These days, everyone with a phone in their pocket calls themselves a photographer. Amongst that stream of never-ending images, Matt Alberts stands out. Alberts uses a process called wet plate photography to create truly stunning portraits.
Wet plate photography is decidedly anti-instant gratification. Developed in the 1850s the process involves pouring a silver nitrate solution over a glass or silver plate in a darkroom, then exposing that plate in a camera, and finally developing the plate with acid and applying a fixer.
The result of all that labor is photos that have a depth and character that few other cameras can duplicate. Alberts is using his 11x14 large format Chamonix camera to take wet plate pictures of snowboarders, skateboarders, and surfers as part of The LIFERS Project. Alberts is documenting unique individuals whose passion for their sports is all-consuming. He teamed up with Cadillac and is driving across the United States with two trailers (one for his mobile darkroom and one for an Airstream trailer) hitched up to customized Escalades as he meets and photographs these unique individuals, such as Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Jamie Anderson.
The year-long road trip requires a lot of gear. While he is known for his wet plate photography, Alberts is also mixing digital images and video into his documentation, so there are plenty of cameras. There’s also plenty of toys. We asked Alberts to show us all the stuff that he has packed into his Cadillacs.
Check it out.
From left to right:
151 Salomon Powder Snake Snowboard
This is great for slashing pow or ripping banked slaloms.
156 Salomon Splitboard And Skins
This one’s for easy backcountry access.
156 Asmo Powsurfer
Designed by Wolle Nyvelt, it’s a bindingless surfer snowboard. There’s no better feeling in the backcountry.
Airblaster Bibs And Jacket
Short wave radio
Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel
To keep our electronics charged.
A fresh pair is a must for a cold day in the snow.
LED Lenser Headlamp
2015 Cadillac Escalade Keys
Cadillac hooked us up with two brand-new Escalades with customized hitches so that we can tow the mobile dark-room and Airstream around with us. They’re not only perfect for battling the range of weather conditions out here, but also super comfortable.
Apple iPhone 6
Leatherman Crater C33Tx knife and Leatherman Skeletool SX tool
Never leave home without your skateboard.
Chamonix 11x14 View Camera With Handmade Brass CC. Harrison Lens From 1854
Canon 5D Mark iii With Canon 85mm Lens
Canon 35mm L
The North Face Stormbreak Tent
The North Face Blue Kazoo Sleeping Bag