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Wet-Plate Portraits
with Will Wilson
November 10 - November 13, 2014


$275 Materials Fee

QUESTIONS? Call us at 505.983.1400 x111.

Since its inception, photography’s ability to register a person’s likeness has been treated as something supernatural. Whether it's a tintype of a loved one found on the body of a soldier at Gettysburg or a framed memento of a romance snapped in a photo booth, the photographic portrait has been revered for its special ability to tether our imaginations to reality.

One of the earliest mediums for capturing this kind of imagery was the wet-plate collodion process, which replaced the daguerrotype in the 1850's and was celebrated for its capacity to record exceptionally fine detail.

Over the span of four days, participants are given the opportunity to use the wet-plate collodion process as a point of departure into a broader investigation of image-making. Under Will's tutelage, we take advantage of the capabilities of wet-plate collodion—and the unique attributes of a 140-year-old lens—to reclaim the relational aesthetics that have historically characterized the exchange between photographer and subject.

We explore philosophical approaches to portraiture as well as its technical aspects, experimenting with both natural and strobe lighting to illuminate our tintypes. Once we have created a series of images, we scan, edit, process, and print our work in The Workshops state-of-the-art digital lab.

Familiarize yourself with the possibilities of wet-plate collodion and rediscover the magic that happens when photographer and subject truly connect.


Will Wilson: William (Will) Wilson is a Diné photographer who spent his formative years living in the Navajo Nation. Will has won t...

© William Wilson

Alternative Processes & Darkroom, Portraits, One-of-a-Kind

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: (Click for details)
Advanced Amateurs, Professionals

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: (Click for details)
Working knowledge of digital workflow and manual mode on your digital SLR camera

SPECIAL NOTES: (Click for details)
Computer workstations are provided in the digital lab

On-campus housing may be available. Please call the IHM Retreat Center directly for details: 505-988-1975.

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