Weekend Workshop: Intro to Wet Plate Collodion, September 7 & 8

Weekend Workshop: Intro to Wet Plate Collodion, September 7 & 8


Saturday & Sunday, September 7 & 8, 10am-5pm

4 students max


Wet plate collodion was released to the public in 1851 and played a huge role in making photography accessible to the masses. It utilizes a medium or large-format camera and a darkroom so that light-sensitive plates of glass or metal coated in collodion and silver nitrate can be made on site and used before drying (hence “wet plate”). An extremely versatile process, it can be used to create both negatives and one of a kind positives on various materials, and it has seen a strong revival in recent years. Wet plate collodion also has a unique aesthetic with brilliant silver highlights that appear to glow. Odd aberrations can also appear depending on your lens and your ability to control and understand the different chemicals used.

This workshop will focus mainly on tintype photography, where a unique positive is created in-camera on a sheet of blackened metal. You will learn to avoid common problems that plague first time wet plate photographers, building your confidence and abilities as you continue to explore the process outside of the workshop. We will discuss acquiring the equipment and preparing the chemistry before moving to the making of tintypes. We believe in hands-on learning and will spend considerable time working with large format cameras and various lenses that date back to the wet plate era. All equipment and chemicals will be provided. It is important to note that silver nitrate and wet plate equipment are quite expensive which dictates the cost of this workshop.

About the Instructor

David Hyams is an artist and educator with over 2 decades of experience in historical photographic processes and darkroom techniques. He managed the darkroom and designed workshops for Bostick & Sullivan, contributed to research for Christoper James’ “Book of Alternative Processes,” and is a consultant and master printer for a variety of artists. David is the co-founder of Luminaria, an alternative photography studio in Salt Lake City, Utah that offers group and custom workshops, master printing in a wide range of photographic processes, and one of a kind tintype portraiture.

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