Tintypes & Alumitypes


I am very pleased that I had two works accepted into the Artisphere 2016 Artists of the Upstate Juried Exhibition.  One of those works, Portrait of Juile, won the Award of Excellence, and was announced at the opening reception on the first day of Artisphere, Friday May 13th.  My work was a 32″ x 40″ archival pigment print on Epson cold press paper.  The image is from one of my original wet plate collodion tintypes.

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The award was presented by Alan Ethridge, Director of the Greenville Metropolitan Arts Council.

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Julie’s parents, Rev. Bob Chiles and Christine Zimmerman Chiles, were at the reception along with my wife, Debbie Rice.  Julie posed for my tintype on location at Tigg’s Pond in Zirconia, NC.  Julie is a very talented musician in The Buck Stops Here, a bluegrass band that just released their first album.  She had her fiddle with her in the shot and was wearing her mom’s wedding dress.

My latest tintype portrait work is featured with the work of three other artists in “New Faces 2016” at the Upstairs Artspace Gallery in Tryon, NC.  The exhibition opened on March 12, 2016 and runs through April 22nd.

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At the Opening of New Faces 2016.  Photo Credit:  Anthony Milian

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At the Opening of New Faces 2016.  Photo Credit:  Anthony Milian

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Portrait of Manuel - Tintype

Tintype portrait of artist Manuel Schmettau that I made on his visit to my studio with Ann Stoddard (a colleague from the Wofford College fine arts faculty). Whole plate (6.5″ x 8.5″), 19th century wet plate collodion.

 

Portrait of Isobelle

Whole plate tintype (6.5″ x 8.5″).  19th century wet plate collodion process.  7 sec. exposure under 12 6500K UV tubes.  I made this portrait in my studio at Taylors Mill.

Tintype of Robert L. Rice by Bryan Hiott

This is my father-in-law, Robert L. Rice.  He is 96 years old and was at the studio this week, along one of his sisters and his bother to have tintypes made.  It was such a joy to make images of them together, but I especially liked this individual portrait of him. He is old school.  He never wears anything but long pants and a long sleeve button down shirt with suspenders, regardless of how hot the weather is, and he will not leave the house without his trademark hat.   To put things in perspective, when my father-in-law was born in February 1918, World War I had not ended, and the Wright brothers had only pioneered flight 15 years before.  Mr. Rice has seen a lot of change in the world.

Tintype Portrait - Bryan Hiott Studio

Tintype Portrait – Bryan Hiott Studio

Tintype Portrait of a Young Girl – one of the art lovers from the neighborhood near Taylors Mill, and a regular visitor to my studio. 19th century wet plate collodion process.  10 sec. exposure under 12 6500K UV tubes.  Image taken with an original 1872 brass barrel Ross portrait lens (f/4).

Whole Plate Tintype (2014) by Bryan Hiott

Whole Plate Tintype (2014) by Bryan Hiott

This is a tintype portrait of three brothers and their sister, who live in the neighborhood near my studio at Taylors Mill in South Carolina.  Since opening my studio there in 2012, I’ve gotten to know these great kids, who are very interested in my wet plate collodion process. They’re regular visitors on the First Friday art crawl and also stop by to talk whenever they see me working.  I’d wanted to make a portrait of them for some time, and I got my chance this week.  This image also appears in the 2014  World Wet Plate Collodion Day gallery – hosted by Quinn Jacobson.  That gallery honors  Frederick Scott Archer, who invented the collodion process in 1851.  Every year on his birthday, collodion photographers around the world make images to celebrate.

Rev. Keith Turbeville

Rev. Keith Turbeville

Tintype portrait of Rev. Keith Turbeville taken recently in my studio at Taylors Mill.  Keith is an Episcopal priest, who just completed his tenure as an associate minister at Christ Church Episcopal in Greenville, SC.  He and his family are  moving to Texas, and he will become rector of a new church, Holy Trinity by the Lake in Rockwall (near Dallas).

This image was made using the 19th century wet plate collodion process, which was invented in 1851 and replaced Daguerreotypes as the most popular means of studio photography.  Wet plate collodion was the primary means of making photographs through the 1880s.  For this tintype, I used a reproduction 19th century wooden box camera with bellows and an original brass barrel Ross lens made in London in 1872.  The exposure time was 4 seconds under two arrays of 6500K UV lights.

Portrait of Caren Lasseter

Tintype of Caren Lasseter made last weekend outside my studio in Taylors, SC.  This is a whole plate (6.5″ x 8.5″) shot with an 1872 Ross portrait lens.  Exposure 7 sec. during late afternoon.   19th Century wet plate collodion process.

Tintype Photogram

Tintype Photogram

Tintype photogram: half-plate image of a leaf found outside the studio. Contact printed in the darkroom. This was an improv exercise. I had taken my camera down, and then realized I still had a plate in the silver nitrate bath. So this is how I solved the camera issue.  It took less time to prepare and print the photogram that it would have taken to reassemble the camera for a still life shot.

 

 

 

Portrait of cellist Sharon Mulfinger Gerber

This is a new tintype of my friend and cellist Sharon Mulfinger Gerber of Greenville, SC.  She and her daughters visited the studio last Saturday and sat for portraits.  I also made ambrotypes of them during that session.  Image details:  whole plate (6.5″ x 8.5″), 19th century wet plate collodion process.  Shot with a reproduction E. & H. T. Anothony tailboard camera, made by Ray Morganweck of Star camera Company, using an original 1872 brass barrel Ross portrait lens (f/4).  I used two stands of 6500K UV tubes (12 tubes total, 2 of which were black lights).  Exposure time 10 seconds — could have been done in 8 seconds, though.

Tintype Image:  Wet Plate Collodion Process.  Plate Size:  2 7/16" x 3.5"

Tintype Image by Bryan Hiott.  Plate Size:  2 7/8″ x 3.5″ (Wet Plate Collodion Process).

This is a tintype image of the crossing at Reedy River behind the Peace Center for the Performing arts in downtown Greenville, SC.   The crossing is part of Greenville’s vibrant downtown life, connecting two walking paths along the Reedy River near Main Street in an area that features artist galleries, restaurants, shopping and hotels as well as outdoor performance spaces.

Tintype Portrait of Jamie Michael Condon

Tintype Portrait of Jamie 

This is a recent tintype that I made just outside my studio, which is in an old Textile Mill in Taylors, SC.  Just across the street from the studio is a vast field, part of which is marshy, that extends for over a mile to a railroad trestle.  The field is surrounded by dense forest, and I thought it was a perfect location for making a tintype portrait.  This subject of this whole plate (6.5″ x 8.5″) is Jamie, the son of an artist friend, who will be going off to college in the fall.

As I processed this plate, I allowed it to remain in the fixer for a much longer time than normal, causing the collodion to begin to dissolve around the edges.  The mysterious looking terrain behind Jamie seems to be melting away – just as the world of high school is, as he prepares for college life in an art school.  Yet he is standing on a solid platform – not the literal concrete drainage entrance – his own emerging sense of self as artist.  He’s a very gifted photographer, and I’m sure we’ll continue to see more amazing work from him in the coming years.

This is my first blog post in a while.  A move will do a lot to interrupt a normal routine.  So will a new job.  So will taking a new studio.  All three happened to me last summer – at once.  After 15 years in New York City, my wife and I moved back home to Greenville, South Carolina, where I opened a new photography studio in the old Taylors Mill.  I also began teaching art history and studio art at The University of South Carolina – Upstate.  But it is time to resume my postings, and I am including here a tintype that I made this week on location at the Reedy River Falls in beautiful downtown Greenville, SC.  I will post more of these location images in the coming week.  The tintype below was made with a 1916 Kodak Brownie camera.  It was a cold day, which can bring issues with the chemistry, and I was using old developer – which accounts for the stormy-looking streaks at the top of the image.  In spite of all that, I still like it very much.

Tintype of Reedy River Falls in downtown Greenville, SC.

Tintype of Reedy River Falls in downtown Greenville, SC.  Image Size:  2.75″ x 4.5.”

The Reedy River Falls were long obscured by a 1960s era bridge, connecting Camperdown Way with the lower Main Street area on the West End.  As part of its downtown revitalization plan, the city of Greenville approved the demolition of the old conventional bridge and replaced it with the Liberty Bridge, a unique, curved and cantilevered suspension bridge for pedestrian traffic.  Providing dramatic views of the falls and the city beyond, the Liberty Bridge has become extremely popular with downtown visitors and is iconic of a progressive Southern city.  Thanks to the superb leadership of Mayor Knox White, Greenville has become attractive to international businesses and professionals seeking a combination of affordable location, great quality of life, ample cultural resources and a modern, vibrant downtown.  I’m happy to be back here!

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Tintype of the Liberty Bridge, Greenville, SC (Whole Plate 6.5″ x 8.5″). Taken with and 1872 Ross lens.

1/4 Plate Alumitype (3.25" x 4.25")

1/4 Plate Alumitype (3.25" x 4.25")

 

This 1/4 plate alumitype of flowers on a Shaker chair was shot in the late afternoon with an f8 Dallmeyer rapid rectilinear lens.  The process I used was wet plate collodion.  Exposure time was five seconds.

 

Metronome:  1/4 Plate Alumitype by Bryan Hiott (2009)

Metronome: 1/4 Plate Alumitype by Bryan Hiott

 

This 1/4 plate alumitype was my first attempt at using UV lighting indoors with the wet plate collodion process.  Thanks to Quinn Jacobson and Jason Miguel of the Collodion.com Forum for their advice on a basic set up:  three 100 watt compact fluroescent bulbs (5500 K for approximating daylight).  I used a reproduction 19th century E. & H.T. Anthony tailboard camera with bellows and shot with a brass barrel Dallmeyer rapid rectilinear lens (c. 1891).

 Exposure time on the plate was long (3 min. 20 sec.).  Two factors contributed:  1) the f 7 Dallmeyer lens was not ideal for shooting indoors and 2) the dated collodion was not as  light sensitive as it once was.  I need to mix a new batch.  Overall, the results of the plate are encouraging and have given me ideas about future set up and how to improve lighting.  As you can see, the top of the plate goes darker because the light is falling off.  What I needed was perhaps another compact fluorescent overhead.  I was using only one bulb overhead plus one on each side.  Using reflectors would have helped.   

For this shot, I had the camera positioned about 3 1/2 feet from the metronome, which was the close as I could get and still focus the image; and that distance may have added to the light fall off.  Quinn Jacoson also suggested that the dark areas at top of the plate might be from the collodion beginning to dry during the exposure.  Cutting the exposure time is key, which I could half by using 6 bulbs (1 min. 40 sec.).  I have also heard of some people using a bank of twelve 6500K  UV bulbs and getting the exposure down to seconds.  Of course, having a little faster lens is another way to go at it.