Tin Type – Way back in time!

What better way to start my journey than to start at the beginning… the year 1853 in fact!

The following description is taken from the workbook handed out at Gold Street Studio’s where I recently learnt ‘hands on’ about this fascinating process and made several images that i’m really excited about:

Tintypes or ferrotypes are a positive image shot in camera. It is a wet plate process where a metal plate is coated with collodion emulsion, sensitised, exposed and then processed in the darkroom. The entire process from start to finish must be completed while the plate is still wet. It requires organisational skill, patience, hand co-ordination and plenty of practice!

The nature of the process makes it unpredictable enough in a studio environment let alone on location… yes that’s right on location. A travelling darkroom is required with this process, as stated above it’s a wet plate process that needs to be prepared, exposed and developed all in about 10 minutes. So picture photographers of the era with a cart loaded with chemicals/trays supplying a hard copy tin print/recording history in under 10 minutes, don’t know about you but that really freaks me out!

Needles to say i’m hooked on this process so you’ll be sure to see further examples pop up some time very soon.

This image below was made with my Horseman 5×4 field camera at the Gold Street Studio’s workshop day.


Below, the Horseman 45FA with 135mm lens – exposure here was 15 seconds @f5.6


Below you can see the 5×4 inch plate that was coated with collodion, sensitised in a silver nitrate bath, exposed to the tree scene above, developed with ferrous sulphate back in the darkroom then fixed with Sodium Thiosulphate and finally washed/dried.



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