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With my photography practice born of pure light & chemistry, I collaborate with storytellers to make oral histories tangible.
With my photography practice born of pure light & chemistry, I collaborate with storytellers to make oral histories tangible.
64 backers pledged $4,312 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

What We Tell Each Other - Oral History & Wet-Plate Collodion project video thumbnail
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$4,312

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ANALOG PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE 21ST CENTURY

As the “death” of film-based photography is debated and analyzed, I am motivated to re-think what it means to be an analog photographer in the 21st century. My answer is to return to handcrafted photography - a practice born from pure light and chemistry.

Securing a collodion tintype in the plate holder
Securing a collodion tintype in the plate holder

WHAT I DO

I work in a photography process called wet-plate collodion, which was considered innovative in 1851 when it was first developed. Ironically, collodion is now considered an “alternative process” in a world that is visualized in pixels. This method is challenging and requires skill and patience. As I work, I must balance my desire for success with flexible expectations. Industrialization and modern technology have removed much of the need for craft in my daily life. Surrounded by technology I cannot fully understand, I am part of the movement to slow down the pace and resurrect the skills and craftsmanship of the past.

Fixing plates and pouring collodion
Fixing plates and pouring collodion

MY CURRENT PROJECT

In October 2012, I will be an Artist in Residence at the Vermont Studio Center where I will have my own studio and darkroom for a month.  During that time, I will work on a new body of work called “What We Tell Each Other.”

This project will be a collaboration with storytellers, a dance between myth and truth. I am fascinated and inspired by storytellers who draw from their own experiences, oral histories and folklore to spin eloquent stories. Oral histories are in thrall to imperfect recall and verbal overshadowing, for the very act of describing a memory degrades it.   In an exchange of inspiration and imagery, I will interpret the storyteller’s narrative as an Ambrotype or tintype, crafting the intangible into an object for them to keep.  

THE STORIES

I want to share the pleasure and inspiration stories have always given me, creating a collection of oral histories.

What kind of stories? Stories like the tale of how reindeer were introduced to North America by an ancestor of one of the men who herded them across the continent. The wisdom to be gleaned by the growth pattern of moss on rocks, the secret meaning of bird-calls at night, and the how to predict weather from biting horse flies. Or how about an alternate history of the American West from the point of view of Buffalo Bill Cody’s dead-ringer, told to me by the surviving descendants.

This project will indulge my love of history and stories as I explore the link between the oral histories and imagery we use to define ourselves as communities, families, and individuals.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT)
Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT)

In addition to having been selected as an Artist in Residence at the Vermont Studio Center, I have also been awarded a grant that will cover a portion of the program fees.  But to cover the remaining fees and purchase supplies, I need to raise $4,135.  

Funding Breakdown:
  • $2650 VSC program fees
  • $1020 collodion chemicals and hazardous materials shipping fees
  • $315 other chemicals and photo paper
  • $150 glass

If you share my appreciation for craft and stories, your financial support will make it possible for me to participate in this unique opportunity. Your encouragement will inspire artists like me to continue working in a field that operates on the margins.

Know what else will help me? Sharing my project with your family, friends and colleagues. Remember, I only receive the money you pledge IF my project reaches the funding goal. It’s all or nothing!

THE ART I WILL SEND YOU

I am offering a number of great rewards including original tintypes, Ambrotypes, and limited edition toned silver gelatin prints made from collodion glass negatives. The joy of stories is in sharing them and I look forward to sending you my work. Anyone pledging $50 or more can expect to receive original hand-crafted images!

Drying tintypes
Drying tintypes

Music by Brown Bird: Live at WFMU on February 4, 2012 "Thunder and Lightning"

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    Handwritten thank you card + 2x weekly project updates emailed from Vermont Studio Center during the month of October.

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    2x weekly project updates emailed from Vermont Studio Center + handmade card inset with “little gem” sized digital print of a tintype.
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    $10 rewards + 8x10 inch toned silver gelatin contact print from collodion glass negative.
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    $25 rewards + pair of 8x10 inch toned silver gelatin contact prints from collodion glass negatives.
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Funding period

- (33 days)