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Photographer David Emitt Adams Creates Tintype Photos Using Rusty Old Cans

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Using discarded tin cans found on the hot Arizona desert ground, David Emitt Adams has created timeless pieces he calls Conversations with History. The cans are branded with tintype pictures, reflecting ties to the very locations the cans — some of which have been sitting out in the sun for over forty years — were found.

In the words of Adams, “The deserts of the West also have special significance in the history of photography. I have explored this landscape with an awareness of the photographers who have come before me, and this awareness has led me to pay close attention to the traces left behind by others.”
Adams Tin Cans

The cans “have earned a deep reddish-brown, rusty patina. This patina is the evidence of light and time, the two main components inherent in the very nature of photography,” he continues.

Creating the images on the surfaces on the tin cans involve a rather labor-intensive process called wet-plate collodion — which dates back to the 19th century and involves. It’s an interesting process, and one that produces remarkable works of art.

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“These cans are the relics of the advancement of our culture, and become sculptural support to what they have witnessed.”

David Emitt Adams is represented by the Etherton Gallery in Tucson, Arizona. See more of his work on his website.

(via JunkCulture)


Image credits: Images by David Emitt Adams and used with permission


 
 
  • Ed Rhodes

    I would be really careful about picking up cans on public land. If they are old enough, they can be classified as antiquities and are protected. I had a friend in the forest service once tell me that “it’s illegal to litter, but if it sits there for more than 50 years, its illegal to pick it up.” I’m not saying I agree with this, but the artist should be careful about what information he puts out there.

  • Ed Rhodes

    I would be really careful about picking up cans on public land. If they are old enough, they can be classified as antiquities and are protected. I had a friend in the forest service once tell me that “it’s illegal to litter, but if it sits there for more than 50 years, its illegal to pick it up.” I’m not saying I agree with this, but the artist should be careful about what information he puts out there.

  • Ed Rhodes

    Oh, and by the way, the images are awesome!

  • Etherton Gallery

    Thank you for noting the terrific work of David Emitt Adams. We are pleased to represent this fine, emerging fine art photographer.

  • KH

    These are excellent. Very creative.

  • http://www.charlieboucher.com/ CBphotography

    These are fantastic. Very creative, and very well done

  • kshitij

    these are just so… beautiful! absolutely splendid!

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.a.broughton.39 Michael Andrew Broughton

    i’ve been working on something similar using old tarnished silverware to make daguerreotypes.

  • http://twitter.com/vangrafics Jakub Markiewicz

    Check out Ian Ruhter, he makes wet plate prints as well (differently, although uniquely as well).

  • Jamie

    these must be exposed under an enlarger? very cool..

  • Kellam Clark

    David, Brilliant! These are great. Thank You. Lets make a movie wit these..

    Kellam Clark
    Director
    Barking Hand: A Living Tin