Wet Plates, the Other White Meat by Blake Pack

If you have followed the blog for any time now, you know we support all types of instant film. A while back we included our post to feature some wet plate work and I’m so glad we did. Today we feature the work of Blake Pack. An amazing photographer on so many levels, Blake decided to share is Summer Portfolio with us. The following images are mainly tin types, but the bike series are shot on glass.

We plan to feature more work by Blake on the blog, but please don’t wait till then to check out more of his work. Go show him some internet love at the following links.

Portfolio | Website | Instagram

From Blake:

To me, wet-plate collodion is the purist form of photography and the original “instant film”. It takes photography back to its roots as a science. You’re not just taking a picture; it’s even more work than setting up a view camera. You have all the aspects of a photo, like framing and posing your subject, getting the right lighting, etc., but then you have to throw in all the chemistry and concoctions. It feels like you’ve been thrown into a potions class at Hogwarts. Wet-plate is a very heavily subject-involved process. Depending on the chemistry, time of year, and time of day, the exposures range from 1-3 second to upwards of a minute. So when I say it’s heavily subject involved, you should realize the subject has to hold still that entire time. It is not nearly as easy as you think. From start to finish, one plate can take 7-12 minutes to complete. And sometimes, like the other week, you do everything right, but things don’t work out. You blow through three or four plates of nothing. But when it does work, and you set that blue/yellow tin in the fixing bath, and as you and your subject watch the the bronze and black come forward, don’t let the chills surprise you. I literally get giddy. You can ask any number of my subjects; I have jumped up an down laughing because the image turned out. I can’t remember the last time, if ever, that happened to me when shooting any other medium. 


I really hope to try this form of photography one day. And from the looks of things, unless the chemicals become obsolete, glass and metal are a medium that should be around for some time to come. Thanks again for submitting Blake!

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