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 30 december 2012

Demonstration of the wet plate process

Giving a life demonstration about the wet plate process is alway so much fun.
Sharing my passion for collodion photography gives me so much energy!
Yesterday i was invited by Fotoclub Lucifer to show this beautiful process to a large audience.
Some good questions were asked and we had a nice discussion at the end with a smaller group.
Special thanks to my friends, Henk Peters ( video) and Ben van Os (Photos).
Henk used his camera so everything could be followed on a large projection screen.
Including the work i did inside the darkroom.
So the audience was able to follow the whole process life
Unfortunately i had very limited time to set up the whole thing so i wasn't able to make a testplate.
Next time i really need some more time for this. 30 minutes is way to short for this. 
Beside of some minor flaws the plate came out good.
It's always tricky to estimate the exposure time at a place where you have
never made a wet plate before. But all went just perfect.
Thanks for the sitters because the were VERY patience!

A brief impression:
Photo´s made by Anne-Marie van Alem-Damen, Peter van den Hamer en Ben van Os
Many thanks for sharing your photo's.




dinsdag 25 december 2012

Making an insert for your plate holder

The good thing about wet plate photography is that you are able to choose your own plate size.
The only thing you need is a suitable insert for your plate holder.
Contamination is problem number one with wet plate photography.
Contamination starts when the silver nitrate on the plate gets in contact with dirt in your plate holder.
Most of the time that contamination shows up at the top of the image
as the glass is upside down in your holder
That's why a good plateholder has as less contact with the inlay as possible.

Here I show you how to make a good working insert.
This time I have used Dibond, which is a laminated material.
A plastice core covered with 2 very thin layers of alluminium.
The good thing of this material is that is is very stiff and light weight.
The down side is that it has alluminium on it which reacts with the silver nitrate.
But a good matte black paint will eliminate that problem.


I did one extra thing with the plate holder.
The thin silver wires wiggled a bit so i glued the ends and this works much better.
The fitting of the silver wires is much more solid now.
Sprayed the whole inlay matte black and it's ready for use now.

This is a picture i got from Sean Mckenna a few years ago.
It shows an original wet plate holder with inserts.

First i use a circular saw to cut the plate to the right dimensions.

As you are unable to reach the corners with a circular saw,
 I use a saw blade to cut the last pieces.

After that I have used a Dremel to make curves in the corners.


Now I use the circular saw again to make the inside of the holder just a few mm wider.

Again use the dremel to take out the last parts.

Drill a few tiny holes needed to insert the silver wire.

Make sure you bend the silver wire exactly a the good size before putting in into the small holes, otherwise it is going to be difficult to make it all tight enough.

The only thing I have to do now is spraying it with a matte black paint and the holder is ready for use.
Making this insert took me about half an hour.
Ofcourse you can do this also with some hand tools

maandag 10 december 2012

The making of "Hat"hunter

This is a movie made by the filmcrew of the "Eindhovens dagblad", which is a local newsaper.
It gives a nice impression how "Hat"hunter was made.

maandag 3 december 2012

Update on "Hat"hunter

About 2 months ago i was contacted by a journalist of the regional newspaper Eindhovens dagblad, Tonny Peeters.
He got my business card from a couple who watched us
making "hat"lines
a few weeks before.
He asked me if it was possible to see this process life.
At that time we were working on the idea of "Hat"hunter and we made
an appointment on a Monday morning in the forest of the Heeze castle.
While unpacking my car and setting up my new ice fishing tent the photographer
of the newspaper came by and made some nice pictures.
The journalist also arranged a film crew (which was a total surprise for me...).
He promised me to write a nice article and it would be published within a few weeks.
Well, it took a little longer, but this morning the article was published including the link to the movie they made.
At 07:00 this morning i grabbed the newspaper out of my post box to
see how it looked like.
You can imagine i am extremely happy with this article and film.
So Tonny Peeters ( journalist), Jurriaan Balke (photographer), Filmcrew of ED and Ferry van der Vliet,
many thanks for making this possible !!!

The link to the movie : http://www.ed.nl/regio/veldhoven/11933455/Oerlenaar-is-gek-van-collodiumfotografie.ece

woensdag 28 november 2012

Black glass ambrotype
Hermagis petzval 420mm 4.5 wide open

zondag 25 november 2012

Nice find at fair

Today is visited a very large collecting fair in Utrecht, Holland.
I hoped to find some wet plate related things like camera's, lenses etc.
But couldn't find anything like that.
BUT, i found something extremely rare.
A beautiful small mahogany box containing a kristal glass perfume bottle and a ambrotype.
Even the original key came with it and all is in excellent shape.


maandag 19 november 2012

Fabulous book about antique French optics.

A little bump for a fantastic book.

During my last visit at Bievres i bought myself a fabulous book about antique French lenses.
This book is written by Corrado D’Agostini.
It contains almost 400 pages covered with loads of information about the most famous French optics.
Including many pictures. Names like: Berthiot, Hermagis, Darlot, Jamin etc.
You will also find many background information about the makers and technical information about the optics.
Also every documented lens has it's serialnumber published.
Unfortunately not the year of build. Pity, but you can't have it all
If you are interested in Old photographic French lenses, this is a book you need to have in your collection!
21x30x3cm !!
ISBN 88-8341-491-6

zondag 11 november 2012

Fotografica fair at Nieuwegein

Coming Sunday, november 18th, there will be the anual fotografica fair at Nieuwegein.
About 200 tables filled with all kinds of photography related stuff.
So a must for collectors etc.
I will have 2 tables filled with collodion related things.
Nothing for sale, but just to show the beauty of the collodion process.
So if you have the time, just hop by.
Open from 11:00-16:00 hours
See you coming sunday !
More information you can find at the Fotografcia website:



woensdag 7 november 2012

Fixing a 20x20" black glass ambrotype

The fixing stage of a 20x20" ambrotype i made a few days ago.
it's like unpacking a nice gift everytime again....

zondag 21 oktober 2012

New dark room lights

Two weeks ago i visited a do it yourself shop and by accident i stumbled
on some energy saving bulbs.
I bought one, just to give a try.
Well the difference between my "antique" bulbs is HUGE.
I was really surprised how big the difference was between these two bulbs.
I had the feeling not being "blindfolded" anymore in my darkroom.
The best thing is that these bulbs have no influence on the wet plate process.
No fogging and a much much better sight on what you are doing
So HIGHLY recommended
Although its difficult to show you the difference.
On your left hand the old buld and on your right hand the new one.


zaterdag 20 oktober 2012


A plate we made today.
I can tell you, we had a lots of funn making this one.
As we were in the filed there were several watchers during this shoot.
One couple, who's husband was making photo's, was confused.
While he was taking his camera my model turned his head towards her.
She screamed at her husband : it's moving.
My model turned his head back again and he said to her : "no he's not".
You should have seen her face......!!!

300mm 4.5 Hermagis petzval
shot wide open
Exposure time 2 secs.

woensdag 12 september 2012

New German magazine, all about analogue photography

Just a few days ago a brand new German Photo magazine has been published.
It is called:  Photoklassik.
This magazine is filled with loads of information dedicated to analogue photography.
So no modern digital stuff !
I am very proud they included an article about me and my passion for wet plate photography.
Below you you can see the article ( in German....).
if you need some more information about the magazine, just have a look at there website.
Good thing is that this magazine is also available in the Benelux !



maandag 10 september 2012

Exhibition at Merge galerie Ginneken ( Near Breda)

During 2 weekends of September i have an exhibition at MERGE Gallery in Breda.
The second weekend is during the opening weekend of BREDAPHOTO.
So is you have some spare time, just hop in and have a drink.
I will give 2 exclusive demonstrations for a select group of  max. 10 persons on Saturday 15/11 and Sunday 16/11.
Interested in joining that demonstration?
Just have a look at MERGE's webiste.

dinsdag 21 augustus 2012

Nr 2 in the "Hat" series with behind the scenes....

Recently i was contacted by Tonny Peeters, journalist working for the local newspapers:
Eindhovens Dagblad.

He asked me if i was willing to participate in an article about wet plate photography.
If i was willing?? LOL, what a great opportunity. Of course i was willing !!
As i am working on a new series it was a good opportunity to join me
during a shoot so he would be able to watch the whole process.
From unloading all the stuff, making everything ready for use, posing etc. All this for just one single plate.
One of his first questions was: why are you doing all this work for just one single plate?
That’s always a difficult question and the answer to that is even more difficult to give.
Well , one has to be a bit crazy to do so, but let’s call it passion. There is no other way to explain this.

During the shoot he contacted some other colleagues who showed up with a large camera!
Well i wasn’t prepared on that.... For me it was the first time seeing a big microphone in front of my face
while pouring a plate. Temperature was already rising fast and the poured plate dried very fast.
I became a bit nervous as i wanted to show them a good plate.
And getting the exposure right at the first plate is always a gamble.
Luckily it came out just great. Not 100%, but it was a “keeper”.
I assume seeing the plate showing up in the fixing stage answered
the first question of Tonny. They were flabbergasted.....
Ferry, my friend, was the model of the day. I must say, i didn’t envy him.
The temperature was about 27 degrees Celsius and he had to wear
a complete wool costume with hat!! Just have a look at his beautiful blue shoes.....
Ferry, MANY thanks for posing. “Hat’s”off
We made 4 plates and the last one was the best.
About the article? Stay tuned as it will be published within a few weeks.

27x27cm black glass ambrotype
exposuretime 2 seconds
Hermagis 300 mm 4.0 petzval

 Just have a look at his beautiful blue shoes.....

dinsdag 7 augustus 2012


A new plate i made tonight.
Thanks to Emiel for posing for this one.
27x27cm Clear glass ambrotype
Hermagis 450mm 4.5 petzval wide open
Exposuretime 6 secs.
KCN Fixer

zondag 5 augustus 2012

Fantastic gathering at Early Birds, Lelystad Holland

"The Hero's"

In the early days aero planes were flown by courageous men and woman.
Dressed in leather jackets and only protected by simple goggles and leather caps,
pioneers like Anthony Fokker and Louis Bleriot conquered the skies.
Their aircraft were skillfully made flying machines composed of wood, linen and steel wire.
Whilst flying, those ‘early birds’ wrote history and laid the foundation for modern aviation.
That is the soul I wanted to touch in my collodion photo called "HERO"

This was the last plate  i made yesterday. It came out just perfect.
Beautiful exposure and it contains amazingly details.
You should be able to see this plate in real.

27x27cm black glass ambrotype
Dallmeyr 5d at f32
exposuretime 2 secs
KCN fixer

Yesterday we, Peter van hal, Arjen Went, Ferry vd Vliet, Raewyn Dunn from new Zealand and me myself
had a wet plate gathering at Lelystad Airport.

Peter van Hal arranged that we were allowed to "shoot" some of the most beautiful historical planes i have ever seen.
Peter, many thanks. We had a great day.

These plains, owned by the 92 years old Jaap van Mesdag and
maintained by a crew of the best mechanics.
All of them are as pasionated by planes as we are by wet plate photography.

The owner, Jaap van Mesdag sitting on his beautiful Buick.
Picture made by ferry.

We had a beautiful day with loads of sun. But that sun was also the cause of many problems during the day.
At the beginning we suffered from fogged plates . It turned out that for me it was to much exposure
and Peter struggled with his silverbath.
My first plate showed a blue sky !! I have never seen that before and don't know the cause yet, but i really like the effect.

Me myself strugling to make a decent plate....
Made by Ferry.

 Our other model, Nico. One of the very passionated mechanics.
Made by Ferry.

 Peter van Hal at work.
Made by Ferry.

My friend and the model of the day : Ferry vd Vliet.
Made by me.

Beautiful plate made by Peter van Hal.
Made by Ferry.

 Made by Raewyn.