The collodion process

The history

Everybody is fascinated by images. We consume large amounts of it. The numbers are telling. Every day we all take 88K photos alone. It used to be different once.  Less than 165 years ago, the first photos were taken using the Daguerrotype process; a slow and toxic process  that required a person to sit still for about 6 minutes. Collodion photography, also known as wetplate, arose around 1850. Because wetplate was 100x faster than Daguerreotype, it became more interesting to photograph people, especially portraits. 

The process

Collodion photography is a particularly fascinating process in which chemistry occupies a central place. By coating a thin layer of silver on a glass or aluminium plate, and developing and fixing it through a chemical process, the viewer is taken directly to the earlier days of photography. The use of wet chemistry, original lenses and recipes from that period creates a unique photo that cannot be compared with today’s digital pictures. My fascination with this is that I use the artisanal process to create contemporary images. 

This beautiful video Taking Time is created by Jesse Tuenter. Click here to see more of his work.