A Year of Wetplates

A year ago I ventured into the world of wetplate photography as prepared as I possibly could be – I had read several books, countless articles, watched I-don’t-know-how-many videos on YouTube and attended a workshop before I went it alone. Still, I had a lot to learn… Still, I have a lot to learn, but I’m starting to get the hang of it.

I’ve made 225 plates during my freshman year as a wetplate photographer and learned just as many lessons (or so it feels like). I’ve set plates on fire and made images disappear. I’ve scratched plates and dropped them, spilled chemicals all over my darkroom and on myself, and don’t even get me started on the varieties of working too slow/too fast that’s gotten me in trouble, not to mention the plethora of quirks the chemicals can induce. But among all the fails, I’ve also had quite a few wins. In short, being able to tell what’s wrong when something is “off” and know how to fix it is the biggest win. It took a year to get there, but I’m confident when I say “I know what I’m doing,” now… or, y’know, most of the time.

The collage features one image from each month of my first year as a wetplate photographer, starting with October last year in the upper left hand corner and finishing with September this year in the lower right hand corner. Models are: Ingvild Eiring, Janne Ebbesdatter Lavogez and yours truly.

If you’d like to see more of my wetplates, head on over to julieloen.com or follow my adventures in wetplate photography on Instagram.

I Do Wetplates Now

From my first wetplate shoot with model Ingvild Eiring.

I’ve been dreaming about this for years! So, I finally decided to do something about it – I bought a large format camera, chemicals and equipment, and a month ago I attended a wetplate workshop hosted by Sarah Lycksten in Sweden, and have been busy shooting plates since.

I’ll make a dedicated gallery for my wetplate work over at julieloen.com as soon as I have enough decent plates to show off. In the meantime, you can follow my progress and fails on Instagram – I’ve set up an account dedicated exclusively to my wetplate work called Aether & Instant.