Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Wet collodion process by Boogie

Whilst most people are struggling to come to terms with digital Boogie has gone back to the 1850’s for inspiration and has been experimenting with the wet collodion process as he says here

Photographer Boogie says of his recent project, “I’ve recently started experimenting with wet plate collodion process. It was really amazing to feel like an alchemist, connected to past times, mixing chemicals and pouring plates in my tiny dirty basement. There is dust and dirt everywhere and temperature varies, so the results are unpredictable. After doing the first few plates, I realized that something about this process captures people’s darker side so I named the series DEMONS. The whole series was done in Belgrade in late Fall and Winter, it was gray and gloomy, exposures were long, and you could see people going crazy trying to keep still and staring in the lens.” If you want to see more of his work have a look here.. This is a brief description of the history and process of Collodion printing, ”

In 1851, Frederick Scott Archer introduced a wet plate process, sometimes referred to as the collodion process after the carrier material used. The process is very simple in concept: bromide, iodide or chloride salts were dissolved in collodion, which is a solution of pyroxylin in alcohol and ether. This mixture was poured onto a cleaned glass plate, and allowed to sit for a few seconds. The plate was placed in a solution of silver nitrate and water, which converted the iodide, bromide, or chloride salts to silver iodide, bromide or chloride, respectively. Once this reaction was complete, the plate was removed from the silver nitrate solution, and exposed in a camera while still wet. It was developed with a solution of iron sulfate, acetic acid and alcohol in water.

The reaction of silver oxides is the underlying theory behind most types of 19th century photographic processes – Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, Calotypes that use paper negatives, and wet and dry plate processes.”  I love the bit that says the process in simple

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