Tintype Portrait Studio to be held at Light Work
Keliy Anderson-Staley, the Light Work Artist-in-Residence for the month of August, is inviting members of Community Darkrooms, Syracuse University, and the public to have a tintype portrait taken at the Light Work studio between August 5 and 28. Sitters can come solo or with a loved one or friend. Keliy will explain the process while producing the images and will send a digital scan of the portrait to each sitter who provides an email address. All are welcome, but appointments must be scheduled in advance with Keliy at email@example.com. Keliy will ask each sitter to sign a model release to allow her to use the image as part of an ongoing series of portraits.
Keliy works with the wet plate collodion process, the leading mode of photography in the 1850’s and 1860’s. Tintypes are positive images exposed onto metal, the same as the antique photographs that are often found in paper sleeves or small case frames in yard sales and attics. Keliy hand-mixes her chemistry using the actual chemical formulas of the period and vintage equipment including brass lenses and wooden view cameras to reproduce the antique look and style of this medium while photographing decidedly modern individuals.
The wet plate collodion image captures a pose held over several seconds or even minutes (because of this sitters can’t smile–hence the very serious look of the people in old photographs). This prolonged gaze creates a tension between the sitter and the camera. While a snapshot captures a moment about a 1/1000 of a second long, the tintype process allows for a portrait to unfold over time; the image produced can then slow down our process of looking. The experience of the shoot becomes as important as the product. As was the case in the nineteenth century, the shoot becomes an event, a performance, in which the camera, the chemistry, the photographer and the model all come together to preserve a face for posterity.
Contact: Jessica Heckman, Light Work/Community Darkrooms, 443-1300, firstname.lastname@example.org