I’ve really wanted to play with various historic photographic techniques for a long time, but I’m limited by the fact that my darkroom and my office are one and the same space. I also have time constraints. Like most people there are so many things I want to do but I just don’t have the time to experiment with everything I’d like to at the moment.
I’ve been thinking about ideas around the convincing nature of both documentary photography and of the material image. Images can be seen as more authentic if they are printed using traditional techniques. Old photographs are wrongly seen as un-manipulated and truthful. At the moment I am about to make contact prints in the darkroom – to use in combination with their digital versions – that ask the questions about truthfulness and photography that I want to explore. As well as researching Joan Fontcuberta who looks at the nature of truth in photography, I’ve also researched the work of Lisa Oppenheim, especially the Heliograms in Light, Paper Process by Virginia Heckert. That’s my inspiration for trying this contact printing technique.
TinType by Hipstamatic
As a shortcut to actually producing real tin types (which I’m planning on producing soon using the Rockland Colloid Tintype Kit), I’ve spent some time experimenting with the app TinType by Hipstamatic using various images to see what I effects I could achieve digitally. What follows are just a few photographs, and they’re broadly categorised into face, body and shape. I think the app is well worth the money and is intuitive and easy to use. As far as I am aware, it is only available for iPhone.
One of the things I really like about portraits using the collodion process is that the eyes are really prominent. I’m not sure if this is a consequence of the process or just of the photographic lenses available for portraiture at the time.
The app has an option to manipulate the amount of lightness in the eyes; the effect produced is quite unusual and I like it.
In these two images I’ve left colour in to add to a feeling of warmth.