The Christmas Holiday season is a fabulous time of year to reflect on what is in the past, and ponder what the future might bring.
For wet plate collodion photographers in the far northern hemisphere it is most likely also a time when one wishes for June and sufficient UV to be out making plates once again. But is June really necessary?
Two days earlier it was 26°C with a UV Index of zero. Should the collodion photographer move inside the studio with modern equipment, or remain true to tradition and wait for June and workable ultra violet light?
I am often torn between the nostalgia and romance of what is historically correct with the process, and employing technologies and equipment of 2015 in order to continue exploring and practising this most humbling craft and art.
I believe it is important we understand the evolution of photography in order to truly appreciate how we arrived at today’s processes. At the same time I also believe our community is better served by also understanding modern processes and techniques.
Should an inquisitive and creative soul be shunned because they have made a digital negative from a favourite capture only in order to delve into making an albumen print, for example? No, I don’t believe so ... perhaps they aren’t in a position to purchase an 1870’s tailboard and Daly 2B.
Likewise, should a photographer with a studio full of strobe equipment be ostracized because they will light subjects with a beauty dish and Bowens? No, I don’t believe so ... it is better to make images under strobe than wait six months for sufficient ultra violet light.
With this in mind I started surfing the net reading what I could find that merged interesting approaches to old processes. I found this article to be interesting as it brought wet plate into a full-blown commercial studio:
http://petapixel.com/2015/12/11/shooting-wet-plate-collodion-portraits-with-12000w-of-studio-lighting/ Used with permission of Paul Alsop.
Should there be barriers based on historical accuracy? Or, should we embrace all that photography has become and employ that technology and processes in order to be provided the opportunity to make plates or prints throughout the year?
What do you think?