Silver & Light - Collodion wet plate process

I've been interested in the Collodion wet plate process since I was introduced to it by a client last year whilst on the isle of Harris running a workshop. If you've not heard about this process, then I strongly urge you to watch this video to the very end. What appears to start off with someone making crystal-meth, is in fact the intro to a beautiful video about someone who is so passionate about creating images, he has converted a van into a massive camera. Each image he makes with the Collodian wet plate process costs him around $500 USD. Yep, that's right $500 USD.

[vimeo 39578584]

I would dearly like to thank Alex Learmont, who came on my Eigg workshop this April, for bringing this video to my attention. Alex is an artist himself, and it was so great to share some thoughts on photography with him and the group I had on Eigg.

I'm so keen to try out this process myself.

I think there is something inherently beautiful about an image that is captured once: when the negative and the image are one.

Ian Ruhter, who is featured in this video, defines himself as an alchemist.

Well, isn't that what all photographers really are?

Aren't we really magicians, creating an illusion? I think so - an alchemist uses chemicals to change the appearance of a substance.

Ian Ruhter shows the majesty and mystique of the photographic process to the full. In the good old days of silver halides, we were all alchemists, turning light into shapes and tones on paper. Only, with the Collodion process, Ruhter and others are doing it with metal and glass.

Before I end this posting, I would like to say that there are many photographic workshops here in the UK that deal with the Collodion wet plate process. From what I understand (very little to be honest), the plate has to be wet for it to work, so the materials have to be taken out into the field (which is partially why Ruhter takes a van out into the wilderness with him - the main reason is scale). Anyway, Alex Boyd, who is currently residing on the isle of Skye, is offering Collodion wet plate workshops. My dear client Anne Thompson has been on one of Alex's workshops and highly recommends it. Worth checking out.