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Wet plate photos using a 19th Century bellows camera

During my residency at Uillinn I have been experimenting with 19th Century wet plate photography also known as the collodion process. It is an early photographic process, invented by Frederick Scott Archer. It was introduced in the 1850s and by the end of that decade it had almost entirely replaced the first practical photographic process, the daguerreotype. It involves making a plate on glass on aluminium which is covered with a layer of Collodion (the negative like old film cameras), this is then immersed in a silver nitrate bath, when the collodion and the silver react the plate becomes light sensitive. The plate is then placed in a plate holder and popped into the back of the camera, a 10-20 second exposure is needed to enable to silver to react to the light and create an image. The plate is then developed and fixed, from there it needs to be varnished as the collodion is very sensitive to scrathes. Here are the results of some of my recent work, enjoy 🙂

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The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina at my studio in Uillinn with my bellows camera xxx
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