Allan Barnes’ Wet Plate Dreamworld

Model: Maggie of Lucent Dossier. Collar by Dream Rockwell.

LA-based Allan Barnes’ love of “Jurassic” image-making technologies – ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, instant film, and the like – lends itself well to his portraits of artists, models and performers from the LA scene. Recently, his work has displayed a greater degree of sartorial opulence thanks to contributions from the likes of Lucent Dossier’s Dream Rockwell (who created the collar above), Billy and Mellie (formerly) of Antiseptic, and one Miss Laila (responsible for the masks/headpieces below, though there’s no known URL for her work), among others. Sadly, many of the most stunning images are marred by what I consider to be a gruesome watermark, but that doesn’t dissuade me from sharing them after the jump. Barnes is also a teacher, so LA residents interested in learning old-timey processes are encouraged to follow him on Flickr for updates on workshops in the area.

[via httf]

Dr. Mangor and Laila. Wet plate collodion on aluminum. Makeup by Meg.

New plates, May 2010. Costume by Dream. Wet plate collodion on aluminum.

Model: Nickie Jean. Wings by Antiseptic.

New plates, May 2010. Wet plate collodion on aluminum. Models: Alexandra and Yellow Strange. Production: Roywnn Michelle Dumont

Ambrotype on ruby glass. Wardrobe: Antiseptic. Model: Nickie Jean.

New plates, May 2010. Wings by Billy of Antiseptic Fashion. Model: Skin.

Billy (center) + Models Skin, Nickie Jean, and Asphyxia. Producer: Rowynn Michelle.

12 Responses to “Allan Barnes’ Wet Plate Dreamworld”

  1. Tertiary Says:

    Very, very skillful wetplate work.
    I agree that the watermark is a bit much, but I’m sure these would be everywhere, uncredited, without it. Things being what they are.

  2. Alexandra Mathews Says:

    Hey Nadya! Glad you posted this, we just shot with him last week. Would you credit me as Alexandra ^.^ xx

  3. roseymoss Says:


  4. Nadya Says:

    @Alexandra Yeah, sure thing! I was just copying & pasting his credits, I wasn’t sure what you went by these days. Is that you in the first pic (wearing Dream’s ruff)?

  5. Dave C Says:

    Wow – I LOVE these! Excellent work!

  6. Tequila Says:

    I usually only enjoy this kind of work ( the modern use of it that is) on a technical level. At times the subject matter isn’t engaging or trying really really hard to look old and ancient. In this case you have a great use of technique, style, and subject matter that meshes well. There are enough little details to make the eye go back vs. just going “Oh pretty!…next.”

    That first image is the strongest of the set and one I would not have guess was of THIS time.

    I like the challenge of producing this digitally but seeing someone do this in the analog world is fantastic. More so since its increasingly difficult to find people good at it. Quality work, would love to see the original some day.

    The watermark DOES suck…but understandable. Just happy to see it online at all.

  7. Jules Says:

    hey :)
    The first picture is Maggie from Lucent Dossier/ Maggot from Emilie Autumn crumpets

  8. Nadya Says:

    Jules, thanks for the clarification. I have revised my captions, but please note that on Allan’s site, the model you said is named Maggie is credited as Alex:

  9. Allan Barnes Says:

    Hi folks,
    Thanks for your comments. I understand that some people would find a big red signature a bit hideous (When asked I always am willing to provide publications with watermark free versions!) but I have noticed my work appearing in other places sans credit, sans permission, so until I get my book together and published, folks will have to grit their teeth and see red.
    My work, I think, has gotten better since I’ve been collaborating with Rowynn MIchelle Dumont, who came to me to do a directed study, and has assisted and coordinated many of these projects. Without her energy, I might just be another one of these guys making shots of people wearing top hats and goggles.

    If Nadya cares to allow me to do a bit of shameless self promo:
    My next workshop is the weekend of July 4th at Translight Colors.
    Linkee here:

    If I have mixed up any of the model’s names, I apologize, but some of the models go by more than one name, and I’m already bad with names.

  10. marvin Says:

    Congratulations, Allan! Well deserved review. Hope you return to Detroit soon, so we can arrange for a shoot!

  11. Alexandra Mathews Says:

    Thank you Nadya =)

  12. Rowynn Michelle Dumont Says:

    Hello Nadya,
    I wanted to thank you first of all for acknowledging and giving me production credits. I appreciate it. I also just wanted to let you know that the name of the model on the 3rd photo from the top, with the collar by Dream, is Niko Sonnberger. :)