My planned essay on “Slo-fi” that I promised months ago–and still plan to do soon–was originally going to be about slow film, large format tediousness, and the like, but that was before I started doing wet-plate collodion photography. Talk about slow and tedious! To begin with, emulsion speed is around iso 0.25. And the process of pouring collodion and sensitizing plates is rather labor intensive, especially when you figure in the mixing of chemicals, etc. But I’ll save that for the full-blown Slo-fi essay. I only mention it here to talk about recent collodion-related events. Always the experimenter, I’ve been applying the wet-plate process to whatever I can think of. Last week I decided to see what would happen if I did a wet-plate shot of a digital photo displayed on my iMac screen. Well, if you expose it long enough–30 to 90 seconds–you get an image on the plate, albeit a rather contrasty one. The look for some subjects is quite interesting, so I think it’s a viable process with some practical applications, such as wetplatizing digital photos from people around the world who might want a unique-looking photo but don’t have local access to a wetplater. That’s exactly what I suggested to a fellow wetplater in the UK, Tony Richards, who promptly did some and advertised such a service on his web site, thanking me for the inspiration. The next day he gets a write-up on and debate ensues on the Wet Plate Photographers group on Facebook whether or not this process is legitimate wet plate. To that I say a big whatever. In the meantime, another wetplater friend from Alabama, Bill Vaughn, posted his own first attempts at this hybrid process and dubs them “Figalotypes”–what a hoot! I get a hybrid bastardized wet plate process that causes a divide in this already small community of practitioners named after me! I love it! I don’t care what people call it and how they categorize it. The fact is, it’s an image-making process that has its own properties and likely its own niche uses. That makes it legit enough for me.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.