Friday, May 20, 2011


(from Wiki)

Tintype, also melainotype and ferrotype, is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a sheet of iron metal that is blackened by painting, lacquering or enamelling and is used as a support for a collodion photographic emulsion.

Technical details

The process was very similar to to wet plate photography, where silver halide crystals (silver bromide, silver chloride and silver iodide) are suspended in a coloidion emulsion that is chemically to redner crystals of metallic silver that varying in density according to the light values of the image exposed.
In a tintype a very underexposed negative image is produced on a collodion photographic emulsion and mounted against a dark metal backing, giving it the appearance of a positive. The ability to employ underexposed images allows effective film speed to be increased, permitting shorter exposure time, a great advantage in portraiture.

Here is wonderful example of an image made in the tintype process where the process and the imagery worked very well together. This artist made a series of tintype images inspired from Alice and Wonderland.
(from me)

The trickiest thing about making a Tintype is poring the liquid emulsion onto the metal. It’s truly an art form and one that understandably takes time and practice to learn. My one day attempt to create an even moderately successful tintype image was less then successful. The process though, was understandable and intriguing and if someday I create a body of work that I think will fit just perfectly with this process, I will have the knowledge and courage to come back to it and attempt to master it. Until then, here is one mediocre tintype image from my one day of printing. 

This was an image from a recent trip to Bodie, Ca. I thought the process suited the image quite nicely. The black edges represent my less then perfect pour. 

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