Friday, May 11, 2012
The plan is simple, and not; to use my 'chase van' as a darkroom during my Cannonball ride across the USA this September (6-23, NY to SF), and shoot portraits of riders and their machines as we cross the country, using terribly obsolescent 1850s technology, 'wet plate' collodion on tin and/or glass. I've just started experimenting with the medium this week, and here are a few of the results.
As the summer progresses, I'll post more photos taken using the medium, which isn't spontaneous in the least! All must be planned ahead, the light measured, the glass plate cleaned and coated with liquid collodion, then charged with silver nitrate, and exposed for a few seconds (depending on the light, could be as little as 2 seconds, as much as a few minutes, but portraits need to be under a minute, or the subject is blurry).
Collodion is a fussy medium, and is sensitive to an invisible, ultraviolet end of the light spectrum, so gives unexpected results on skin tones, plants, etc. It erases tattoos, but darkens melanin in skin, and lightens blue eyes to white, so is basically irreproducible in an iphone 'app'...part of the reason I like the process, and the unique images produced.