Back in October I made this still life image of beets using the wet collodion negative process, photographed outside with the sunlight being diffused by a large scrim.
My darkroom is still being set up after my recent move back to Wisconsin, and this scan is directly from the glass negative. While the image turned out a little thin for a collodion negative (more of an ambrotype), it still seemed to print okay on fiber base multigrade paper when I made a test print back in October. I’m looking forward to getting my darkroom going, and making a custom print of this.
This negative shows all the qualities that I love about the hand-made film processes like wet plate collodion and gelatin dry plate. There are some wonderful flaws happening with this image. Some of the emulsion lifted off the bottom of the plate, leaving a black area devoid of image detail. Yet little bits of emulsion remain near the edge and act as a frame to keep your eye from wandering too far off into the darkness. There are streaks and a sense of patina in areas which I feel lend to the image, adding to it a sense of age and perhaps a mysterious dream quality. While I didn’t shoot this image on regular sheet film, if I had, I’m not sure I would have found a cleaner image to be as interesting as this one.