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 30 april 2011

"amazing discovery"

After reading some posts from Cor and Andrew at the Collodion forum i did the aceton test. It means adding a little aceton which should recover old dark red Collodion

I had a batch of collodion which was more than 6 months old.

Adding a bit of aceton (2ml at 100ml mix) cleared the collodion mix within 5 days. I assume the process hasen't stopped yet, so it might become a little clearer.

I did the test. I taped a plate and flowed the plate at the same time with 2 bottles. Not easy i can tell you (LOL).
As i had no model (My wife doesn't want to be photographed on Colldion...) i had to take some "dummies"

The left side of the picture is with "renewed" collodion'.
I have used 2 x 4 x 24 watt CLF bulbs. At each side 4 bulbs to get equal lighting.
Exposuretime was 6 secs which is just a little bit more as when i use a fresh collodion mix.
Developing time about 15secs. And ofcourse developed in one flow.
Well, as you can see the result is amazing !!

UPDATE !! : Another update ( not so good....)

I just varnished the plate ( at least i tried to do) with sandarac.
The aceton must have weaken the collodion as the varnish dissolves the picture in a rapid way.
I have never had this problem before...
The part with the old colldodion does not have this problem.

So this might not bring what we are looking for.


vrijdag 29 april 2011

"Manon Navarro"

A few weeks ago Manon and Arjen joined me in my studio for making some nice wet plates.
They are running a fantastic studio for image-architecture in Amsterdam.
Real "photoshop-artists". Have a look at http://www.wentennavarro.nl/

I already posted Arjen's picture but i forgot to post this picture of Manon (sorry for that Manon.....).

I can tell you from my own experiences : she's full of energy !!!
They are already collecting lot's of things for there wetplate adventure, so soon they are able to show there own plates. Stay tuned !!

Note she has a brow spot in her right eye which makes it a bit darker than her left eye !

Dallmeyer 3b open
exposuretime 5 secs.
"poorboy" colldodion
KCN fixer
18x24 cm black glass

maandag 25 april 2011

Buy yourself a decent loupe.............

In the past few years i have been working with a agfa 8x loupe which i thought it was good.
Well it WAS.

I have several old camera's and i noticed huge differences while looking at different ground glasses.
On my older camera's it was ok, but on my newer camera's it sometimes was very difficult to see the real details.
Last week i bought myself an (more than 100 years old) hermagis loupe. My first intention was to store it in my lens collection.

UNTILL......... a few days ago.
I just gave it a try and o boy, the difference is HUGE.
Also on the camera's which are very difficult to focus on it works like a charm.
This is really a piece of art !! So don't make the mistake i did a few years ago.
A decent loupe makes a huge difference.



Gathering with Monicque and Michiel

Today Monicque and Michiel joined me for making some collodion plates.
Very enthousiastic AND some pefectly flowed plates. Almost no spoiled collodion......
It's always very inspiring working with so enthousiastic people loving these kind of old photographic processes.

Some developing hesitations/faults , but nice pictures.

But it was warm in my studio....... 28 degrees at the end of April !!!!
It has never been so warm in April before.

Michiel made a small movie with his i-phone ( modern technique !!) showing his plates : Youtube movie
Also have a look at Monicque's weblog : weblog Monicque

 His first plate. (watch his beautifull tattoo !)

Monicque flowing her first plate ( she's got talent  !!)

donderdag 21 april 2011


An English sculptor and photographer, Fredrick Scott Archer, invented Collodion photography in 1851.
He experimented with collodion in the hope of producing a photographic positive on ordinary glass plates.
Collodion, a thick and syrupy liquid, is made by dissolving nitrated cotton in a mixture of alcohol and ether.
It was widely used by surgeons as a liquid bandage owing to its strength and adhesion.

In 1851, Archer used collodion to hold light-sensitive salts to his glass plates.
Once the salts, such as potassium iodide, were in the mixture of collodion, the viscous liquid was poured onto the plate.
Allowing the alcohol and ether to evaporate, a thin film containing the necessary iodides was left on the plate.
Ready for sensitizing, the plate was placed in a bath of silver nitrate.
This formed a light sensitive compound of silver iodide on the surface of the plate.

Once sensitized, the plate was exposed in the camera before the collodion began to set and dry.
If the plate dried before development,it would have had practically no sensitivity and would be therefore useless.
For this reason alone, the process Archer invented became known as "Wet Plate" collodion process.

After exposure in the camera, the plate was quickly returned to the darkroom.
Using an acidic solution of ferrous sulfate, the plate was developed, then rinsed and fixed in a mild solution of potassium cyanide, or hypo.

The wet plate photographers could now produce multiple images from a single negative or offer a collodion positive.
Have you become interested in this beautifull process ?
Just contact me for a workshop.
I give these workshops to only small group of 2 persons, so you get all the needed attention during that workshop.
If you need some more information, just drop me an e-mail :  collodion-art@onsmail.nl

maandag 18 april 2011

Great find at Houten fair

Yesterday we showed some collodion plates at the Houten fair in Houten.
One of the largest photografica fairs in Europe.
We talked to a lot of people who were really interested in the colldion proces.

Ofcourse this is a Mekka for me trying to find interesting stuff. And i did !!
A place for Boys toys
I found myself a very nice Hermagis aplanetiques grand angles nr4.
This lens fits perfectly on my new 20x20 inch camera. The couvarge is perfect.
Because it's a relatively small lens it will look a bit odd on that big camera.

 Just to show how big that fair is.

Me happy, but Ben..........????

woensdag 6 april 2011


I finally had the chance to "shoot" my brother in law, Mario

Dallmeyer 3b at 3.0
Black glass ambrotype
exposure time 7 seconds
KCN fixer
18 x 24 cm

maandag 4 april 2011

My new 20x20 inch Donchev wet plate camera has arrived !!!

After a long waiting period of about six months finally my new
wet plate camera has arrived.
With this camera i am able to produce ambrotypes up to 20 x 20 inch !!
This camera was made in Bulgaria by Andrev Donchev.
For me it was a bit of a gamble because i bought it only from drawings,
but i must say : i am really impressed !!
This camera is a state of art. Very well build and every movement is geared.
Just the packaging alone must have taken hours to make. just fantastic.
Soon we will also post a movie of the unpacking and demo of this camera.

Now the hard work begins as i have to build a larger silver bath, buy larger trays etc etc.

some details :

complete packaging 76 kg
camera it self without wet plate back 38 kg
max extention  aprox 60 inch (1.5 meter)
lens plate 28.5 cm
max plate size 20 x 20 inch (aprox 51 x51 cm)

Following pictures were taken with a sony video camera by Ad van den Beemt.