Thursday, 6 September 2012

Wet Plate Photography!!!

For the last few years I've been wanting to try my hand at wet plate, but its not really like other forms of photography, you can't really just decide to do it and pull it off. My wife went on John Brewers 2 day course in early summer, so I had someone around who new the basics.

We finally got ourselves set up and went to get the chemicals from John last Friday, such a nice bloke, seriously this guy couldn't do enough to help! It turn out there was a spare place on his course the next day, he offered it to me and I near took his arm off!!!

As John says, wet plate is more alchemy than science, times vary significantly and there can be 100 things go wrong at each stage... BUT its such a fantastic form of image making that all that is worth it!

Here's some of the images I produced over the weekend:

The above is a half plate tintype shot on trophy aluminium, I can't remember specifics but what interested me about this one is that it looked solarised so I buffed it up. The process is called silvering and it gives an almost daguerreotype feel...

This is an ambrotype shot on glass, the metal stand is a head rest to help keep clarity in the image due to the sometimes long exposures.... its also why the Victorians didn't smile on photo's, could you hold a smile for 10-20s???

Another ambrotype, but John has so many cool macabre and uncanny props that I couldn't resist this... never liked freaky dolls!!!

This one is one of my favourites, its shot on perspects. it gives a cool look like tintypes but I ound this perhaps the most difficult material to work with.

Okay so there's a lot wrong with this one, but aesthetically I love it! Its a tintype whole plate, apparently the silver bath was too warm which resulted in the complete lack of contrast.

Also, I have a problem with my had so basically do this whole thing one handed. Some people might be put off doing this with this kind of problem, but John just whipped up a nifty device which helps me with the developing!

Again I can't say strongly enough how cool the course was. If your interested check out Johns website!

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