Hi again Steve,
It’s been a long time since I’ve been in contact, but have been busy “exploring” photography in a new sense. Although my love for all things Leica has not faltered, I have decided to stray from the digital realm, and even the film realm in order to pursue a medium that has drawn my gaze like no other…wet plate collodion. This process (from around the 1850s-1860s) has eaten up months of time, and money, collecting equipment from the 19th century, chemicals, and instructionals, which have been difficult in a way that has been shocking to someone used to the immediate/semi-immediate availability of other photographic needs.
In any case, it’s been about 3 months since I’ve taken a short class in wet plate collodion, and after getting my equipment together, buying chemicals, and finding a weekend to put the time in, I’ve finally produced my first image (my girlfriend Catherine who is very patient with my experiments). I find this process supremely rewarding, and ridiculously infuriating in terms of issues that can arise with chemical defects, bad pours (collodion), and the lack of exposure readings. Collodion is essentially sensitive to an ASA of around 1 (yes, that’s a one), so exposure is a continual guessing game. With all these potential issues, it’s amazing that images can be produced at all, but with a little practice and research, there is a way, so much so that there are people far more competent than I in this process. With a little time and a lot of wasted plates, I’m hoping to at least get myself into the field a little more.
With the onslaught of new digi-cams, and film prices increasing, it has been nothing short of a revelation getting into a process that by its nature, is immune to the latest hype of technology.
Thanks Steve, and keep up the great work…