the museum of americana

a literary review

Ambrotype Portraits — Photography by Laura Partain

 
Wet Plate Collodion Ambrotypes may be one of the most popular anti-digital photographic movements today. Made from a process riddled with imperfections, they are certainly not easy to create. The process was invented in 1851 by the Englishman Frederick Scott Archer and was the primary means of creating photographs until Eastman Kodak revolutionized the industry with a dry gelatin-based plates. Of course, this is all well before anyone shot on film and, obviously, digital sensors. Laura Partain started making wet plates in November of 2011, while her University was on a campus-wide strike. Going stir crazy in the darkroom, she gathered her hand-mixed chemistry and poured the collodion onto the she sheet of glass. Low and behold, after various other steps were taken, a photograph appeared on the sheet of glass – just as it would have 150 years prior. Part alchemy, part art, wet plates continue to be made by Partain today for friends, family, and course – clients.
 
Laura Partain, Photographer
 
 
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Laura Partain Laura Partain was born in Houston, Texas a little over 22 years ago. Since then, she’s moved around a bit. From Houston, to Southern Illinois, to Los Angeles, and finally Nashville, TN, she’s seen a lot of faces and made a lot of friends. Holding a BA in Photography from Southern Illinois University, Partain focuses on portraiture work with a particular focus in analog and antiquated photographic practices. She is an aspiring commercial portrait photographer (believe it or not), and currently resides in Nashville, TN. When she’s not photographing, Laura likes to rollerskate and drink really good coffee. But maybe not at the same time.

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