Learn the wet plate collodion process along with specialized lighting techniques.

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Photo Credit: Jill Enfield

The collodion process, which is said to have been invented in about 1850, was the first widely used photographic process that produced a negative image on a transparent photographic medium. Other methods of the time, such as the Daguerreotype, produced a one-of-a-kind positive image, which could not be replicated easily. With the collodion process, however, the photographer could make an unlimited number of prints from a single negative. In addition to the convenience of creating negatives, the collodion process had numerous other advantages. It was an inexpensive process, especially in comparison with the daguerreotype.

The process starts in the darkroom by pouring photosensitive chemicals on a prepared glass plate, this plate is then inserted into the back of the camera body where the film normally goes. The camera is then taken out of the darkroom and students have approximately 10 minutes to make their picture before needing to develop. Students work with both glass plates and aluminum. The latter produces positives.

The workshop will cover the entire process from cutting and preparing glass & aluminum, mixing and handling chemicals, safety procedures, making portable darkrooms, assessment of exposure time, evaluation of results, and all that goes into mastering wet plate collodion.

Header image credit © Jill Enfield

 

 

 

Past student work (left to right): John Faison, Lori Pond, Julia Thomas, Cindy Beams

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Instructor: Jill Enfield

Jill Enfield is a fine art photographer, educator, curator and author and has been teaching photography for many years with a concentration on historical techniques and alternative processes. Her two books: Photo Imaging: A Complete Guide To Alternative Processes published by Amphoto, and, Jill Enfield’s Guide to Alternative Processes: Popular Historical and Contemporary Techniques published by Focal Press, are both award winning books and used in schools all over the world.  Jill is working on her third book, which has a 2018 publication date by Focal Press - Routledge. Like the others, it will include step-by-step instructions on a variety of techniques including: wet plate collodion, dry plate modern tintypes, platinum and palladium printing, cyanotypes, liquid emulsion, albumen printing, hand painting and more.