Selfportrait: Wet Collodium plate.

Willie-Jan Bons (20-10-1967)

Autonomous Fine art photographer from The Netherlands (Europe). My greatest inspiration is from the nature around me and I visualize this onto a different medium which is capable of capturing this thought.
Sometimes a image is a frozen moment of a composition, a capture of emotion, a interpretation of a theme or a picture that is no longer two dimensional but goes further for those who look deeper.

"The soul created with analogue black and white material is what I like about it."



I was born in 1967 in Best, The Netherlands. My Interest in photography started at the age of 15. I used a minolta X-300. All was photographed in slides because printing photos from negatives was very expensive. My basic adult education was followed at the Leonardo Da Vinci school where I learned to work with my hands, followed by a education in higher Computer Science where I earned my bachelor degree. I became member of a photo club in the village where I live. In 1995 I started taking pictures in black and white and created a darkroom at the attic with a meopta black & white enlarger. A friend of me Krishna Joeloemsingh helped me to get started.

After some years I bought a medium format pentax camera which I used for theatre work and weddings. I also developed the colour pictures myself with a jobo cpa2 processor. Due to the digital age I stopped with this because there was no longer interest in good pictures anymore. People just want cheap and fast pictures and that’s why I stopped this kind of photography. My drive was gone. A second reason was that I joined a little company that just had been started to build up a business in Digital Signage software as a software architect.

Nature calls
Because my interest was more and more heading towards nature and still life, I bought a 4x5 field camera and a LPL 7451 (4x5) enlarger. I spend a lot of time in the woods around my village which is changing rapidly in to a nature park by “natuurmonumenten” and “brabants landschap” which is called “het groene woud”. These organisations prevent the nature to be disposed by the hunger for houses in this area. The more you walk In these areas, more is there to be seen. With the shen hao 6x12 back I shoot slides which give a beautiful panorama effect. In 2007 I also bought a manual Hasselblad set.

Besides working in the nature, I started taking still-life photos. I got a Sinar technical camera and made my own studio. Since 2007 I got a increasingly interest in art and started taking courses in photography and art and got a mentor to help me out besides the baseline which helped me to get further. Besides that I started sculpturing to find out what the 3D effect on sculptures did, and how it could help me in taking still-life photographs. In 2008 I founded a new community called FFotone for analogue photographers who come together each 2 weeks to talk about photography.

My Photographic Alternative Process history
In 2005 I started developing photo's with liquid silver emulsion which I could use to coat aquarelle paper and even wood. This got me into the alternative photography section.

2010 Daquerreotype
Workshop Daquerreotype by Marinus Ortelee and Charlotte Edam (The Netherlands)
This was the first publicly announced photographic process (1837).
A polished silver plate (sensitised to light with iodine vapour ) is developed with mercury vapor and gives an astonishing image.

2009 Wet Collodium Plates
Workshop Collodium by Quinn Jacobson (USA)
A mixture of chemicals(collodium) is poured onto a cleaned black glass plate and made light sensitive. Direct after this the wet plate is exposed in a camera and afterwards developed. This results in a positive image.

2008 Lith
Workshop Lith by Wolfgang Moersch (Germany).
The visual appearance of a lith print is grainy, dark shadows and soft delicate highlights, different colours and hues can be achieved as the developer gets older which adds to the unpredictable effect and probably the appeal of doing the prints in this manner. One last thing, lith development is confusing frustrating, virtually unrepeatable and time consuming, but, the rewards are worth it.

2007 Bromoil
Workshop Bromoil by Jeroen de Wijs (The Netherlands).
One starts with a normally developed print on a silver bromide paper which is then chemically bleached and hardened. The gelatine which originally had the darkest tones, is hardened the most, the highlights remain absorbent to water. This print can then be inked like the oil print.

2006 Palladium & Platinum
Workshop Palladium / Platinum by Witho Worms (The Netherlands).
Non silver process that uses palladium. This process has nice and long tone scales.

2005 Liquid Light emulsion & Cyanotype
Liquid light emulsion is a silver emulsion that can be heated and painted onto surfaces. After that the surface is exposed using an enlarger with a negative and developed. The result is an image print onto a surface. I even used wood to create a image onto.
Cyanotype also called Prussian blue or blueprint was invented in 1842. By combining two parts of iron salts these get a blue colour when exposed to ultraviolet light. First the solution is painted onto aquarelle paper that does not contain any chemicals which could start reacting with the solution. After drying a enlarged negative is placed on top of the paper and this is exposed to ultraviolet light. At the right snatch point the paper is washed in water to remove the non exposed solution and the photo is ready.

Pieter Brueghel Art centre
Art centre where I follow courses and get responses back from my work/projects

Why using Alternative Processes?
These old processes result in a image that contains more than a picture. The structure of the material used adds a special feeling to the artwork. Each process has its own result and by combining the right image to the right process the outcome can be heavenly. I only use analogue photography equipment and use film to catch the scene. For me a photo is a (silver) emulsion on a paper base on no ink. The feel of real paper and emulsion cannot be copied by using a digital way.

Website representation
The work shown on this website is scanned with a Epson 3200 or a digital photo made from the original print and is just a impression of the real picture.
Not the negative, but the print is photographed/scanned mostly to get the most realistic impression of the original work.

Willie-Jan Bons.