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The Wet-Plate Collodion process, first introduced in 1851, involves coating an enameled metal or glass plate with a collodion mixture, which is then sensitized, exposed and processed all within a few minutes and while the plate is still wet. The resulting image (while technically a negative) is made up of extreme… Read More
The Wet-Plate Collodion process, first introduced in 1851, involves coating an enameled metal or glass plate with a collodion mixture, which is then sensitized, exposed and processed all within a few minutes and while the plate is still wet. The resulting image (while technically a negative) is made up of extremely fine silver particles that are creamy-white in color, which allows the image to be viewed as a positive when seen against a black background. For example, a wet-plate collodion image made on glass (traditionally referred to as an Ambrotype) would appear as a negative when viewed on a light table, but if the plate were held over black velvet (or the back of the plate was painted black) it would appear to be a bright and lustrous positive image. So, the same process can be used to produce both glass-plate negatives and one-of a-kind, direct-positive images on black metal or glass. Either way, wet-plate collodion plates are capable of rendering exceptional detail and extraordinary subtlety in tone. Positive plates have beautiful, milky-metallic quality not unlike a daguerreotype and must be seen firsthand to be truly appreciated.


Overview of process steps:

• Plate is coated with a prepared collodion mixture.
• Coated plate is sensitized in silver nitrate bath.
• Plate is loaded into plate-holder (while still wet) and exposed using a view camera.
• Plate is returned to the darkroom where it is developed, fixed and washed.
• Later, when it has dried, the plate may be varnished to protect against oxidation.

Total elapsed time: Less than 10 minutes from uncoated plate to finished image! Read Less
Member Since: May 14, 2012