Now I'm curious and want a book to read

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by mark, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. mark

    mark Member

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    Curiosity kills the wallet.

    Are there any good books or web sites on Wet plate stuff?

    It looks like an involved process but I would like to find that out.
     
  2. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Websites- www.collodion.com

    they have a forum, you must register, which is not an instant process. Tons of cool info though.

    Books- the John Barnier "Coming In To Focus" alt-process compendium has good chapters on wet plate. There are a number of others, but it is a good start. Most books tend to over-complicate the processes, especially for getting started, so don't feel too intimidated when you read about all the variables you have to control to make a GOOD image. Collodion is pretty straightforward, it just requires a few esoteric and somewhat hazardous chemicals, which are fine so long as you treat them with proper respect and precaution.
     
  3. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    Quinn Jacobson's "The Contemporary Wet Plate Collodion Experience" is also pretty good.

    Diane
     
  4. mtbbrian

    mtbbrian Member

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    I'll second that.
    Quinn is a good friend of mine from college, he is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about this process.
    I have seen his developement from learning the process to a full understanding of it.
    There are probably better known photographers using this process, but you won't find a better craftsman and technician in this process than Quinn.
    Brian
     
  5. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    The 19th-Century Bibles of wetplate collodion are online:

    John Towler's Silver Sunbeam

    Mathew Carey Lea's Manual

    Another practical, (and low-tech) modern introduction is John Coffer's Doer's Guide To Wetplate Collodion Photography along with his new DVD set. You can get further info on ordering it via snail mail (he has no email, telephone, etc.) on his website.

    Joe
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2007
  6. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I admire you wet plate guys. Making an ambrotype sounds like a lot of fun.
     
  7. nawagi

    nawagi Member

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    Wet Plate Book

    Check out John Coffer's website (www.johncoffer.com) He offers a manual and DVD's showing the process. Quinn Jaconson's book is clear and well illustrated. Avoid the 19th century texts if you're starting out, their measurement system and chemical nomenclature are different than what's used today.

    Try to observe the process before you start out. There is a steep learning curve at the beginning and an hour's worth of observation will really help climb it.

    You need to be comfortable around hazardous and flammable chemicals. Don't think you can mix up collodion in the kitchen (but a darkroom with an exhaust fan works fine).

    Warning: The images in wet plate are excruciating in their tones and detail, and you may become addicted to them (like I did!)

    Nate
     
  8. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    I'm not a practitioner of wet plate myself, but I am an admirer of the art, so I will recommend you a book that is about just that: "The Antiquarian Avant-Garde: The New Wave in Old Processes." By Lyle Rexer, featuring a slew of artists like Sallly Mann, Jerry Spagnoli, or Chuck Close, who have started to work with collodion, daguerreotypes, cyanotypes, etc etc.

    The book is organized by process, so you can sample the collodion artists, then the dag ones, etc. Reproduction quality is outstanding, and there are tons of great thinking in the featured works. Interviews with the artists, some technical and historical notes. No formulas, but plenty of soul.

    PS: The only copy I see on Amazon right now sells for $300+ but that's probably another greedy bookseller. This book sells for about $50.
     
  9. mark

    mark Member

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    Thanks folks.

    Considering where I live and my total lack of time these days I am not sure about this jump, but it might be fun to read about it.
     
  10. z-man

    z-man Member

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    nitrocellulose

    if you read the material in the links(thanx for listing) or any of the many others available you will notice that it was cheaper and easier to buy colloidon readymade at the time

    the colloidon was not originally made for photography-was made for medical and explosive uses

    google: nitrocellulose, guncotton; these are the other names for colloidon

    get comedy routines richard prior did after his last time free-basing for info on what happens when ether meets heat/spark; or just get some auto quick-start carb spray(ingrds: ether+propelants) and read the warning on can

    i feel that mixing up old tech equiv of semtec/c-4 in kitchen and then processing with ether is about the same as cooking your own meth as far as the safety issues go

    i suppose(but dont quote me) that buying a can of nitrocelluslose laquer and coating a plate and then processing with auto carb spray is definitely quicker, easer and cheaper-maybe even safer in right hands

    i would never admit to doing such a thing however

    this is rocket science-really

    personally-ether allways knocked me out

    vaya con dios