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Négatif sur verre collodion

Once the alcohol and ether have evaporated, the collodion coated plate is sensitized by immersion in a silver nitrate solution and then exposed immediately in a camera while still wet. The latent image obtained is then developed in an ammonium iron sulphate or pyrogallol solution. The image is then fixed in a potassium cyanide or sodium thiosulphate solution and washed. Finally, the plate is dried over a flame and then generally varnished, to protect the collodion layer against abrasion and to prevent tarnishing. Collodion glass plate negatives are printed by contact, in the majority of cases on albumen paper. In order to improve the quality of prints, photographers frequently work on the negatives: portraits are retouched using a graphite pencil and skies in landscapes are covered with inactinic paper or gouache.

Although the collodion wet glass plate negative process takes far less time than the albumen glass plate process it has significant drawbacks associated with the rapid deterioration of sensitized plates, obliging photographers wanting to take pictures outdoors to take their laboratories with them.

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