was during the last semester of college at CCAC that I became obsessed
with the wet plate collodion process. Producing one-of-a-kind 8x10 images
on glass completely from scratch is what inspires me the most.
A little about the process:
Collodion, a syrup-like liquid is mixed with certain salts and carefully poured
over polished glass. Before the collodion dries it must be dipped into
a bath of silver nitrate, which sensitizes it. After some time (about 4
to 5 minutes), enough silver collects on the collodion and the plate is
ready to be exposed in the camera. Exposure times vary from five to sixty
seconds or more depending on the amount of available light. This exposure
also needs to be performed before the plate dries or it's sensitivity will
decline. After the exposure, a chemical developer is used to bring out
the image and fixed using cyanide or hypo. When dry, a varnish is applied
to protect the collodion side. Then once the glass is backed with black
material, paint, cloth or paper it is considered an Ambrotype.