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"

zondag 25 december 2011

I finally found "Her".......

After a long search i finally found a suitable lens for my 20x20”Donchev camera.
This is a 24” early Voigtlander petzval which was produced aprox in the year 1864.
This lens is massive. I thought my 20inch Hermagis was big. This one is huge.
The glass is in execptional good shape. No separation, fungus or what so ever.
It came with one original waterhouse stop.

Some specs:
Weight :                         8,3 kilo
Height:                           39 cm
Diameter lens hood:        19 cm
Flange diameter:             23 cm
Serial number:                12540

Focal lenght                    24"
F-stop                             aprox 5.2 (because of waterhouse slot)

If anyone can supply me the exact production date of this lens, please let me know.
Just to show how massive this lens is, the lens next to the Voigtlander is my Dallmeyer 3B

donderdag 8 december 2011

Beautiful rare Derogy lens

Recently i bought a very early beautiful Derogy petzval lens for my small collection.
Every time i say to myself, i have to stop collecting stuff, but this one i couldn't resist......

The lens is dated between 1850 - 1860 so more than 150 years old.
A beautiful example of perfect handcraft.

The bayonet system makes this a rapidly convertible portrait/landscape lens.
The lens has a focal length of about 8" and it's speed is about f 3.8
unfortunately it has no flange, so if somebody could help me finding one i would be more than grateful !
Thread diameter is 88,6 mm.

I made you some pictures to show how the ingenious lens works.

 Standard portrait situation

fast opening with bajonet

 It has a double lens cap which can be taken apart.
One for the portrait lens and a smaller one for the land scape lens

Here you can see the aparture rings which were used in very early lenses

Mounted as a landscape lens including the smaller lens cap mounted at the front

zondag 27 november 2011

My little friend again, Samy.

Today my little friend (my nephew) visited us. Ofcourse he wanted to be a sitter again.
Is very interested in the whole proces and the first thing he always asks when he's bringing a visit : "are we going to make plates ?"

He's a perfect sitter. Only 8 years old, tiny but very intelligent.
I had to stock the chair with a box and a pillow, otherwise he's to small for the head stand......
I still can't believe how collodion can change someones "look"


Hermagis 420mm 4.5
Black glass ambrotype
exposure time 7 secs
KCN Fixer

dinsdag 22 november 2011

How to finish an ambrotype

After you have varnished your plate there might be some varnish at the back of the plate.
First let the plate rest for a few days. Fresh varnish is very fragile.

When cleaning the plate lay it flat on a clean piece of paper.
Use a razor blade to cut of the varnish from the back of the plate.
Put some alcohol on a clean paper towel and clean the back a few times untill you will see no cleaningmarks anymore.

Than use a simple paint roller and black acrylic paint to paint the back.
You will have to do that twice for the best result.
Now your plate is ready to show.

If you store your used roller in a simple glass jar you can keep it ready for use for months.

zondag 20 november 2011

Gathering with Maartje and Rien

After a long wait Maartje and Rien were finally able to join me in the "wet plate world"
Maartje, a photographic teacher and creative as she is, has talent!
During pouring her plates she hasen't spoiled a single drop of collodion.
I have never seen that before !
Rien, also a shool teacher loves to experiment with old photographic processes.
At shool he has a cabinet filled with all kinds of chemicals.
A real childrens playground for adults.....

A brief impression of this long day.

maandag 14 november 2011

Great source for black aluminium !!

Thanks to a participent of my workshop i found a great supplier of black aluminium over here in Holland. I also think its one of the very few in Europe.
It's a small firm located in the  south of Holland in a place called Schinnen.
So also close to Germany and Belgium
We already made some testplates and they work just fine.
They are able to cut in any sizes you want and they are also willing to ship all over Europe. The thickness of the material is aprox 0,7 mm
Getting it from the US might be a just bit cheaper but this source is fast and accurate !!
No problems with the customs anymore.

If you are interested just contact my contact person, DaniĆ«l Putters.
Website : http://www.graveerbedrijf.com/
E-mail : info@graveerbedrijf.com
Phone : Tel. +31 (0)46-4428442

zaterdag 12 november 2011

Cornelis le Mair

After a long wait today i finally had the oppertunity to make some plates of Cornelis le Mair. He's a very talented Dutch fine art painter.

I quote from his website : "Born in Eindhoven, the Netherlands in 1944, fine arts painter Cornelis le Mair can rightfully be called a natural talent. At barely five years old, he had to show his drawings to all of the other Kindergarten classes. After finishing High School, he started his art studies at the Kunstacademie in Den Bosch.

For the talented Le Mair however, this art education is limited to teaching “free expression” and a talent for drawing is considered an obstacle on the way to finding “true art”. The teachers there are not able to instruct him in the things he finds interesting. He heeds the advise of a helpful teacher and switches over to the Koninklijke Kunstacademie in Antwerp in 1965, where the old painting techniques are still being taught. Fortunately his teacher, professor Victor Dolphijn, takes these traditional painting techniques seriously. In 1968, le Mair graduates “cum laude” in portrait and figure painting and, guided by Dolphijn, starts painting still lifes, a subject he has continually learned to master. In 1973, Le Mair moves to a farm in the countryside in the vicinity of the city where he was born, and starts his career as a fine arts painter".

More on his website : http://www.cornelislemair.com/

Despite of the difficult circumstances i am very happy with the final result. It was very dark in his atelier.
He has collected an extremely beautiful collection of curiosa during his trips all over the world so i had to manoeuvre in a very small room paying attention not to damage anything

I have used two strong lights in umbrellas and my Calumet c1.

Ambrotype on black glass
Exposuretime 7 secs
KCN fixer
Hermagis 350 mm f 4.5

maandag 7 november 2011

Wet platers from Italy

A few months ago Filippo and Guiseppe contacted me for more information about the wet plate process. So we exchanged some e-mails and we settled for the date.
But just about one week before "D-day" i got an e-mail from Guiseppe. '
He had a serious injury at his foot and needed a surgery.....
BUT, he had asked his surgeon if it was ok to go to Holland by plane which was confirmed positive.
So with the help of a wheel chair and large elevator they got him into the plane!
Flying was very cheap, only 30 euro for a return ticket at Easyjet !!
I arranged them a nice bed and breakfast nearby my home and on Saturday at exact 09:00 they were standing on my doorstep.  

Flowing there first plates just went great. They hardly spoiled any collodion.
As usual, the fixing stage is the most interesting part.
I have heard this so many times : WOOOOOW !!!!
We made some really nice plates together on clear and black glass.

On Saturday night we had a nice dinner in Eindhoven and on Sunday morning they collected their plates and Guisppe took his "new" Darlot lens back home.
I just wonder if they have ever seen wet plates passing the x-ray scanner at the airport........
Guiseppe and Filippo, thanks for joining me and you interest for this beautiful process.

As i can't get it working on my ipad :

maandag 31 oktober 2011

Nice article at "Eager"

Recenty Hans and Douwe visited my studio because they wanted to know all about wet plate photography.
Douwe wrote a nice article which was published at Eager.
This time it's in Dutch AND in English !!

http://didyousayeager.com/magazine/nl/201110/article/eager/collodion Dutch version

http://didyousayeager.com/magazine/en/201110/article/eager/collodion English version

some pictures

Douwe made by Hans and me.

Hans made by Douwe and me.

zaterdag 22 oktober 2011

Gathering with Albert and Bart

Today we made some portraits during my workshop.
Albert is a photography shop owner ans also a collector of all kinds of photographic items and Bart is a student at the Fotovakschool at Venlo and he loves to works with alternative processes.

For the first time i have used a 420 mm 4.5 hermagis petzval.
I have bought it last year at the Houten fair but wasn't able to give it a try before.

I should have.... It turns out to be a great lens. great details and a beautifull DOF.
some plates we made during the day.


Clear glass Ambrotype
Hermagis 420mm 4.5 petzval
exposure time 6 secs
KCN fixer

Black glass Ambrotype
Hermagis 420mm 4.5 petzval
exposure time 6 secs
KCN fixer

Albert made by Bart
Black glass Ambrotype
Hermagis 420mm 4.5 petzval
exposure time 6 secs
KCN fixer

Albert made by Bart
Black glass Ambrotype
Hermagis 420mm 4.5 petzval
exposure time 7 secs
KCN fixer