What is all the fuss about?
Wet plate collodion photography was invented in 1851, it is the third oldest form of photography, preceded by the Talbotype and the Daguerreotype which were invented only twenty years earlier.
Far from the safe haven of digital photography, the process is 'wet' and an image has to be made within approximately fifteen minutes in a darkroom, before the mixture dries out. Using silver and light, with a side serving of alchemy, I make an archival unique image.
In a world of ubiquitous image overload, the wet plate process slows you down, releases you from the constraints of control and takes you the tactile relationship with the physical object that is 'the photograph'.
Modern day use of the Wet Plate process doesn't have to be all bowler hats and period specific dresses, I use my technical skill combined with an artistic eye to capture souls on glass or metal for eternity making true hand crafted image.
What to expect, if I am making your portrait
This is not photography in the fast lane, in fact, it takes about twenty minutes just to make one image. I work in a slow and methodical way with the process and with my sitters to achieve consistent results, I like to involve my sitters in the process and the decision making. There are two possibilities when making your portrait, I will either be using natural day light or powerful strobes (flash).
Daylight portraits - The 'film' is very slow and needs alot of light. Making images with daylight means the sitters have to stay still for from five up to twenty seconds, if you move then you will be a blur.
Strobe portraits - Again, the 'film' is very slow or light insensitive, so to make an image, I need to replicate the power of the sun in one almighty FLASH. The light given off by the flash units is quite intense and probably not for people with sensitive eyes, or any medical condition that a bright flash may precipitate a seizure.
I make these handcrafted images in a small darkroom that can at times become hot and stifling with chemical fumes. Please let me know if you are likely to have an adverse reaction in these sorts of conditions.
For all of the above, I would suggest my photography isn't suitable for the very young, or the very old. Even bringing children along to shoots can sometimes be a bit boring for them (unless they are being photographed), so please be prepared to entertain them, or leave them at home.
The Wet Plate Process is 'Orthochromatic' which means it sees colour very differently to what you would expect. Reds/Oranges are rendered black, while blue is rendered white, observe the colour checker to the left to see what colours do what, and bear this in mind when you bring along clothes/accessories for your shoot.