Wet Plate Collodion

My passion for wet plate photography began by accident. A photographer friend had just begun to learn the technique and wanted to show me how it worked. I gave it a try and when I saw that first chemical image appear on a piece of glass, I knew I would be trying to learn everything I could about this historic technique. Wet plate collodion photography was invented in 1851. Much of what is written about how it works comes from the last half of the 19th century. Most of what modern wet plate photographers know today can be traced back to those original books.

For me, photography is equal parts technique, craft, and art. The three work in harmony, whether I am shooting digital, analog film, or wet plate. Once I began practicing all the steps of wet plate photography, I began to feel a very personal connection to every step in the process. I source my own glass, which I cut to size, edge-sand and clean. I mix my own chemicals from separate ingredients, with a personal recipe that works best for me. I hand made many of my own tools to help in my process. My hands have been involved every step of the way, before an image is even captured. For this reason, I feel a very personal connection to images I am planning, knowing the depth of craft and creation that goes into each one. There are also some aspects of wet plate that are unpredictable since small changes in temperature, age of chemicals, et cetera affect the final outcome. I LOVE that part, controlling what I can, but also having serendipitous things occur that make each plate unique.

The digital captures of these plates show only some of what one experiences holding the image in their hand. I hope the viewer can appreciate the technique, the craft, and the art that went into every image you see here