Columns on fashion, culture and ideas

Art & Culture / AnOther Happy Monday

Developer Trays of the World's Greatest Photographers

Specially chosen by the AnOther team to make your Monday a little easier

Neil Selkirk's Developer Tray
Neil Selkirk's Developer Tray Photography by John Cyr, courtesy of powerHouse Books

This week's Happy Monday takes you back to the golden days of photography, featuring the developer trays belonging to some of the biggest names in the craft

With the unstoppable juggernaut of the iPhone changing the countenance of photography forever, it is extraordinary to consider that digital photography has been around for just 26 years. Yet in that brief period, it seems that the old ways have already become quaint and old fashioned, relics of a time now long behind us. In an effort to preserve a sense of our past, photographer John Cyr has created a record of one of the singular – and integral – elements of the analog photographer’s craft, in a series depicting the developer trays belonging to the world’s most renowned photographers.

In a work of extraordinary beauty and simplicity, the trays, belonging to the likes of Elliott Erwitt, Larry Fink, Sylvia Plachy, Mark Seliger, Ansel Adams and Bruce Davidson are presented against black backgrounds, the permutations, scars and slices in the metal telling the unique and enigmatic stories of the artists to whom they belong. In a world of selfies and instant gratification, it is a gorgeous work, a novel reflection on a changing artform and a reminder of the pure beauty of hands over machines.

Happy Monday! #anotherhappymonday

Aaron Siskind's Developer Tray
Aaron Siskind's Developer Tray Photography by John Cyr, courtesy of powerHouse Books
Ansel Adams' Developer Tray
Ansel Adams' Developer Tray Photography by John Cyr, courtesy of powerHouse Books
Sylvia Plachy's Developer Tray
Sylvia Plachy's Developer Tray Photography by John Cyr, courtesy of powerHouse Books
Developer Tray from the George Eastman Legacy Collection of the George Eastman House
Developer Tray from the George Eastman Legacy Collection of the George Eastman House Photography by John Cyr, courtesy of powerHouse Books
Bruce Davidson's Developer Tray
Bruce Davidson's Developer Tray Photography by John Cyr, courtesy of powerHouse Books
Lillian Bassman's Developer Tray
Lillian Bassman's Developer Tray Photography by John Cyr, courtesy of powerHouse Books
Developer Tray from the Photo History Collection of Smithsonian's National Museum of American History
Developer Tray from the Photo History Collection of Smithsonian's National Museum of American History Photography by John Cyr, courtesy of powerHouse Books
Elliott Erwitt's Developer Tray
Elliott Erwitt's Developer Tray Photography by John Cyr, courtesy of powerHouse Books

Developer Trays by John Cyr is out now, published by powerHouse Books.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates