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What I Did This Summer || Part 2: Wet-Plate Collodion

One of my absolute favorite things to do, photographically speaking, is learning and doing historical photographic processes. Last year I spent quite a bit time dedicated to the gelatin dry plate process. This summer, I started my exploration into the wet-plate collodion process and I absolutely love it! In July I attended a wet-plate workshop taught by one of the best practitioners of this process Quinn Jacobson. I can’t tell you how much I learned, it was incredible. I really wanted to attend this workshop because I was a bit intimidated by the dangers of the chemicals used to complete this process. Quinn spent a lot of time discussing theory surrounding the process as well as how to mix and use the chemicals properly. He demonstrated every step of the process and I was also able to do some plates myself. I had such a great time! When I came back home I immediately started gathering materials and equipment so I could start doing to process myself. Quinn’s workshop along with all the wonderful resources in his book and website have made this process much more accessible. It is clear by his knowledge and the strength of his personal body of work that he has put an enormous amount of time into this process as well as other 19th century process. If you want to learn this process and/or wish to attend a workshop, I highly, highly recommend this workshop! The plates towards the end are my first plates…don’t judge…I have a long way to go!

Quinn made this plate to demonstrate the process:

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TJ made this plate of me (we traded plates…you’ll see a plate I did of him a little later):

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This is a small plate that was exposed using an Ansco film camera. You don’t have to have a large format camera to get started in this process. You could use a medium format camera like a Holga or even one of the earlier box-like cameras.

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Portrait of TJ:

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This plate was a bit of a group effort:

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Ok, these are my very first plates…I know I have a long way to go, but at least it’s a start!

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