Hot Photographer of Today Uses Wet Plate Collodion Technique of Yesterday

By Leeann Froese In today's digital age, it's easy to forget the roots of photography, when we can whip out our IPhones and take a photo with the tap of a screen in less than a couple seconds.

One renowned Vancouver photographer, Phillip Chin, is taking a step into the past and connecting with a pioneering method of photography called the Tintype Process, also known as Wet Plate Collodion Photography, which was introduced in the 1850s and thrived until the 1880s. Town Hall Brands' team had the privilege of getting their photos taken by him.

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The process is not quick. Chin brought with him a light-tight tent as his portable dark room. To begin the photo process, a chemical called Collodion is poured over a plate of glass or aluminium. After this, the plate goes into a Silver Nitrate bath for three minutes, which makes the plate sensitive to light. The plate is then taken (in a plate holder to protect it from light) to a wet plate camera. The shutter is kept open for 6-10 seconds while the person being photographed sits very still.

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Back in the 'darkroom', the plate is covered with developer. And then placed in a chemical (Chin used silver thiosulfate) which takes the negative image and turns it into an enchanting black and white photo.

Chin fell in love with photography all over again with the help of Wet Plate Collodion Photography because of the process and the hands-on nature of the craft. Unlike digital photography, a photo is taken every 15 minutes, and he remarks "you really have to put thought into each image to make it count. It also takes a great understanding your camera, chemistry and lighting," a challenge he was willing to immerse himself in.

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With the help of Wet Plate Photography, Chin hopes to "capture the true essence of each subject [he] photographs" and "help people appreciate what a great photo really is".

Phillip Chin is a commercial photographer who has been shooting campaigns and images for clients across Canada for more than 25 years. He specializes in capturing images of people, and has had the pleasure of working with families, corporations, chefs, athletes and musicians in action. He shoots on film, digital, and now wet plate formats.

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To learn more about Chin and his work, contact him in Vancouver (604) 874 2444, or by email at phillip2446@gmail.com