While the exact history of the wet-plate collodion process is a little confusing, it is widely credited to Frederick Scott Archer who in 1851 discovered that collodion could replace albumen on glass plates and reduce exposure time. Photographer Joseph Ambrose Cutting then coined the term "ambrotype" and may have based it on his middle name, or some believe Cutting took on the name to enhance his involvement with the development of the ambrotype process. Regardless, the word ambrotype is derived from the greek word ambrotos, meaning immortal.

Collodian is an odorless and highly volatile and toxic chemical mixture that dries as a layer of strong film and was used extensively in the Civil War to treat wounds when mixed with ether. To make an ambrotype - a very complex process - a collodion-covered glass plate is immersed in silver nitrate, exposed in camera, and developed in hand. The resulting image, essentially a thin negative, appears as a positive when backed with dark material, or made on dark glass and is finely detailed with a wide tonal scale.

Ambrotypes were used mainly for portraiture and replaced daguerrotypes as the process of choice because ambrotypes were less expensive and laborious to produce. In turn, ambrotypes were replaced ten years later by tintypes and cartes-de-visite for the same reasons.
Anonymous Photograph
Not knowing creates a very personal story for each viewer. "Vernacular" images or "snapshots" are fun and are in everybody's photo albums. But the "anonymous" photograph is in a league of its own. This is an image that has a very special quality: the intent of the picture-taker was to just take a picture, but the end result goes beyond the snapshot or quickly produced studio portrait. It is highly original in design. It is natural and genuine in emotion. It is a singular image and stops you in your tracks. Extraordinarily beautiful, highly quirky/funky, artfully designed...the anonymous photograph can have any or all of these traits. Though not originally taken with fine art in mind,
it is exactly that.
Archival Digital Print
"Archival" can be defined as an item that will retain its original properties over a long period of time. Its chemical make-up will not self-destruct with time.

There are two requirements to make a digital print archival: 100% cotton (rag) paper and carbon/pigment inks (inks that contain no impurities that deteriorate paper over time). VoxPhotographs only creates digital prints consisting of these two components. Keep reading the entry below to see what your role is in maintaining the archival properties of your prints.
Archival Preservation of Your Digital or Palladium Print
If you want it to last a long, long time...
1. Create an hospitable environment for your paper images by hanging them in a cool, dry place.
2. Limit direct handling of your prints - get them framed and protected as soon as possible.
3. Frame using only glass that filters ultra-violet light, paper products that are completely lignin-free, and use storage plastics that are chemically inert (polyester, polypropylene or polyethylene).
4. Hang your paper images out of direct sunlight.
Book Mat Option
Most people want to choose their own mat and frame; therefore, we ship all prints unmatted so you're not paying for something you will only throw away. However, we are happy to book mat your print for you as an optional charge. The print is mounted with archival corners on a piece of white or slightly off-white matboard. A second piece of matboard has a window cut out of it for photograph viewing and is hinged to the first solid piece at the top. Lignin-free tissue paper is placed between the image and the top mat. $30.00
Digital Darkroom
This replaces the chemical darkroom for many long-time photographers and has become the first stop for younger artists. Instead of a "dark room", artists creating photo-based art use current and constantly updated hardware, software and their chosen digital techniques to effect final images. See a complete explanation at:
Photograph measurements are stated as height first, then width and represent only the size of the image itself, not the sheet on which it is printed.
An edition of prints indicates that a maximum number of prints will be made from the negative used. Each print is marked and sold serially, such as: 1/25. The "1" represents the position of the print in the sequence of the edition, and the "25" represents the total number of prints in the edition. A "limited edition" also allows the artist to make up to 10% of the edition in "artist's proofs" for their own use, and these are marked: A/P.
Most of the replica images you see on come from much smaller originals, some as tiny as 2x2 inches. They are almost all enlarged digitally, and any blemishes are removed at that time.
Hand-Colored and Tinted Photographs
Since 1840, artists have applied color to the surfaces of their black-and-white photographs using anything from watercolors to airbrushes. These images are hand-colored.

Tinted images have had a single color applied to the entire image and this has been done commercially via either dyes or papers.
This is an organic compound in wood that strengthens the cell walls of plant matter.

Unfortunately, when wood pulp is used to make paper, lignin adversely affects the longevity of the paper if not removed during the pulping process. Paper with a lignin content will become yellow and brittle over time. Conversely, using a rag or cotton content in the papermaking process eliminates any presence of lignin in the finished product and all VoxPhotographs prints use these archival papers to ensure your print will last a long, long time. Cotton based papers are estimated to have at least a 100 year life.
Metal Print
This presentation is becoming one of the most popular ways to display photo-based art. An electronic image is infused into coated metal, and an artist or client can select either matte or glossy finishes. An inset frame stabilizes the metal to keep it from bowing, and allows the photograph to float on the wall. A metal print with a matte finish removes the glare that can accompany traditionally-framed photographs protected by glass. A metal print finish can be wiped down with water or glass cleaner. Corners can be square or slightly rounded. Metal prints can be ordered up to 43"x96".
Palladium Print
Although the metals "palladium" and "platinum" are not synonymous, the terms are often used together. Platinum is only found in Russia and was first successfully used to make photographs in the 1840's. During WWI, it was virtually unavailable and its sister metal palladium was found to produce excellent and "warmer" results. Many practitioners today mix platinum and palladium. David Wolfe uses 100% palladium.

Palladium prints are made by hand and directly from the negative, resulting in a print exhibiting extreme clarity. It is a painstaking and complicated process that requires patience and great expertise. But the result is worth it: there is nothing like a palladium print for its tonal scale. The visible depth of the image is almost holographic. It is luminous and warm.

The platinum/palladium print is highly valued for its permanence, and considered the ultimate acquisition for the serious collector.
Pigment Print
Digital prints using pigment inks are archival and very stable if printed on high quality archival papers. Ink sets are now capable of partnering with the latest in high-resolution inkjet technology, and museums, collectors and the artists themselves have fully embraced this printing process. There is no size limit.
Since the time of Aristotle, it has been understood that if light is projected through a small hole, any image between the light source and the opening will be projected through the opening onto a surface on the other side. This knowledge was likely put to use by artists as early as the 15th century (including DaVinci), who, it is speculated, used camera obscura (now known as pinhole) devices as drawing aids, through which process a scene they wanted to paint would become a traceable image.

A pinhole camera has no lens, but instead one very small, round opening or aperture. In its simplest form, it is a light-tight box with a needle-sized hole in one side and a piece of film or photographic paper secured to the other end. When light passes through the opening, it projects an image onto the emulsion. In a more complex form, pinhole cameras can be made by replacing the lens in a conventional camera with a cap containing a tiny hole. The smaller the hole is, the sharper the image.
Photo-Based Art
The word "photograph", as understood during the last 100 years, no longer accurately describes what fine art photographers are creating. The use of continually evolving digital darkroom techniques has exploded the decades-long process of using film to make a photograph, and the visual results of these techniques more often than not provoke the question "What IS this?" from gallery viewers. Most likely, it is nothing they have seen before. Many artists using historic processes (ambrotypes, tintypes, platinum, and film) to create images now combine them with digital processing and printing.
Sepia Tone
Things have come a long way since sepia "ink" was obtained from the secretion of the cuttlefish of the genus Sepia! Today we use the finest carbon-based inks availble to duplicate the gorgeous warm brown hues of most of our vintage images.
Vintage Photograph
The photographs featured on represent the 1880's to the 1980's. They represent another time and this makes them "vintage". But they are vintage also because they have a mysterious staying power and appeal - like, say, a "vintage car". "Vintage wine" often refers to the best wine from the crop of a good year. Well, it's not hard to see our vintage photographs are some of the very best freeze-frames of times gone by.