Eric Mertens is a California-based artist with a focus on the wet plate collodion and daguerreotype processes.
After training as a laser technologist, he worked in a government laboratory before attending California College of the Arts (CCA). In his fourth year he developed a strong interest in large-format photography and alternative processes. After graduation he studied daguerreotypie under Mike Robinson in Toronto. His energy and precision have allowed him to endure the many difficulties that are associated with these early photographic processes.
Committing to 19th century photography techniques, he creates one of a kind daguerreotype portraits that embrace the analog in a digital age. Often constructing his own darkroom equipment by hand, Mertens insists on the most labor-intensive of processes as a means to a beautiful end. His daguerreotypes feature stunning detail and quality, suggesting reality in the most subtle ways – a sharp contrast to the often hyper-real, mainstream digital photography of today.
The daguerreotype, by its nature, helps expose a sensitive and personal side of both artist and subject. The image is created on a sheet of highly polished silvered metal, which allows for incredible detail. The image clarity, gradations of light and shade, radiance of human quality, and mellowness of tone are all visible.
BFA, Photography, 2002 with distinction
California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, California
phone: 925 784 8354