IWPOTY 2022 my photograph awarded best in Engagement category

Van Dyke print goes viral on social media

A few days ago the results of one of the most well-known international wedding photography competitions, IWPOTY – International Wedding Photographer Of The Year, were made official.
A photograph of mine was judged as the best of the competition in the Engagement category, a category, by the way, particularly dear to me.

An old-fashioned print for a photograph with a retro flavor

Just at such a sensitive time in history for photography and imaging in general (only today I read about an AI-created photograph that fooled the judges of a photo contest by winning first prize) I have been wondering how I can make this couple photograph that comes from a digital shot special and even more valuable.
Being an expert in analog printing using ancient methods, the answer came immediately: I will print it on handmade paper using a technique that dates back to the late 1800s, the Van Dyke.

I first decided on the print size, which is important with these techniques because you print “contact” and therefore the final size of the print will be the same as the size of the negative. I defined a 20x20xm print on a 28x28cm sheet of paper.
I then started from the digital file and created a printable negative on clear acetate exactly 20x20cm and hung it to dry.

IWPOTY 2023 - Engagement category - Van Dyke print

Van Dyke print goes viral on social media

In the meantime I spread the Van Dyke sensitive emulsion by brush on the sheet of 320g Bergger COT paper drawing the jagged edges characteristic of these ancient techniques.

Once the sheet was dry, I cut out the negative and placed it in a handmade press in contact with the emulsified sheet. I then exposed the print to ultraviolet light and then developed and washed the result.

IWPOTY 2023 - Engagement category - Van Dyke print

Van Dyke print goes viral on social media

The brown print

The Van Dyke print, to take on the characteristic black/brown coloration takes at least 48 hours, time in which the washed emulsion oxidizes and stabilizes.
The end result is a print made unique by the brushstrokes and the process itself!

Want to find out more about ancient techniques? Write to me!

If you’re planning a destination engagement photoshoot in Tuscany, I would be honored to be your photographer. Contact me today to discuss your vision for your special event and to book your date.

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