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Modern Day Tintypists
October 14, 2008 10:29 AM   Subscribe

21st Century Tintypes : Modern day tintypists are Preserving the Past (A Natl. Geographic video on the tintype work of Robb Kendrick). An interview, NYTimes article and an NPR story, and a on Robb Kendrick. For some, like John Coffer, the process becomes an entire way of life. (Coffer also offers training.) View the work of a few other modern day tintypists.

Background: The classic tintype process (including formula) and a less-detailed (and drier) explanation: Making Tintypes. Early photographic techniques and early "True Pictures": I, II, III, IV, V. The history of the process. (Previously: 1, 2)
posted by spock (12 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Correction: The link "a few other modern day tintypists" is actually all the work of Kendrick. The names are of his subjects. Spock regrets the error.
posted by spock at 10:50 AM on October 14, 2008


Would it be rude of me to also mention the the small Daguerreotype revival? Jerry Spagnoli seems to be the modern master of "The mirror with a memory". Make your own. Chuck Close + Kate Moss = possibly NSFW Daguerreotype
posted by well_balanced at 11:02 AM on October 14, 2008


I was fortunate to work with an artist who worked in tintypes, and it's a very interesting process. it really appealed to the nuts & bolts side of my brain since so much is built up from scratch. I can easily see myself slipping into a sepia-toned world and making tintypes on scavenged glass in the trunk of my car. I could leave the "art world" behind and take off on a DIY nomadic art trip. *sigh*

Unfortunately the artist I worked with seems to have dropped off the the chunk of the world that Google searches, but some examples of her older work are here.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:17 AM on October 14, 2008


Fascinating stuff, and it really makes the work of early photographers seem that much more daunting.
posted by tommasz at 12:26 PM on October 14, 2008


I misread this as "tinytypists." Would that it were true!
posted by lumensimus at 1:06 PM on October 14, 2008


Thanks, spock. Great post.
posted by paperpete at 1:29 PM on October 14, 2008


Nice stuff but I have always wondered why the urge to return to an earlier way of doing things instead of doing a nice job with present day techniques...how many of readers of my sneering comment here posted revert to snail mail with quill pens? Nutty Ezra Pound said: Make it new! for art
posted by Postroad at 1:36 PM on October 14, 2008


I have a friend who does this. One of my favorites.
posted by Brittanie at 1:45 PM on October 14, 2008


Nice stuff but I have always wondered why the urge to return to an earlier way of doing things instead of doing a nice job with present day techniques...
I'm sure there are a multitude of reasons ranging from more creative control, since youre doing almost everything from scratch, to the people like 1f2frfbf and myself who enjoy the techy side of things. In the end though, I think the answer is, because it's fun, both to look at and to make.
posted by piedmont at 2:16 PM on October 14, 2008


but I have always wondered why the urge to return to an earlier way of doing things instead of doing a nice job with present day techniques

A few years back when many were signalling the Death of Film I started to investigate whether I could still do traditional processes with digital equipment and/or find a way to continue using a film substitute in the absence of the Big Four, so I made dry plates (emulsion on glass). If you tilt the glass just so the light will reflect off the surface instead of going through it, there's something about seeing negatives that way ... I was enthralled. I'm not sure what excites me about it; if it's the lenses [nsfw], the process or both but I want to try. Coffer's manual arrived about a week ago, so I'll be joining the ranks of black paws soon.

I suspect a lot of folks who love film are thinking the same way and, why there seems to be a revival in alternative processes.

I [heart] Mark's wet plates.
posted by squeak at 4:38 PM on October 14, 2008


but I have always wondered why the urge to return to an earlier way of doing things instead of doing a nice job with present day techniques

Don't think of it as earlier, think of it as different. You ever seen a tintype up close and personal? Different animal. It's all good.

Taking it to the extreme, why paint when you can point and click?
posted by IndigoJones at 5:08 PM on October 14, 2008


Nice stuff but I have always wondered why the urge to return to an earlier way of doing things instead of doing a nice job with present day techniques...

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about technology in art. I have an electric potter's wheel and a computer controlled kiln, as well as my computer and Photoshop for my day job. But I do remember the thrill of actually getting out in the world and shooting large format images and then developing them in a light-proof tent, on the spot in the trunk of your car. Then you can hold a sheet of film or pane of glass up to the setting sun and see again what you just saw, only preserved forever. There's a feeling of intimacy and of actually doing that is sometimes missing from jiggling pixels. Everything you're looking at and seeing has come from your own hands and mind and not out of a box at the photo store. Like I said, there's a moment there where you realize that the gate to the world of Art doesn't have to be so high and you can get past all the bullshit of the critics and galleries and get out there and just create.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:31 AM on October 15, 2008


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