Posts Tagged ‘tintype’
If film is dying, then tintype photography has been extinct for years, but there’s still one studio/gallery in San Francisco that can immortalize your portrait using this classic method in as little as 20 minutes. This video done by Cool Hunting Video shows store co-founder Michael Shindler going through the whole process, from prepping the plates, to taking the photos with a modified camera, to developing the one-off direct positive. The results, as usual, speak for themselves.
Last week we shared an interesting video that shows how Civil War-era tintype photographs were created. Here’s another video on the process from a different angle: instead of discussing or showing the technical details, Michigan-based photographer Robert Shimmin talks about its history and his own journey with tintype photography. He says that the process is “a little bit like cooking and a little but like alchemy”. Unlike with more modern forms of photography, shooting tintypes forces Shimmin to carefully consider each shot due to the fact that each one requires so much time and effort.
Did you know that in vintage tintype photographs of infants mothers were often present in the photo but hidden by a veil? Subjects needed to remain still due to the longer exposure times required back then, so mothers were often asked to hold their children tightly while the portraits were being exposed. It was common practice back then, but the resulting photos are pretty eerie when you look at them now.
Photo restorer Bob Rosinsky of Top Dog Imaging wrote an interesting article describing how he restored a tintype photograph from the 1870s brought to him by a client.
My standard operating procedure is to use an ultra-high resolution camera combined with a top-of-the-line macro lens to photograph tintypes. I use strobe lights to illuminate the artwork. Strobes produce “hard” light, much like the sun on a clear day. In addition to the strobes, I place a polarizer over the camera lens and polarizer gels over the strobe lights. This eliminates all reflections and enables the camera to pick up a greater tonal range along with more detail.
[...] I began the laborious process of restoration, which involved a prodigious amount of retouching.
Reminds us a bit of this 76-year-old Chinese Photoshop master’s work.
P.S. Earlier this week another tintype photo from the same decade sold for $2.3 million.
There’s a new entry in the list of most expensive photographs, and this time it’s not a fine art photo. Over the weekend, the only existing photograph of legendary outlaw Billy the Kid sold at auction for a whopping $2.3 million to billionaire Bill Koch, becoming the 4th most expensive photo in the world.
One of the few artifacts remaining from Billy’s life is a 2×3 inch ferrotype taken by an unknown photographer sometime in late 1879 or early 1880. It is the only picture of Billy that is universally agreed upon as an authentic photo of Billy. The ferrotype survived because after Billy’s death, Dan Dedrick, one of Billy’s rustler friends, held onto the picture and passed it down in his family. [#]
The tintype photo was previously estimated to be worth between $300K and $400K.