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Past is Present: the Wet-Plate Revival

Past is Present: the Wet-Plate Revival In-Person

Past is Present: the Wet-Plate Revival

Local artist Jenn Libby will give a talk on the resurgence of interest in the wet-plate collodion photographic process. Invented in 1851 by Frederick Scott Archer, the process usurped daguerreotypes and calotypes, and along with albumen prints, dominated the field of photography for several decades. The name of the process references the fact that each photographic plate must remain wet during exposure and be developed immediately afterward, which necessitates a darkroom in the studio and on location.

Unlike modern black-and-white films, which are sensitive to the visible color spectrum, this photographic process is only sensitive to the blue end of the spectrum. This characteristic contributes to the unusual, ethereal quality of collodion imagery. The collodion process produces a starkly detailed image that simultaneously possesses an impressionistic quality.

Despite the technical complexity, there has been a resurgence of interest in the process. With the proliferation of digital images, individual photographs are seldom given appreciation and value. In response, creating a unique, physical object of lasting quality has once again come into fashion.

Libby will give an overview of how the process works and discuss its place in the history of photography. She will show historic and contemporary examples of wet-plate collodion work, and discuss why she has opted to work with the process for the past twenty years, despite the challenges it has presented.

Jenn Libby (she/her) has a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the Visual Studies Workshop/SUNY Brockport. Libby has twenty years experience working with the collodion process. She uses it for portraiture and other artistic endeavors.

Libby founded Genesee Libby Studio in 2014, offering photographic services specializing in tintype and ambrotypes portraiture

Wednesday, November 8, 2023
6:30pm - 8:00pm
Time Zone:
Eastern Time - US & Canada (change)
Central - Rundel Arts Room
Central Library
  Adults     All Ages  
  Department - Arts & Literature  
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