WET COLLODION IN THE GRAPHIC ARTS??

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by PHOTOTONE, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    I know that the Wet Collodion process was continued in use in the graphic arts field well into the 20th Century...long after it was abandoned as a photographers media for portraits, etc. My question is this: With the use of the wet plate process for re-enactments and vintage portraiture, the collodion is flowed onto the cleaned plate by hand and this can cause some raggedness at the edges, also since the developer is often flowed on by hand, this also can cause edge roughness...some people might think this adds charm to the overall look of the image. But...if the wet plate process was used in the graphic arts I would assume that the coating and development of the materials had to be developed to the point where it was near flawless. Were there machines, devices or tools available to consistently get a full even coat of collodion onto the plate surface? Were there developing techniques to ensure complete and even plate development right out to the edge? Curious minds want to know.
     
  2. I can ask my master. He's a historian of the photomechanical process. Maybe someone here knows him from photography history forums, he's Ángel Duerto Riva, his father (Ángel Duerto Oteo) used wet collodion until 1945 or so (I don't remember the exact date).
     
  3. JG Motamedi

    JG Motamedi Member

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    I have a copy of the Eastman-Kodak pamphlet "Collodion and the Making of Wet-Plate Negatives" from 1935 which includes significant detail on graphic arts uses. The only coating method it mentions is the pouring technique which has been in use since the 19th Century. No special machines or tools are mentioned.
     
  4. Neil Miller

    Neil Miller Member

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    Pouring the plate by hand seems to have been universal, but there are various ways to develop the plates including: holding the plate in the hand and pouring on the developer, putting the plate in a small 'helper-tray' and pouring on the developer, and developing the plate in a tray of developer. The tray method seems to have been quite popular in europe.

    With practice the edge-defects caused by pouring collodion can be minimised and even eliminated. Holding the plate with all fingers underneath it eliminates the thumbprint which arises when the plate is held by one corner. I think this 'thumb-print syndrome' was the main reason for using mounts with the top edges cut round instead of square (to hide the thumb mark).

    I think one of the main reasons the process was used in the graphic arts (and for scientific purposes) was because of the near-grainless image, which could be highly magnified.

    Regards,
    Neil.