I took part in a Wet Plate Collodion Workshop at Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow. The course was 2 days, 1030-1700 with breaks for coffee and then lunch, and cost £160, which was about half the cost of some of the previous workshops I had looked at, as well as being (relatively) close to home.  All materials were supplied, and we got to keep our plates at the end as well as a really handy guide to take away. 
David John Gillanders was the practitioner running the course, and he had a lot of experience with the process, and proved a fascinating teacher. 
My favourite plate made during the weekend. 
David showing us the fix of the image, which brings out the portrait, removing the bluish hue. I found that this was similar to the darkroom, with a magical feeling of the image appearing before your eyes, quite a spectacle. This is the elements of alternative process that appealed to me, and something I felt lacking from the digital process. I will aspire to move into Wet Plate process, although this may not be feasible during the project, as I will need to establish a location to use the chemicals involved, which may not be deemed safe enough for the university. I would also need to look to creating a mobile darkroom to take to the locations I am photographing, as the collodion only lasts for around 10-15 minutes (less in hot weather), before the surface dries and would be resistant to development. 
There are a lot of examples of people using pop up ice fishing tents as a basis for the mobile darkroom, as the location needs to be light tight. Alternatively some dark boxes can work too. The space required isnt extensive, as it would be an area to pour the collodion (can be done in the light), then a space for the plate to be placed in the silver bath, then removed in darkness/safe light conditions, placed in the plate holder to be exposed. After the image is made, there would need to be safe light space for the developer pour, as stop bath (water). Fixing can be done in the light, and the varnish could be done later once home. 
My first wet plate, the short pour is visible, with the lack of detail to the bottom right corner. This is due to the area not being coated with silver nitrate, most likely due to the collodion pour not coating the area, leaving little for the silver nitrate to adhere to in the bath. Instead the painted aluminium is visible. Despite this being an error, I feel that it adds to the image. 
There are also signs of problems with the developer pour, and probably the fixing too, not bad for a first attempt! 
These are the portraits of myself, taken by Caroline (I think), during the course. After the varnish they become very glossy making photographing difficult. 
I would love to take this experience further, by buying the equipment required and starting to progress my landscape photography into wet plate, however it will not be for this course. I would be looking to try glass plate, which rather than the tintypes, which would make glass negatives that I could then further combine with alternative processes like bromoil, salt printing or the platinum/palladium process. 
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