Why Wet Collodion? The Surprising Resurgence Of An Obsolete 19th Century Process
The B&H Event Space (420 9th Ave., Manhattan)

One of the earliest photographic processes has experienced a major resurgence in recent years. Wet plate photography is notoriously inconvenient, complex and unpredictable. Given that and the need for esoteric equipment, and hazardous chemistry, what explains the thousands of professional and amateur artists and photographers exploring this fascinating, beautiful method? If you’ve been considering learning the process, or simply gaining more information about what’s involved, you will get a comprehensive look at the facts at this event.

Wet plate photographer Ellen Susan will guide you through the history and process, major historic and contemporary artists using this method, and the necessary steps, and supplies to get started.

Ellen’s presentation will include a brief history of photographic milestones leading up to the wet plate process, and its eventual demise. Also discussed will be the physical process and the variations that can be produced – direct in-camera positives (tintypes and ambrotypes), glass negatives, and options for making prints from negatives.

We will look at a visual survey of 19th-21st century practitioners work, and how the approach and appearance of the process has changed, and what expectations contemporary viewers have come to associate with it. Contemporary use of the process for historical reenactments, motion pictures, and fine art will be discussed.

And finally, we will examine what is necessary to get started in the process. A range of options (from low tech to high end) supplies and equipment will be presented, along with resources for obtaining them. Workshops and texts and other resources to learn the process will be made available.

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