View Full Version : Best alternative process for portraits

20-Mar-2011, 05:18
Hi just about half way to finishing my hand made all weather large format camera.
Built totally from aluminium except for bellows. Still have to make them see my other posts.
Before I build the dark slides I need to finalise the process I will be using.
Not to keen on wet plates unless I have to as it will give me problems with time from making plate to processing time is very short.
So looking for a dry process that will allow me do portraits and develop later the format I will be using will be 12x10. I don't want to use film I want it to be handmade from start to finish.
Any ideas?

Emil Schildt
20-Mar-2011, 07:04
one idea could be to make your own glass negatives...

Using liquid emulsion it can "easily" be done.

If you then make your own papers using ... liquid emulsion, then you'll be sure it is all handmade.

(saying this is the best will proberly get me killed, so I am not saying that!.....)

Jay DeFehr
20-Mar-2011, 07:35
Hello Albert,

You're essentially going back to the beginning of the medium's history, when nothing was commercially available. Start with Daguerre, and move forward until you find a process you'd like to try. To make a shamefully brief summary, it would go: Daguerrotype > wet plate > dry plate > film. Gandolfi would have you jumping in at, essentially the dry plate step. Good luck, and how about some pics of your camera?

20-Mar-2011, 08:39
As soon as it is finished I will post pics of it
Only trouble with daguerrotype is the use of mercury I am mad enough as it is

20-Mar-2011, 08:51
Coat your own dry plates -- on either glass of film base:


Or Terry King's camera-speed cyanotype process, Cyanotype Rex:


Jim Noel
20-Mar-2011, 09:15
It doesn't take a lot of research both on and off the web to get a lot of information on Talbot's calotype process for negatives and the salted paper method of printing those negatives. If you really want to work in the original method watch out for modern changes to the processes.
It took me about a year of intensive research before I found the original methods and formulas. Salt prints made from good waxed paper negatives are beautiful, especially those using Gustave Le Grey's method of waxing the paper.
Good luck - it is fun and produces beautiful results.
The information is out there, one just has to have the desire and persistence to go after it. One place to begin is "The Silver Sunbeam", but it is not the earliest word.

Lenny Eiger
20-Mar-2011, 16:10
Pick up a copy of Crawford's The Keepers of Light to see a whole bunch of options, and even get instructions on how to do each one...

Its a wonderful book.


Mark Sampson
20-Mar-2011, 16:58
Over on APUG there's a forum dedicated to making your own dry plates.