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"

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

4 opmerkingen:

  1. Cool, today I've been cutting plexiglass for a washing tray as well. I guess it's winter time, for winter work :-)

  2. Nice project, Alex. But does aluminium really react with the silver nitrate? Wouldn't it stain the back of alutypes as well then??
    Cheers from N├╝rnberg, Peter

  3. Peter, on the long term silvernitrate will eat every metal exept stainless steel and silver. So yes it is really needed to spray the holder. Beside of that, if you don't you will get contaminations on your plates.