Classic Camera Revival – Episode 123 – The Magician’s Apprentice


When it comes to photography, despite all the leaps and bounds forward, it has taken since the first image was recorded on a medium using exposure to light. Both the original and second methods are still being practised today in the 21st Century. And like those of the past, the means and procedures are based from magician to apprentice. And I use the term magician purposefully because if you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching a wet plate photographer in action, it is that, magic. We have two such photographers in today’s episode, and both are returning guests to the podcast. First is Shane Balkowitsch, note wet plate photographer and incredibly humble, friendly, and always willing to pass along information, and second is Jamie Marcellus. Jamie recently travelled to Shane’s natural light studio in North Dakota to learn the process. Originally invented in 1851 by Frederick Scott Archer, the collodion process improved upon the original Daguerreotype and completely overshadowed it by 1861. And while Wet Plate took a back seat to dry plates, the process is still worked today by less than 1,000 people worldwide. But through people like Shane, he hopes to teach more people and keep the process alive and the access to chemistry available to all who wish to continue the practice. The two talk about their styles throughout the episode and how Jamie has added his touch to his art and process. We also discuss Shane’s fantastic work on capturing members of Dakota’s indigenous population, people of note in the world today and how to get the right chemicals here in Canada (which is surprisingly easy).

If you’re a fan of Wet Plate work, or want to know more you can join an amazing group, Friends of Fredrick Scott Archer.
You can follow along Shane’s Work Over on Facebook:
You can follow along with Jamie’s Work Over on Instagram:
Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspective
Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspective Book (Vol. 2)

We at Classic Camera Revival are horrified about the ongoing illegal and brutal invasion of Ukraine by forces directed and ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Know that we at CCR stand with the brave defenders of Ukraine, those fleeing the conflict and those in Russia who are being arrested, suppressed from speaking out against their President and the illegal war he is conducting against a sovereign independent nation with its unique history and rich culture. Please consider donating time, money, and effort to support Ukraine, her defenders, and her citizens. Слава Україні!

Want a subscription to SilverGrain Classics and are a fan of Classic Camera Revival? Visit their shop online and buy a magazine or a subscription? Looking for a good spot to get your gear and material fix check out Burlington Camera (Burlington, ON), Downtown Camera (Toronto, ON), Film Plus (Toronto, ON), Belle Arte Camera (Hamilton, ON), Pond’s FotoSource (Guleph, ON), Foto Art Camera (Owen Sound, ON). In Quebec, Photo Service (Montreal, QC) and Studio Argentique (Montreal, QC), Out West there’s Kerrisdale Cameras (BC), The Camera Store (Calgary, AB) and Beau Photo Supply (Vancouver, BC). Additionally you can order online at Argentix (Quebec), (Ontario), the Film Photography Project or Freestyle Photographic. Looking for development options, check out these labs that have our support, Boréalis Photo Lab, Old School Photo Lab, The Darkroom, and Film Rescue International.

Also you can connect with us through email: classiccamerarevivial[at]gmail[dot]com or by Facebook, we’re at Classic Camera Revival, Twitter @ccamerarevival, and Instagram (@classiccamerarevival)!

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