I believe I'm obsessed with wet plate and tin type photography. I think that is a safe thing to say. I love it. LOVE it. I'm constantly daydreaming about the day when I'll be able to mix my own wet plate chemicals and build a large format camera to use specifically for wet plate and tin type photography. It's true alchemy. It's being a Wizard; concocting a magical potion that can freeze moments and do it with such style and clarity and contrast. Beautiful.
Sara and I had our wedding portraits done as large, 20x24" tin types by Yige Wang. I love that man. I love our portraits. They are amazing. So when my friend Edith Weiler started concentrating on wet plate photography, I started getting really anxious to watch her. To help her. To sit for her.
Edith is working on a body of wet plate portraits that will be part of an exhibition in November. She asked Sara and I (and Dave Seah) if we would want portraits taken of us by her.
Excuse me? Abso-freaking-lutely.
Every session we've had with Edith has been fantastic. She lets me ask any question I have. She lets me look over her shoulder throughout the entire process. I've got a pretty good feel for how everything should go just by watching people like Yige Wang, Keith Alan De-Franca and Edith make their wet plates and tin types. I'll be ready when the day comes.
Here are some shots from our first session with Edith a few months ago:
This image looks like it's straight out of a WPA photo book from the 1920's, doesn't it? I look like someone during the Depression. This exposure was around 25 seconds, so there is some slight blurring and movement. I kinda like it though - it adds to the "age" of it.
Images were taken in Edith's backyard, with a simple roll of black backdrop paper gaff taped to the back of her house. Her camera is in the foreground to the left.
The front of Edith's camera. She had this really lovely lens cap made from leather. Since Petzval and other older brass lenses don't have apertures, you need a cover over the front of the lens to prevent light from getting in. This gorgeous leather cap was custom made for Edith.
For our next visit with Edith I shaved my beard a bit so that I could look a little different.
The exposures were better this time, especially on Dave's face. I love the tones and the contrast that these images have. These scans are nothing compared to the real plates themselves. If you ever get a chance to see a real wet plate or tin type, please do. They look so much better in real life.
Trying very hard to "look the part" during our shoot. I think I was meant to live in the 1900's.
Looking a little more dapper this time, complete with a bow-tie. Look at those tones. It's gorgeous! it's me, but a me from 1912. I love it.
Edith then wanted to get a shot of Sara and I together:
Please visit Edith's website. She's a treat to work with, and I'm looking forward to working with her in the future.
Wet Plates and Tin Types are amazing.