Built around a self-contained, solar-powered, biodiesel, mobile photographic studio and darkroom, the goal is a Mission of Human Exploration. Together with my trusted K9 companion, Buddy-Dog, I am traveling the country in search of people. Utilizing digital photography and wet plate tintype photography, a technique developed and popularized in the 1850's, the subject of this expedition is you.
"We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its' glory. "
- Alan Watts
WHAT IS A TINTYPE?
- IMAGES FASHIONED IN SILVER BY LIGHT -
If you have ever seen a photograph of Abraham Lincoln, that was likely a Tintype, part of the wet plate collodion process. Invented in the 1850's, wet plate collodion was one of the earliest prominent form of photography. Using teams of horses pulling mobile darkroom wagons, or "photographic vans", the fist photographers were traveling chemists. These itinerant shutterbugs roamed from town-to-town producing photographs printed with silver on metal plates that are so durable they survive to this day. In 2019, the horse-drawn wagons may have changed, but the methods remain largely the same.
The magic of tintype photographs resides in their absolute uniqueness. Every image is completely one-of-a-kind and impossible to reproduce exactly. Tintypes are made of silver layered upon aluminum and have an ageless, immutable quality that transcends time. Being handmade, and utilizing equipment from more than a century ago, tintype photography incorporates certain imperfections that leave an alluring, charming quality that heightens their remarkable nature. The psychology of viewing a tintype portrait is undeniably different from a modern digital photograph, and can't quite be expressed in words. It truly must be seen, and experienced, to be appreciated.