The ChromaGraphica Double Dry Plate Holder

The ChromaGraphica Double Dry Plate Holder

Dry Plate Holders for 4 x 5, 5 x 7 & 8 x 10

‘The idea for the ChromaGraphica dry plate holder was born out of a desire to make the dry plate process more accessible to the large format community.  

Gelatin dry plate photography is an analogue black and white photographic process which dates from the 1870s when silver halide photographic emulsion was hand-poured onto glass plates and allowed to dry prior to use as a negative.  The development of dry plate negatives made photography more convenient than the wet plate process of the mid-1800s, which required the negative (or positive image) to be exposed and developed onsite.  Due to the greater convenience of flexible film, dry plate photography faded out of common use by the 1930s.  For the past several decades, shooting dry plates has meant making them yourself.  In 2017, I established Pictoriographica and began making and selling my own hand-made dry plates to photographers around the world.  

As word spread about the new availability of dry plates, lack of a suitable solution for dry plate holders quickly became an issue.  Like sheet film, lightproof holders are essential for shooting dry plate.  Most people ended up using 100+ year old holders.  While solutions do exist, I do not think they are ideal.  

In collaboration with Steve Lloyd of Chroma Camera, we now have a satisfactory answer for all of you who have asked:  The ChromaGraphica Double Dry Plate Holder.  

  • Holds two dry plates or other glass- or metal-based media up to 2mm thick.  
  • J Lane Dry Plates and J Lane Speed Plates have been tested extensively with these holders.  
  • Ergonomics and function similar to sheet film holders.  Plates load very similar to film.
  • Dark slide handles have white on one side, black on the other. You can use this to indicate exposed or unexposed.
  • Unique loaded dry plate indicator tells you at a glance whether you have a dry plate loaded or not. 
  • No more running to the darkroom to check if its loaded, or shooting that million dollar shot with an empty holder. 
  • The dry plate indicator also helps removal of the dry plate without touching the emulsion surface (you’ll see it demonstrated in the video).
  • Accommodates film sheath adapters.  Engineers are realists.  I know you won’t be shooting dry plates exclusively.  When you take a break from shooting dry plates, you don’t want a useless holder cluttering up your camera kit.  So we made sure you could still use this holder to load film. 
  • Fits all 4×5 cameras that we’ve been able to test.
  • An engineer’s innate and unavoidable obsession with every tiny technical detail, from materials to two days’ worth of research on historical selections of hinge-cloth.’

From ChromaGraphica website.

More information: The ChromaGraphica Kickstarter project

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This article was written by
David Tatnall

David Tatnall is a Melbourne based fine art photographer.

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