Though I shoot with a digital camera, I have developed a strong interest in 19th-century wet plate collodion photography. I like the aspect of slowing down, working with the chemicals to obtain a unique one of a kind image.
Collodion/Wet-Plate Photography as we have come to know it today. Was invented in the early 1850’s by Fredrick S. Archer. This process was invented to allow images to be made on glass and then multiple copies could be made from the same plate. In 1856 the TinType process was added, allowing Collodion images to be made onto thin, blackened sheets of metal as a direct positive image. That became very popular in the United Sates, especially during the civil war as, unlike a glass plate a tintype could be mailed home or carried in one’s pocket without out fear of breakage.
It is a very unique process in that the Plate must remain wet prior to being sensitized and exposed. If the plate dries out before the photographer has time to develop the image the plate will no longer be light-sensitive and will be completely useless. Hence the name “Wet Plate” process.