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.