exquisite detail for photographers, but the laborious process of exposure and development also led to its decline towards the end of the century. (Source: M97Gallery.com)

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