A selection of tintypes and ambrotypes made in the traditional 19th century manner: collodion (a solution of nitrated cotton, ether, and alcohol) is flowed on a metal plate (for tintypes) or glass (for ambrotypes) and then sensitized in silver nitrate dissolved in water. While still wet the plate is loaded in the camera, the exposure taken, then immediately developed with iron sulfate before the surface has time to dry out. After being fixed in a solution of potassium cyanide it is washed, dried, and finally varnished. Since there is a very short window of time before the plate dries out, a darkroom must be very close at hand. Shooting outdoors requires transporting a portable darkroom and all of the chemicals -- about 75 pounds of equipment.
Each image is hand-made and is one of a kind. Tintypes and ambrotypes are mirror images, laterally inverted.
(All photographs copyrighted, none may be reproduced for any purpose without express written permission.)
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