In the digital era, I always find it impressive when I see photographers who still use wet plate collodion process. And it’s especially impressive to see all the fun projects and DIY stuff they make. Photographer Michaël Tirat has built his own DIY portable wet plate darkroom and he put it on a tricycle. It contains everything he needs so he can cycle around Bordeaux, France with it, take photos and develop them on the spot. We’ve chatted with Michaël a bit about his interesting project. He kindly shared some details about his build, the challenges he faced, as well as some photos.
While it was once the only way you could really shoot a photo, wet plate photography went off almost into the realm of complete non-existence just a few years ago. Lately, though, it seems to be making something of a comeback. Much of the hardware isn’t as easy to get as it once was, although it seems to be more popular again now than it has been for a very long time.
One problem to be overcome with wet plate, though, is actually loading the plates into a large format camera. You typically can’t just use a regular sheet film holder. At least, not without alteration. In this video, photographer Markus Hofstätter shows us how he modifies his 8×10 film holders for the wet plate process.
This visit was for a portrait shooting on a collodion wet plate and we did also a short wet plate workshop. After the videos from Mathieu and myself, you can see all the pictures and read more about the shootings
Austrian photographer Markus Hofstätter has published plenty of interesting wet plate projects. In his latest project, he brings together large format wet plates and stereo 3D photos. This was Markus’ most time-consuming project so far. It took him working six months to finish it, the first three just modifying his camera so it can take stereographic images. But judging from the results – it was well worth it.
I love seeing the wet plate experiments of Austrian photographer Markus Hofstätter. He’s so prolific with them that when he decides to do something interesting it ends up being very interesting. Lately, he’s been trying to apply wet plate techniques to types of photography you wouldn’t normally associate with the medium.
He has a couple of very cool projects on the go at the moment that he will tell us about in due time, but for now, check out these passport photos shot on wet plate using the Polaroid MiniPortrait 402 camera.
Photographer Giles Clement has performed some interesting experiments, such as mounting a large format camera to a drone. He also made his own 16×20 camera, and it all started as a sketch on a bar napkin. He uses his DIY camera to create stunning wet plate ambrotypes, and he shared with DIYP how he got to build this camera himself.
Normally I create photographs. This time, however, the final product is a video where you can follow the change of crystals/salts from the collodion wet plate process.
I have started this project because at my workshops I am often asked what happens when developing, fixing or sensitizing the plates. Of course, I have often tried to explain it, but a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s why this video was made.
As a fan of wet plate collodion, I’ve been following the work of photographer Ian Ruhter for a few years now. I first found him after he converted a truck into a huge mobile wet plate camera. He then built a camera to make the world’s largest ambrotypes, as large as 46×59″ (117x150cm).
Now, Ian’s gone even bigger, to try to take the world record. So, he and his team, Silver & Light, turned an abandoned house into a huge wet plate camera to make an insane 66×90″ (167x229cm) ambrotype on a 200lb sheet of glass.
Photographing a group of people on large format wet plate needs a lot of power. Even with a relatively wide f/5.6 aperture, with an ISO of around 0.5 that still needs a lot of light. How much light? Well, around 7500 watt-seconds to be precise.
That’s how much power photographer Markus Hofstätter used for this group portrait of Austrian rock band The Black Proteus. Although, surely being photographed on wet plate makes them a metal band now?
Because the snowdrop shoot what so much fun, I wanted to do something like that again. After I saw the cherry blossoms on my tree, it was crystal clear what comes up next. I wanna shoot one of these with my wet plate camera, but this time I will shoot them on the tree.
When I was little, this tree was my climbing adventure. This tree has seen better days – the weather from the recent years started to ruin some parts of it. But it is still beautiful in the springtime.