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Husband/Wife team seeks to outfit photography studio with wet plate collodion darkroom.
Husband/Wife team seeks to outfit photography studio with wet plate collodion darkroom.
73 backers pledged $6,055 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$6,055

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We are a husband/wife team raising funding to outfit our studio with a darkroom specifically geared toward wet plate collodion. 

This started from us laying in bed reading alternative process books to each other, to saving enough to take Christopher James Advanced Alternative Process course in Santa Fe, to your generosity lifting us up. The only thing that can stop us is not spreading the word. We believe it's going to take a lot of people giving a little.

So here's the pitch. We have the space. You know we have the ambition. We even have the technical knowledge of chemistry to run and maintain it. We simply don't have the start up to make this dream happen for us.

If you are unfamiliar with the wet plate process, here's a quick explanation.  The process was developed in the 1800s. The "film" is hand poured on every image.  The base of the film is either metal or glass.  Collodion is poured onto the plate (not the easiest of tasks), then the plate is made light sensitive with a silver nitrate bath.  After sensitizing, you have about 5 min to make an exposure before the plate dries.  Once the exposure is made, the plate is then developed and fixed right away.  The length of the exposures are generally a few seconds to a minute long.  

We love the combination of using this old process with our modern approach to imagery and portraiture.  The uniqueness of each plate creates a one of kind piece.

Please take a look at our incentives.  We will be making plates specifically for those that have helped us realize our dream.  The plates will be made in three different genres, fine art nude, non nude or still life. Please specify.  We are also offering a first edition of our artist book that is signed.  Take a look at some of the excerpts from the book and plates already made. 

If you have any questions please feel free to email us at info@orchidandthebee.com

Risks and challenges

There are a number of challenges that we face. The difference between this darkroom and a normal one are issues of safety. We will be specifically working in wet plate collodion which comes with a number of particular challenges. Our studio is located above our living space and we have two young children. So, as you can imagine, we are very OCD about the highest standards of safety and security. The fixer that is used in the process is potassium cyanide. We need to purchase proper exhaust equipment, chemical storage systems, and locking safe boxes to ensure the upmost safety. We also want to photograph children and families, so proper ventilation and design of the darkroom and studio is key.

Another major challenge for us is the fact that we live in the midwest. Summers are great for ample sunlight, but the rest of the year we are frankly UV challenged. Part of our cost is going to an elaborate lighting set up that will supplement the natural light our studio receives.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    A 4x5 archival digital print of a randomly selected scanned tintype.
    Printed on Brilliant Supreme Luster paper. Hand signed and dated.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Two 4x5 archival digital prints of randomly selected scanned tintypes.
    Printed on Brilliant Supreme Luster paper. Hand signed and dated.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    1) Two 4x5 archival digital prints of randomly selected scanned tintypes. Printed on Brilliant Supreme Luster paper. Hand signed and dated.
    2) A signed, 5x8 forty page soft cover artist book by Orchid and the Bee.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    1) Two 4x5 archival digital prints of randomly selected scanned tintypes.
    Printed on Brilliant Supreme Luster paper.

    2) Your very own, one of a kind, half plate 4x5 tintype. All hand signed, dated and polished.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    1) A signed, 5x8 forty page soft cover artist book by Orchid and the Bee. 2) Your very own, one of a kind, half plate 4x5 tintype. All hand signed, dated and polished.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    1) Two 4x5 archival digital prints of randomly selected scanned tintypes. Printed on Brilliant Supreme Luster paper. 2) TWO of your very own, one of a kind, half plate 4x5 tintypes. All hand signed, dated and polished.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    1) Two 4x5 archival digital prints of randomly selected scanned tintypes. Printed on Brilliant Supreme Luster paper. 2) TWO of your very own, one of a kind, half plate 4x5 tintypes. All hand signed, dated and polished. 3) A Kickstarter only special. We'll photograph 2 plates of YOU in our studio, polish and hand sign your own plates!

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    Pledge $165 or more About $165

    1) Two 4x5 archival digital prints of randomly selected scanned tintypes. Printed on Brilliant Supreme Luster paper. 2) TWO of your very own, one of a kind, half plate 4x5 tintypes. All hand signed, dated and polished. 3) A signed, 10x8 sixty page soft cover artist book by Orchid and the bee.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $190 or more About $190

    1) Two 4x5 archival digital prints of randomly selected scanned tintypes. Printed on Brilliant Supreme Luster paper. 2) TWO of your very own, one of a kind, half plate 4x5 tintypes. All hand signed, dated and polished. 3) A signed, 5x8 forty page soft cover artist book by Orchid and the Bee. 4) A Kickstarter only special. We'll photograph 2 plates of YOU in our studio, polish and hand sign your own plates!

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $290 or more About $290

    1) Two 4x5 archival digital prints of randomly selected scanned tintypes. Printed on Brilliant Supreme Luster paper. 2) TWO of your very own, one of a kind, half plate 4x5 tintypes. All hand signed, dated and polished. 3) A signed 10x8 sixty page hard cover artist book. 4) A Kickstarter only special. We'll photograph 2 plates of YOU in our studio, polish and hand sign your own plates!

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    2 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $485 or more About $485

    1) Two 4x5 archival digital prints of randomly selected scanned tintypes. Printed on Brilliant Supreme Luster paper. 2) TWO of your very own, one of a kind, half plate 4x5 tintypes. All hand signed, dated and polished. 3) Both tintypes will be matted and framed. 4) A signed 10x8 sixty page, hard cover artist book. 5) A Kickstarter only special. We'll photograph 4 plates of YOU in our studio, polish and hand sign your own plates!

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    1) Two 4x5 archival digital prints of randomly selected scanned tintypes. Printed on Brilliant Supreme Luster paper. 2) TWO of your very own, one of a kind, half plate 4x5 tintypes. All hand signed, dated and polished. 3) A signed special edition 13x11 sixty page, hard cover artist book. 4) 6 plate session in our studio or THREE 24x30 float mounted print. Shipping and handling not included.

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Funding period

- (30 days)