T I N T Y P E

P H O T O G R A P H Y

in today's digital-driven world, there's something about holding an image you made on a piece of metal, knowing it will last over a century.

I had the chance to take a tintype class at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where I work. I was excited to learn how to make these beautiful, stark images.

HISTORY

Tintype photography began in the U.S.

in the mid-1800s, around the Civil War era, as a cheaper alternative to the daguerreotype and quickly became the picture making preference of the people. Tintypes were the cheapest, easiest, and fastest to produce, as well as the most accurate method of photography that had yet existed, preceding the arrival of film at the end of the century.

PROCESS

coat a black aluminum plate with collodion and silver nitrate.

set up a large format camera, your shot, and adequate lighting.

once the setup is ready (sometimes hard with an upside-down image), load in your plate!

then run back to the darkroom to develop it. note: your plate is the only copy of your image.

take the picture!

put it in the fixer and watch the image turn from negative to positive! then, in the wash.

keep trying for the best image.

to finish the image, coat with shellac varnish and stick it in a special toaster to let it set.

RESULTS

from this...

...to this!

"We don't need perfect photographs– we want interesting photographs."

–our instructor, Zoey Melf

“A tintype can capture someone’s personality, the pluses and the flaws. I haven’t found another medium that captures as efficiently and honestly as a tintype.”

–Giles Clement

for me, this class was a chance to slow down, immerse myself in the process, and rethink my approach to photography, as well as the whole medium itself. perhaps it's your turn to learn the dance of silver and light.

all images created in Zoey Melf's spring 2016 Tintype Photography Workshop at MCAD in Minneapolis, Minnesota. for more info, check out this story I wrote: mcad.edu/features/making-tintypes-zoey-melf

#creative #tintype #photography #tutorial ❧ instagram.com/ritakovtun ritakovtun.com

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