Dubai exhibit reminds us photography is still an art form

The UAE’s diverse population is being displayed in style at Al Serkal Avenue.

Matthew Priest November 9, 2014

Turning a blind eye to social media ‘selfies’ and the hundreds of quick-fire, digital holiday photos taken that will likely never see the light of day, every now and then we receive a reminder that photography – and the method for developing film – is still very much an art form.

Showing this month in the Gulf Photo Plus gallery in Dubai’s Al Serkal Avenue, is a new photography exhibition focusing on a process of producing positive images on metal plates, known as tintype images.

Using techniques that were discovered by the Frenchman Adolphe-Alexandre Martin in 1853, the exhibition sees a modern-day interpretation of the process by UAE-based photographer Antonie Robertson, who looks to celebrate portraiture in a physical form. Antonie Robertson tintype.

The process of creating is slow, and can require the subject to sit still for several minutes, and due to the chemicals and the physical process involved, no two tintype plates could ever be identical, instead they're characterised by swirls, flows and marks that set each one apart from the other.

Each of Robertson’s works is a portrait of someone who is, or was at one time, in the UAE. As well as the technical skill, it shows the variety of the population in the country. Here are a few of our favourite examples from the exhibition: Antonie Robertson tintype. Antonie Robertson tintype. Antonie Robertson tintype. Antonie Robertson tintype. Antonie Robertson tintype. Details: The Slow Portrait exhibition, November 2 to 19. Gulf Photo Plus, Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai. Visit: