Oh, what fun we had.
During the first part of the class on Saturday, Sean told us about the process of making tintype photographs, the chemicals and materials involved and how to work our cameras. We sat in rapt attention, took notes, the excitement building. Then he demonstrated how to take a photograph with his beautiful box camera.
We divided into groups of three. One person from a group would take their photo, then one person from the next group and so on until everyone had taken a photo. Dede (who set up the workshop in her home) and Sean had a dark room set up and the group would go in and under Sean's guidance, the one person taking the photo would start the process:
Peel off the protective coating from the tin.
Pour the collodian over the dark side of the tin.
Wait just a bit until it feels tacky (this was difficult to tell)
Put it in the silver bath for 3 to 4 minutes
Take it out of the bath, load the tin into the camera and wipe off the back of the tin. Nervousness sets in and you realize it is a ritual of sorts that you are performing.
Close up the camera. You have 7 minutes to take your photo.
Depending on the sun, the shade, you leave the shutter of the camera open for the amount of seconds you think will work. There's no way to be sure until you develop the photo. You count...one, one thousand, two, one thousand, three, one thousand...
Close the shutter and head back to the dark room.
Open the camera, take out the tin.
Developer is in a shotglass and you pour it over your photo.
Take the tin out of that container and put it in a bath to stop the developing.
Take it out and put it in the fixer. Move the container, swishing the liquid back and forth over the tin type, washing out the blue that is on it and then you see it...the picture slowly comes into being...or not, depending on if it decides to come out at all. There are so many variables, Sean tells us and that is definitely so. The light is constantly changing and that makes a difference, the humidity or lack of it, the solutions you are using, the camera, or whether or not the tintype Gods are smiling down upon you at that particular moment.
My first photo was a bit dark, but you can see some of the image, a still life I had set up.
The tintypes have been varnished and are shiny, the reflections make it difficult to photograph. Sean made some changes to the developer, thinking that will help the photos to come out better. And apparently it worked. I took one other photo and it is beautiful:
Yes, I rode Bruce to class on Sunday and got this photo. I am so excited about it. And of course, I want to continue learning tintype photography.
Here is the camera I used (and we got to keep them!!!):
And here is a picture of Sean standing next to his camera:
Sean is a wonderful teacher, incredibly talented and made this workshop so much fun! Thank you Sean for a fantastic class!
Thank you Dede for hosting this incredible event! It was a great group of people and such a fine weekend, mighty fine, I tell you.
And now it is Monday. So it is back to the flour mill.
I hope everyone had a great weekend and is having a wonderful start to their week.