Event Details

  • Multiple Days: 10/12/2013, 10/13/2013

    Location: Lower Town, Harpers Ferry Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Fee Information: Park Entrance Fee: $10.00 per vehicle for 3 days or $5.00 per person on foot or bicycle. Additional workshop fee. Contact Name: Melinda Day Contact Email: e-mail us Contact Phone Number: 304-535-6063

Join expert John Miliker to learn the art and mystery of the wet plate collodion photography process. Participants will be guided step-by-step to make ambrotypes and tintypes. The course will cover period instructions and manuals, the science of the darkroom, and advice on equipment. All equipment, including a camera, will be provided. Make images of John Brown`s Fort and the Living History volunteer U.S. Marines Historical Company! Experience history like never before! 

Cost: This two day workshop is $400.00

Class size: Limited to 8 participants. Note: This workshop is designed for ages 21 and up.

To Register: This workshop requires registration with the Harpers Ferry Historical Association at 304-535-6881 or at the bookshop webpage at http://www.harpersferryhistory.org   Registration closes on September 15th

Wet Plate Class Schedule:    Day One
1. History of the Process
2. Safety 
3. Chemicals - ingredients, where to get them, mixing, filtering and maintenance
4. Equipment - period correct cameras and lenses, retrofitting more current designs, building your own. Darkbox alternatives
5. Materials - glass substrates. Window pane glass, picture frame glass, stained glass. cutting, deburring and cleaning
6. Putting it all together - preparing substrate, dust removal, pouring, sensitizing, exposing, developing and varnishing
7. Instructor demonstrates the entire process start to finish
8. Pouring Practice - each student practices a plate pour with instructor

Wet Plate Day Two
Weather concerns: Rainy weather will cancel outside plate making. Alternate indoor facility will be used, Instructor brings extra lights  just in case.
1. Quick Refresher - Safety, chemicals, process
2. Pouring Practice (this is really important!)
3. Each student pours a quarter plate with instructor in dark tent, exposes and develops
4. Each student rotates darkboxes & cameras and shoots quarter plates on their own. Assistants will oversee process
5. Students one by one will then pour a full or 8x10 plate on their own in the dark tent with instructor present, expose and develop on their own. 
6. Varnish demonstration and students break off to varnish their own plates w/instructor & assistant help
7. Additional Instruction as time allows - Tintypes (creating from scratch), Aluminotypes, alternate substrates.  Albumen & Salt Printing. Storage of plates, scanning them to digital files, presentation and preservation. If time expires before reaching this step all of these are covered in student handout.


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