Getting Started with Ambrotypes

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Gary Quay
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Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:26 pm
Location: Fairview, Oregon

Getting Started with Ambrotypes

Post by Gary Quay »

I am looking to try an "alternative" process. I like the look of Ambrotypes, but I am concerned with a few things: 1) toxicity, 2) finickiness, and how much expense is involved in getting the camera and darkroom setup for it. Anyone have any experience with it?

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Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:47 am
Location: Oregon

Re: Getting Started with Ambrotypes

Post by sanchell »

I am not an expert on alt processes so I contacted Jill Enfield, one of the forum moderators. Unfortunately, her computer is on the fritz and she is not able to access the forum. The good news is she was able to send a response to me that she asked me to post. :) SA

Hello Gary -

So you are right - there are things in the ambrotype chemistry that is more toxic then say cyanotypes, but if you are careful, as you should be in any darkroom, you will be ok. I have since gotten sensitive to ether, and so I use less of it than some recipes suggest. But other than that I am ok with using everything else. I suggest you do some reading (I have a chapter in my book). Also you can start with a kit that will give you almost everything you need to start. The start up costs are a lot - and then it is not so bad. Look at my book (Jill Enfield’s Guide to Alternative Processes 2nd edition), lund photographics and Bostick and Sullivan to get started. Even with the kits, you will still need a camera, plate holder and a silver bath container. You can use trays for the fix.

I also really suggest a workshop. While I know people that have taught themselves (there are a lot of youtube videos out there), I really suggest that you take a workshop.

Hope this helps.
Do it in the Dark,

Steve Anchell
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