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
The portrait of Mariel
We started to shoot at noon with the typical harsh midday sun. Normally I prefer to shoot at a place with shadow at this lighting conditions, because the old lenses don’t like front lighting. Because it was super overcast after I set up everything, I decided to shoot immediately.
I should have known it better, right after I came with the plate holder out of the darkroom, the harsh sunlight was back. So the first result was devastating. The typical lens flare turns into a super low contrast overexposed wet plate. This kind of setbacks costs lots of time and is a stress factor during shooting with a limited time frame.
I did the next exposure in a place with shadow. Now everything went very well and I could produce a collodion wet plate with the typical swirly bokeh and Mariel with the antique chair as the main attraction in the middle. During varnishing of the plate, we got a hot surprise.
Mathieu Stern the magic lens guy
Mathieu was next to pose for my camera. I wanted to photograph him with an old lens that hangs on a nylon string. So it looks like he is magically hovering the lens.
“The weird Lens guy doing his magic”
Mathieu was wearing a blue shirt. The reason this blue shirt appears very bright on the wet plate is because of how this process captures light. It is only sensitive to blue light, that means red becomes dark and blue very bright.
You can still see the nylon string on the wet plate, but exactly this fits very well to Mathieu’s typical DIY work with his weird lens experiments
In Mathieu’s video, you can see how time-consuming a wet plate shooting can be. It’s very important, that everything is setup as perfect as possible for this one exposure. I like that a lot about this process. Taking time to create art.
In the end, Mathieu got a short introduction into wet plate photography. He poured his first collodion wet plate. We used the polaroid Miniportrait Camera for our image – see everything about it in the video
The day ended with a typical Viennese meal.
@Mariel and Mathieu – The shoot was great fun, thank you very much for coming and having a nice time together.
About the Author
Markus Hofstätter is a professional portrait, events and sports photographer based in Austria. He has a passion for analogue and wet plate photography. He loves travelling to visit new places and meeting new people. You can find out more about him on his website or blog, follow his work on Instagram or Facebook or reach out to him through Twitter. This article was also published here and shared with permission.