573 Magazine Nov 2017 - Page 48

To shake up the 573 Magazine’s coverage of the event, this year we thought we would get close and personal with one of the vendors – a Civil War period photographer who uses wet plate photography to make tintype photos.  The neat thing about the process is, and most people have no idea, but this was pretty much instant photography, and it was taking place in 1850.  Wet plate photography was cool then and is still very fascinating today.   The process starts with activating a silver-based chemical on a metal plate.  Once this is done, the photographer has three minutes to put the plate in a holder, put the holder in the camera, shoot the picture and then develop the image.  The image develops right before your eyes, and then it is fixed and washed for a few minutes.  The entire process takes about 20 minutes.  For 1850, I am sure it was a magical thing.  We had to give it a try. ...most people have no idea, but this was pretty much instant photography, and it was taking place in 1850.