"While we undoubtedly live in the most documented era of human history, it saddens me that these pixelated dispatches will be as fleeting as the moments they captured. So few hard copies of these images exist; they are simply floating in the ether."

-Dan Winters, Road to Seeing.

The Cameras

The cameras have a story. I think of all the people that have been photographed by them, and the photographers who have used them. This camera was made in 1905 by Eastman Kodak and was used in a portrait studio in Chattanooga Tennessee. 

The Lenses

They are big and brass. From places like Paris and Rochester and Kreuznach. This one is the Darlot. It was made in the 1860's in Paris and was sold to me by legendary tintype artist John Coffer. 

The Chemistry

Where art and science meet. The formulas are the same as when the process was developed over 160 years ago. Chemical swirls and streaks appear on the plates, making each image unique. 

The Black Art

Called "the black art" because of the stains left on the photographer's hands, wet plate collodion got its start in the 1850's. There are many steps to making an image. The first, called "pouring the plate," is to coat a metal (or glass) plate with a solution of gun cotton, ether, alcohol and bromide salts. This coated plate is then dipped into a tank of silver nitrate where it becomes light sensitive. In the darkroom the plate is then placed - still wet - into a plate holder and brought to the already focused camera. The plate is then exposed to light and brought immediately back to the darkroom where it is developed and given a thorough rinse. The developed plate is then "fixed," dissolving away the unaltered silver and leaving us with the final image. After one final rinse the plate is left to dry and then heated over an alcohol lamp and varnished with a mixture of alcohol, tree sap, and lavender oil. 

Footer Text - Copyright Information
Using Format