Aaron Greenhood and I have been working hard on photo shoots of Music Maker artists for the last couple of years. Lately, we have been learning and practicing the art of wet plate photography. We’ve written about this before, but it is most often recognized by the photographs taken in the time of the Civil War. Modern master photographer Sally Mann has used this process extensively. Aaron went to school with one of Sally’s kids, and her work has had a profound effect on me. As a young photo student we were drilled in the works of Ansel Adams: all about clarity, symphonic previsualization of the photograph. Sally prays for the beautiful mistake when she does wet plate. She is such a master photographer, so at times I wonder if this is just a sales pitch, as I think she is complete control as an artist. Leaving that aside, getting into wet plate, Aaron and I are attempting to master the art, so we are making lots of mistakes constantly. In every step of the process there are 100s of mistakes that can be made, and we seem to find new ones to make with every plate.
This past weekend, Aaron and I got together and practiced our wet plate and got some fascinating images. Our plan is that by the end of the summer we will have gotten better, and be able to really get more control of what we are doing. We were jumping up and down this weekend as we got an image on every plate, and that was fun. Here are the results from our weekend testing: