I remember buying my first camera when I was around nine years old. It was a simple silver-plastickish compact camera with fixed focus. I think I got it at our local drugstore for 10 guilders. I don’t recall why but I really wanted it and felt very content once I had it in my hands.
However, this wasn’t the start of my glorious photographic career. And even when I would often grab my dad’s Minolta X-700 to hear the magnificent sound of its shutter and mirror, it did not came to my mind, neither my parents’, I might really really like photography in such a way I could actually do something with it.
In fact, it wasn’t until after I finished high school, photography came on my path again in a more serious manner. At the end of high school I was clueless about what I wanted to do. I loved painting but sucked at it massively. Couldn’t get on paper what I had in my head. Quite frustrating. My parents took me to this therapist with a pendulum who helped people choosing and switching careers. I had to write down all sorts of professions (housewife was one of them..guess how that panned out..) only to find out that it was photography I had to make my life’s purpose about. So, a leaflet about a study in photography fell in our mailbox and off I went; to Syntra Hasselt to make my first real encounter with photography.
I started out with black-and-white film photography, developing and printing until I bought a digital SLR somewhere in 2003. I lost myself in Photoshop only to find it got boring and I was missing something in my photography. Not just regarding the look and feel of the images, but also in the process of creating them.
Per accident I then stumbled upon the wet plate collodion process, where you make images on glass using a self-made light sensitive emulsion. It was love on first sight.
The lith printing process seemed like a good alternative to traditional darkroom printing. Van Dyke printing followed later on, using digitally enlarged negatives to make contact prints on paper, also using self-made emulsions.
These historical processes appeal to me because they make you go back in time where nothing is to be taken for granted and a slow pace is warranted. This slow pace makes you live each moment more intense, as opposed to the volatile character of modern society.
My main subject is landscapes. I love to wander a lot. It’s like getting lost but then on purpose. Perhaps in order to flee from society and the world, or more precise, its compulsiveness. The melancholic feel in my images is inherent to the processes I use and aesthetic choices I make to create them. They articulate my feelings of sadness this world gives me, combined with the inability to make myself feel at home in it, besides the place I live in. The Germans have the most beautiful and comprehensive word for this state of mind: Weltschmerz.
Feel free to visit me at the following places:
Hi…I think your work is great. I enjoyed looking at your ambrotypes….taking wet collodion to the end point….Nothing more beautiful than an ambrotype to me. I do platinum.
Best wishes, nice to find your site…
Wow, I think YOUR work is great! Just followed your Flickr link and I love it. You have a lot of experience with alternative processes; that’s so interesting I’m just starting out with the alternative side and I love it. Takes the image so many steps beyond being just a photo.
Thank you for sharing yours and responding to my work. I feel honored!
This is Alice Kennedy from 7×5 http://www.sevenbyfive.net/. Your imagery is exactly what we are looking for to be featured on our
newly launched DSLRBLOG website. We are looking for images (with stories behind them). Kindly contact me at
firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to send in a submission through the site http://dslrblog.com/. I am looking forward to hearing
from you and showcasing your work.
Hey Indra, having just found your site I look forward to following your adventure with wet plate photography and many thanks for posting all your experiences, I love it, keep it up!
You’re most welcome and I’m glad you like it!! I’ll keep up the work!
I’m impressed….I really am!
Keep on doing the good work & let me know if there’s an exhibition in the neighborhood….:-)
Cheers & see ya around…..
Thanx! I’m having LOTS of fun!
Ik houd je zeker op de hoogte, als het goed is 22 t/m 24 Mei in Maastricht tijdens de Kunsttour. Daar wil ik ook het natte plaat proces demonstreren maar ik moet eerst nog horen of ik ben toegelaten.
Nogmaals bedankt, leuk om te horen!
Oh ja, en ik ben razend benieuwd naar jullie eindwerk…succes met de laatste lootjes!
Ik heb zojuist een fles collodium besteld bij assink chemie.
Dacht dat niet kon omdat ik geen zaak heb, maar het was voor hun geen probleem.
Super dat je het zo kon bestellen! Mijn probleem was uiteindelijk niet de chemie maar de belichting. De collodion is op 3 weken tijd extreem ongevoelig geworden voor licht maar alles werkt verder perfect! Hetgeen waarvan ik het minst dacht dat het dat kon zijn was het uiteindelijk toch haha, iets minder koppig proberen te zijn 😉
Ik hoop dat de problemen met jouw collodion bij die nieuwe fles dan ook verholpen zijn…wel vreemd dat je het niet oke krijgt met je huidige fles.
Ik heb contrastique.wordpress.com gevonden via Google.
Deze site ziet er goed en mooi uit!
Ik wil graag ook zo een mooie site maken. Welke programmas heb je hier precies voor gebruikt? Mijn blogje ziet er nog saai uit. 😦
Groetjes vanuit A’dam
Deze blog is gemaakt van een standaard thema van WordPress. Het is gemaakt door Phu en het heet Emire. Ik heb er niets aan veranderd (want ik weet niet hoe dat moet) dus niets speciaals 🙂
Edit: Nu dus niet meer…De blog is inmiddels geupdate mbv het thema “Modularity Lite”.
Hey Indra… Hoe gaat ‘ie? Diep in de nacht en eindelijk tijd/rust om op mijn gemak ‘bij te kijken’. Het heeft even geduurd, want het portfolio op je website is echt schitterend. Even snel doorklikken was er dus niet bij 😉
Voor mij zijn je werken simpelweg inspirerend. Het werkt echt op mijn gevoel. Zoals reeds gemeld in mijn twitter-berichtje zou ik graag een aantal gedichten schrijven met jouw werk als uitgangspunt. Ik voel gewoon dat dit het beste in me naar boven gaat brengen 😉 Heb wel al een paar leuke ideetjes, vind ik…
Hoe dan ook wens ik je veel plezier, waardering en succes toe!
Groetjes en tot tweets,
Wat leuk dat je zo de moeite hebt genomen om door mijn portfolio te worstelen 😉 Het is inderdaad nogal wat.
Ik ben benieuwd welke gedichten je nog meer in je hoofd hebt. Altijd gaaf andere mensen weer te inspireren tot het maken van dingen.
Speechless. What a beautiful place to visit.
Thank you so much for your kind words! It’s what makes it worth it for me! I’ll get back to you on Flickr as soon as I can.
I came across your blog and I have barely started looking at the entries, but I can tell it’s an “ocean of joy” to see a blog so beautifully made as the content it holds!!
I definitely will link your blog on mine and hope to keep in touch with you as I want to learn the wet plate process myself.
I hope you will help me out in my journey to the wet plate… and keep the process alive!!
I am struggling to get hold of Cadmium Bromide in South Africa. The only Cadmium I can get hold of is Cadmium bromide tetrahydrate. Is there a difference and is there anything that I must be aware of using Cadmium bromide tetrahydrate in my collodion formula?
I’m really not sure…The hydrate version means that water molecules have been added, which I don’t think is much of a problem, if anything it will help you dissolve the cadmium bromide more easily in water (which you need to anyway). BUT I am not 100% sure about that. You might want to post the question on http://www.collodion.com It’s a forum board where you can probably look it up and if not ask the question. There will be at least one person who’s able to answer that one.
Sorry I could not be of more help to you!
Hi – if you use cadmium bromide tetrahydrate (molecular weight 344 grams/mole) and want to get equal amount of cadmium bromide as suggested by using pure cadmium bromide (molecular weight 272 grams/mole) you should add approx. 25% extra of tetrahydrate. This is based on addition to the molecular mass by four water molecules. Again, I’m talking purely from chemical point of view and have no practical experience but I agree that in principle this should not be a problem.
just starting out with my wet plate journey. i already found quite a bit of reading material (oooooold books) with google book search. on one of your blog entries you posted a couple of german pages. would you please be so kind as to forward me your german manual? still looking for 4×5 glass plates. any idea where i could buy them precut, or let them be made custom? thanks so much! love your website!
best wishes from stuttgart
I sent you the German literature via wetransfer.com. File is too big to send by email.
I don’t know of an address in Germany where you can buy your glass but you can ask Laura Boston-Thek, Quinn Jacobson, Vernon Trent or Artur Kowallick. They are all on Facebook and you can also find them when you google their names. They are all wet platers, based or were based in Germany. I’m sure they can give you some places where you can buy the glass.
I buy large pieces myself, it’s cheaper than having them precut and it’s really easy to do it yourself. I used to have someone cut them for me but he would cut them 1 or 2 millimeter bigger than I needed them to be and they were useless. He didn’t realize what I was using them for and that the size really needed to be exact. That’s when I decided to do it myself. All you need is a glass cutter and something to break the glass with if you don’t want to do it by hand.
Check out this post on glass cutting:
Anyway, good luck and if you have any more questions feel free to shoot!
Great site, great work Indra
I love your sharing of the pictures, specially you studio.
What I do not understand is, how can I use UV for the wet plate collodion photography.
Do you have some link or info, where can I get more about it?
I would like to build up my own studio and I need some good solution for the lighting for the wet plate portraits.
Thank you! You can find more info here: http://www.collodion.com/forum
You’ll find more info on lights that you can use for the process. However, for portraiture, uv lights are pretty uncomfortable for the sitter. I use a 2x Falcon Eyes 928 octabox light with soft box. I think they work really well. On the website I mentioned above you can also find more information about these lights (and all the other sorts).
We love your blog, it is so helpful to us. I remember one day when we were working on a test shoot, and the chemicals were delivered to us late, we had no idea that their was a way to make a collodion batch and not have to wait 2 weeks for it to be use. Thanks to your blog we are able to make new collodion and use it the same day. You basically saved us!!!!
We are now doing our own unique collodion project. Making motion pictures with tintypes. We will love your feedback!
Hi LivingTin Crew,
How cool of you to write me with such a lovely message! Great to hear the blog really helps people 🙂
I’ve actually thought about making a stop motion film using collodion (never got to it..to do list is way too long already) so it’s cool to see someone actually doing it. Looking forward to the result and I’ll look to back you on your journey! Actually, I just did! I’ll try and find the time to make a blog post about your nifty ‘little’ project soon.