CulturaFotografía

Ferrotipos en la nueva estación

Terminal del Muelle Prat del puerto de Barcelona

A finales de Septiembre del pasado año, se inauguró en Barcelona la nueva plataforma de contenedores del

Muelle Prat, construida y operada por TERCAT, filial del grupo chino Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH). Como complemento a los reportajes fotográficos que Tempus Fugit Visual Projects S.L. ha realizado para Projects Facilities & Management en estas instalaciones, hemos realizado un trabajo muy especial; obtener fotografías sobre metal de las gigantescas grúas de acero. Y para ello hemos empleado un procedimiento fotográfico histórico, el ferrotipo.

BREVE HISTORIA DE UN PROCESO FOTOGRÁFICO

El ferrotipo es un tipo de fotografía realizada mediante el procedimiento del colodión húmedo. Esta fue la técnica fotográfica más empleada entre 1851 y la década de 1880 para la obtención de negativos sobre vidrio que luego eran positividados sobre papel a la albúmina. También se empleó para conseguir positivos directos sobre vidrio, (ambrotipos) o sobre metal (ferrotipos).

Fue el escultor y calotipista inglés Frederick Scott Archer (1813-1857) quien publicó por primera vez, esta técnica fotográfica en la revista británica The Chemist en 1851. Contrariamente a otros de sus contemporáneos, Scott Archer no estableció patente alguna sobre su invención y pese a que su procedimiento fue ampliamente utlizado, murió en la miseria dejando a su esposa y a sus hijas en una situación más que precaria.

El colodión consiste es una mezcla líquida y viscosa de algodón pólvora (piroxilina) disuelta en éter y alcohol. Antes de emplearse como emulsión fotográfica, ya se utilizaba en medicina para cerrar heridas y cicatrices recientes. Para emplearlo en fotografía, hace falta añadir una solución alcohólica con yoduro o bromuro de cadmio. Este es el colodión yodurado, la base del procedimiento. Esta solución es extendida uniformemente sobre una placa -de vidrio o de metal- que luego es sensibilizada en una solución de nitrato de plata. La placa debe ser expuesta y revelada inmediatamente pues si esta se seca (y esto ocurre en pocos minutos) la capa de colodión se vuelve impermeable imposibilitando su revelado. Así pues, el fotógrafo se ve obligado a colodionar, sensibilizar y revelar la placa en el mismo lugar donde realiza la toma o a lo sumo, en un lugar muy próximo a este. Es necesario pues trasegar todo el material necesario para el procesado aparte de un  laboratorio portátil que permita trabajar bajo luz de seguridad.

Pese a lo enojoso de su empleo, la  ausencia de grano en la emulsión y su amplia gama tonal lo convirtieron en un procedimiento apreciado por infinidad de fotógrafos. Entre los más conocidos, citaremos a Francis Frith (1822-1898) que recorrió el Próximo Oriente, a William Henry Jackson (1843-1942) que viajó por el Oeste americano,  a Charles Marville (1816- 1879 ?) que documentó  la transformación urbanística de París,  y al autodenominado Photographe des Ponts et Chaussées, Auguste-Hippolyte Collard (1812-1897?), fótografo de las grandes obras de Ingeniería durante el Segundo Imperio francés.  Empleando el colodión húmedo, Mathew B. Brady (1823-1896) fotografíó  la Guerra Civil Americana y el gran Félix Gaspar Tournachon, conocido como Nadar, (1820-1910) retrató no sólo a los intelectuales y artistas más conocidos de su época sino que además,  fue el primero en fotografiar las catacumbas y las alcantarillas  de París en 1861.

FERROTYPES  Y  TINTYPES

También llamado tintype en Estados Unidos, la invención del ferrotipo se atribuye al francés Adolphe Alexander Martin en 1852. Ya entonces fueron depositadas numerosas patentes en  Gran Bretaña y sobre todo, en Estados Unidos como el melainotype de Peter y William Neff en 1856. Como otros positivos directos, el ferrotipo es un negativo intencionalmente subexpuesto que al verse sobre un fondo negro (en este caso, una plancha metálica lacada en negro) aparece como una imagen positiva. Otra particularidad es que si no se emplea un prisma frente a la óptica de la cámara, la imagen resultante está siempre invertida de izquierda a derecha.

El ferrotipo fue ampliamente practicado por los fotógrafos ambulantes en los Estados Unidos y alcanzó su  auge durante la Guerra de Secesión americana si bien su uso se extendió hasta los primeros años del siglo XX, sobre todo para el retrato y en todos los formatos; desde el más pequeño, el gem (2 x 2’5 cm) hasta el formato de placa entera (21,5 x16,5 cm).

Desde hace pocos años, el interés por el estudio y la práctica de técnicas fotográficas históricas, ha hecho que un número creciente de fotógrafos empleen este procedimiento en sus trabajos tanto de índole profesional como artística.

LOS FERROTIPOS DE LA TERMINAL MUELLE PRAT DE BARCELONA

Para realizar estas fotografías, hemos empleado la misma técnica que la utilizada durante el siglo XIX. El procedimiento,  básicamente consiste en lo siguiente:

1º- De manera uniforme, se vierte una fina capa de colodión yodurado (yoduro de cadmio o de amonio) sobre la placa. En nuestro caso, hemos empleado una placa de aluminio lacada en negro.

2º- Inmediatamente a esta operación, la placa es sumergida durante unos 3 minutos en un tanque cerrado que contiene una solución de agua destilada y nitrato de plata. Después de este tiempo, la placa ya es sensible a la luz y puede ser expuesta en la cámara.

3º- En el interior del laboratorio portátil -bajo luz roja de seguridad- la placa es colocada dentro del chasis y seguidamente, expuesta en la  cámara. La exposición, de varios segundos, dependerá de la luz ambiente y del tema a fotografiar.

4º- Una vez expuesta, la placa debe ser revelada inmediatamente en el laboratorio portátil empleando una solución de sulfato ferroso.

5º-Una vez revelada la imagen y detenida la acción del revelador mediante agua, la placa es sumergida en una solución de cianuro potásico para proceder a su fijado. Posteriormente, la placa es lavada con agua corriente y secada.

6º- Ya en el estudio, la placa será calentada y barnizada empleando una solución de alcohol, goma sandaraca y aceite de lavanda a fin de proteger la fina capa de emulsión.

Cada una de estas fotografías son una pieza única e irrepetible; cada placa ha sido encapsulada en vidrio de alta calidad y presentada en un estuche de madera de nogal con una tapa metálica de latón pulido donde aparece grabado el logotipo de BEST, acrónimo de Barcelona Europe South Terminal.

Si lo desean, pueden ver más imágenes así como un making of de este trabajo en el siguiente enlace:

 Nueva Terminal Muelle Prat, Port de Barcelona

Rebecca Mutell & Martí Llorens

1_ Grúas Súper Post-Panamax en el Muelle Prat del Port de Barcelona, 2012. Ferrotipo 20x25cm. ©Tempus Fugit Visual Projects S.L.

2_ Grúas ASC (Automatic Stacking Cranes)en el Muelle Prat del Port de Barcelona, 2012. Ferrotipo 20x25cm. ©Tempus Fugit Visual Projects S.L.

3_ Fotografiando las grúas Súper Post-Panamax con una cámara de gran formato en el Muelle Prat del Port de Barcelona, 2012. © Tempus Fugit Visual Projects S.L.

4_ Laboratorio portátil para fotografía con colodión húmedo en el Muelle Prat del Port de Barcelona, 2012. © Tempus Fugit Visual Projects S.L.

5_ Ferrotipos de las grúas del Muelle Prat del Port de Barcelona, 2012. © Tempus Fugit Visual Projects S.L.

Rebecca Mutell & Martí Llorens| enero de 2013

TECNNE ©Marcelo Gardinetti

 

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