Essay on Two Antique Photographic Processes

Essay on Two Antique Photographic Processes

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The purpose of this paper is to compare two antique photographic processes: the Wet Plate Collodion style and the Gelatin Dry Plate. Both of these processes were revolutionary and had a significant impact on the development of modern photography as we know it today.

Wet Plate Collodion
The Wet Plate Collodion process was invented in 1851 by Frederick Scott Archer in England (Wood). He was a photographer who was working through the 1840s to improve the quality of the calotype process. He did a lot of experimentation with various chemicals trying to smooth out the unevenness of the paper’s texture, to increase the quality of the images. The collodion style he used was difficult with its sticky stinky nitric acid soaked cotton wool. He knew about the adhesive properties of the liquid however, understood it did not work well with the paper base of the calotype. He was the first to come up with the idea of using glass plates as a base rather than metal (like the daguerreotype) or paper (like the calotype) (J. Paul Getty).
In 1849, Archer began to experiment with chemicals on a glass plates. He came up with an iodized version of collodion which was essentially a chemical pyroxylin mixed into an alcohol and ether mix, then further mixed with iodide until it was a thick liquid (Wentzel). Pouring this solution over a glass plate allowed an image to be recorded, and binded to the glass plate as a way to hold light-sensitive solutions to the glass. In the two years that followed, he further perfected the idea by using potassium iodine and collodion that was submerged in silver nitrate, then spread on the glass plate and exposed. To develop the image he discovered the best solution to be a bath of pyro-gallic acid and fixe...

... middle of paper ..., Printers, Digital
Video Cameras & More. 2011. Web. 28 Mar. 2011. .
Mora, Gilles. PhotoSpeak. Abbeville Press. 1998. P. 70
Rosenblum, Naomi. A World History of Photography. Abbeville Press. 1984.Simkin
Simkin, David. Part 6: ‘Dry Plate’ Photography. 2002. Web. Retrieved March 22, 2011

Wentzel, Fritz. Memoirs of a Photochemist. Philadelphia: American Museum of
Photography, 1960. Print.
Wood, Gaby. "Collodion Photography: Self-portrait in Cyanide - Telegraph.
" Telegraph Online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph –
Telegraph. 7 July 2010. Web. 26 Mar. 2011.

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