Posts tagged “mark osterman

Collodion Chloride – Aristotypes

A couple of days ago I read about this process on Facebook via a post of Mark Osterman. Seeing how fairly easy it sounds and not many extra chemistry needed besides what I already have lingering around it sounds like a nice thing to give a try. I know I have lots of things on my list already but it can never harm adding just one more..right? 😉

The Collodion Chloride process is a printing process (so it has nothing to do with the wet plate collodion stuff). According to Mark Osterman the process was introduced by G. Wharton Simpson in the 1860s. As I understand it it was the most archival silver based photographic paper ever manufactured. Eventually these papers were called Aristotypes and have been made until around 1930s (which is not that long ago).

A quote from the aforementioned piece (see link above) about this process:

“This isn’t wet collodion — collodion chloride is an emulsion process. There
isn’t any silver bath. Both the silver and chloride are mixed together and
the emulsion can be kept for years in a well sealed black bottle. When you
need to make a print, you just pour it onto the paper and let it dry in the
dark. It’s contact printed with the negative just like salt or albumen
paper. Actually, if you were disappointed when Centennial Gelatin Chloride
Printing Out Paper was discontinued a few years ago, collodion paper prints,
tones and looks the same….only it doesn’t ever fade!”

That surely sounds good! The chemistry is fairly simple and besides the Strontium Chloride I have everything I would need for this in my possession. Check out this link for more on the formulas and chemistry needed.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll be making some wet plate collodion plates this weekend if my throat doesn’t decide to get more soar than it already is 😦 And this would be great for future-thingies! Thought I’d share and keep this for reference-sake.

Have a bon weekend and marvellous Easter (whatever) 🙂


Basic Collodion Technique: Ambrotype & Tintype

A while back I bought the manual Basic Collodion Technique: Ambrotype & Tintype written by Mark Osterman and his wife France Scully Osterman. It was not until the past few days I came around to reading it. What a comprehensive manual! Sure, it says basic in the title but it’s even a very decent and (to me) very clarifying guide for people working with the process for a couple of years now. I am really glad I’ve bought it and am very much looking forward to the Complete Collodion Guide they have been working on for the past few years. I hope it won’t be too long before it will be finished (hint hint 🙂 )

If you’re also interested in ordering this shoot France an email:
sculloster [at] gmail [dot] com

56 pages where the process gets explained, the chemistry necessary, formulas to work with but most importantly what exactly these ingredients do, how they relate to each other and how to adjust them accordingly when deemed necessary. That part makes this an extremely valuable manual; to really understand what the compounds of let’s say the developer do. That, and proper exposure, determine the outcome in a far greater way than what sort of collodion you’ll be using. Have fun!

Interesting Collodion Talk

As I’m in the process of trying different collodion & developer formulas I had the pleasure to have a virtual chat with Mark Osterman. I learned some great insights which will help me control the process on a more sophisticated level. I wish to share these with you.

First of all: Remember that the solvents in collodion affect:

1. How deep the silver goes into the collodion film
2. How strong and contractile the collodion film
3. How long the collodion film remains wet
4. How long the silver bath remains strong and free from contamination
The more ether…the quicker the film dries, the tougher the film (but can cause shrinking) and is less harmful to your bath. Will hold enough silver for negatives or positives.
The more alcohol the longer the film stays wet, more fragile the film, the more it contaminates your bath and the more apt to contain water, which makes crepe lines in your images. Will hold more silver, which is better for negatives…but does not help when making positives which are very delicate images that don’t need density.
When working in warmer conditions (over 20 degrees celcius) the chemistry will respond differently. More alcohol may be added to the collodion to keep it from drying out too fast. The developer also has to be adjusted. The activity of the developer and probable fogging may be reduced in several manners: add more water to the developer, less ferrous sulfate, more acetic acid, or use an organic restrainer such as sugar in the formula.

Anyway, I’ve still got a lot to learn. Hope that my chemicals will arrive shortly and I can start experimenting some more. Simply trying out different formulas will not cut it I’m afraid seeing that the collodion, developer and silver bath used really are very related to each other, as well as the circumstances that have their own set of influences on the result, but I hope this will give me more insight into the process itself.

The discussions I’m having right now are most interesting, so it’s already been worth the trouble! Thank you all!

P.s. I sometimes wish the Matrix would be real. I’d plug myself into “knowledgable” people and suck up all there is to know! At the same time it would make knowledge pretty worthless but still…