Wet plate collodion

Wet plate collodion have always fascinated me, and at last I’ve managed to make a few plates. There was a lot of trial and error with the first plates, a lot of errors, most of them due to vastly overexposing the image. I suggest my head is full of pinhole thinking. I did my first plates on laquered steel, so they are in a way “ferrotypes”. I have also tried one plate on glass, what is known as an ambrotype.

One of the first ferrotypes, where it is at least possible to see something.

My first trials was done on May 1, and I use The Giant Mobile Camera as a darkroom for the process. The next morning I managed to make two more images, and (maybe) a little more successful:

The two ferrotypes from the next morning

The saturday after, on May 4, it was World Wetplate Collodion Day, and I had to make a few trials. The first one was a portrait of my dear Mervi, but sadly this too was a bit overexposed.

Mervi, 4×5″ ferrotype

I would not bother Mervi with more trials, so I made a couple of images of my “Door Guardian”, a South African mask. The second one of them was quite successful.

My Door Guardian, 4×5″ ferrotype

At last, in the evening, before the sunset, I had to try one on glass, an ambrotype. I wanted to do a self portrait for the World Wet Plate Collodion Day Gallery, and so I did. The exposure seemed to be spot on, but I had some problems with pouring the developer, I think. Therefore you can see the black spots on my face.

Self Portrait Ambrotype, 4×5″, shot on World Wet Plate Collodion Day, May 4, 2013

I will do more ambrotypes and ferrotypes to refine my technique, and in the short future get a bigger camera that can make at least 8×10″ images.