Wet Plate Collodion!
I finally did it! The alternative process I’ve wanted to learn for the longest time! I first and foremost must give thanks to artist Daniel Carrillo. What an amazing mentor and teacher!
It is a pouring down rain late Saturday night in Seattle’s Pioneer Square and I am simply beat from the week and the busy day I just had, but learning this process is so important to me. Not wanting to drive and walk in that part of town by myself that late in the evening, I asked my husband Joel to accompany me, he’s good that way. What a long and exhilarating night!
I was super nervous and hope I wouldn’t screw things up!
I observe Dan giving me a safety overview, demonstration and the reactions of the chemicals used.
After he showed me in an effortless way of this process, he had me jump in with both feet and start practicing pouring.
I was tense and overthinking the steps, my hands were shaking as I was pouring the chemical onto the plate. Before I photographed Joel, I delicately place the coated plate into the film holder. It was tricky because I couldn’t remember what side I coated the plate with the collodion versus and the back side. After it came out of the silver nitrate tank, it was all one color. (That was the overthinking part) on the first go I ruined the plate as I put in the wrong side. Dan congratulated me! He said I was on my way! Mistakes are good! So I try again, clean both sides of the glass plate, pour the collodion, from there into the silver nitrate tank. Once the plate was coated, I place it into the film holder and off we go to the camera. We used powerful strobes! Joel and I were both blinded, but it was an awesome pop sound.
I must note, this is around 11pm in the evening, and at this state Joel and I are both exhausted from standing and walking as this process is a constant flow and we don’t know how what we look like. This is an exercise of pouring and developing the plate and not necessarily a posing and composition session.
I can’t wait to master, as I would like to offer alternative processes as an additional service for those wanting an exceptional heirloom result.