tintype

First Post!

I’ve been wanting to add a blog to my website for quite some time now, and finally I just decided that it would be easier to use a site like Squarespace with the built-in capability, rather than using my severely limited knowledge of web development to try and build that on my own. 

This blog will be dedicated to photos and thoughts and more photos, with the hope that someone may find them interesting at some point or another. 

Photo by Clay, Blue Ridge Parkway on a Misty Day

Everything has been foggy lately, one night blurring into the next day, the future feeling unclear. I’m finishing up my 5th year as an Aunspaugh Fellow at the University of Virginia, and I find myself questioning what I even accomplished the past 8 months. I had such lofty goals in August, coming in with bright eyes and a mile-wide grin. Expectations are a dangerous thing; no matter how high or low you think you set the bar, the results are never what you expected. I’ve had a lot of highs and lows this year, with the lows being more prominent. I just thought I’d have so much more work produced at this point.

I started working with wet plate collodion in the fall, and it’s just been a perpetual struggle since then. I think that may be my main frustration about my time as a 5th year (we are called ’the fifth years’ so that’s my identifier). I basically had it working when I started, but then I was discouraged from using the process so I set it aside. When I finally picked it back up in December, nothing was working or making sense anymore. Here are my first three (in order):  

Something really interesting is that when you zoom in super close on the first scan, you can actually see a ghostlike image of what’s in the third scan. I love that ethereal quality to this process. Plus there is something so magical about the tangible quality of a tintype, like it becomes this precious object possessing some sort of soul or spirit. The layering of chemicals and image create something more than what you get with a simple photograph. I just love it. Anyway, the struggle bus was real on this. After I picked it back up, all I kept getting were blank blank blank blank plates. Something still inherently interesting to them, but certainly not what I was aiming for:

After many forum/facebook group postings earnestly begging for tips on how to move forward, I believe my next step will be to purchase some premixed collodion (instead of making it myself). The general consensus is that it’s my collodion causing the blankness on the plates. Unfortunately my 5th year exhibition basically just put me at $0 so I’ll have to wait a bit to order it. Everything, just... so sad. 

On a positive note, I still love wet plate collodion and can’t wait to move forward with it, whenever that may be. I intend to really get intense with it this summer, so once it’s working I will be offering tintype portrait sessions starting at $75. :)