in the beginning- Photographic processes

Frederick Scott Archer

Frederick Scott Archer (1813- 1st May 1857)- Invented the photographic collodion process

What he is known for

Archer is known for inventing the photographic collodion process "collodion wet plate process" in 1851. he later developed ambrotype jointly with Peter Wickens Fry.

Photographic example of process

The process

In April 1853 Archer he demonstrated a camera made to his own design. Archer's camera 'Where the whole negative picture is completed within the box itself'. At the back of the camera they were two black velvet sleeves, which the photographer could use to put his hands through to manipulate the glass plate.

collodion process which is synonymous with the "wet plate collodion process"- This requires the material to be coated, sensitize,exposed and developed around the span of 15 minutes. Creating a portable darkroom to use in the field. Collodion is used in wet form, but can also be used in a humid or dry form. Wet plate collodion process involves adding a soluble iodide to solution of collodion (cellulose nitrate) then you would coat a glass plate with the mixture.

Visual examples

Video- The Process

Idea on how to recreate this process digitally

Take a portrait with studio lights or window light using DSLR. Morden day portrait or have model dress into older clothes from era. Use photoshop to edit image by changing image to black and white and by using red,blue and green channels.


Created with images by auspices - "wet plate" • cliff1066™ - "Isabella Hinckley" • cliff1066™ - "Strattons, G.W.M. Nutt, and Minnie Warren (Wedding Party)" • Tsypich - "Self-portrait" • cliff1066™ - "Teresa Carreño"

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