A few months ago I travelled to Colorado to learn the collodion wetplate process. This was a wonderful workshop. Intense too. These are taught by Quinn Jacobson, who has been working for decades in the process and is considered a master in the medium. I was the sole photographer in this 2 day workshop as the other photographer had to drop out.
I’ve been shooting large format, view camera work for 40 years. In fact, prior to converting to high end digital, most of my commercial work had been 8×10 and 4×5 film.
The process, chemicals and procedures are not new to me. Back in the ’70’s at R.I.T. I was used to seeing and using much of this, so I learned quickly.
The reason for my desire to go back to view camera work and then to this process is twofold:
- I miss the intentionality of working with large format. For years, my clients and I would spend hours selecting the composition, lens and every aspect of a single shot. Today, much of the work is more rapid.
- This process has the photographer making the actual emulsion, film if you will, and then processing out that plate right after making the image. Though a long process of mixing chemistry and making plates from start to finish, it puts all of the control in your hands.
What is also happening with my work is it is becoming a funny blend of digital, motion and analog imagery. Exciting times!