ROBERT | When you look back and take into account your experience in the collodion process, what advice would you give to a beginner who is just entering the world of wet plate?
ALEX | In the past few years I have seen many people starting extremely excited with this process, buying a lot of equipment and after a few months they sold everything, losing a lot of money. My advice, start small and easy. First, practice and force yourself not to buy bigger cameras during the first year. It’s not about size. It’s all about the eye of the photographer. I have seen lots of ugly big plates and beautiful small plates. So it’s not about size
ROBERT | How many wet plate photographers are there in the world? Is it the smallest photography scene? What wet plate photographers do you especially appreciate and why?
ALEX | At the moment I think there are a few thousand people in the world who practice wet plate.
Only 30 to 40 photographers really see this process as a challenge to make interesting plates.
You can see so many plates on the Internet, but only a very few are well executed and interesting. Nowadays, it’s cool to have plates covered with imperfections, but originally these imperfections were not part of this process. Have you ever seen an original ambrotype that is fogged, scratched and filled with dust? It’s a challenge making a clean well-executed plate. When you are able to do that then it isn’t so difficult anymore to make a dirty plate. But the other way around is much more challenging. That doesn’t mean that I dislike plates with imperfections. On the contrary, they can be beautiful. As I am a member of the jury I don’t think it is appropriate to mention preferred wet plate photographers, but I do have some….
BLUR magazine | Wet Plate | issue-37