Early Wet Plates

wet plate collodion process, half plate, ambrotype, large format
Jack Lowe by Julian Calverley

Since 2013, I’ve been making my photographs exactly as the Victorians used to between the 1850s and 1880s using a process known as wet collodion — click here for a potted history of the process.

The photographs are made directly onto glass or metal. The whole procedure — from sensitising the plate through to developing and fixing it — is carried out using a portable darkbox or, in more recent years, my decommissioned NHS ambulance called Neena.

Unlike many contemporary photographic processes, each plate is unique, unreproducible and irreplaceable.

On this very special journey, here are some favourites from my first year working with the process — head to the dedicated website if you’d like to see hundreds of glass plates made on The Lifeboat Station Project.

6 thoughts on “Early Wet Plates

  1. Lovely work, Jack. How nice to see a portrait of Paul in here. I’ve bought various bits of equipment from him the past few years and we always usually end up chatting about you and your project. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

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