Mark Tucker : Journal

Gold Bullion

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on August 25, 2013

Brett helped find talent here in the city for a shoot. We discovered this great little girl with beautiful eyes. We all got together and created a character with gold bullion, covered wagons, alligator wrestling, and buried treasure. She fell right into it, and never missed a beat.


Katie Triptych

Posted in Artists, WetPlate by marktucker on August 23, 2013

From today. She wrote directly on the plate. 8×10 collodion. (Last days of collodion; one more week, if it doesn’t kill me first. It’s been a worthwhile chapter, but it’s almost complete).


August 18th

Posted in New York, WetPlate by marktucker on August 18, 2013


Early tests. Window light. 8×10 collodion on metal. Ninety-second exposure.


Roger’s hand, and Abby’s flowers. A New York crew is being trained. Early on, but satisfying.


Roger and Abby’s wind machine. Strobe.

Roger Gibbs

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on August 17, 2013

Roger came by the studio on Friday and we caught up, and worked on some wet plate. We shot this at the end of the day. Started with window light at the beginning of the day, but ended up back to strobe by the end of the day. Lots of kinks to work out. 8×10 on metal.


Dumbo Studio Sublet

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on August 14, 2013

We begin shooting wet plate for the next month, starting tomorrow. Slow going, but nice temporary space. Nice light. Darkbox by UHaul.



Pittsburgh WetPlate + NYC

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on May 20, 2013

We made it to Brooklyn last night. Set up shop today. Starting to varnish and process plates and files. Here’s an initial nice plate, 8×10, of Kristi Jan Hoover, in the back room of the Masonic Hall in Pittsburgh. I had a few issues at first with my Silver Bath, but I was working in Jason’s darkbox. It took a while to get acclimated. Also a second image of Jason Snyder below that. Third image is a portrait of Steve; he now owns the Lodge that we worked in. He’s an architect and sculptor. He’s bringing the building back to life. We call this his “Charles Bukowski Portrait”.




Collodion event, Pittsburgh (Friday)

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on May 11, 2013


Melissa Greener

Posted in Interesting People, WetPlate by marktucker on February 14, 2013

We worked on this yesterday — a wet-plate portrait, and other images for my friend Melissa Greener.




Devon Cummings; Binx

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on January 21, 2013







Hollis Bennett, Kelly Koeppel, Griffin Norman

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on January 18, 2013

Here are a couple of frames from short wet-plate sessions with Hollis Bennett and Kelly Koeppel and Griffin Norman, from yesterday.

Hollis just returned from his honeymoon. Objects from his travels in right-hand image: A piece of rock salt from Baja, Mexico. The hand is a salt shaker found in an abandoned house in Colorado.




Bridgett McGuire and children

Posted in Mothers and Children, WetPlate by marktucker on January 2, 2013

We shot this today. My neighbor, from my old house on Gilmore Avenue — Bridgett McGuire and two of her four children. We shot all four children, but I just can’t make it work together yet. I like this image as a standalone. This is Sadie and Jed, with Bridgett. 8×10 collodion on metal. Part of the ongoing Mother Project. Feels like echoes of Julia Margaret Cameron. I can remember bumping into Bridgett at 8th Avenue Kroger on the day she found out she was pregnant with Jed, (bottom right).


Jed, top left. Dylan, top right. Carson, bottom left. Sadie, bottom right.

Jed, top left. Dylan, top right. Carson, bottom left. Sadie, bottom right.

Wolf Hoffman

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on January 1, 2013

Illustration shot today of my good friend Wolf Hoffmann, of the band Accept. 8×10 collodion on black metal.




Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on January 1, 2013

Shot this today. Illustration with Jules Burciaga. 8×10 collodion on metal.


Dane Carder

Posted in Artists, WetPlate by marktucker on December 21, 2012

Shot this portrait of my friend Dane Carder today after lunch. Experimenting with shooting 8×10 HP5, but with the old 1800’s Petzval lenses. And this combined with a built blank plate from some wet plate that we shot today. Still learning…

Dane Carder, fine artist.

Dane Carder, fine artist.

Lambda Test Prints

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on December 14, 2012

I received these back from Chromatics last night. (What a great lab). These are 48″ on the short side. Tests for the collodion, to see how they would show large, instead of framing the original 8×10. If I continue with wet plate, I’ll probably show them large like this. Impressive at this size. I love faces.


Rachel Lehman and daughter

Posted in Mothers and Children, WetPlate by marktucker on December 13, 2012

Rachel Lehman, owner of Crema Coffee, downtown on 1st Avenue South, at their home in 12South. About six years ago, Rachel’s brothers set this tree on fire with fireworks, and almost killed the tree. Today it stands in this hollowed-up womblike state in their back yard. From the MotherProject. 8×10 collodion diptych.


Skye Robinson (copper)

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on December 10, 2012
Rushed portrait. One of three plates, recently.

Rushed portrait. One of three plates, recently. We only had a half-hour.

Lanie Gannon family

Posted in Mothers and Children, WetPlate by marktucker on December 9, 2012

A full day today with Lanie Gannon, her husband Rob, and their two children. I like this diptych of her two sons, Jack and Ki. More images added soon, of Nathalie, Rob, and Lanie.

Jack and Ki Oglivie.

Jack and Ki Oglivie.

Rob Ogilvie, husband of Lanie, and father of Jack and Ki. 8x10 collodion.

Rob Ogilvie, husband of Lanie, and father of Jack and Ki. 8×10 collodion.

Nathalie, Ki's fiance.

Nathalie, Ki’s fiance.

Short iphone video, of Ki, Nathalie and Lanie reviewing the plates, while we shot.

CLICK TO WATCH. Short iphone video, of Ki, Nathalie and Lanie reviewing the plates, while we shot.

Skye’s new haircut

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on December 7, 2012

Circa 1978, CBGB’s, New York City. Great face, great haircut.

Skye Robinson, daughter of Scott and Kristy Robinson. Parent to June and Freida Robinson, (labs). 8x10" collodion on metal.

Skye Robinson, daughter of Scott and Kristy Robinson. Parent to June and Freida Robinson, ( labs). 8×10″ collodion on metal.

Mistake (Not?)

Posted in Spirituality, WetPlate by marktucker on December 7, 2012

Today, I was varnishing in the basement and came upon this large metal plate lying against the wall. I barely remember shooting it, weeks ago. It must have been a warm up plate. Something happened with the Silver Bath, and at the time I considered it a mistake, but today, it hit me in a nice way. Maybe an omen of my life in the past few years? Anyway, I copied it today and stuck it on the site. Sometimes, maybe some time has to pass before you can see something. Garry Winogrand used to talk about that. He’d wait for months, to process the film, in order to let his emotions fall away from the image itself.

24"x28" wet plate collodion, on black metal.

24″x28″ wet plate collodion, on black metal.

Glass diffraction

Posted in Random Image, WetPlate by marktucker on December 1, 2012

We worked with this yesterday. Was trying to shoot thru the glass and see how the light gets bent and warped. Not sure it’s finished. I still have a rumble to mess with it more. 8×10 collodion, diptych. Nine inch petzval lens. Daylight. One minute and twenty second exposure. Strange chemical surprises happened yesterday; not sure why or how, but I like them.


Kristy Robinson, Skye, and Holly

Posted in Mothers and Children, Spirituality, The South, WetPlate by marktucker on November 24, 2012

We photographed another in our series of mothers and children today. Just starting the edit, but here are a few images to start.

Kristy, Holly, and Skye (and June). 4×5 collodion diptych.

Kristy Bartlett Robinson. Radiant.

Skye Robinson, in the field at their home, with Johnny and Abby.

We called this picture “Skye’s Breakup”.

Skye, with guitar, under the fallen tree.

June, voicing her approval over my ability to capture her essence. (Photo: Kristy Robinson)

Working with test print. Finals for project will be 30″x40″, framed. Multi layers, hopefully. Multi materials.

Borut Peterlin: Modern Collodion

Posted in Artists, WetPlate by marktucker on November 23, 2012

We do not have to be stuck in the past — here’s a very exciting modern approach to a job. I understand his fear of shooting collodion on location, for a job. There are a million things to go wrong, and risk blowing the job. The full article is here; really fun approach, and nice result. More than one way to skin a cat.

© Borut Peterlin

Jayne Hinds Bidaut

Posted in Artists, WetPlate by marktucker on November 19, 2012

Harry Taylor: Tintype Photographer

Posted in The South, WetPlate by marktucker on November 13, 2012

Nice video and story about Harry Taylor, of Wilmington, North Carolina. Harry is a good man; he’s helped me a good bit in my search for strange lenses.

Modern Collodion Woman

Posted in Interesting People, WetPlate by marktucker on November 13, 2012

I watched this nice video today from a woman in Washington state. Her name is Dinah DiNova. She’s doing a kickstarter thing to go back to her hometown area, New Orleans, to keep shooting. Her pictures are quite nice. The video is especially good. I also love the background music; the dog is pretty bad-ass too. I think it’s a Rat Terrier; might be a good breed to consider. Will send her some money today; she’s very well-spoken about her work and her approach. I like when people take a more modern slant on the collodion process.

Location Collodion: Red Barn Roundup

Posted in Interesting People, The South, WetPlate by marktucker on November 11, 2012

Here are some frames from today, from Allison Marusic’s Red Barn Roundup in East Nashville. We got great character faces all afternoon, but ran out of ambient light at dusk. Could have shot faces all night. We went back to the Dallmeyer 9″ Petzval on this project, to get in closer to their faces, and to throw the depth of focus to almost nothing.

Thank you to Samantha Angel for great collodion prep, and to Derrick Hood for the dark box design.

Also, here is a link to Kathryn Johnson’s photos from the party. Here’s a frame with Allison.

The master grid that I put on my website, in AltProcess chapter. Cattle rustlers and bank robbers.

Allison Marusic, founder of RBR and owner of the great home where it all happens.

John McTigue, drummer. 8″x10″ collodion on black metal.

Elizabeth Bradley.

Grant Johnson, 8″x10″ collodion on black metal.

Kathryn Mitchell Johnson. Married to Grant Johnson, above. Co-founder of RBR, with Allison.

Preston Kyles and Sarah Gayle Meech.

Cowboy Keith Thompson.

Jared Manzo, 8″x10″ collodion on black metal.

Photograph: Kim Jameson

Back to large plates

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on October 22, 2012

We had a breakthrough today, in how we pour and dry and coat the large 24″x28″ black metal plates. Much more uniform pours now. A couple weeks ago, I purchased several vintage glass pieces to work with — today was this large green vintage clear globe thing. I brought down a bronze sculpture that Buddy Jackson gave me for my 50th birthday, and we paired them together, along with some brush from the back yard.

Collodion poured onto Vellum paper, for enlarging

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on October 18, 2012

Big breakthrough yesterday — we successfully poured collodion onto very thin, very transparent Vellum paper, and the image stuck. Today, more testing, and then to either contact print it in a contact frame, or else look for an 8×10 enlarger! But the texture of the vellum showing through the image is beautiful. But even weirder — the paper negative itself is something to behold — all curled up, and thin, and curled, and crackly, like some document from the 1800’s that was found in a family Bible or something. More to come… Fun. The whole process has this “Shroud of Turin” feel to it.

Update: We photographed my friend Diana today, to see what a face would feel like with the vellum. They’re hanging to dry now. Very exciting to see the texture of the image.

Resulting copy, inverted, of the paper negative, and toned.

One of the Diana negatives from today, hanging in the basement to dry. Collodion on vellum paper, to be enlarged later.

Collodion negative, on vellum paper, hanging overnight from drying. Paper was mounted onto clear glass, and then inserted into Jody Ake’s 8×10 film holder for wet plate. Amazingly, it all worked on the first try. More testing today. Imagine a 40″x60″ print, enlarged, through the vellum texture.

Here’s the image, rephotographed, hanging taped to a CStand, and inverted. This was just a thrown-together image with one light, just to see if if the collodion would bond to the paper. But so far, pretty encouraging!

Test: A spanish moss pond

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on October 2, 2012

Results from a Test today. I leave Friday for Asheville, for a week-long workshop on Salt Printing, and I’m forcing myself to shoot a new wet plate image every day this week. Today, Jennifer Casale was drafted. (Samantha Angel was also there, in support, as always — pouring more plates, and running a fine darkroom. Thank you also to Derrick Hood for amazing ideas for camera fixes).

Diptych from test today. Two frames, 8″x10″ collodion on black metal.

It started as a simple photographic idea — then the C-Stands began to accumulate. The tub finally drained — spanish moss; rose petals; baby’s breath.

Windowlight Experiments: Sunday

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on September 23, 2012

Last of the Big Plates?

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on September 5, 2012

We hit a wall yesterday, pouring these large plates. It’s just insanity, trying to get the collodion poured evenly over the span of a 24×28 plate. And then these crazy artifacts all over the plate; unexplainable. I had one of the large magnolia leaves, painted with asphaltum, so i tried to photograph it with the large camera. It’s very inspiring to see the image projected that large on the “easel” of the camera. The inspiration lead to action, and we tried to make it happen. Two large plates, and one (maybe) keeper. That could be the end of it; back to 8×10 and real predictability…

Copyshot of the the second large plate. A magnolia leave sealed in Asphaltum, mounted on wood. 24″x28″ on black metal.

Asphaltum Progress: Collodion on Found Objects

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on September 3, 2012

Two days ago, I coated many of the found objects with Asphaltum, after failing with the black spray paint. (Bad chemical reaction). Again, my friend Gayle Stevens recommended the Asphaltum as a foundation base, to accept the collodion. Today, I gave it a shot, and we have our first image. I feel like I’m back in the 1800’s, and cheering wildly, for a barely noticeable cryptic photographic image. But progress is progress. It was a good day.

The found objects are painted with Asphaltum, and they take about two days to dry. It goes on very thick, like cold motor oil in January. And pitch black it is. Then, after drying, I pour the collodion onto the found object, and then build a custom “tray” for the Silver Bath out of Saran Wrap, to use the least amount of (expensive) silver. I’m afraid to reuse the silver, for fear it’s now contaminated after touching the found objects. Then I put the sensitized piece into the easel of the Large Camera downstairs, and pop the Profoto Flash. (2400 w/s). Then it’s developed and fixed normally.

Not sure where this is headed, but today, it’s very exciting.

A broken piece of asbestos house siding, salvaged from Hailey Salvage on Dickerson Road. About 6″x10″. Portrait of a tattoo artist that I shot in South Beach, early this year, projected onto the asbestos siding.

This was the very first test where an actual photographic image appeared. This is an industrial electrical junction box cover, coated with Asphaltum. About 5″x9″.

WetPlate: Two Steps Forward; One Back

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on August 30, 2012

We’ve had a few exciting and disappointing days this week. The upside: a radically new, well-built version of the Large Plate Camera, and we’re getting very close to a finished DarkBox in the Van, for shooting on location, and we have a new, freshly-painted studio in the basement for the 8×10 Sinar. The downside: I had this dream of coating, painting, and varnishing found objects, and then coating them with collodion, but today, we got only frustration and disappointment. But tomorrow is a new day.

[Update: Tonight received a note from S Gayle Stevens recommending use of Asphaltum, instead of paint. I met Gayle in New Orleans last fall at PhotoNOLA; an excellent artist, teacher, and photographer. So there is hope! Also tonight at dinner, I realized that I have to be grateful for days even like today. In the end, we did learn a lot.]

“Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.” – John Cage

Also, I take consolation that I’m not making daguerreotypes, since that seems to be much more challenging than collodion. Here’s a new video of master Jerry Spagnoli, preparing a daguerreotype.

A test with Derrick Hood, Master Builder and Designer, this week, in the new basement studio. This with the old Petzval lens on 8×10 black metal.

This is the image we were trying to rephotograph onto the Magnolia leaves, and the painted metal objects. But we got nothing. This image is straight collodion, onto black metal 8×10, the traditional approach.

One of the painted magnolia leaves, from Sevier Park. Painted black, and then polyurethaned, to seal it, and then coated with collodion, and an image projected onto this leaf. You can see the collodion and the silver, but no image.

I spent Wednesday in junk stores and Hailey Salvage, buying any metal pieces I could find, to coat with collodion. This is a serving tray, painted black by us, and then coated with collodion. Image projected onto the tray, but no image ever came up. You can see where the collodion reacted with the black paint. Frustrating.

Some of the painted and sealed objects, that we hoped to project images onto. They are in the wings now, waiting for their chance.

Painting table in the back yard. Everything painted black and sealed.

Radically upgraded Large Plate Camera, in my basement, ready to take on some new large plates, once I work up the courage.

Funny picture of Hailey Salvage, on Dickerson Road. This is the Mecca of Junk. Anything you want — rusty and funky — just go there. Above is their Toilet Department.

Current status of the DarkBox in the rear of my Van. It’s coming along slowly. Finally to be able to shoot on location.

Newly painted floor in shooting area, for the Sinar camera and the collodion. (No more leaving the black silver trail, as we go up the steps to shoot).

Dried Roses

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on July 26, 2012

I had a couple dozen roses, and couldn’t bear to throw them away, so I’ve been keeping them in some chickenwire, on the wall. Today, I got them out and worked with them, with the Sinar and the wet-plate. Working with this big 8×10 camera is a true meditation.


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