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Ambrotypes Wet Plate Collodion - Ellie Young - 1 Day


Ambrotypes are under exposed negatives that appear as positive photograph. The black or clear glass plate is coated with collodion with added salts, light sensitivity is created by "dipping" coated plate into silver nitrate bath. The plate is exposed in camera and processed in a darkroom, the process from start to finish must be completed while the plate is still wet. It requires organizational skills, patience, hand co-ordination and plenty of practice. Each photograph is unique - "one off". When protected with varnish they have an enduring life. The collodion emulsions response to UV and blue light that makes wet plate photograph distinctive in its appearance.  This shows more obviously in portraits where the person who has blue eyes may appear white.

© Lynette Zeeng


The ambrotype was discovered in 1850 - 1851 by Frederick Scott Archer. also well know as the and melainotypes became popular in the 1850's as a cheaper version of the daguerreotype. This wet emulsion was replaced with dry plates by the 1880's.

The day involves understanding coating - exposing and processes the glass plates. The chemicals used are volatile so it is not for those who have concerns about handling chemicals. Material handling safety issues are included as part of the workshop.

Since 1994 Ellie has been practicing and studying the art craft and science, of ‘alternative’ photographic processes. Ellie conducts workshops in a number of alternative processes in her studios,  exhibits selling work nationally and internationally.

4 x 5 camera, lens, dark cloth and shutter release. Camera's can be borrowed for the day at no further cost.  Wet Plate holders to hold the glass plates will be provided.

All other materials including lunch is supplied: - bring an apron or lab coat or old comfortable clothing other materials including lunch is supplied.


We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.


[note: if you prefer to pay with credit card over the telephone, call Ellie on 03 5424 1835]