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PART2: PHOTOGRAPHS ON GLASS AND PAPER [ 1854 - 1860 ]
SectionA : The Collodion Processand Photographs on Glass
FrederickScott Archer, inventor of the wet collodion process
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InMarch 1851, Frederick Scott Archer, a sculptor and a memberof the Calotype Photographic Club, published details of his "wetcollodion process", which involved coating a glass platewith a mixture of potassium iodide and a sticky substance calledcollodion. Also known as "gun cotton", collodion was atransparent and adhesive material that was first used in surgeryto dress wounds. The coated glass plate was then sensitized in abath of silver nitrate. The highly sensitive wet plate was thenplaced inside a camera and exposed by uncapping the lens. Earliermethods using glass plates coated with albumen (egg white) providedexposure times of between five to fifteen minutes and so were unsuitablefor portrait photography. Archer's "wet collodion" processcould produced high quality negatives after exposures of only afew seconds. Unlike Beard with the daguerreotype process and Talbotwith the 'calotype', Archer chose not to patent his discovery andoffered his invention free to all photographers.
Ambrotypeportrait of an army sergeant and his family. Portraits made usingArcher's "wet collodion" process superficially resembleddaguerreotypes, but were cheaper to produce.
CLICK HERE TO CONTINUECollodion Positives - Cheap Portraitson Glass
Websitelast updated: 23 December, 2002
Thiswebsite is dedicated to the memory of Arthur T. Gill (1915-1987), SussexPhotohistorian