While most people will be out experimenting with a little chemical called Ethanol on Halloween, at least one photographer decided to use some Ethyl Ether and Silver Nitrate instead. Markus Hofstaetter—whose work we’ve featured in the past—decided to take a few wet plate collodion portraits this Halloween, and documented the entire process in a creative 360° video.
The main shot Hofstaetter was after is actually not the hard-core looking skull portrait in the GIF at the top. Instead, he wanted to take a self-portrait in the style of Walter White “Heisenberg” of Breaking Bad.
“I feel always like him when I prepare the chemicals for my collodion wet plate process,” Markus writes on his blog. He also went for an imperfect look. By not cleaning the edges of the plates after the silver bath and not cleaning the plate holder. “It’s not always about perfection.”
Here are a few BTS shots, the final images, and a couple of high res crops from the wet plate scans Markus sent over:
Speaking to DPReview, Markus explained some of the particulars of his process:
I like to use trays for sanitizing my plates much more than typical silver bath tanks. That’s because mamut plates are easier to handle, the alcohol (that comes from the collodion coating into the silver bath) can easier evaporate in a tray and it’s so much easier to fill 2 Liters of nitrate back in a bottle with a tray.
All Chemicals I use are self-made and the collodion is typically done on the day before the shooting to get the plates more sensible to light. I make developer and fixer occasionally – these are very stable. The silver bath is Maintained two to three times a year.
As you can see → continue…