Workshop – Tintype Weekend: An Introduction to the Collodion Process with Robert Cooper

Date(s) - 09/30/2022 - 10/02/2022
Time(s) - All Day

The Lovett School

Tintype Weekend

Atlanta photography Group is excited to offer our first Tintype Weekend Intensive with Savannah-based wet plate photographer Robert Cooper. This is a 3-day intensive that will be held in-person at the Lovett School in Atlanta, Ga. All necessary chemistry and camera equipment will be provided as part of the workshop fee. If you have ever wanted to try your hand at this magical historic process, this weekend experience is the perfect opportunity.

PLEASE NOTE: This workshop is limited to 5 participants, so register early to reserve your spot.

Tintype Weekend: An introduction to the Collodion Process
with Robert Cooper

The tintype process refers generally to the most prevalent method of producing a wet plate collodion image.

Although the process dates from the mid-19th century, it has been adapted to modern, readily- available materials. Most current wet plates are made on either glass or metal sheets cut to the specific size of the camera being used. The plate is coated with collodion and then sensitized and exposed–while still wet–in the camera. It is then developed, fixed and rinsed. The final step, to preserve the plate is varnishing it.

For this workshop, all the plates will be made on aluminum sheets which will be provided as will all the necessary chemistry and components. Some of the techniques involved are unique to wet plate like the coating and developing of the plate not to mention exposure times. They all take practice. This is an introductory, hands-on, workshop that assumes no prior experience in wet plate collodion photography. The hope is that each participant in this introduction will create at least one successful 4×5 plate. The path to achieving this goal will be through an initial discussion of the process looking at its origins and how it influenced ensuing photographic technologies and then hands-on practice. The Wet Plate Collodion Handbook, by Niles Lund will be the reference.

The first meeting will be an overview of the process and a description of what the student can expect moving forward. We will look at the materials and media that we will be using and basic principles.

The second day we will make a test plate and look at how to determine proper exposure and development times.

We will go step-by-step through:

  • pouring collodion onto the plate,
  • sensitizing it in the silver nitrate bath,
  • making the exposure, and
  • developing and fixing of the image.

All the steps are important and interdependent. Even with the best plan, results can be unpredictable. That is part of the fun, the uncertainty.

Each student will get a one-on-one tutorial pouring plates and guidance through the initial shoot.

As students get more familiar with the process they will be able to work together in pairs to create their own compositions. We can plan to make as many plates as time allows.

The third day, as time allows would be more hands-on working on finer points of lighting and composition. We will also discuss finishing options for the plates.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Instructor’s Bio – Robert Cooper

It never really occurred to me that the fact that I grew up in a house built in 1872 in the historic district of Savannah had influenced my love for old things generally, and specifically, photography. 

It might have seemed obvious. My earliest inspirations were pioneer photographers like Julia Margaret Cameron, Frederick Evans, Henry Peach Robinson the folks who were really making it up as they went. Part of the attraction was the painterly disposition of the artist making the photograph and part of it was the inherent character of the medium. Everything seemed to slow down and early in my training I began to attempt to catch that pioneer spirit.

I have been a professional photographer for most of my adult life. I became a newspaper photographer while attending Georgia Southern University where I studied photography with Jessica Hines. I worked at the newspaper in Statesboro for several years back when we developed our own film. I was involved with Georgia Press Association and won a number of awards for my photography.

Just prior to Y2K, I moved to Florida to be photo editor at the The Panama City News Herald where I continued to be involved in photojournalism at a state and national level. I was fortunate to shoot freelance assignments for a number of large media outlets.

I moved back to my hometown in 2012  and have been a freelancer here specializing in professional headshots, real estate and aerial drone photography. My good friend Pete Christman who was one of the charter members of the photography faculty at Savannah College of Art and Design taught me platinum printing, But it was when I attended a wet plate collodion workshop hosted by Chris Morgan that I felt like I found the medium that conveyed what I love about the work of those early masters.

I have been working in wet plate for about four years and teaching for two. I have several cameras and a portable darkroom and I love it. I really enjoy sharing this process with new people. That amazed, “WOW,” never gets old.

Web Site:

Tintype Weekend: An Introduction to the Collodion Process
with Robert Cooper
Date(s) – Friday, September 30 – Sunday October 2, 2022
Time(s) – Friday, September 30 – 7:00-8:30pm
Saturday, October 1 – 10:am-5:00pm
Sunday, October 2 – 11:am-4:00pm
Location – The Lovett School
Workshop Fee – $400 member/$500 non-member

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