Making a turn of the century 16X20 collodion camera

Alas!!! I have so may projects. But these are fun to read about!! My thanks, and for the visit to my very different, much more humble site.

Straight Ahead Construction

It’s not every day I am asked to make a camera much less a camera that uses technology dating back to 1851.  The technology known as the “collodion wet plate process” uses a colloidal silver mixture poured over glass, loaded into the camera, exposed, and then developed while still wet.  The resulting image has greater resolution than the human eye.

The impetus to build the camera came from a grant awarded by the Rasmuson Foundation to photographer Adam Ottavi.

Below each photo I will walk you through the parts and process…


Here I am making the ground glass cartridge that is used to focus on the image.


Above is the film cartridge.  The outside dimensions are exactly the same for both the film and ground glass cartridges.


The difference is that the film cartridge has a 1/4″ plywood slide that runs in a dado slot in back to block…

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