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Wet-plate photography was invented in 1851 and by the late 1850's had surpassed the daguerreotype process as the predominate photograpic medium in use. As the name implies the process relied on maintaining a wet plate through-out the process thus limiting the time a photographer has to work with a sensitized plate. Even with these technical drawbacks, the 19th century photographers were able to bring an immediacy of image never before seen. The hey-day of the wet-plate process lasted into 1880's when it was superseded by the easier dry-plate process which freed the photographer from the immediate need to develop the exposed plate within minutes of exposure.
The medium provides a unique canvas to capture both historic recreations of mid-19th century life or modern subject matter.