I was working with some wet plate processing this past week. For those of you who don’t know about wet-plate photography is is a wonderful process that is crazy hands-on. You have to coat the glass or metal with collodion, silver, expose the image while the plate is wet–hence the name, develop, fix and varnish the image. It is absolutely an amazing process. The great part of the process is that every image is a unique photograph. The downside is that every image is uniquely created which gives you an opportunity to create problems for yourself with every step. And, as with any old process, there are a million variables that can effect the image.
As I was working on these various images, I got to thinking about how forgiving I am of my work when I am doing these sorts of processes vs my normal work. I also realized that a lot of times it is spending times with these images where I can start to see who all those little variables come into play to make a really special image. It gave me some pause to think about how I could use those same ideas in my day-to-day photography. Would it make a difference to really understand the good, the bad and the truly unique.