Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

New Wet Plate Collodion images

with 13 comments


After a month in Wet Plate Collodion 19th Century photography, I’ve learned quite a lot. My results are far from perfect, but I did paddle through mistakes that you can make in this process and no doubt many more are expected to come. Here are some newer results. Plates are dirty, I know. As a beginner I don’t have a proper silver bath (like that) and I’m using normal photo trays which results in a lot of dust and particles. I was filtering a lot in the beginning but after a month the level of silvernitrate has fallen from 250ml to 150ml and the fluid bearly covers a plate, so no filtering before I don’t get a new silver nitrate.

Portraits of children with dark background are illuminated by two flashes of joint power of 2250 Ws. I needed only one burst at aperture of f/4,5. Last time I was going crazy with proper illumination of a plate with joint power of 67.500 Ws, but I made a big mistake since I was using soft-boxes. Soft box filters UV light and since collodion is sensitive to blue-violet and ultra violet light, I needed so much power last time. This time I used without softboxes. Anyway I hope you will like it. Rate, comment and rock & roll!



13 Responses

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  1. nice choise LOL


    28 December, 2011 at 11:06

  2. Wow! Beautiful work!


    28 December, 2011 at 11:33

  3. Čudovite fotke! Sploh otroški portreti fenomenalno izpadejo. Neverjetno, kako mehkobni portreti ratajo – sploh glede na to, da je verjetno gol flash? Smem vprašati kako si osvetlil zgornji portret hčerke (postavitev, morebitne marele – odbojniki – ali je direkten flash?)? Smetke na steklu mi pa kvečjem dodajo k vrednosti. Jaz se ne bi obremenjeval. Zelo pristno izpade.
    Borut, na predavanju si rekel, da od vajenca do mojstra rabimo 10.000 ur in da boš takrat tudi na področju mokrega kolodija verjetno bolj suveren…. Ne vem kam si jih (10.000 ur) uspel stlačit v tako kratkem času, ampak očitno ti ratuje 🙂
    p.s. Upam, da bo kmalu vidimo mokri kolodij tudi v mladini 🙂

    Luka Gorjup

    28 December, 2011 at 12:26

  4. Thx guys!

    You are right Luka, collodion is sensitive to blue and ultra-violet light and completely insensitive to red and orange so skin looks very different. Yes, I use “naked” flash, softbox doesn’t do, but I’ll try with a beauty dish, that should work.
    Thx Luka, although I’m not a beginner in photography, I have a plan how spend next 10.000 hours in this technique. I’ll not take any shortcut 🙂

    PS: Editors of Mladina aren’t keen on this technique and I’ll not push my luck. But yes, the portraying technique is too good not to get published somewhere.

    Borut Peterlin

    28 December, 2011 at 14:44

  5. They are wonderful! I’ve wanted to try my hand at wet plates for the longest time, but I do not have room in my house for a darkroom. Of course, if I had a darkroom in my house, I’d probably never see the light of day, except to go out and take more photographs!

    I look forward to seeing more of your wet plate work.


    28 December, 2011 at 20:54

  6. Dear Douglas,
    did you see what darkroom do I have? It’s not a room it’S a darkbox 🙂

    and at the moment that’s all I have. I have a space in my house for a luxurious darkroom but I didn’t found resources and time to set it up. More then a space for a Wet Plate collodion process it’s important to have a good ventilation. Even with my window open I use gas mask, since if you work for a few hours you feel vapors in your throat. And while reading books about it, I realized that all great 19th Century masters are dead! No wonder, they didn’t use a gas mask!

    Borut Peterlin

    28 December, 2011 at 23:01

  7. great work man.


    29 December, 2011 at 14:58

  8. Amazing stuff!

    Caroline Scheyven

    29 December, 2011 at 19:59

  9. Borut,

    I did see your darkroom in a box and I’m impressed that you are able to do all of your wet plate work in such a small area. I am going to have to seriously consider doing something like that if I wish to do wet plates any time soon. I’ve been using a changing bag to load my film holders for my 4×5 and have been thinking of getting a changing tent instead. This would allow me greater room to work within and load roll and sheet film into drums as I am looking at getting back into developing my own B&W and E-6 again. Maybe I need to make sure that I get something that I could use for wet plates as well.


    29 December, 2011 at 23:07

  10. Ciao Douglas,
    yes, my darkbox is as small as it can be. I can work with 5×7″ plates at most, but that’s all I need. Smaller the better for transport. If you’re used to work with changing bag, then this will be easy for you! Under the hood I added a clean transparent glass, to prevent vapors that are coming up your nose if you work like this, bended above the darkbox. I saw much better solution, though. I saw a darkbox without the hood, it had some sort of binnacles on top. Post a comment with a link what you will do, would love to see it 🙂

    Borut Peterlin

    30 December, 2011 at 23:38

  11. FIne work with a classic process Borut.
    Perhaps you should run some workshops.I will try and keep a track of your work.

    All the best,

    bip mistry

    9 January, 2012 at 19:41

  12. THX Bip,
    my mentor Miša Keskenović will have a workshop in Serbia. Even if you fly in and stay for a week, it will still be cheaper then having a workshop in UK or USA!
    I’ll let you know when the dates will be announced.


    10 January, 2012 at 19:57

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