photography, still

The Collodion Process

The dilemma of detail versus reproducibility was resolved in 1851 by an Englishman, Frederick Scott Archer, who introduced the collodion process. This method, also known as the "wet plate" technique, involved coating a glass plate with silver iodide in suspension, exposing it while still wet, and developing it immediately. Once fixed and dried, the glass plate was covered with a thin, flexible film containing the negative image, the definition and detail of which approached that of the daguerreotype. As this process merged the advantages of both its predecessors, it was universally adopted within a very short time.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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