Beginning in 2014 photographer Giles Clement has joined the Newport Folk family and captured a unique, timeless moment with the musicians that play the festival. Using equipment made in the 1850’s and one of the oldest photographic mediums he and his team have crafted portraits of some of our times most influential artists.
The process is called ambrotype, a photographic method invented more than 170 years ago and requiring the photographer to be part artist and part alchemist. Raw materials including glass, silver, iron, cotton and alcohol are carefully brought together and manipulated chemically to craft one of a kind photographs on sheets of clear glass.
The studio is a place at the festival where musicians can come, let down their guards and become involved in the creation of a piece of art. The process is spellbinding and everyone from stadium filling rock legends to future legends who play their home towns bar are equally captivated by the ambrotype process.
For each portrait taken a series of careful and time sensitive steps are taken. A light sensitive emulsion is made on the glass before it’s placed in the camera and exposed. That glass is then developed using iron and alcohol to become a permanent photograph.
In previous year’s Giles has worked with dozens of musicians including Fiona Apple, Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Questlove, Maceo Parker, Amy Helms, Regina Spektor, Leon Bridges, Andrew Hozier, Laura Marling, Jeff Tweedy, Margo Price, Kris Kristofferson and Rhiannon Giddens.
These ambrotypes live on as a beautiful and permanent time capsule of an incredible shared experience at the Newport Folk Festival.