And now for something completely different!

February 22, 2013

Last weekend, I put away my digital friend and made the acquaintance of a stranger. A beautiful, wooden large format camera. Or in other words, I travelled a little bit in time... to the beginnings of photography.

I attended a Wet Plate Collodion process workshop. Not only that the workshop had a wonderful, patient teacher and really nice participants, so that it was a lot of fun anyway - I simply fell for this technique.

I don't know if you have ever heard about it? It's a process that was invented in the second half of the 19th century to bring images on plates. And it involves all you can imagine about how a photographer's work looked like 150 years ago... It's mostly about chemicals, mixing and measuring, working with different materials (e.g. alu or glass), large format cameras, heavy equipment, etc.etc.etc.

You have to be quick but very even-tempered, because every mistake will show later in the picture. So, you pour the mixed collodion, which is a thick, adhesive and quick-drying liquid slowly over the plate (in my case aluminium plate) and then it goes some minutes into a silver bath. Afterwards you have only some minutes to take the shot and be back with the collodion plate in the dark room where you develop it. This it is in very brief words... And here are some pictures (all taken by Jan Eric Euler Photography)  of me while developing - oh, I was nervous...

Tadaa, there came the picture:

It is an extensive process but the result is fantastic. I think it's rather a photographer's niche, but if you are passionate about analogue photography and ever get the chance to try it out, I can only say: do it!

The scans below cannot really transfer this, but the pictures on the plate look almost like you can grab into them. They look like from another time but with familiar faces. They shine and the shades are almost magical... I'm still so excited about it, that it is really difficult for me to put it straight and short here for you - but I tried :)

And this is me on collodion:
(I only realised that they are my first selfies on this blog, so, hello to all :) )

PS: You can find info about the workshops and more collodion pictures by Jan and participants on his Facebook-Page.


  1. I'd never heard of this process before and it looks so wonderful. These photographs are absolutely stunning.

  2. Kenn ich, hab ich auch gemacht, machen müssen, gelernt!!! Was freu ich mich über das hier!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Absolut meine Welt! Analoge Fotografie, meine Liebe (bloß echt keine Zeit!).
    Wenn Du kannst, mach mehr mit analogen Kameras, da lernst Du mehr über Licht und das Handwerk als einfach nur digital und dann bearbeiten. Für mich ist die Fotografie nicht/keine Kunst sondern ein solides stabiles Handwerk. Und in Grossformat und anderen Möglichkeiten zu belichten und selber zu vergrößern ist das ABSOLUTE - die Königsklasse! Jede Pore, Falte, Mimik...alles tief und klar zu sehen, jeder Charakterzug, das Leben wieder zu geben, was gibt es schöneres????
    Du hast mit diesem Post ganz ganz doll mein Herz berührt Kleines!!!

  3. Wow, das ist ja genial. Ich wollte schon immer mal selbst Fotos entwickeln. Zeit, Geld und sonstiger Mangel ... Aber meine Lust darauf ist ungebrochen, vor allem wenn ich deine Fotos sehe.
    Die Bearbeitung gerade Porträts ist wunderbar passend. Toll.

    Und hello zurück. Schön das Gesicht hinter little pink cakes kennen zu lernen.

  4. Amazing Nancy - your photos have such quiet depth. I hope to see more in the future!

  5. Oh my gosh. THese are so stunning. I keep scrolling up and back to stare at them. They're hypnotizing.

  6. Oh wow wow wow, what an amazing workshop to go to, I'm suitably jealous and those photos of you are stunning, I love the contrasts in the tones, they're beautiful!

  7. Those scans are amazing! The workshop looks and sounds like it was a fantastic experience.

  8. These are absolutely wonderful! I am incredibly envious…how wonderful to have a workshop to go to and explore these traditional techniques. Will you do more?
    Oh and hi! Nice to see your face :-)