Practical assignment (Research and analysis) pt.1

Practical assignment (Research and analysis) Pt.1

 

Pick three events in the timeline from this week’s lesson History of Photography: An Introduction, and find photographs of the event on the Internet or in the library and write a paragraph explaining the event in more detail. Include your photographs in the description.

Wet Plate Photography

Courtesy of photo.net A wet plate photographer and his assistant developing a picture in a portable dark room.

Courtesy of photo.net A wet plate photographer and his assistant developing a picture in a portable dark room.

Topics in 3 part series:
-Wet Plate photography
-Dry plate Photography
-The Pinhole Camera

Wet Plate Photography

Phineas Gage, c. 1850

Phineas Gage, c. 1850

The wet plate negative process on glass was introduced in 1851, though because it was incredibly slow and a notably laborious process, negatives were confined at that time to still life and landscape pictures.

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The process was messy and at times unreliable.
The photographer began the process with an extremely clean piece of glass.
The clean glass is then poured with a compound called Collodion (a flammable solution of Cellulose nitrate in ether and alcohol) in one smooth motion, starting at the middle and allowing the solution to flow to all four corners, then allowing the rest to be discarded or put back in a receptacle. Often if this process was done incorrectly you will find odd ridges on the exposure of the photograph.

Excess collodion is poured back into the bottle. From The Wet-Collodion Process, S&O archive

Excess collodion is poured back into the bottle. From The Wet-Collodion Process, S&O archive

The plate is then put into a Silver Bath (silver nitrate and distilled water) for 3 minutes and then let to sensitize in a darkroom for approximately two minutes after which the silver solution is wiped down of any excess (the only type of lighting you can use is of course, red spectrum lighting).

geneseelibby Wet-Plate Steps

geneseelibby
Wet-Plate Steps

Then you can slip the plate into the camera and take your picture. After you’ve done this you need to develop it yourself in your darkroom. Coat the plate in developer while rocking the solution around the plate and slowly you image will appear (in about the same amount of time as a polaroid). Gently wash the plate in water and add a fixer and develop!

 5x7 sheet film holder converted to wetplate use, courtesy of the unblinking eye

5×7 sheet film holder converted to wetplate use, courtesy of the unblinking eye

Remember, in the case of using glass the picture will be a negative of the image, so you can effectively make many copies.

Courtesy of atlsyd.blogspot.com

Courtesy of atlsyd.blogspot.com

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