Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Collodion process - backstage

Darkroom set up :)

So this is my bathroom - darkroom set up.
At the end I decided to use a plastic tray for silver bath, instead of the glass tank, which I've build, as I mixed a very small amount of chemicals - just to check if everything is working fine. (For my glass tank I'd need to use the whole amount of the silver nitrate, I have at the moment). 
I have to admit that  this option (tray) suits me well. 

I poured the developer directly on the glass gathering the surplus in the red tray. I filtered the used developer and pour it into a separate glass bottle,( it looks very dirty, however I might reuse it next time, and check if it's working)

I find the developing is the hardest part of the process. It needs a lot of practice. It should be done with one, smooth move. The liquid should stay on the plate and be in a constant move at the same time. The area not covered with the developer will stay as a black hole, like these:

It is quite a typical reaction, that once you notice the 'hole', you want to pour more developer in this place, but it doesn't work. It won't cover it well and - instead the excess will flow around the hole and wash the image off: 

After the whole day of preparation of the chemistry and plates I managed to do these 2, bad, outdoor shots only, before the sunset. I was very upset with the results of developing.
I didn't have such a problems during the workshop, so started to wonder if this is connected to the excitement, that finally I’m doing the collodion on my own, or there is an issue with the chemistry. But decided to give it one more try and set up an indoor portrait shot.

I was very careful this time and the same result after developing the 3rd plate made me to have a look to 'a guide', to check, what could be wrong.
So, off course  - I forgot to filter the developer! My mistake. But I also decided to add more alcohol to make it's consistence closer to silver bath's consistence and .... it helped!

Now, I can handle this amount of imperfections (but not the holes of half size of the photo :)!

....And the final shot of this session (already published, still with the hole, but I guess mixing a bigger amount of chemicals will allow me to be more presize with the ratio..;)

Time to do some proper collodions!


  1. These are perfect Monika!
    This is Real Stuff!

  2. Right on Monika, love your results, even the washed one. Imperfection sometimes helps, even Sally Mann seconds that herself.

  3. thanks guys. I love this process and I love the feeling of the images the collodion is drawing for me,(however would aim for having a little more controll over it:) you should try it! m

  4. Are all these done with Poeboy Collodion?