Englishman Frederick Scott Archer was credited with inventing the wet-collodion process in 1851. Today, there is a world-wide revival of this beautiful historic technique. Wet-plate collodion enhances the textural and painterly effects of photography to create images that are simultaneously real and dreamlike. A contemporary master of this alternative photographic process, Cotton Miller, leads this dynamic, hands-on workshop in Santa Fe.
Cotton begins the week with a historical overview of wet plate and then step-by-step demonstrations of the process, paying special attention to maintaining proper chemistry and safety as we work. Throughout, participants are given the chance to create both tintypes on aluminum and ambrotypes on glass, use natural and studio lighting, and experience a mobile setup for taking wet-plate collodion on the road.
This workshop offers photographic artists the opportunity to learn the beauty and complexity of the historical wet-plate collodion process from a contemporary perspective. The week is spent in the Workshops Alt-Pro Lab where chemistry, tanks, plates, and several antique cameras are provided. Participants receive continual assistance from Cotton and an assistant providing immediate feedback on works in progress, along with an open exchange of working concepts, ideas, history, and techniques. Demonstrations, and learning through repetition, successes, and failure, are a continuous part of the workshop.
Wet-Plate Collodion is alive and well in Santa Fe. Come and be part of our Alt-Pro community and this emergent revival.
COVID-19 Update: For all in-person workshops and trips in 2023, Santa Fe Workshops highly recommends that all participants, staff, and instructors attending be up to date with Covid vaccinations (per definition of the CDC).
Cotton Miller received his MFA in Photography & New Media in 2013 from Lesley University College of Art and Design, in Boston. In addition to being honored by The Boston Globe as one of six artists to watch in 2013, he had multiple exhibits in Boston and has won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association in 2007.
Cotton is the Web Manager for Santa Fe Workshops and does web consultation projects for a variety of artists. He has designed websites for Nevada Wier, Christopher James, Alison Wright, Elizabeth Opalenik, and Santa Fe Workshops. Cotton’s personal work combines traditional printing methods with digital, alternative process, mixed media, and multimedia. He worked as a master printer for Blazing Editions in Providence and Cotton was a research assistant for The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes (third edition) by Christopher James. Cotton collaborates with many artists for not only web design, but also graphic design, exhibition design, exhibition production, and printing fine art editions.