Modern Wet-Plate Photography

Flight of the Bumblebees – Modern wet-plate photo by Yvette Bessels

Toronto. On June 23 I posted a note about the site Modern Day Antique mentioning that when the PHSC began in the mid 1970s, antique technologies were the really old technologies. At our June Toronto meeting we celebrated Canada’s 150th anniversary a bit early with five speakers covering the 150 year era of photography from wet-plates to roof toppers.

The first speaker was Yvette Bessels who covered modern day wet-plate photography. A photographer in her own right, Yvette has worked with modern day wet-plate media for a few years now. Her web site includes instructions and a very candid look at the pit falls that can occur to a beginner – even during the seemingly simple task of glass cutting. She also offers the beginning wet-plate photographer a reading list and an alternate web site – Collodion Bastards: Wet Plate Work of Questionable Parentage.

If you have the urge to try your hand at the wet-plate photography of a century and a half ago (when Canada was formed, in 1867) then take a look at Yvette’s site and that of Gerald Figal who runs the Collodion Bastards site.

As a side note, our logo was initiated by the late Everette Roseborough for the Photographic Canadiana journal. It is a copy of a steel plate engraving of a wet-plate photographer in the 1850s with a 100 pound back pack containing his camera, lens, tripod, darkroom tent, chemicals, and paraphernalia needed to make and develop his glass plates on site.

Our speakers on wet-plate have included Blake Chorley “Blake Chorley visits the Rockies“, The Tintype Studio, Amanda Rataj “Albumen Printing“, Maayan Kasimov and Rob Norton “Ambrotypes – History and Modern Production“, and Mark Osterman & France Scully Osterman “Reviving a Lost Art – The Collodion Journal” to mention a few.

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