Collodion tintype photography, invented in the 1850s and commonly used for portraiture until the end of the 19th century, involves exposing blackened metal plates coated with photographic emulsion in a large format bellows camera. Each tintype is a unique, permanent, one of a kind image object, with no intermediate negative or file used in its production. Tintypes exemplify a return to hand crafted image making. Their beguiling materiality is rarely encountered in modern photography.
Film traps light as silver grains yielding a look that many digital practitioners emulate. Making a large format film photograph takes time and skill and the results are compelling and poetic. Even state-of-the-art digital cameras cannot reproduce the unique qualities of a large format film portrait. That's simply a consequence of optical physics.
Why black & white?
Someone wisely once said “When you photograph someone in colour you are photographing their clothes. When you photograph someone in black & white you are photographing their souls.”
From 2022, Tasmanian Tintype will again be based at the Salamanca Arts Centre in the heart of the historic arts precinct in one of the world’s beautiful cities, Hobart, Tasmania.
Phillip has been in Europe since July 2020 but is returning to Australia in January 2022. He is looking forward to resuming portrait commissions and tuition ASAP. Email phillip(at)phillipengland.com to enquire.