Wet Plate Collodion Photography

wp_stilllife-3Wet plate collodion photography was invented in 1851 in England by Frederick Scott Archer. This discovery was the turning point in the photographic portraiture process. It both reduced the time required for exposures and made photography affordable enough for the common folk to have a portrait made. Prior to the invention of the wet plate process, Daguerreotype had been one of the most widely used photographic processes but it was very slow and quite expensive. The length of time a portrait sitter had to remain motionless made the use of Daguerreotype not well suited to portraiture.

Wet Plate Collodion photography is performed on a variety of substrates, the most common being glass – known as ambrotypes or metal sheets – generally referred to as tintypes. Modern tintypes are usually produced on aluminum plates with either an anodized or enameled painted surface.

As you browse thru these galleries, think about life 100 years ago when wet plate was the ONLY way to produce a photograph. You may very likely have a few tintypes tucked back your or your parents closet of an ancestor. Once produced, if properly cared for, the collodion photograph is extremely archival. There are many examples of tintypes or ambrotypes made in the mid to late 1800’s which today look just like they did the day they were produced.

If you’d like to experience the process of a collodion portrait for yourself or a loved one, please contact Dr Collodion today! We will be happy to set up a session with you or answer any questions you may have.