New Chemical Pictures Book and Video Series June, 2019

In the summer of 2017, I decided I wanted to write and release a new edition of Chemical Pictures. It’s been 5 years since I’ve made any changes to my book (2013). I have, or had, a lot to add. Little things as well as big ones.

I wanted to reorganize the book, too. I’ve added the Wet Plate Collodion Negatives and Prints (P.O.P.) book into this release. An entire guide on all of the variants. I think it sits at about 170 pages right now. With artwork, it might be close to 250 pages when it goes to the publisher. It’s 12 chapters of in-depth, personal knowledge and technical experience. The 13th Chapter is my new body of work called, "The Sand Creek Massacre" (it may change at publication, this is at least, a working title). It's a portion of the Ghost Dance work I started several years ago. 

I know that every hour of time I’ve put into this will be worth it. I’m not saying there won’t be anymore changes in the process, there will be, but I doubt there will be anything that will warrant a rewrite of this book. If there is, someone else will have to take that up. This book will indeed be a complete guide to the process and its variants. And it will be my last on this topic. 

After teaching over 1,000 people (from all over the world) this process, I realized that I had more to add to this “learning curve”. Every once in a while, I’ll get an email from someone that says, “Here’s my first successful plate! All due to your book and videos!” That’s what drives me. To know the time I’m spending will be valuable to people that I will never meet or even talk to - that’s powerful! 

Special Edition: I wanted to share what I’m going to do for the release of the book - June 1, 2019. The first 300 prints of the book will be numbered #1/300, #2/300, #3/300, etcetera. I want to treat it like a series (editioned) of artwork.

Each book will be personalized and signed, by me, for the buyer. And I may end up putting a small token of appreciation in the book, too. I'll keep that as a surprise!

Not only will the book be loaded with detailed technical information, I will have a body of NEW WORK in the book, work that HAS NOT been published (in other words, you haven’t seen it, see comment in first paragraph). 

And now we come to cost. The plan is to have the 250 page tome, along with a NEW HD VIDEO SERIES, I CALL "CHEMICAL PICTURES VIRTUAL WORKSHOP VIDEO SERIES" (via Vimeo login), available for $125 USD (plus shipping). After the first 300 books are sold, the series will be complete and closed and the book will go on Amazon. Amazon books will not be signed or editioned.  Click here to see a sample video: Chapter 5 - Making Plate Cleaner.

So, if you are interested in grabbing a little piece of history, and you want to learn the process, sign up to receive a copy. I’m asking people that want to purchase a book, to send me your name and email. I’ll send you a notification when the book will ship (planned for the first week in June, 2019).

Thank you for all of the support over the years (almost 20 now!) - I truly appreciate it. You make it possible for me to do things like this; in the end, I hope it's valuable not only for today, but way into the future. Your help has made that happen!

Thank you!




University of Colorado Colorado Springs

We had a good time at UCCS this week. Jeanne and I spent a couple of days at UCCS (University of Colorado Colorado Springs) with Stacy Platt and her 19 students in her Alternative Processes class.

They ALL made a plate! I tried to snap a few of them before we left, but they all did a really good job. I wish my first plate looked as good ;-)

A big thanks to Stacy and the students for having us.


Prototype New Book Cover for 2019 Release


The Chemist 1851 - Where It All Began







Many modifications of this process have been proposed and practiced with more or less success. Mr. Madd, of Manchester, has perhaps, of all operators, been the most successful on large plates. The following is his mode of procedure. Coat the cleaned glass with Bromo-iodized Collodion in the usual way.


After allowing the film to set well, sensitize in the ordinary Nitrate of Silver bath. If the Collodion should give a very thick and creamy film, it must be reduced by adding Ether. After sensitizing for the usual time, the plate must be well washed and then placed in a dish containing a weak solution of Iodide of Potassium and water (about one grain to the ounce of water) for two or three minutes, gently moving the dish in the meanwhile. Rinse with tap water and drain a minute. 


To the whites of ten eggs add:

50 grains Iodide of Potassium

10 grains Bromide of Potassium

100 minims Liquid Ammonia

2 1/2 ounces Water


Dissolve the Iodide and Bromide in the Water, then add the Ammonia.

Mix all together with the Albumen, and beat the whole into a froth. Let it settle until the froth has subsided into the liquid form Filter through muslin into a stock bottle. Decant off a portion, and to the previously washed and still wet film, apply the solution twice. 


Now allow the plate to drain for five or ten minutes, then dry it rapidly before a clear bright fire, and make it quite hot. These plates may be kept till required for sensitizing. To re-sensitize the plate, it is only necessary to dip it for one minute into the Aceto-nitrate bath, with Kaolin and filtering makes it again clear; but some operators prefer to pour a little of the Nitrate solution on and off the plate for a few times, and then throw the residue into the waste-silver jar. Plates so prepared will keep in good condition for six or eight weeks in cold weather; but in hot weather it is advisable not to trust to their efficiency for more than a fortnight.


They are developed as follows. Take the exposed plate and pass over the surface a little clean water till the film is thoroughly moistened; then take a plain Pyrogallic solution, say two or three grains to the ounce of water, and pour it on the plate. The sky and highlights will appear almost immediately, if the exposure has been rightly timed, and ultimately feeble indication of details.


The picture now requires intensity, which is given by the following solution:

Pyrogallic Acid 2 grains

Citrio Acid 2 grains

Nitrate of Silver 2 or 3 drops (20 grain solution)


Pour quant. suff . of this on and off the plate until the requisite printing density is obtained. Numerous modifications of this excellent dry process have been devised and worked, but the above may be considered a good starting point for the Photographer to alter according to his tastes.


The Negatives should be fixed with Hyposulphite of Soda, because Cyanide of Potassium will always weaken or destroy the semi-organic deposit, just as surely as if the image were a Positive print on paper.