Cabinetmaker from the Tintype Studio
THE TINTYPE STUDIO Campbell House Museum (160 Queen West, 416-597-0227), to Saturday (June 1).
The Tintype Studio's Occupational Portraits depict people whose trades - baker, carpenter, farmer, printmaker - jibe with their 19th-century-meets-21st-century mission.
"Tintypes were kind of like the first Polaroids, an almost instantaneous type of photography, one of the first available to the masses," says Paul Sergeant. "From start to finish it takes about 15 minutes."
A metal plate coated with collodion is immersed in a bath of silver nitrate to make it light-sensitive. After exposure in a camera, it's processed in a darkroom with developer, washed, fixed and washed again, dried over an alcohol lamp and finally cured with a lavender oil varnish. The plate is the photo; instead of the white of paper, its lights are a silvery metal colour.
They use both traditional and current cameras with flash lighting.
"You're not taking lots of photos to get the best shot," says Greg Snow. (Miles Collyer and Stuart Sakai are the other members). "You have one photo, so you have to slow down. I like it because there's no generational loss. When you shoot on film, you have a negative and a print - but that plate, the tintype, was actually in contact with the sitter.
"Their energy hit that plate and made that image, so it's almost like there's a piece of them within it."
Sit for your own Tintype Studio portrait at local art fairs.