Sepia-Tinted Spectacles

In Time Travelling
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“The past cannot be forgotten, the present cannot be remembered”,
Mark Fisher, Ghosts of my Life

On one of the those sunny but surprisingly still cold early Spring days, I visited the National Portrait Gallery with two other Viewfinders, Julia and Helen. We were there to see the Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron photography exhibition, Portraits to Dream In. This beautifully curated exhibition draws intricate parallels between the two photographers with reference not only to the style but also the themes of their work. It challenges you to look at their work anew (if you already know it) and look more intricately (if you don’t). 

We spent the morning looking at their images, one photographer alongside the other. But thing that struck me most about this exhibition was how much I loved all the sepia-toned photography. As we walked around all the breathtaking images, I remember saying to Helen and Julia, BRING BACK SEPIA! 

Back in the day, when our bathroom doubled as my husband’s darkroom, he sometimes used a process called lith printing, which produced lovely sepia-tinted images. We still have a few hanging up in our home. Personally, I don’t find sepia is as severe as black and white. There’s a softness there, a warmth and lightness to the mood with that lovely nod to nostalgia. For me, at least, it’s a modern way of going back in time (how I love those time machine vibes). 

So I decided to challenge myself to process one digital image in those magical sepia tones, every day for a week, and posted my results to Glass. I called it Seven Days of Sepia. 

I like to think I covered many of the bases. 


Urban life

Food (of sorts)


And of course, a landscape (I’ve chosen a landscape version of the image I posted to Glass)

I had so much fun and really loved engaging with all those haunting tones. They make even recent images feel like long-ago nostalgic memories.

As you can sepia yourself!



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