The James Memorial Art Center

The James Memorial Art Center

621 1st Ave W. P.O. Box 1714 Williston, ND 58802-1714

Phone: 701-774-3601


Monday - Thursday -- 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Friday & Sunday -- 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday -- CLOSED

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“Souls of Silver


Shane Balkowitsch

Gallery I


November 2-28


Each and every day the world is filled with millions and millions of digital photographs that have no value, character, significance or physical form. That is not the case with a wet plate. The wet plate collodion process is magical, and the end result is tangible and precious.

Digital photography relies on technology. Wet plate photography relies on 160-year-old chemistry, a bit of magic, and some luck. I think it is very important that as technology moves forward, we embrace and continue to celebrate and not forget important processes from the past. Wet plate photography is one of those processes. Every time I show someone the wet plate process, they are absolutely amazed regarding the ability to get a photograph using some chemicals and pieces of hand-cut glass.

I am very proud to be the only person pouring wet plates in the state of North Dakota at this time. I made my first wet plate on October 4, 2012. Chad, my brother, was my first subject. It is my goal to capture as many people as I can in this process: friends, family, loved ones or complete strangers, it does not matter. Wet plate photography was such an important medium for expression in the past, and I want it to continue to be today. It has been said that “you do not take a wet plate photograph, it is given to you,” and this is so very true. I am very proud to continue to represent this historic process in my home state.