Dan Carrillo's Beautiful Wet Plate Portraits


A Seattle-based photographer has taken close to 100 portraits using the wet collodion method, an early photographic process developed in the 19th century.

In 1848, an English sculptor named Frederick Scott Archer invented an early photographic process using collodion and glass plates to obtain better images from the earlier calotype process. Archer published the process in March 1851 in The Chemist without first patenting it, therefore knowingly making it a “gift to the world”.

Dan’s daguerreotype self-portrait. Photo via Dan Carrillo's Blog

Sixteen decades and many photographic innovations later, Seattle-based photographer Dan Carrillo continues to take beautiful portraits using the age-old photographic process known to the world as the wet collodion method. The process is not at all easy, as it involves several steps and demands great skill from the photographer. Models are not treated to quick and simple photo-shoots either, as exposures are slow and movements should be minimized. As of recent times, Dan has taken close to 100 wet plate portraits of people from Seattle’s art community.

Photos by Dan Carillo via Miss Moss
Dan shows the positive image developed on a glass pate through the wet collodion method. Photo by Alan Berner via the Seattle Times

Aside from stunning portraits, Dan is also often running around Seattle with his antique cameras, seeking city scenes, construction sites, and other interesting landscapes to photograph using the wet collodion method.

Dan taking a wet plate photograph with his 8×10 Deardorff View Camera outdoors in Pioneer Square. Photo by Alan Berner via the The Seattle Times

You must have read about how tintype photographs are made, and now, it’s time to learn about the tintype’s forerunner through Dan himself:

Dan Carrillo: Wet Plates from Patrick Richardson Wright on Vimeo.

Sources and additional readings:
Wet Plate Portraits by Dan Carrillo on Miss Moss
Dan Carrillo's Official Website
Photographer Daniel Carrillo turns Seattle upside down - Picture This on The Seattle Times
Collodion on Wikipedia
Frederick Scott Archer on Wikipedia

What do you think of Dan Carrillo’s wet plate photos? Tell us through a comment below!

written by plasticpopsicle on 2011-07-19 in #lifestyle #wet-collodion-method #wet-plate-photos #film-photography #dan-carillo #portraits #1850


  1. susielomovitz
    susielomovitz ·

    OMG! awesome portraits. I want him to shot me.

  2. plasticpopsicle
    plasticpopsicle ·

    I want a wet plate portrait too... what a fragile yet beautiful piece of art!

  3. monkeyballs
    monkeyballs ·

    These are amazing, shame the cameras cost so much otherwise I'd give it a go. Maybe there's a cheaper option though?

  4. welland
    welland ·

    Kind of haunting but great

  5. jackpumpkinhead
    jackpumpkinhead ·

    This is an awesome article! :-)

  6. stouf
    stouf ·

    Fabulous !

  7. fmadera
    fmadera ·

    OMG I sware I just found out that this technique is thriving like crazy !! at the fototeca in Zacatecas city. They are altering the box cameras to make this beautiful collodion prints . I want to make an article about it. Anyway, there will be a show October 1st. at gallery "el estudio" in front of Santo Domingo church. :) Greetings from Mexico

More Interesting Articles

  • Jack Lowe and the Lifeboat Station Project

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-05-29 in #people #news #lifestyle
    Jack Lowe and the Lifeboat Station Project

    Jack Lowe has set himself a challenge to document every RNLI post around the UK coastline using a Victorian method of photography called Wet Plate Collodion Photography. He has been driving around in an old ambulance converted into a mobile darkroom. Jack talked to us about this fascinating project and the challenges he faces along the way.

  • Storytelling with Petzvals: Alex Timmermans and the Art of Collodion

    written by jacobs on 2015-04-03 in #people #lifestyle
    Storytelling with Petzvals: Alex Timmermans and the Art of Collodion

    Not long after Alex Timmermans purchased his first digital camera at the turn of the century, he quickly realized the trappings of digital photography couldn't fulfill his personal photographic desires. He then began searching for a more challenging process — one that wasn't so predictable. His journey eventually landed him back at the roots of analogue photography, specifically employing the wet plate collodion process using original Petzval lenses. This antique photographic process found in him a renewed inspiration and has since become his passion, which is evident in both his words and his images.

  • Lantern Slides from Early 19th Century Norway

    written by kenaz on 2015-07-30 in #world #lifestyle
    Lantern Slides from Early 19th Century Norway

    In the early part of the 19th century, lantern shows were the equivalent of movies. Photographs were hand-printed or transferred on glass plates, which were then projected on to a wall or cloth screen.

  • Shop News

    Fisheye One Pearl Blue

    Fisheye One Pearl Blue

    Snap dazzling 35mm fisheye shots at the push of a button with this shimmery blue lightweight beauty.

  • Vintage Gallery: Marcus Selmer's Costume Portraits

    written by kenaz on 2015-08-22 in #world #lifestyle
    Vintage Gallery: Marcus Selmer's Costume Portraits

    Marcus Selmer was the first daguerreotype photographer of Bergen, Norway. He was up-to-date with new technologies and even shifted to wet plate collodion process, a more practical alternative to daguerreotypes. In the 1850s, he also made a series of portraits highlighting folk costumes, from floor-grazing bunad dresses to men’s mink coats. The prints were sold to tourists as a remembrance of traditional Norwegian culture.

  • Photo of the Day by seanyeo

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-07-24 in #world #news
    Photo of the Day by seanyeo

    One lomographer still prefers shooting portraits with the wet plate collodion process. Although it entails laborious work, the resulting photographs from this technique, as he puts it, have that distinct, intense look.

  • Giles Clement: The Wayfaring Tintyper

    written by jacobs on 2015-08-27 in #people #lifestyle
    Giles Clement: The Wayfaring Tintyper

    Reminiscent of traveling photographers of the 19th century, Giles Clement tours through the country with his assistant, Zeiss (an Irish Terrier), offering everything from portrait sessions to wildly creative photographic projects for magazines and companies. And although his mode of transportation may have evolved with the times, his photographic method and gear have changed very little compared to the photographers of days past. Now, with over 3 years of tintyping experience under his belt and an impressive list of clients, he's carved a name out for himself as an accomplished tintyper and continues to spread his passion for this ages-old technique everywhere he goes.

  • Shop News

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    At 25% off you can take dreamy 35mm images with this little black beauty. Beam coloured light into your shots with its accompanying Diana Flash Back accessory and be the analogue king of the night.

  • Beautiful Geometric Wet Plate Images in Brett Henrikson's 'Chaotic Forms'

    written by chooolss on 2014-09-06 in #lifestyle
    Beautiful Geometric Wet Plate Images in Brett Henrikson's 'Chaotic Forms'

    Making wet plate collodion images is an art in itself, yet Brett Henrikson takes things a little further and gives it his own unique touch to make it just a little more interesting (warning: some images might not be safe for work).

  • Music Madness: Santiago Felipe and the Petzval

    written by mindofmyra on 2014-10-27 in #people #lomoamigos
    Music Madness: Santiago Felipe and the Petzval

    Santiago Felipe is a Brooklyn-based music visual artist who found purpose in helping artists gain recognition through his photography. His love of music has driven him to be an active member of the NYC music community. Check out his beautiful photographs of famous musicians taken with the Petzval lens.

  • Object of My Affection: Trees

    written by Hugo Pereira on 2015-04-13 in #world #lifestyle
    Object of My Affection: Trees

    From an early age I got used to being in contact with nature—my parents' house was located very close to a pine forest. It has been my playground for as long as I can remember. It still is.

  • Shop News

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Really want to bring your film photos to life? We’re now offering totally analogue fine art prints in a host of large sizes and formats! Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • Geoffrey Berliner On Photographic Processes, Old and New

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2015-06-07 in #people #lifestyle #lomoamigos
    Geoffrey Berliner On Photographic Processes, Old and New

    Geoffrey Berliner is the Executive Director of the Penumbra Foundation and the Center for Alternative Photography in New York. As the head of an organization whose goals are 'to be a comprehensive resource for photographers at any level' and 'to continue to publicize the impact photography has had and continues to have on culture, history and the arts,' his exposure to photographic materials -from 19th century gems to modern equipment- is so extensive, one cannot even begin to fathom just how much knowledge and experience this man has acquired. His collection of over 2000 vintage Petzval lenses is unparalleled, and the object of envy of both traditional and contemporary photographers. Although such lenses are reputed to require a certain level of skill to be used, Berliner seems to manage them with so much ease, producing splendid results.

  • China and Hong Kong Through John Thomson's Lens

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-04-27 in #world #locations
    China and Hong Kong Through John Thomson's Lens

    A prolific geographer and traveler, John Thomson was among the first photographers to venture into the Far East and the first Western photographer to travel throughout China in the 19th century.

  • What Sundance Celebrities Look Like in Tintype

    written by Kwyn Kenaz Aquino on 2015-04-11 in #world #lifestyle #videos
    What Sundance Celebrities Look Like in Tintype

    Victoria Will photographed Kevin Bacon, Robert Redford, Ethan Hawke and Ewan McGregor in a modern studio and developed their photos using a process that dates back to 1851.