U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Paper Plate Hand collotype

Paper Plate Hand collotype

Hello all,
Bowing to the expects in this and many other areas, I would like to offer a collotype story.

About three decades ago when I was in school studying photography I took an interest in making a collotype print. With nothing to go on except very old texts I proceeded to read up on the process and figure out what I could do.

It is my understanding that the collotype plate is a layer of reticulated gelatin on glass. In many darkroom instruction books one reads cautions against sudden dramatic changes in temperature while processing film lest one cause the gelatin to reticulate, thus spoiling the film. So I set out to do it on purpose.
So using non hardening fixed out photo paper I subjected it to extreme changes in temperature and did indeed get the gelatin to work its magic. Proceeded to treat the paper plate with dichromate and exposure. Adhered the paper to a sheet of Plexi glass and using a Litho press was able to make a few prints. I did need to work more on my technique to get rid of water spots on the print and improve halftone rendition but it did work.

I'm sure I have notes and a print somewhere but I suspect the clay tablets upon which they were written have long since turned back to dust.


Robert Newcomb