Photo Credit: Claire O’Neill/NPR
Believe it or not, there’s a lot of food involved in wet-plate photography. Egg whites (albumen) are used to make the glass plates adhesive to the light-sensitive chemicals. And one way to keep the plates from drying out after processing is to coat them in honey. It’s also physically demanding, so you get really hungry.
These are the things I learned in the field with wet-plate photographer Todd Harrington. For the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, we asked him to retrace the steps of Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner. We wanted to capture the same scenes with the same equipment — to see how things have changed. (Kind of like the nerd’s version of Dear Photograph.)