XIX century Photo Techniques: Collodion, Albumen & Oil Print: Dorota Dawidowicz, Janusz Witkowski & Janusz Sochacki

It’s an next episode, I continue the travel through the old techniques finding myself in the opportunities that are given to me. Last time I saw Talbot’s works which inspired me a lot for things that I’ve already started to create. For now it will be a private project but, who knows – maybe it will be worth showing later on.

The collodion process is an early photographic process, said to have been invented, almost simultaneously, by Frederick Scott Archer and Gustave Le Gray in about 1851. During the subsequent decades of its popularity, many photographers and experimenters refined or varied the process. By the end of the 1850s it had almost entirely replaced the first practical photographic process, the daguerreotype.

The albumen print, also called albumen silver print, was published in January 1847 by Louis Désiré Blanquart-Evrard, and was the first commercially exploitable method of producing a photographic print on a paper base from a negative. It used the albumen found in egg whites to bind the photographic chemicals to the paper and became the dominant form of photographic positives from 1855 to the turn of the 20th century, with a peak in the 1860-90 period. During the mid-19th century, the carte de visite became one of the more popular uses of the albumen method. In the 19th century, E. & H. T. Anthony & Company were the largest makers and distributors of the Albumen photographic prints and paper in the United States.

The oil print process is a photographic print making process that relies on variation in a hardness of a gelatin emulsion to accept an oil-based paint. When gelatin is mixed with a dichromate, it becomes light sensitive, causing some areas to accept an oil paint. In turn, other areas become hard and don’t accept paint. The oil print process requires contact exposing with a negative the size of the print, because the medium isn’t sensitive enough to light to make use of a projector.


Today I’ve visited POSK Gallery of the Polish Social and Cultural Association based in Hammersmith, London. The Gallery is small, but I’m satisfied enough with it. They showed the works of Dorota Dawidowicz, Janusz Witkowski and Janusz Sochacki. All of the pictures were impressive and I was inspired to finally think about doing some on my own. Something similar, something which is kind of like an Old School type thing. The creation of a picture with the use of chemicals is just extraordinary! The effects can look awesome! I think I will use the darkroom more that I’ve thought – especially when the chemistry is someway provided through my University. Another nice thing is: The students barely use the darkroom, so it’s a great opportunity for me to do whatever I need to do – even if it takes time. Next, I don’t need to lend equipment, I can use the Uni ones. Everything what I need is around me, I only need to buy papers and chemistry that I need. Ah… and yeah, take out my notes from my previous school where I did this Old School type things. 🙂