Homeland” is a Wet-Plate Collodion photo essay focusing on grassroots efforts to rebuild and re-envision life after the collapse of the American economy. By documenting people and projects across the country, this project aims to connect disparate communities and individuals into a national movement with common ideological threads. Cities such as New Orleans, Detroit, Pittsburgh and NYC will be documented, as well as many smaller towns and rural areas in between. The range of projects documented will include urban farms, bicycle collectives, off-the grid homes, alternative fuel producers, art and theatre collectives, community dinners, free schools and after-school programs, squats, itinerants, tent cities and many other grassroots social practices.
About Wet-Plate Collodion Photography
Wet-Plate is a photographic process that was invented in 1851 and was in use during the same period as the daguerrotype. A plate of glass or tin is covered with collodion, sensitized, exposed and developed within a span 15 minutes. These developed plates are not traditional film negatives, but a one-of-a-kind positives.
My shoots in the field require a portable dark-box to develop the plates on site. I use an antique large format view camera – a Kodak Eastman Empire State—made in 1896.
I have chosen this medium for “Homeland” both because of its exceptional material beauty, and because it mirrors a pattern of obsolescence and revival suggested by the subjects being photographed. The limitations of the antique view camera and the long exposure times lend themselves to a directness and simplicity of composition, while the materiality of the process leaves no question in the viewers' mind about the honesty of the photographer: there is no digital manipulation, only the interaction of light and chemicals. All of these formal decisions help to support an underlaying vision of hopefulness and sincerity.
“Homeland” began in December 2010 with a series of shoots in NYC.
In March 2011, I will be leaving NYC to begin shooting in cities and towns across the country. Places I will be visiting include New Orleans, Detroit, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Chicago, Omaha, Asheville, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and many smaller towns in-between.
The field shoots will be completed by June 2011.
Promotion will begin for a gallery exhibition in late 2011, and a book of the plates with short-narratives from each subject will be published by 2012.
The money being fundraised at this time will be used to fund travel, fuel and materials needed to complete the cross-country field shoots.
Basic travel expenses($1500)- food and accommodation (frugally allotted, I will couch-surf as much as possible)
Fuel costs for over 20K miles of cross-country driving. The vehicle I am using is a fuel-efficient VW Diesel Golf Hatchback. It gets 35-50mpg, and I will be running it on Biodiesel wherever possible. ($1500)
Chemicals, Tin and “Darkroom” supplies for 3 months of field shoots. ($1000)
Miscellaneous expenses($1000)- car maintenance and insurance, shipping plates home from the road, web hosting for project website.
Music Thanks to Apocalypse Five and Dime for their original music used in the video. You can visit their Myspace page here: http://www.myspace.com/apocalypsefiveanddime
Links More information about Homeland: http://robynhasty.org
- (45 days)