Ambrotype Photography Made With a Dallmeyer 3A Lens in 1880

Screenshots taken from video. 

Fascination with the roots of photography and subsequent exploration of the traditional practices from the old days have made a strong resurgence recently. We found this short educational and awe-inspiring video made by Mantas.dk showing the process of Abrotype photography creating images on glass.

For some background: ambrotypes made an appearance in 1850 and subsequently surpassed daguerreotypes in popularity at that time. Commonly known as a collodion positive in the UK, an ambrotype is a positive photograph on glass made by a variation of the wet plate collodion process. For his personal project with Anbrotype photography, Mantas.dk used an FKP 30cm x 40cm camera from the Ukraine made in 1984 with a Dallmeyer 3A lens from London made in 1880.

The video opens with the photographer coating one side of a clean glass plate with a thin layer of iodized collodion. The plate is then dipped in a silver nitrate solution for a duration of three minutes before being used in the camera. The plate, while still wet, is exposed in a camera while shooting a portrait of a model. Next, the plate is developed and fixed. The final negative result actually appears to be a positive image when viewed by reflected light against a black background, though the video gave no indication on how the black background was created on the glass plate. The final photograph retains the natural, organic, and lifelike look of a truly timeless black and white photograph.

While modern imaging has been dominated by digital cameras and smartphones, nothing beats the pure satisfaction of undergoing the traditional, old school photography process. The oversimplification of camera operation and instant gratification of digital cameras have taken away the actual adventure and thrill in the process of creating a photograph. We strongly believe a traditional analog photography process can be a more immersive and fulfilling experience.

Clean glass plate is coated with a thin layer of iodized collodion

Glass plate is dipped in a silver nitrate solution

Studio style model shoot in action

Glass plate is exposed and taken out for development

Developing the Ambrotype

The negative result looks like a positive image, if the glass is viewed with a reflected black background

The final Ambrotype image of the model

Via Collodion Bastards