The art of wet plate collodion photography is part chemistry, part improvisation, part psychology and a little bit photography.
“It is a lot of alchemy, It is s lot of magic, complete, absolute magic. You are turning light and silver onto an image on a piece of glass, which is sand.” -Luther Gerlach
What is wet plate collodion photography?
I've been a photographer since 1999 and wet plate collodion photography is an entirely new learning experience. It is one of the oldest types of photography and one of the most unique. It was invented in 1851 and was valued for making it possible for everyday people to have their photograph made.
Basically, the photographer uses a chemical process to make a piece of glass or metal into a light sensitive piece of "film". The photographer then use a large-view camera to make a single exposure. The exposure requires an absurd amount of light and must be developed immediately. Wet plate photographers always work with a darkroom or dark box close-by for necessary use.
The resulting image is magic. It is a one-of-a-kind image that has no duplicate. The light that reflects off of you literally moves silver particles and forms a mirror image. The entire process must be completed in a few short minutes before the chemicals dry. Any description I write will not do the magic of this process justice.
What is a session like?
A wet plate collodion photo session is hard to describe because there really is nothing quite like it. Most photography processes create a "copy" of your likeness. Wet plate collodion photography captures your exact likeness, as you would see in the mirror and the entire process all happens before your eyes within minutes!
When you arrive, we will help you with any styling questions you may have and we'll give suggestions based on any accessories that you bring. We will help familiarize you with the process and what to expect. Once we've posed you or you and your partner, we'll ask you a few questions to get you in a head space we find to be helpful. Coming to the session with an open mind can be really helpful for the process.
One of the best parts is that you get to see behind the curtain for how the process is done and the magic is revealed right before your eyes. You will see as the image turns from a negative into the positive, finished piece of artwork you will take home and hang on your wall. It's a really special experience and there is nothing quite like it!