Hey there everyone,These images are the first in my attempt to shoot a fashion editorial in one day using the wet plate collodion process. The stylist(Fredo) and I got together and decided on a few things. We wanted to do a story that had a Josephine Baker influence to it. We also wanted to give it a period feel, but using designers of today. For instance, the corset on her is made by THE BLONDS. Their works are usually seen on stars such as Christina Aguilera and other celebrities. In person, this piece is bright, silvery blue...not very period. It photographed in collodion wonderful though. Another of my influences in photography in general has been Paolo Roversi. His photography always has a timeless feel to it. I wanted to channel some of that, if you will. :)
In the end, we got much of what we wanted in the final look and feel of the images. The closeup image in particular is striking because of the collodion mistakes/artifacts in it. Sometimes the process reaches out and decides to change something. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not.
We shot about 25 plates in a day, which is a LOT for wet plate, but it's still way under what one would normally shoot. That's not even a traditional roll of film at 36 exposures...
I have to thank my friend, Jesse Mata as well, who helped pour the collodion and develop as well so we could keep it moving quickly. Without him, this shoot would not have happened.
Technically, it was a success as I was able to use strobes for the first time with repeatable results. In previous testing, I found that one to three strobes at full power just wasn't enough light. I ended up using 4 Profoto 7a packs tied to 2 profoto bi-tubes, generating 4800 watt seconds of power per head for a total of 9600 watt seconds of power per flash(only one needed). That, mixed with a little time exposure of 5 seconds or so to add in some of the ambient light(2000k Arri), and there you have it. As this was my first test in this kind of shooting, I believe it was a successful one. I'm looking forward to planning another one and taking the next one of few steps forward...possibly on location next time to give it more atmosphere. I have to thank Jesse Mata profusely as he assisted me during the shoot, helping pour plates and develop so that we could get more shot in the day. The only thing I'd like to change next time is doing it with fresh chemistry. I'll have more latitude in my exposure times and power needed.
Photography by James Weber
Styling and Art Direction by Fredo
Hair and Makeup by Chuck Jensen
Model: Gift @ 1.1management
Wet Plate Assistance: Jesse Mata
Video: James Sullivan
It's quite a process getting ready for wet plate shooting. There's setting up the Dark Box, getting all of the chemistry together, setting up the fixing/washing area, getting the plates ready, etc...but there's no other style of shooting that is like it.
Here's some photos from the set:
I'm shooting with an Anthony Imperial Climax 8"x10" Camera. Behind me is the dark box that I built as a DIY project. It's where I sensitize the plates with silver nitrate and develop the plates as well. It's a mini-dark room.
Here's some of the plates that we shot throughout the day. It's a mix of Black Glass and Ruby Glass Ambrotypes and Clear Glass negatives.
That's all for now...on to plan the next one...