Tuesday, April 17, 2012

128 Years

My grandfather George in the year of his birth, 1884.

This tintype of my grandfather was folded in half.  My guess would be that was done so that his father could carry the picture in his wallet.

The tintype provided a kind of "instant" photography print that was the most popular way of creating family photographic portraits in the U.S. for fifty years prior to the development of Kodak roll film at the end of the 19th Century.  A thin black-enameled iron plate was coated with a light-sensitive emulsion; the image recorded on the plate was a negative, but the black background made it look positive.  Itinerant photographers often made the tintype exposures in peoples' homes, and the plates could be processed in a few minutes.


robert said...

That it survived this long is amazing. This post reminds me of a N.F.B. film about an itinerant photographer in the early 1900's - J.A. Martin Photographer, worth a look if you can find it.

Mike said...

Looks good; I'll keep an eye out for it. We saw a fine Swedish film about a woman photographer about a year ago. I should start keeping track of these.

Anonymous said...

In our city was recently a collodion workshop, would have interested me, however, was absent.

Mike said...

The only thing I've tried along this line is the cyanotype process. It is pretty easy to do as you can buy the pre-mixed ingredients, and the application to the paper can be done in dim light. I thought the process yielded nice results in combination with some of my pinhole images.

Dirk said...

The implementation of collodion would not be cheap.
And I could not get any more chemical, potassium bromide is even more difficult (in Germany).
I once got a question about your pinhole camera, the Agfa Billy.
Is there any 6x9 camera?, Or should I generally look for an Agfa?

Mike said...

People have used any light-tight container you can imagine for making pinhole cameras including matchboxes and paint cans. For long exposures, any kind of movable flap can serve as a shutter. For that kind of simple camera, people usually just load one piece of film for a single shot.

Using a modified film camera is convenient because the film transport problem is solved. Box cameras are generally very easy to convert for pinhole use, but I personally like to use something with a shorter focal length to achieve a panoramic or wide-angle look to the image.

There is a lot of good information on the web about constructing and using pinhole cameras. The part of my web site devoted to the pinhole has quite a few links to such sites.

Mike said...

Also, if your interest is in trying some of the photographic processes from the distant past, the best info will likely be found at http://www.alternativephotography.com/wp/processes.

Dirk said...

Thanks for the tips!
Your Agfa Billy is of course the scale for me.
Fine work!