Here is a quick video that explains what we do at RELIC . . .
A unique experience, A unique photograph
This early photographic process is also known as the wet plate collodion process and was invented about 150 years ago. It is this process that documented the American Civil War and is currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity today with many amateur and professional photographers.
Each photograph, or plate, is handmade and crafted with great care. Plates of aluminum (for Tintypes) or glass (for Ambrotypes) are used as a substrate. The plate is first coated with collodion which acts like a binder and contains chemistry that helps initiate sensitivity to light. It is then carefully placed in a bath of silver where it becomes light sensitive. The plate is loaded into the camera and exposed while it is still wet, hence the name "wet plate". After the exposure is made the plate is moved back into the darkroom where developer is used to produce an image. The photograph is then dipped into a fixer, dried and then varnished with a mixture containing tree resin and lavender oil, to be preserved for generations to come.