I rarely blog now, in fact, I removed the section from my website some time ago, but have now decided to attempt to blog yet again!
I continue to make my own dry plates to keep my half plate cameras fed, it’s time consuming, but I love the process.
When I develop my plates, I generally try to create a false positive, ie. when you put the glass plate against a black background you see a positive image. Unlike collodion wet plates, when my dry plates are not held up to a black background they revert to being a ‘normal’ dry plate negative and therefore I can make contact prints from them. Thus not a true Ambrotype, which is a one off piece of art.
To make the plate into a faux Ambrotype, I add Ammonium Thiocyanate to my developer, it partially fixes the image and also gives it a sepia tone. (Ammonium Thiocyante is also a toning ingredient, specifically gold toning, as far as I know).
It also seems to help create the false positive. Having tried standard developers, I have only managed to get a negative from a glass plate, so, it would seem, that the addition of ammoniun thiocayante is essential to producing a positive image.
I will add, that it doesn’t produce as beautiful a positive image as a wet plate collodion glass plate, but, for me, currently, I’m very happy with the process and the imperfect results I achieve.
I’m working on a (long term) remote project with my friend in the USA, Hannah, using paper negatives and glass plates, which may or may not be successful, obviously, we’re hoping for the latter. If you don’t try, you don’t know!
Our first attempt…
I’ve shot my glass plates at ISO 3, 6 and 12 in the studio and got quite reasonable results, outside, however, it’s ISO 1 to 3 or there is chronic underexposure. Undoubtedly, this is due to the orthochromatic nature of the emulsion, it reacts to different wavelengths of light. Orthochromatic films and emulsions are more sensitive to blue light and not to red, which is why we can develop them under a safelight.
This lends itself to that ‘Victorian’ look, white skys etc.
The result of all this ‘messing around’ is that I now rarely shoot film and as I now no longer own a DSLR, no digital images at all.
I sold my remaining Nikon D3 and a couple of lenses in March this year (2021) as it was sitting on a shelf gathering dust.
Why keep it? My work no longer requires a digital camera. The last paid commission I had was in 2019 and even that was shot on film.
I’ve had some of my work published in ‘vanity’ magazines, not really something to shout about, but it was fun and easy to get the work in print. However, any magazine that asks you to part with money to get published or guaranteed publication either inside or as a cover is really not something I agree with at all. Anyway, that said it’s been a bit of fun and I’ve not paid out anything at all!
The publications are Lazin Magazine Kaiser Nude and Visual Diary, both online and in print
One publication was not a vanity mag, Jaded mag my work was published on merit, that was nice. You can see the series here
An image from the series was also used as the cover image, fabtastic!
The publishers of Jaded are also very nice, creative people and worth following on Instagram Tim Musick and Courtney Waller