I’ve really wanted to play with various historic photographic techniques for a long time, but I’m limited by the fact that my darkroom and my office are one and the same space. I also have time constraints; I want to try so much but just don’t have the time to experiment with everything I’d like to at the moment.
For A1, which I still haven’t done as I’m having a real block with it, I’ve been thinking about ideas around the convincing nature of both documentary and of the material image; that images are seen as authentic if they are printed using traditional techniques. Old photographs are wrongly seen as un-manipulated and truthful. At the moment I am about to make contact prints in the darkroom, to use in combination with their digital versions, that ask the questions about truthfulness I want to explore. I’ve looked at the work of Lisa Oppenheim, especially the Heliograms in Light, Paper Process by Virginia Heckert so that’s my inspiration for trying this contact printing technique.
TinType by Hipstamatic
As a shortcut to actually producing real tin types (which I’m planning on producing soon using the Rockland Colloid Tintype Kit), I’ve spent some time experimenting with the app TinType by Hipstamatic using various images to see what I effects I could achieve digitally. What follows are just a few photographs, and they’re broadly categorised into face, body and shape. I’ve included some screenshots of using the app too. I found TinType on the App Store; I think it’s well worth the money and is intuitive and easy to use.
One of the things I really like about portraits using the collodion process is that the eyes are really prominent. I’m not sure if this is a consequence of the process or just of the photographic lenses available for portraiture at the time.
The app has an option to manipulate the amount of lightness in the eyes; on the third of the large images that follow, where my eyes are shut, the effect produced is quite unusual and I like it.
You can also adjust depth of field so that it is very shallow, but you can’t decide where the focus falls.
Depth of Field
You can adjust the colours to give different effects:
And you can adjust the plate grain:
In these two images I’ve left colour in to add to a feeling of warmth.