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René SmetsRené Smets is an interior designer, with a training in cabinetmaking and furniture design. He has mainly designed hotel, restaurant and bar interiors.
He discovered the work of Léonard Misonne in 1980 when visiting an exhibition at the Niepce museum in Chalons-sur-Saône. That was his first contact with alternative photographic processes. Between 1986 and 1992, he studied on his own most of the alternative processes - oil prints and transfers, dichromate gum, carbon prints, Sury process, cyanotypes, platinum prints, Van Dijcke process, salted paper, photogravure - building all required equipment: etching press, paper sizing devices, equipment for Daguerreotype making, etc.. He has also built several special cameras: view cameras, panoramic pinhole cameras, a panoptic camera (360°), etc..
His process of preference is bromoil and bromoil transfer.
He is a member of the Daguerreian Society in the USA, and co-founder of www.picto.info, a community of artists from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg interested in any photographic processes developed from the very beginning of Photography. He is guest Professor at the Fine Arts Academy in Antwerp, and got an A-Fiap distinction in 1995.
(René Smets - 2006)