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

This workshop has already begun or is a past workshop.


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
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