I always have been fascinated by photography.
But with the introduction of the digital camera it all became too easy, too predictable …to me.
So I forced myself to go back to the roots of real analog photography.
Not just by making the photograph itself, but by controlling the entire photographic process.

This brought me back to the middle of the 19th century, to the amazing Collodion wet plate process.
And every single day I feel challenged to refine and improve myself.

For my website please visit : www.alextimmermans.com

Alex Timmermans

"You don't take a picture, it's given to you"

zaterdag 23 oktober 2010

Normal film holder for wet plate photography

Yesterday i bit the bullit and started working on a normal 8 x 10 " film holder.
I wanted to make it suitable for wet plate photography.
Alexey Alexeev showed mee some pictures of his plate holder.
To be honest, it is really very easy to do. The plate between the two slides was actually thicker than i expected. It was very stiff and about 1 1/2 mm thick.
The whole process only took about 30 minutes.

1. Put some tape to on the inside of the film holder and put on the glass which you want to use. Draw a line around the glass plate so you have the needed size
In my case it was 18 x 24 cm

For cutting i have used a small normal grinder which allows me to adjust the speed.
I have used a special thin cutting blade.

Because you can not reach the corners with the grinder i have used normal sawblade, which you use fur cutting alluminium or iron, for cutting the corners.
After that just use a small file for finishing.

For the corners i have used stainless steel wire of ,75mm thick or even better is pure silver wire.
I drilled the small holes with a small drill of 1 mm.
Make sure you cover the cuttings and holes with some transparent (nail)paint
Et voila, a plate holder suitable for wet plate photography

12 opmerkingen:

  1. Few questions:
    - how do you push the glass to be at the same position? Normally, I have some special rings that put some pressure to keep 8x10 glass in one place
    - I need at least 4mm glass, does your DIY holder accept such a glass?


  2. Hi Piotr,

    I did some tests. The best result i get is with a 13 x 18 cm 3 mm thick piece of plexiglass.
    This is enough to fill the gap between the slide and the glass plate to prevent the glass from falling out.


  3. Hoi Alex,
    Ik heb ergens gelezen dat ze zilverdraad gebruikten ivm het reageren met ander materiaal. Geen idee wat stainless steal is maar ik denk ik meld het toch maar even,

    Gr Dirk

  4. Will the stainless steel wire corrode over time? Should you use silver?

  5. Ron,

    that depends on the quality of the stainless steel wire.
    But just to make sure you use massive silver wire.


  6. Good Morning and many thanks for sharing such a generous tips.
    I am a beginner about Wet Plate techniques and I'm trying to modify my 8x10 and 5x7 fidelity holders. Could you please tell me which size I have to use for for a 5x7 glass plate? And the thickness, should be three millimeters thick , like 8x10 glass plate, for example?
    Another question if possible: could you show me the rear home-made spring to keep the glass plate firmly? Thanks in advance
    Your answers could help me a lot...

  7. Matteo,

    I only use the 8 x 10 inch holders for 18 x 24 cm glass so i can't help you with the 5 x 7 inch holder. But you can decide what size you will use, as long as it fits into the holder !

    For normal glass i only use 2mm and black glas 3mm. The spring is rather simple. When using 2 mm glas i just put a 3mm piece of plexiglass between the slide and the glass plate. That prevents it falling out of the corners.

    You also can cut a piece of plastic from the bottom part of a simple plastic limonade bottle
    lets say 10 x 5 cm. As the bottle is curved the cutted piece is also curved and will perform as a spring.


  8. Do you just place the small plexiglass in the corner on top off the glass then slide teh drak slide over it?

  9. Hi

    Tell me if I understand well....
    Your holder hase one face closed with the shutter. This face is down.
    The other face is opened.
    One your wet plate is ready, you place it collodion face down on the 4 wired corners.
    After that you put some plastic (bottle piece) on the rear of the wet plate and close the shutter.

    Am I correct?


  10. Hi Alex

    I have an other question.
    Until now I have worked with 4x5 plate holders and glass that I cut myself.

    I'm going 8x10 and I want to try aluminium.
    The plates labeled 8x10 sold by Lund, Bostick and so on, are they actually 8x10 that is 20x25cm2? Because in that case they won't fit into the hole of the plate holder which is probably 18x23 cm2..

    Thank you

  11. jean-Luc, if you live in Europe just contact this company: http://collodion-art.blogspot.nl/2011/11/great-source-for-black-aluminium.html
    They can cut it in any wanted size.
    8x10" just won't fit. I use 18x24cm, European size.