camera obscura
drawing with light
The wet plate collodion process was the leading mode of photography in the Civil War Era. Tintypes are sepia-colored positive images on blackened metal. The plate process requires images to be exposed and developed while they are still wet, and allows images to be seen minutes after the exposure has been made.

We use current photography equipment to recreate timeless images. This allows us to minimize the "sitting" time for our client's comfort. In the 1850's and 1860's, it was necessary to sit for extended periods of time, to allow enough light to hit the light-sensitive emulsion on the plates. By using high quality modern lighting, we are able to cut the sitting time to mere minutes, including focus time. However, our camera has a very tight field of focus, so you'll find that we have a head rest that will help you stay in the same position, or return to it if you need to move.

Each plate is one-of-a-kind and only reproducible in the same way that paintings are, by scanning or re-photographing the image. So the photographs, like those treasured tintype images of our great-great grandparents, are heirloom objects in themselves. To ensure that the image lasts this long, we varnish each image by hand to preserve it. This process takes longer than most are comfortable waiting in the studio, so we'll complete the preservation after your session. Your plate will be available within one week for pick up. During this time, we will also scan the image so it can be shared digitally at your convenience.

To schedule a session, please contact us.

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