Archive for January, 2012

This Portable Darkroom will be used for making the Collodion images in remote landscape locations, all parts of the process need to be completed in the location the image is captured


The tent is fully ventilated and able to fit equipment table and all equipment needed.


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I have been working alongside members of the Chemistry Department at Loughborough University to formulate the chemicals needed for the Wet Plate Collodion. Some of which is quite hazardous I had to complete COSHH forms for all chemicals based on material data sheets. I was also supervised by a technician whilst working in a fume cupboard wearing all the correct protective clothing and goggles.

Working alongside chemists allowed for a interdisciplinary approach to my usual artistic working environment, crossing boundaries between disciplines perhaps it is important to gain knew knowledge surrounding your own subject area.

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I need to mix a Collodion based plate sensitiser, a Silver nitrate bath, a developer and a fixing agent.

List of Chemicals:

  • Silver nitrate crystals 84g (28g to every 355 of distilled water) I have ordered.
  • Nitric Acid (A drop if needed to balance silver nitrate solution literally only drops needed)
  • Plain collodion U.S.P. 236 ml
  • Ethyl ether (anhydrous, reagent grade) 155 ml
  • 190 proof grain alcohol 155ml- more to dilute (sensitivity) +18ml + 414ml
  • Cadmium bromide 3g
  • Potassium iodide 4g
  • Ferrous sulphate 15g
  • Acetic acid (glacial) 14ml
  • Distilled Water 355ml
  • 190 proof grain alcohol 18ml
  • Drop nitric acid
  • Sodium thiosulfate 142g
  • Distilled water 877ml(fix)
  • Gum sandarac 57g
  • Oil of Lavender 44 ml






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I am a masters art practice student from Loughborough University and I am currently gathering equipment, materials and advice on how to start learning the alternative photographic process of Wet Plate Collodion.

I am going to initially work toward perfecting the Ambrotype, which is a positive print on glass appose to the more complex Collodion Negatives.

I intend on documenting all stages of the process and I see this initial stage of gathering materials as a part of this process, as it is important with this process to take care and get all your health and safety information correct.

Further more I will use a collaboration of drawing to hopefully uncover innate links between processes the require an ‘impermanence of nature’ or methodology of chance.

the process of making by hand allows the makers intentions to develop and change in response to what he or she is creating over a period of time’ (Dormer 1994 80).

 I believe that there are elements of preparation that inform my practise I see myself as a modern alchemist and this is further realised with the outcomes of the collodion images have an ‘unpredictable silver quality’ (Barnier 2000,61).

Although I am aware that this process is notorious difficult, I am determined to investigate it as an 18th century ritual performance that will later not only capture a series of images but will lead to an collaboration of drawings; giving a holistic and sensory account of enactive the event, atmosphere and ritual.

Two batches of collodion mixed from the same constituents on the same day may give completely different results…success can be elusive…No two plates are alike, no matter how hard you try to replicate your results. (Barnier, 2000, 64)

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