The Untouched series sees Walter & Zoniel creating the largest Ferrotype portraits in the World. This project combines both sides of their artistic practice with vivacity and innovation. The sheer scale and wonder of the camera and the epic creative challenges of producing the artwork isnspirational. The artists’ aim to celebrate the combined effects of using traditional and modern technologies, to create what has never before been possible, to uniquely record these iconic individuals in this moment, to look at the beauty of the portrait with fresh eyes, to traverse challenge, to inspire.
Each image is full-length and life-sized, shot directly on to metal sheets using a traditional photographic technique from the 1830s. They are 7 ft x 4 ft, making them likely the largest of their kind in the world. Having searched the world for six years to find a lens large enough to capacitate this series, they are now working with the Victoria and Albert museum to create and exhibit these works of Iconic Britons.
To create these colossal artworks, the artists team modern and ancient technology, hand-building a gigantic camera, their largest ever, the WZBOX.360 . Within which, they prepare and hand coat each of the images with original photographic chemistry, exposing them individually for up to 30 seconds to create a completely unique and beautiful imagery.
The extra long exposure time requires a medative stillness from their subjects and consequently attains eerily beautiful results, the capturing of an extended moment uniquely staring into the eyes of these recognisable faces in an entirely new manner.
Each person asked to be part of the series is an Icon in their own field. Their aim is to capture each image, within this exquisite medium. Recording their existence together in this moment in time, in one of the only photographic formats that will stand the test of time, lasting possibly for a thousand years. The name of the artwork ‘The Untouched’ is a reference to the fact that there is neither ability nor need for retouching or alteration of the images, as the means of their creation is beautiful and ethereal, and also a nod to the exalted status of the subjects within the eyes of the public. Each of the iconic subjects for the series is invited to stand for the portrait barefoot. A reference to the honesty of the artwork, in true exact height and with their feet firmly on the ground, an expression of the humanity that we all share existing on this planet together.
PHOTO LONDON @ SOMERSET HOUSE - Walter & Zoniel were invited and commissioned by Photo London in 2016 to turn The Deadhouse beneath Somerset House into their WZBOX.360 camera creating works in a prelude to The Untouched. They used this as an opportunity to test run the project, two portraits were shot, one of Designer, Sir Paul Smith, and one of Musician, Laura Marling. The artists were able to create the inner workings of the camera and received much press and critical acclaim for the work.