Wet Plate Collodion Workshop
Wet Plate with Bill Schwab
September 25 – 27, 2020
Come up to the north woods of Michigan at one of the most beautiful times of year and learn the wet plate collodion process in this safe and socially distanced workshop! Much of our work will be out of doors and indoor time will be limited in numbers. Only 4 people will be allowed in the class and everyone’s safety and comfort will be paramount.
One of the oldest and seemingly difficult of the photographic processes, Wet Plate can be very simple and satisfying once you’ve collected all the necessary gear and learned to handle the chemistry.
In this workshop, you can forgo all of that and get right down to the business of making plates. All equipment and chemistry will be provided, so all you need do is show up with the will to learn an exciting photographic process.
Perhaps a reaction to the push button, digital world or maybe simply a desire to get back to basics, the collodion or wet plate process has been undergoing an increasing wave of interest over the past several mmmm years. And while it can be an extremely expressive and addictive process, it can be a bit complicated at first. Due to some of the chemistry involved, it also needs to be handled with a degree of care that is a touch above the average darkroom. Speaking from experience it helps a great deal to be able to watch and work with someone experienced with the process as the method and materials can be somewhat intimidating. This is why I offer this beginner’s course. It helps you familiarize yourself with the process, handling of chemistry and is designed to give a good base of experience to build upon.
This course will first cover chemistry, formulas and safe handling. We will first meet on the morning of Friday, September 25th where we will mix collodion*, silver nitrate solution as well as developer and fixing baths that we will need over the next 3 days of making plates. All chemistry and materials used during the course will be provided. We will then get down to the business of during your first plates in the afternoon with the goal of having you more confident in doing so by the end of our first day.
You will then begin Saturday morning by pouring your first solo plates and becoming familiar with sensitization, exposure and processing. By noon of this day, you will have made your first solo collodion photographs and should be completely hooked on the process. We will work throughout the day practicing your technique and creating plates.
Sunday, the final day of your workshop will again be spent creating plates. You will also be given a piece of black glass on which you will learn to prepare it for making your first “Ambrotype” or collodion on glass plate. And to finish off, we will be varnishing our plates for their trip home.
Throughout the workshop you will be able to pour many plates which is the goal in your learning process. The best way to learn is through practice and repetition and you’ll be ready to go it alone once you return to your own darkroom.
Workshop includes use of all equipment, chemistry, supplies and final plates. Once registered, you will receive more information on location, times and suggestions for lodging in the area.
$975.00 (includes all lab fees)
Class limited to four (4) students for health and safety reasons. Masks must be worn correctly at all times for participation. This will be strictly enforced, so if you have any problem with this, please do not register. No concessions will be made.