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Shooting Portraits of Civil War Reenactors Using the Age-Old Wet Collodion Process


Wet plate photographer Rob Gibson believes that there are those among us who are “flame-keepers of the past,” and if such people exist, he is certainly one of them. Like the others out there who continue to practice age-old photographic techniques such as the daguerreotype or wet collodion process, his passion harkens back to a simpler time — a time he does his best to recreate with 100% accuracy through his lens.

The video above was put together by Washington Post videojournalist AJ Chavar, and in it, Gibson talks about this “skill from a bygone age” and his passion for keeping it alive.


He began creating wet plate collodion photography back in the early 1990s after leaving behind civil war reenacting. For someone so passionate about American history, the process offered “the perfect combination of history, technology and art.”

The video doesn’t go into much detail regarding techniques and chemical mixtures (you can get a first person view of the actual process here) but rather focuses on one man’s passion for a process that required you to be as much a chemist as an artist.


Check out the video at the top to see a world-renowned wet plate photographer at work, visit his website for more information on the man himself, and/or head over to Develop Photo’s channel on Vimeo for other similar videos.

(via Develop Photo)