Markus Hofstaetter Shoots Steampunk with a Handheld Wet Plate Camera

Yes, you read it right. Markus Hofstaetter shows us how it’s possible to shoot a wet plate camera HANDHELD.

Remember portrait and wedding photographer Markus Hofstaetter and his passion for wet plate photography? He’s back with another awesome wet plate project. This time, he shot with a 91-year-old box-form SLR handheld for a beautiful steampunk-themed photo shoot.

Doing wet plate photography with centuries-old equipment and chemicals is certainly a challenge on its own. For those of us who are yet to experience it firsthand, Markus has given us an idea, first with an interview about his Generations project. Then, he shared with us a 360 video of him traveling to the Czech Republic to shoot in the historic Museum Fotoatelier Seidel with his massive wet plate cameras.

Recently, he had an idea to shoot with a wet plate camera handheld. Surely, he can’t be serious, right? In his mind, he must have thought, “Well, why not?” Obviously, he wouldn’t be able to hold it for long if he was doing it with one of his massive wet plate cameras. So, to make it possible, Markus needed to purchase a smaller Mentor Spiegel-Reflex-Kamera from 1927, make some modifications to it to suit his shooting needs, have a plate holder backing 3D printed, and he was then ready to go handheld. And the total amount of time he spent for this project? Four months!

Watch his latest wet plate journey in the video below:

Of course, the entire process of putting together a wet plate camera that he could use handheld wouldn’t be complete without giving it a test run. Markus picked the perfect subject for this purpose: steampunk! It also was a unique shoot in itself, as he did double exposures. Wet plate double exposures — that’s definitely mind-blowing!

Don’t forget to check out Markus Hofstaetter’s blog and YouTube channel to learn more about his wet plate photography projects.

All images used with permission and pitched to the Phoblographer.