John Oliver is a Greensboro, NC-based photographer who started taking pictures around 1997. He took a break from photography for awhile but started taking it seriously again a few years ago. These days, it’s no longer a hobby, it’s turned into an obsession! He currently shoots with a Sony A7, but his heart still belongs to film, and especially printing in the darkroom.

You can find more of his work and words on his personal website and on Film Foto Forever. This article was originally published here, and is being republished with express permission.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting the founder of the Music Maker Relief Foundation, Tim Duffy, and Music Maker’s Artist Services Coordinator, Aaron Greenhood. Music Maker is doing great things to help support southern musicians. You can read all about it and help support the foundation at

I met Tim and Aaron while hanging out at Ken’s shop. Tim was at Ken’s place to get some repairs made on one of his lenses that he uses for Wet Plate Photography. After talking for a while, I asked if they would be willing to make a portrait of my daughter and me. I have thousands of photos of my 14 month old daughter, but very few of us together, as I am usually the one behind the camera. They enthusiastically agreed and we set up an appointment.

I was very excited because although I have read about the wet plate collodion process, I have never seen it done in person. Tim and Aaron were gracious enough to let me take some photos of the process and to also make a portrait of my nephews as well. The following are some of the photos of the process. I wish I would have taken more, but honestly I was so mesmerized by the process that I was far more interested in watching what they were doing and almost forgot to document it.

I hope you enjoy this brief look behind the scenes!

Aaron Greenhood prepping the tin with Collodion

Tim Duffy framing the portrait of my nephews. Normally, Tim photographs southern musicians as part of his documentary work at Music Maker Relief Foundation.

The View Camera used for the portraits circa early 1900s

Aaron fixing the plate in Potassium Cyanide

Both plates drying on a heating table

Tim prepping the lacquer to apply to the plates

The final portrait of my daughter Vera and I

Tim Duffy (right) Founder of the Music Maker Relief Foundation and Aaron Greehood (left)