Quinn is a remarkable wet plate photographer who in this video demonstrates very plainly how it works and makes it look deceptivley simple.
What better way to spend a day off than to load all my camera gear into the car and head out into the field with my model, my daughter, Sara to make some photographs. The location is pretty out of the way, so we had a quiet afternoon, however working around the old dry stacked stone ruins that stand over 20 feet tall was a bit nerve wracking. The approach to the mill and the descent into the bottom is a bit tricky, but I had to make some images here soon as I don't know how long it will continue to stand as it is.
Here is a short video that I made of clips we took during the shoot.
I had the opportunity to visit with my parents this morning to show them what I have been doing for the last year and a half. I brought out my 8x10 wet plate camera and darkroom to make some photographs of them.
My parents have been married for 68 years this past August. My father met my mom when they were kids and they married shortly before he joined the navy and shipped out to the Pacific at the end of World War 2. They traveled together as his 30 years service in the Navy took them from one place to another. My mom raised my two older brothers alone while my dad was away at sea, living in Barcelona, Spain, San Diego, California, Rhode Island Connecticut, finally settling here in Virginia.
Dad saw action aboard an L.S.T. during the war and was present for some of the great events of the war, such as the battle of Okinawa and the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll.
Like all kids, I have had my ups and downs with my parents, but as I have gotten older, had a family of my own, and grown older myself, I can say that I am now closer to them than I have ever been. I value their advice and opinions more than ever before and I have never known two more generous people in my life. They have never failed to love & support me in whatever I have done, and for that I am forever thankful. I pray that I am half the parent to my kids that they are to me.
Thomas C. Roche (1826–1895) was a photographer known for his photographs of the Civil War. Roche's first job as a professional photographer was for Henry Anthony, a chemist in New York, and his brother Edward, for whom he took photographs of the city and the harbor starting in 1859. He continued to work for the Anthonys during the war, making photographs for his company's popular "Instantaneous Views." He also traveled on the front lines with the Army of the James. An anecdote describes Roche's reaction to the horrors of war: after an artillery shell exploded next to him, it was said, "shaking the dust from his head and his camera he quickly moved to the spot and, placing it over the pit made by the explosion, exposed his plate as coolly as if there were no danger."After the war Roche returned to work for the Anthonys, with whom he published a book on photography.
I am continually astounded at the level of technical mastery that these men had during the war. Under such stressful circumstances, the plates that they created, full of tonal range and amazing detail, are simply awe inspiring.
Author and photographer Jill Enfield gives a great lecture for B&H camera about the history of photographic processes and how that in the 21st century we have 3 centuries of photographic history to draw upon as artists.
I always love it when I can collaborate with my daughter, Sara on some images. We had a day off together, and set up the darkroom to make some portraits. This was only the second time that I had made images since returning from Coffer's workshop, and so far the training has paid off very well. I had corrected some mechanical problems with my camera at camp Tintype that John had suggested and that seemed to help clear up some of my fogging problems. These are 5x7 clear glass ambrotypes.
I have had the pleasure of making photographs of Sara all her life, but I have never been happier than with these. She is beginning to go out on her own and will soon be gone from my daily life. I hope for not too long at a time, she really has the power to make her old man look good.
Wow, where do I begin? Sometimes you begin a project far in advance of your knowledge of it. I have photographed weddings and portraits with digital equipment for almost a decade now, and in that time I have seen mainstream photography and honestly, just life in general get faster and more disposable, I needed to slow down and begin to approach things much more deliberately. I had my start with film and worked in a black and white darkroom in Roanoke for 8 years or so. I always loved film and the chemistry that goes along with it's careful processing, enjoying the feel of fiber paper and the magic of watching the image develop in the tray. That's what I wanted back, a slower, more thoughtful and deliberate way of working and most importantly, to be true to myself, my vision, not always shooting to please my clients creating great images for them, but ones that I am not attached to personally. It was time to start a new direction. Over the last 15 years, I have been doing small things that all led here, now, this moment. Now with the full realization of the project, literally on my hands, I am thrilled with the clarity that is sometimes so hard to come by as an artist. It's rare that I, at least have a clear vision of the next day's work, let alone the next year or longer. However after spending the last week in New York studying with John Coffer on his farm at Camp Tintype, I see it. The fog began to clear almost two years ago, when I decided that I was going to master the craft of wet plate photography and devote myself to it's study and practice. The first thing I knew, before I purchased my camera, before I built my equipment, anything, was that if I was really serious, I had to begin with studying under John Coffer, no one else would do. I don't make a habit of traveling 9 hours for a workshop that in total, would cost me quite a lot of money, but I did this time. I was lucky enough to secure one of the last spots in his 2013 schedule for August, I studied, made a lot of my equipment, and purchased the rest, preparing for the first step.
I arrived on Wednesday evening, took a look around, met John and one other student, Mike from Arkansas, and set up camp. Day one was up early and hit the ground running, going over chemistry and processes, pouring collodion plates over and over, wiping the mistakes and trying again until we got the pour. After lunch, I shot my first plates at the farm. We began shooting John't skeleton model with pretty good results right away, later that night we tried out hand at some selective coloring. Mastering the eye to estimate exposures in ever changing lighting situations in the field will obviously take a lot of time and practice, but I will get it. This is John's chicken coop, underexposed. We made clear glass wet plate negatives that were intensified for use in making albumen prints. The paper was coated late at night in John's quiet cabin in an almost meditative fashion and hung to dry. The next day we exposed the paper with the glass negative to make some great gold toned albumen prints. I will be doing alot of this I think this winter. Sunday evening after Mike & Chris had gone back home, I came back to the farm and spoke with John & Ann about what I had done that afternoon and then Ann had to get going. Leaving John and I to sit on his old picnic table and just talk about mundane stuff as we watched the darkness roll in. We spoke of his journeys in the wagon, his house, and the construction of the farm, and how without his community of neighbors he would not have lasted there this long, how you need to choose your friends and partners carefully, and why we do the things we do. I spent that last night in the woods behind the cabin with my head swimming with new ideas and going over and over what I had learned and rose early the next morning inspired and readyto get a head start home on that long 9 hour drive back to Virginia, but sad to leave the farm.
This is a portrait of John that I made on the last day. I like it, it's got developer issues, that stuff is unforgiving, but, at the end of the workshop four days later, I have learned so very much, about the new craft that I am challenging myself with, about myself, and what I am capable of but sometimes just wont allow myself to accomplish out of fear, how that fear of....i'm not exactly sure what it is a fear of, maybe success, failure, self realization whatever, can work it's way into everyday life, get comfortable, and LIVE THERE.
I admire John for being who he is, doing at every turn what people say can't or shouldn't be done, living true to himself and his beliefs, and living simply, quietly and for the most part, detached from modern society. I hope that I can follow his example, living a simpler, less cluttered life, slowing down the pace of our days and making the most of them, not concerning ourselves with all the many things that so many seem to think are so important, but really are not. I have 2014 Jamboree marked on my calendar for next year, I hope to bring John some great examples of what he taught me.
A short film on the beauty of finding the world again through the smallest of apertures.
Manuel Gomes Teixeira, photographer and Platinum Palladium printer, usually uses traditional methods, with photographic film in medium and large format cameras.Invited by the exclusive distributor of Leica cameras in Portugal, he tested the Leica Monochrom. The high quality files, showing a rich tonal range, adapt very well to Platinum printing.
Serg Shushyn,otherwise known as Mr. Flawless. I just came across his new website portfolio where he had the most beautiful and inspirational video posted of himself photographing a model in the wet plate collodion manner.
Okay everyone, in this video from B&H camera, photographer Francesco Mastalia gives us a seminar on the history of photography, and how wet plate relates to the digital age and why it is so important. The lighting is low because he is giving a slideshow presentation but the schooling is solid. Get out your notebooks kids. ;)
I spent the best part of this afternoon making two plexiglass liner boxes for my silver nitrate and potassium cyanide fixer. I borrowed a nice little table saw from my father and smoothly cut the plexiglass to the measures sizes for my boxes. I then used a plexiglass epoxy to secure the pieces together. I discovered a small leak in the first one after a quick water test and quickly patched it up with more epoxy. I will let them dry overnight and begin work on the outer boxes on Monday. I also nearly finished a plate box to carry my 8x10 glass plates safely around. I will describe that later when it's done.
Photography has conquered new grounds and has seen its popularity grow by leaps and bounds with innovation in the field of camera electronics, expression styles, medium of sharing one’s work with the world and of-course with the help of new age editing software and techniques. Digital photography has swamped this creative discipline but the art of Analog photography still finds its existence within a select few. This short documentary video from Thai Anh Duong takes you behind-the-scenes of Billy Mork’s passion involving analog film printing.
When for him the craft of photography evolved into something less personal and true, even vapid and uninspiring, he sought a new way to approach his craft, and he found his future in the past. By using a very old approach to photography, he now exploring stories, people and places though the lens of the world’s largest portable camera and records life using a wet plate process from the 1850's.His project Silver and Light was a risky exploration of inspiration, passion and creative process, and his video has become an Internet sensation.The project tells many stories both in print (metal plates) and the videos that offer compelling insight into peoples’ lives, fears and success. Ian reflected on his upbringing, challenges as a child, successes and failures as a photographer and how, by losing his way and journeying back to the mid-nineteenth century where one paints with silver and light, and how this revelation in which he embraced the past while utilizing the technological advances of the future allowed him to find the component—and creative fulfillment—he was searching for. A few notable comments (paraphrased) by Ian: "If everything happens for a reason, maybe the future is already written. Do I have control of my destiny or is it fate?" "Photography gave me a voice and that was the missing link I had been looking for my whole life." "The ability to dream is what makes things possible. I work in the space of my dreams and thoughts." "Dyslexia is my greatest gift. That's what led me to the gift of photography." "I could make my own film. If I learned how to make it no one could take that away from me." "When the first plate worked, we were like, whoa, now what? It would’ve so much easier if it had failed." On the DTES: "Every city you go to has the same kinds of problems. Being in places like this inspires me."
The George Eastman House has produced a wonderful short film describing the history and process of the Gelatin Silver print.
I stumbled across this very interesting video from the Getty Museum about the history and techniques behind creating the daguerreotype,the first commercially successful photographic process, invented around 1837 by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre. The daguerreotype itself is a direct positive made in the camera on a silvered copper plate.