This wonderful short doc reveals the process of wet plate collodion artist Francesco Mastalia.
At RedShark, we receive scores of user submissions of films and videos. While we're always on the lookout for videos from new cameras or that elucidate some technical aspect of the filmmaking process, we've become increasingly selective about the creative works that we feature. This week, however, we were delighted by one such submission and we're happy to share it with our readers.
The video hails from Barbaric Media and director Zack Ford. Wet Plates is a 10-minute documentary that follows artist Francesco Mastalia, a master at wet plate photography. The wet plate collodion process, which originated in the 1850s, entails coating, sensitizing, exposeing and developing the glass plates in 15 minutes or less (after taking the picture). This often requires the photographer to use a portable darkroom at the location, as seen in the doc.
Detailing the wet plate process is only part of the doc's appeal. Much of what we enjoy from Wet Plates derives from Ford's deft direction and editing, which is sharp and crisp, but allows the important moments room to breathe.
As mentioned in the title, Wet Plates was shot with an iPhone 6s and, aside from some handheld moments, the image held together for the most part. But the fact that it was shot with a smartphone camera is much less important than the work itself, which is first-rate.