Paintball Battlefields Photographed Using a Wet Plate Camera


Photographer and photography student Eric Omori has an interesting project that combines the modern with the historical. He has been capturing paintball wars using wet plate photography. The project is titled Weekend Warriors.

Here’s what Omori says about project:

Over the past two years I have been making wet plate collodion photographs at local paintball fields in Southern California. By utilizing this civil war era photographic process in relation to paintball, a simulated war game, I am attempting to draw comparisons to art history practices using a more contemporary subject matter. Finding great inspiration from 19th century photographers like Mathew Brady, Timothy O’ Sullivan, and Alexander Gardner I decided to follow the CSULB Paintball team and document them using the wet plate collodion process, exposing my images on clear glass plates. The chemicals used are time sensitive, I have approximately 5-10 minutes to complete the process in complete darkness, while working out a darkroom I built in my car. The collodion process offers a unique look that I love because the resulting image cannot be controlled. The imperfections become apart of the image.













You can find more of Omori’s photography over on his personal website.

Update: Here’s a video showing how the clear glass ambrotypes are displayed in a gallery:

Image credits: Photographs by Eric Omori and used with permission

  • Dominik Muench

    I give him kudos on the technical side and execution, well done, but photos like this first one certainly dont help the cause when it comes to acceptance and more tolerance towards the sport of paintball. Especially in Europe where more and more fields get closed and new laws and restrictions for players get introduced all the time, I’m not sure photos of people pretending to be dead war victims help shed a good light on this sport, as this scenario couldn’t be any further from the reality, which anyone who’s ever been on a subair field or witnessed a subair tournament could confirm.

  • Captmorgan09

    Interesting, if you look at the EXIF data of half of these wet plate photos, they were either shot with a 5D MKII or a Nikon D200. Maybe the photographer used a digital camera to take a digital photo of the wet plate photo? I’m guessing, “not”. :) Still cool photos to look at and a very interesting eye for historical fiction.

  • Eric Omori

    Haha thanks.

    Yeah I used a digital camera to copy stand the clear glass ambrotypes. Seemed to work better then scanning them in.

  • Yon Deusche

    I give him kudos on the technical side and execution, well done, but critiques like this first one certainly don’t help the “cause” when it comes to acceptance and more tolerance towards assholes and their run-on-sentences. Especially in Europe where more and more outlets get closed and new laws and restrictions for assholes get introduced all the time, I’m not sure critiques of artwork by people pretending to be paintball grand-masters help shed a good light on this sport, as this scenario couldn’t be any further from the reality, which anyone who’s ever used a paintball gun battle or witnessed a grandmaster ultimate don could confirm.

  • Eric Omori

    Dominik I totally understand what you are saying. I agree this doesn’t help the acceptance/tolerance towards the sport of paintball…I’m not trying to hurt the sport I am just wanting to point out the similarities with art history. When I made the photographs I didn’t ask anyone to do anything that was trying to make this look like war (I’m letting the process do that)

    The photograph where they look dead are actually my friends doing group warm up stretches. And the photograph of the two players with their markers in the middle was an image I made of the players in between games (loading pods and cooling off).. Again I am not trying to hurt paintball in any way I just like these similarities to art history. One of my professors just got me interested in the idea of the simulacrum. I’m still exploring it lol. When I first made this project I just wanted to show speedball players and the comradery between everyone involved but I can’t talk about that until I create images that play with peoples assumptions about the sport. Hopefully as my project evolves you will see the comradery of paintball…because in the end isn’t it interesting to wonder why people want to play paintball? I understand it’s fun but what do people gain from it personally?

    This is my favorite quote, “It’s hard to believe that paintball is productive but I believe it builds teamwork, self-confidence, and gets people to learn how to work together. Without any of that you aren’t going to get far in life.”- Ron Kilbourne

  • Dominik Muench

    I get where you’re coming from, the sport is considered quite controversial and both sides seem to have valid arguments for and against it. Especially here in Europe where the laws are much stricter than in the US and the game has to be as far removed from a war game as possible. I agree with you that even though a lot of people think its just a violent war game where people shoot at each other….I came to experience it as a great teamsport experience as well. The reasons for people to play it are probably very diverse. Have you posted this series in some of the bigger paintball forums ? it ll be interesting to see, I really like the last few shots of your series as they work very nicely with that last quote, it was just the first photo that putt me off a bit.

  • Jonathan Castillo

    You have to digitize the wet plate images somehow. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to see them online. But I’m guessing your just a troll looking to find something wrong in someone’s work if you actually looked at the EXIF data. I swear, people people on this site…

  • Adam Gasson

    They’re not, but even if they were what would it matter? There’s needs to be less focus on equipment and more focus on photography itself.

  • J. Antonio Logroño Morales

    Very impresssive!!!! Kudos!!!!

  • angela

    so is it like civil war re-enactors but using paintballers instead? thats corny. your plates are not technically sound either. you should buy a manual and start over with the process and better concepts.

  • Captmorgan09

    Cool man, the pictures really are interesting. In this day and age seeing the real deal compared to a smart phone SW filter is, to say the least, refreshing.

    As for the comment on me being a “troll” and OMG I looked at the EXIF, I wasn’t trying to get a reaction or degrade the work. I was just making a comment that there was EXIF data on some of the photos. If you’re shooting with a 5D MKII or a D200, you’re most likely a fairly serious photographer in the first place.

  • Captmorgan09

    Also, love your quick bio on your blog, “I prefer analogue because negatives are more reliable then harddrives.”

  • Theranthrope

    Nobody is re-enacting anything here, these are all candid shots of paintballers… being paintballers; before, after, and in-between matches.
    While the photos could be captioned better (or you could have read the comments before posting yourself…), but Eric explained above, that the guys on the ground are athletes; properly doing their stretches before the match.