This week, artist S. Gayle Stevens visited our class to teach us how to produce tintypes. Stevens has worked in antique photo processes for over fifteen years. More recently, she has focused on wet plate collodion in her personal work.
First, we coated the plate in collodion. This process took a while to master as you had to pour enough of the substance onto the plate in order to cover the entire surface area. Then we dipped the plates into silver nitrate to make them light sensitive.
From there, we either made photograms using the enlargers or made photographs using Holgas and large format cameras. From the time the plate was coated to the point when the image was developed, we had about 15 minutes to complete the entire process before the plate dried.
As a class, we worked on a collaborative piece about the flora and fauna of the Shenandoah Valley. At the end of the class, the piece will become a part of the university library collection.