As a wet-plate photographer specializing in photography of the 19th century, Mark Bingham uses only original lenses from the 1850’s-1890’s and a chemical recipe from 1858. The photographs that Bingham produces, whether a glass plate or a tintype, are one of a kind images.
Developed by Frederick Scott Archer in England in 1851, the wet-plate collodion process replaced the more tedious daguerreotype process that had been popular through the 1840's. To take an image, the photographer must flow a chemical mixture over a clean glass plate creating a thin "film" that once sensitized in a bath of Silver Nitrate, becomes sensitive to light. The sensitized plate, while still wet, is carried to the camera where the subject, already posed, is ready and waiting. Dependent on light conditions, exposures may range from "instantaneous"-or as fast as the lens cap can be removed and replaced- to upwards of 20 seconds. Even a series of photos taken at the same spot on the same day will show individual traits due to the humidity, lighting, temperature, etc… Basically everything is a variable, but the end product is a small piece of the past that you can hold right in your hand.