I was honored to make two really lovely tintypes of Rachel and her beautiful baby, Bennett. This particular project has been plagued by the wide variety of challenges that the wet plate collodion process presents. In the winter, the collodion wasn’t setting properly. Then, on a sunny Spring day, the developer was too “hot” and overdeveloping the images.
And then, of course, we were up against the inherent challenges of photographing a wiggly little baby with a photographic process that demands long exposures and complete stillness.
Needless to say, it was all quite a challenge. I could see the image that I wanted in my head, but the plates just were not working out as I envisioned.
I owe many thanks to Rachel– her calm demeanor and patience kept me positive and willing to keep working through all the challenges, in pursuit of making a nice tintype plate of that image in my head.
We finally got two really beautiful plates and I’m sort of thinking that this might turn out to be the beginning of a lovely little series of mothers…
Hello all and many apologies for the lack of posts over the last month or so. I have been quite busy travelling on the East Coast and in Mexico- without the Gypsy, sadly, though I do have a master plan to eventually figure out how to get the Gypsy to both of those places to make some beautiful tintype plates. One day…. (*sigh*)
Between travels, I have been hard at work making lots of new images. Mostly big and beautiful 8×10 tintype plates. The resolution on the large plates is really quite amazing and there is a really wonderful depth to the images when you see the actual plates in person. The digital scans and uploads look pretty good, but there is definitely a little something lost in translation. And, if you are in the Portland, Oregon area, you will be able to see these plates in person on July 27, when they will be on display at the wonderful alternative arts center, Disjecta. Very exciting!
I have been continuing to collaborate with artist Francesca Berrini on a series of images featuring her current artistic creations, which she labels ‘Post-Apocolyptic Couture’. She painstakingly constructs large woven structures and amazing garments from foraged pieces of nature: moss hanging from branches, cedar, twigs, bark… Our collaboration over the last several months will come to fruition on July 27 at Disjecta- Francesca’s creations will be brought to life in a live ‘fashion show’ of sorts and my tintype plates will be on display. The Gypsy will also be at the event and there just might be a demonstration of the wet plate collodion process…. event details are still being solidified.
Here are some of the new images, which will be featured at the Disjecta exhibit. I am really happy with the way that these images turned out… dark and stormy, haunting and mysterious.
I am currently very excited and extremely honored to be working on a collaboration with wonderful artist, Francesca Berrini. Francesca has been constructing intricate and beautiful haute couture gowns out of natural elements, like reeds and sticks. Over the next several months, she and I wil be collaborating by creating 8×10 tintype images featuring these dresses. For our first outing, we traveled with the Tin Gypsy out to a beautiful little spot right on the outskirts of Portland, OR. The beaches of Sauvie Island provided the fog-shrouded, otherworldly backdrop that we had hoped for. It was a sunny, but quite chilly, day and our models, both modern dancers with high threshholds for discomfort, had to shiver through the 20 minute wait time between shots while I hiked back and forth to the Gypsy darkroom to prepare and process the plates.
Salted paper printing. One of the very first photographic printing processes dating back to 1833. The process involves coating a sheet of paper first in a solution of salts and gelatin, and then coating it again with a light-sensitive emulsion of silver nitrate. The paper is dried and then sandwiched with a negative in a contact printing frame and put out in the sunshine to develop. After anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes in the sun, the image will appear on the coated paper and is ready to rinse, tone, fix and dry. The final salt print has beautiful cool sepia tones and dramatic contrast.
I have been out in the Tin Gypsy making salt prints like a mad-woman over these past couple of months, taking advantage of the lucky abberation of a sunny November and December in Portland, Oregon. The process requires a lot of patience and is difficult to perfectly execute, but is very rewarding. I love that each and every print is handmade and unique… Some prints are a bit lighter or a bit darker on exposure, depending on the quality of light that is present- printing in bright direct sunlight produces a very high contrast print, while printing in softer diffused light makes for a more subtle tonality. Each salt print will also have slightly different framing and edges, from the brushstrokes of applying the silver nitrate by hand to each piece of paper.