The Wild West: Steampunks of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex
Documentation of the Steampunk culture in Dallas/Fort Worth using 19th century wet plate photography for a photobook and exhibition.
Roughly 1 year ago, I started a journey to learn one of the very first photographic processes: wet plate collodion.
I started with little hands on experience and even less proper equipment. The first image I made was using a Brownie Hawkeye camera. The plates were only a couple inches square.
Soon after (probably far too soon) I launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund my journey. It did not go so well.
Afterwards, I decided to build my knowledge piece by piece. The following months, my images got better and my plates got larger.
Along the way, I discovered a group of people that I never really knew, Steampunks. I immediately dived into this culture. I was fascinated and hooked. Just as my photography grew, so did my love of Steampunk and the people involved in it.
Now, here I am, 17 months later and I feel like I've found where I belong. I have been involved in three Steampunk related events over the past few months using my wet plate photography:
Steampunk Invasion at Dallas Heritage Park doing wet plate portraits onsite.
Halloween with Edgar Allan Poe at Dallas Children's Library giving demonstrations and history lessons on wet plate photography.
Steampunk November in Mansfield providing onsite wet plate portraits.
This culture has welcomed me in and I would love to give something in return.
Using my wet plate photography, I want to document the culture of Steampunk in the Dallas/Fort Worth area through its many characters.
However, I am unable to afford the costs of this endeavor, so I have launched another Kickstarter campaign. This will probably be the most ambitious thing I have done since graduating from college.
This project has three end goals to meet.
The first goal is to photograph several (a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 25) Steampunk characters using an 8x10 wet plate camera. Images will be made using 8x10 glass plates and 8x10 aluminum plates (2-3 plates per person). Some of these plates will be given to supporters, others will be used for the final goal.
The second goal is to scan all the plates of the Steampunk characters and place the best images in a 12x12 photo book. Each wet plate image will cover an entire page. The accompanying page will have a bio on the Steampunk character/creator along with a smaller digital color portrait. Copies of the books will be sold online. Some donors will receive a signed copy of the book.
The final and most ambitious goal is a full exhibition of the work created during this project. I am going to rent out some gallery space locally to display the original plates alongside larger prints (40” tall) with the same bio and portraits used in the book. As a final thank you to all my Kickstarter donors, I will have a board hung in the gallery with all their names on it. The exhibit may only run for a month.
The entire project will take about one year to complete with the exhibit kicking off in November.
The cost break down in percent of funds:
Risks and challenges
The largest complication to this project is going to be weather. I want to begin shooting in April of 2015. Wet plate photography requires either good sunlight or very powerful artificial light. April to July should provide me with an adequate number of days to shoot; however, there is still a chance that my shooting days will need to be moved around due to weather changes.
I am certain I can drum up enough subjects to shoot, but there is always the possibility that some may fall through at the last moment; therefore, I plan on having a large pool of subjects to pick from to ensure I meet my minimum number of images.
The final challenge will be in acquiring a gallery space that will fit my needs. I will be looking to my local art community to help with fulfilling this challenge.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)