Blake Wylie with Camera

Photography in its Rawest Form

In today's world of digital photo streams, there is a yearning for something more; something real; something you can hold; something that can last a lifetime. This is what draws me to the Wet Plate Collodion photographic process.

The Wet plate process was invented in the 1850's and proliferated greatly during the 1860's into the 1880's. You may know it better as the process used for making TinTypes.

The process involves coating the surface of the plate with a prepared collodion/ether emulsion and soaking it in a solution of silver nitrate in the darkroom to make it sensitive to light. Once the plate is ready, it is placed in a light-tight holder. This holder goes into a large format camera where the plate is then exposed for 3-10 seconds (depending on light), developed, fixed, and finally covered in a varnish that will protect the fragile emulsion for a lifetime.

From Oddities to the Mundane, Every Image is Unique and Rare

The work is performed by hand. From the way the plate is tilted as it is coated with the collodion, to the pouring and timing of the development, every step of the imperfect art form lends itself to the creation of a unique image each and every time.

The photograph itself is a true capture of the light reflected upon the plate through the lens at the moment in time the exposure took place. This is your reflection as if you were looking upon a mirror. Slight movements during exposure only add to the humanity and life of the subject.

The Process is a Unique Experience; Now, Hold Still

Blake specializes in both tintypes on black alumimum and ambrotypes on clear glass. He currently shoots 8x10, 6.5x8.5 (whole plate) and 5x7 size Portraits in studio or natural light.

Currently available for Portraits or Artistic Tintypes and clear glass Ambrotypes by appointment at his home in Franklin, Tenn. near Nashville. On-location services are also available.