Developer Trays by John Cyr is a striking set of images of… you guessed it, developer trays. On his website Cyr writes that he has photographed the trays so that the photographic community can remember its past and the tools used throughout photography’s history, that the titling of each tray with its owner’s name is a subtle way of recording the historic significance of each tray.

It’s clear the work takes a cue from Bernd and Hilla Bechers’ blast furnace work, so in addition to the inferences described by Cyr above the works also develop the same quirks as the Bechers’. As you scroll through the works on Cyr’s website and look at one tray after another, perhaps only taking notice of the odd name, you start to see the personalities of the owners come through.

Andreas Feininger's Developer Tray, John Cyr 2012

Feininger’s Tray above is the first one to leap out at you, a shiny, clean, new looking tray amongst the grimy, silver deposit laden trays. While it might be a bit much to read into the owner’s personality from the many different types of trays, how they’re maintained or presented must give some sort of indication.

Eileen Travell's Developer Tray, John Cyr 2012

So while the work has stated topics of remembering and history, part of what makes the work engaging is seeing the little differences that provide a window into those behind the developer trays.

Thanks to It’s Nice That for the post that guided us to this work!