Wet-Plate Collodion

Tintypes Make Great Gifts!

Evelyn Genesee Libby is now offering tintype photobooth sessions at the studio and on location around Rochester. For $40 you can  have your very own 3”x4” tintype made.

Tintypes make great, unique and personal gifts! Mother's Day is coming up and photos of children in collodion are something special.

UPCOMING PHOTOBOOTH DATES Friday May 1, 5p-9p Saturday May 2, 10a-4p Sunday May 3, 12p-4p Saturday May 9, 10a-4p

If you cannot attend any of these dates please contact the studio to see if we can make other arrangements.

What to wear for your tintype. Blues, pinks, and light yellows appear white in collodion. It is generally preferable to wear colors that appear dark or grey in collodion. If you do wear something light it's good to wear something darker with it for contrast, such as a scarf, jacket, or vest. Stripes and other patterns can be a good choice. A tintype is a reversed image so if you have text on your clothing it will read backwards.

How long are the exposures. Anywhere from 2-10 seconds. We have a head brace to help stabilize movement. It works for many but it doesn't work on everyone.

Drop-ins are welcome, but we recommend you sign up for a slot in advance. To do so please call or email Genesee Libby Studio.

See the Facebook event page here.

The Lost Boys

Cabinet Card from Montgomery Studio, Williamstown, PA I love this cabinet card. It is unlike any I've seen before. It's a candid studio portrait of seven costumed young boys having a good time. I imagine there was some directive from the photographer involving pointing, but overall they just look like kids enjoying being kids.

In most Victorian studio portraits (even the more playful and casual tintypes) people don't smile very often. And if they are smiling, it is usually a demure one, and not a "show your pearly whites" toothy grin that people are accustomed to now. One reason for this is that dental care was not so great in the 19th century so people might have preferred to hide their teeth.

Another reason is that exposure times were longer during the first few decades of photography, therefore people had to strike a pose and freeze it for a spell. This necessitated a head brace to keep the sitter's head still, and the base of these stands is often visible behind the sitter's feet. A big grin is hard to hold for longer than a few seconds without starting to look like a grimace.

Also, photography came on the heels of a long tradition of painted portraiture, and was most certainly influenced by the popular aesthetics that preceded it. You do not see large smiles in the painted portraits either.

At the time of this posting, this unusual find is for sale at Dennis A. Waters Fine Daguerreotypes. The tintype below can also be found there, but it has already been sold. Note the stand behind the boy's feet and the faint oval marking indicating the presence of a mat at some point.

Unidentified Tintype

Bugzilla Returns!

March 6th sees the return of Bugzilla to Cat Clay, her annual group show celebrating the art of the bug. I have a fondness for the maligned creatures of this planet (in addition to the more popular cute and fluffy ones), so I was delighted to be invited to participate this year.

I've had my studio in the Hungerford for one year and I have met a wonderful group of artists sharing this beautiful old factory. The amazing Sabra Wood of Cat Clay works just down the hall from me making some very groovy ceramics, running the non-profit Sample Soap, and hosting guest artists every month at her studio on First Fridays.

Stop by Cat Clay (#242) on March 6, 2015 from 5p-9p for Bugzilla! And then head down the hall to visit me at Genesee Libby (#225).

Participating artists include: Beth Bloom, Chris Charles, Karin Marlett Choi, Littlewing Clay, Amber Dutcher, Carolyn R. Ellinger, Shawnee R M Hill, The Knotty Owl, Jenn Libby Studio, Susan Mandl, Bev Rafferty, Sophie Signorini, Paul Taylor Glass, April Younglove and of course, her bugginess, Clifton Wood!

Ant,  Tintype, Jenn Libby, 2015

Scorpion,  Tintype, Jenn Libby, 2015

Tintypes—They're Not Just for Celebrities

For the second year in a row, Victoria Will has used the wet-plate collodion process to make tintype portraits of celebrities at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. I saw a brief video clip of her in action and she appeared to be making these without a tripod, using a high-powered strobe. These plates are a lot cleaner than the ones she made last year. You too can be photographed with this amazing 19th century process. Contact Genesee Libby to make an appointment today! Tintype of Spike Lee taken by Victoria Will at Sundance, 2015

Tintype of James Franco taken by Victoria Will at Sundance, 2015

Tintype of Jason Schwartzman taken by Victoria Will at Sundance, 2015

Tintype of Ewan McGregor taken by Victoria Will at Sundance, 2015

University of Rochester Class Visits the Studio

Claudia Schaefer: Spanish 292: The Power of Photography in Spain and Spanish America. University of Rochester, Fall 2014 In November, I had my first portrait clients at the new studio and it was challenging and fun! University of Rochester professor, Claudia Schaefer, heard about Genesee Libby through a mutual friend. As she was covering 19th-century photography in her class, she wanted to give her students the opportunity to experience a wet-plate collodion portrait session first hand. I was a bit nervous to be photographing such a large group for the first time ever, but it went quite well.

Since winter has arrived, the exposure times in the studio are about 20 seconds when using available light in conjunction with my two fluorescent lights stands. This is a long time for someone to hold still but everyone did a really good job. People standing were able to brace themselves against the chairs.

I love to see people's reactions when they see themselves photographed with this process. Most of the time it is positive—people are excited to watch the image emerge in the fix and are usually pleased with the results.

Upcoming Wet-Plate Collodion Class

01-24-2015_Photography On Saturday January 24 at 1pm, Genesee Libby will be hosting a two-hour workshop to introduce people to the wet-plate collodion process. There will be a lecture and slide presentation, hands-on process samples, and a live demonstration of the process. This class is being offered through Rochester Brainery and tickets can be purchased for $15 at their website.

Class description:

What is wet-plate collodion photography? Invented in 1851, it is one of the oldest photographic processes, and it is experiencing a revival in the 21st century. In this class you will learn how a wet-plate image is made, why it became the dominant form of photography during much of the Victorian Era, and why it is gaining in popularity today. You will be able to examine samples of modern and antique plates on metal and glass and learn the difference between tintypes, ambrotypes, and daguerreotypes. The instructor will also demonstrate the process using her 1920s-era 8x10 Kodak field camera to make a ruby ambrotype.

Wet-Plate Steps

Frederick Scott Archer