Photographer Uses iPhone Rear Panel As Wet Collodion Photo Plate


The amazing result combines old and new.

When it comes to iPhoneography, “retro” usually refers to adding some light leaks, desaturating some colors or adding fake grain. But for Jake Potts, it means taking the iPhone’s rear glass panel, turning it into a wet collodion plate and taking a real photograph with it. And because he’s a true photo nerd, he also documented every step of the process.

Wet collodion was a short-lived photographic process that lasted about 30 years back at the end of the 19th century, in between Daguerrotypes and dry gelatin plates (pretty much what we know as modern film). It was a real pain to use, too: you have to coat a glass plate, sensitize it to light, expose, develop and fix the image, all in about a quarter of an hour.

This lens is 130 years old.

And this is just what Jake did, using a spare glass rear panel without a logo as the glass plate and preparing it in a darkroom before shooting through a lens dating back to 1872.

Thankfully, the collodion process is quicker than film in one way – it only takes 15 seconds to develop instead of minutes, and as it’s a single frame on glass, you can do it in a tray instead of winding it onto a spiral and putting it in a tank.

Remember this? Photography used to use chemicals!


The result is beautiful, and a total one-off. Although I guess you could snap a photo of it and share it to Instagram pretty easily. And like the collodian process itself, it looks like Jake’s pioneering work will soon die out too, if the new iPhone has an aluminum rear panel instead of glass, as all the rumors suggest.

Source: Bruton Stroube blog