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.”
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.
“These cans are the relics of the advancement of our culture, and become sculptural support to what they have witnessed.”
Image credits: Images by David Emitt Adams and used with permission