Hello, I’m Raphaël and I’m a compulsive printmaker. This would by my introduction if I were to participate in the photographic equivalent of an AA-meeting. But fortunately, an addiction to printmaking is not considered a problem!

Lonely oak, near home
Scan of 20x25cm optical/analog print from 4×5″ negative
December 2023

My passion for photography comprises both the artistic and the technical sides of the medium, although I acknowledge that my talents are in the latter area more so than the former. Even so, it’s the combination of poetry and technology, and the bridge between the alpha- and the beta-brain, that keeps me fascinated with this field.

Within photography, my interest is mostly in analog processes, involving film, paper and chemistry. Whereas digital photography necessarily involves a step from reality (the scene captured) towards a digital meta-reality (the realm of bits and bytes) and perhaps back again (if the images are printed), analog photography plays out entirely in the physical world. As a result, there is a direct, unbroken link between the reality that’s photographed, or the light that is captured, and the final print.

Moreover, analog photography involves (1) the possibility of doing much/all of it with your own hands, and (2) lots of smaller and larger technical challenges that are involved in mastering the craft. It’s this combination of opportunity and challenge that I enjoy. This is especially the case with printing processes, and I suppose that it’s for this reason that my interest has gravitated towards that stage of the photographic process.

Currently, I particularly enjoy making color prints, i.e. optical enlargements of color negatives onto chromogenic (‘RA4’) paper, black & white silver gelatin printing and carbon transfer printing. The latter is in my view a special kind of magic, since it boils down to creating unique prints with unsurpassed permanence from modest materials such as cotton rag (a.k.a. fine art papers), crushed animal (a.k.a. gelatin) and dust/soot (a.k.a. pigments).

As an auto-didact, voracious reader and the tenacity of a dog with a bone, I dive into a process that interests me and won’t let go until I’ve come as close to mastering it as feasible. Much of my free time is spent on messing about with chemicals and paper, and with engineering and building the equipment I need.

For the technical side of my photography, I (try to) maintain a blog. I write about challenges I encounter and lessons I learn, mostly as a means to structure my own thoughts and as an external memory. However, this blog as also attracted attention from amateur as well as fine arts photographers around the globe. I often offer my advise to others, either in private communication (when asked) or through internet forum posts (often unsolicited), and I’ve worked with several photographers, both online and face to face, in resolving specific technical problems – or ‘puzzles’ as I prefer to consider them!

In terms of subject matter, I photograph for my own enjoyment, so I photograph what appeals to me, what I find pretty, and/or what I feel captures the mood I’m in. These are often arrangements of mundane objects I encounter and landscapes in various degrees of abstraction. While I don’t consider myself a storyteller with images, I do reflect on what each image means to me and potentially to others, and each image is ultimately the crystallization of one word of my inner dialogue. However, I still consider my images and prints to be snapshots, and I rarely show them to others. The pleasure, for me, is just in making them. This is also why there’s no gallery attached to this website, nor is there an “artist’s statement” or any other lofty fluff.

Storm clearing above the Merwede river
Scan of 20x20cm carbon transfer print from 8×10″ negative
January 2024