WET PLATE COLLODIAN & BOX BROWNIES
2 Day Workshop
This two day workshop will be an introduction for complete beginners to the 19th century Wet Collodian process. This is a truly magical photographic process that is both immediate and beautiful.
During the workshop you will learn about the history, technique and safe handling of the chemicals. You will prepare your glass or tin plates for coating and sensitising to expose in your Box Brownie cameras that have been adapted to take glass or metal plates instead of roll film. This makes the process accessible, affordable and a fun way to learn about the early history of photography and the action of light on light- sensitive chemistry. The finished plates are like little gems.
Once you have become familiar with the technique, you will have the opportunity to experiment further with tintypes (a positive image on tin) and ambrotypes (a positive image on glass) to produce a still life, portrait or landscape.
Once hooked you will want to learn how to work with medium and large format cameras that can take up to 8 x 10 inch plates. This workshop will be available in due course.
£180 for two days, which includes materials. Numbers of participants are limited to 4. Individual tuition is £250 for two days. Dates on request.
History & Process
The Wet Collodian process was invented in 1848 by F. Scott Archer (1813-1857) and was a significant advancement to the French Daguerreotype and English Calotype* processes that were invented in 1839 and 1840 respectively. The new technique could produce a much finer and faster image than its predecessors.
On glass, Wet Collodian is produced both as a negative and a positive plates. Negatives are used to reproduce images from. Positive plates are blackened on the rear of the plate; the milky image appears, as if by magic, to become positive and can be framed as a unique image. When Wet Collodian is applied to black coated tin it is called a Tintype and these became very popular during the Victorian era with the addition of hand painted colour.
*Calotype Photography is the direct ancestor of modern photography; a waxed translucent paper image was used as a negative from which a positive image was printed.
A sheet of glass or tin is coated with a solution of gun cotton dissolved in ether, which is immediately sensitised in a solution of salts of silver and exposed in a camera whilst still tacky. The process is immediate, though it is limited to having a darkroom close at hand to process the images. A mobile darkroom tent can allow for mobility when taking photographs of landscapes.