Wet Plate Collodion was Photography for the masses. Unlike the daguerreotype the exposure time for collodion could be as short as a few seconds, compared to as long as an hour with daguerreotypes. Collodion images could also be used as negatives and prints could be made of them compared to the daguerreotype which was a one of one photographic object.
Collodion, is a beautiful photographic process but still has limitations, the glass plates are coated by hand and need to be immediately processed in the darkroom, because of this the photographer is limited to the surroundings of his studio, or traditionally a horse drawn darkroom wagon or train-car. Collodion was popular from 1850-1890 and then was replaced by dry plates which is similar to modern black and white film, except on glass.
Collodion is one of the most important and original photographic process in this age of the digital. With film manufactures going out of business collodion is an independent process and the materials required to make an image will never disappear, there will always be glass, silver, ether, collodion and salts. Collodion can not be discontinued.
Feel free to contact me at BHenriks@risd.edu if you wish to commission a portrait of yourself