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Quinn Jacobson WET COLLODION April 17, 2011

Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : American Photographers, Art , trackback

Quinn Jacobson is a fine art photographer with a special interest in early photographic processes who has published a book on the early chemical processes and sells it from his website. I came across his work in Square Magazine and wanted to share it with readers.

The work is hauntingly beautiful, painstaking and collaborative.


Photo Quinn Jacobson
Photo Quinn Jacobson


In 1846, Christian Frederick Schönbein (1799-1868) of Basel, Switzerland, discovered nitrated cotton (guncotton) by combining cotton fibers in a mixture of sulfuric and nitric acids. Two years later, in 1848, a young medical student in Boston by the name of John Parker Maynard formulated a durable, skin like, medical dressing (like liquid bandage) from the guncotton called “collodion” (from Greek kollōdēs, glutinous, glue-like) that could be used to treat wounds.

In 1850, Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884) proposed the idea that Dr. Parker’s collodion solution could be applied to photographic purposes because it was an excellent vehicle for holding a light-sensitive solution on glass.
In March 1851, Frederick Scott Archer (1813-1857) described an application of salted collodion on sheets of glass for the purpose of making glass plate negatives. Archer detailed a process where potassium iodide was combined with a solution of diluted collodion (diluted with alcohol and ether), applied to a glass plate, which was then immersed in a silver nitrate bath resulting in a light-sensitive layer of silver iodide. Unlike the handful of processes before collodion, Archer did not patent the process and died penniless a few years after its invention (1857).

CHEMICAL PICTURES A book on alternative photographic processes

Photo Quinn Jacobson
Photo Quinn Jacobson


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