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-plate-photos #portraits #1850 #wet-collodion-method #film-photography #dan-carillo


  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

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