What to wear for a tintype

The number one question we get here at RELIC is what to wear during a tintype session, so I put together a list of suggestions to follow plus some example tintype images to further illustrate what works the best!

What to wear:

Generally we like to recommend high contrast, black & white, clothing. Stripes and polka dots seem to work wonderfully as does white lace on black or any other dark color, plaid or checkers also look good. Sequins or clothing with sparkles or glitter can look very nice. Most of our customers dress in modern clothing although we have had a few people come in fully dressed in period clothing from the 19th century and even clothing of the future- steam punk style! Black or brown leather comes out interesting as well - it has a certain shine or sheen to it. Silver, shiny jewelry and especially pearls are definitely encouraged as they can give off a very nice shine in the photograph. Hats can be very interesting and are also highly recommended. Shiny hair product can also look fantastic. 

What not to wear:

Avoid anything with a logo or writing on it. It can be distracting from the aesthetic of the photograph, also it will be seen as backwards in the tintype. Transition or even UV blocking glasses tend to come out looking like sunglasses so probably try to avoid wearing those. On occasion UV blocking makeup might have adverse effects so it is best to be avoided. Regular makeup however can have fantastic results. 

Non UV blocking Makeup

Polka Dots, Stripes & Hat

Sequins & Silver Jewelry 

Polka Dots, Pearls & Silver Jewelry

Hat & Plaid Shirt

Period Clothing, White Lace & Shiny Buttons

Plaid Shirt

Leather Jacket, Checkers & Hats

Ten Year Anniversary Tintype

A traditional 10th year anniversary gift is tin or aluminum. It is said that the pliability of tin and aluminum is a symbol of how a successful marriage needs to be flexible and durable and how it can be bent without being broken. We've had many couples who have found us on Google by typing in the keywords "Tin & Denver" so I thought it might be a good time to write a post on it. 

Tim with his wife Jacky Johannsen celebrating their ten year anniversary by taking a tintype portrait together.

Tim with his wife Jacky Johannsen celebrating their ten year anniversary by taking a tintype portrait together.

Our customers seek out the Tintype idea for a 10-year-anniversary gift as a creative alternative to giving their partner a t shirt or keychain. They appreciate the final product as a handmade unique coveted object. Often times our customers are happily surprised when they experience watching their image appear in the darkroom. It's a magical moment that can be remembered for the next ten years!

Katherine Glover with her husband Ryan Batch pose for their tintype photograph in celebration of their ten year wedding anniversary. This couple booked one of our Valentine's Day specials which included a free bottle of champagne.

Katherine Glover with her husband Ryan Batch pose for their tintype photograph in celebration of their ten year wedding anniversary. This couple booked one of our Valentine's Day specials which included a free bottle of champagne.

Unearthing Images and Senses from the Past

Recently while doing some research for a family project I discovered much more than imagery. Digging up photographs from the past and then finally viewing them for the first time led to a deep, resonating feeling of personal connection. Experiencing a generational pull into the images awakened other senses. As I looked deep into the collection of images I felt myself tasting a dusty back yard, hearing a mix of Spanish and English voices, smelling cigar smoke and whiskey and feeling a humbleness and survival like spirit within the eyes of my family members. 

The writing on the back of this photograph reads: Andrade family at Turning Point Mine, circa 1911. From left to right, Sara Andrade Bartlet, Eva Bible, Sofia Andrade, Salvador Andrade, Lolita Andrade.  (Uncle Frank's Family) Lived in tent houses. My grandfather, Salvador Andrade is the small boy in the photograph. My aunt is Sara on the far left. Four kids on the burro, nice. 

The writing on the back of this photograph reads: Andrade family at Turning Point Mine, circa 1911. From left to right, Sara Andrade Bartlet, Eva Bible, Sofia Andrade, Salvador Andrade, Lolita Andrade.  (Uncle Frank's Family) Lived in tent houses.

My grandfather, Salvador Andrade is the small boy in the photograph. My aunt is Sara on the far left. Four kids on the burro, nice. 

The next photograph is of my great grandfather, although I'm not exactly sure which one he is, I think he's on the upper far right. This group shot conveys in so many ways the time period when hats and jackets were the required attire of a gentleman, smoking was everywhere, work boots were honorable and mustaches reined supreme. I could hear the photographer carefully instructing everyone's position, telling the men to tilt their hats up or to the side so their faces would be more visible and finally asking everyone to look straight into the lens of the camera to hold still. As I looked closer I noticed that most of my family not only had cigars but also small flasks of what I would assume as whiskey.

The writing on the back of this photograph reads: 1897 "Chano" Amigo. Francisco Andrade, Ramon Andrade, Unknown.  If you look closely you can notice each of them has either a flask or a cigar in hand. It was very common for photographers back in the day to have their subjects hold props. In some old photographs you will see gown men holding children's toys. 

The writing on the back of this photograph reads: 1897 "Chano" Amigo. Francisco Andrade, Ramon Andrade, Unknown. 

If you look closely you can notice each of them has either a flask or a cigar in hand. It was very common for photographers back in the day to have their subjects hold props. In some old photographs you will see gown men holding children's toys. 

 

 

I knew my grandfather was often interviewed and recognized among local historians, as he was at one time hailed as the longest living native resident in the town of Casa Grande, Arizona. I knew that some old family photographs had been published in the local paper of my great grandfather and I had heard from my Aunt that the local historical society had some photographs of our family in it's collection. After contacting the Casa Grande Valley Historical Society I confirmed it was true. In fact the CGVHS has a special collection devoted to our family! After my nominal research fee was paid and papers were signed I received 13 photographs as well as a statement read by my great aunt Sara about my great grandfather Ramon Andrade during a day of commemoration put on by the CGVHS in 1990. I should take one brief moment to mention how important our local historians are. Please remember to take advantage of their services and support their commitment to preservation!

As seen written on the back of this photograph, "Killed by Lightening in 1926" is testament to a serious event and attempt to preserve history. Relics of evidence such as this help tremendously in putting together the past in an effort to preserve our future.   

As seen written on the back of this photograph, "Killed by Lightening in 1926" is testament to a serious event and attempt to preserve history. Relics of evidence such as this help tremendously in putting together the past in an effort to preserve our future.   

Since starting my tintype studio I've had dozens of conversations with people whom proudly told me of their family photographs, some of which tintypes, and many dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.. As I looked over the collection of photographs I too was able to experience the existential feeling so unique and personal that it will surely stick with me for the rest of my life. Another image is of my great grandfather posing with another gentleman inside a small market labeled on the back, "circa 1920". I could smell the fresh meat in the front case, hear the stillness in the small market as the photographer clicked the shutter and almost taste the pickles in the jars on the shelf sitting neatly aligned underneath the vanilla wafers and Heinz Ketchup. 

The writing on the back of this photograph reads: Prettyman's Market on Main St. Approximately 1/2 block west of Florence St. Don Prettyman Sr. on left and Ramon Andrade Jr. Circa 1920. 

The writing on the back of this photograph reads: Prettyman's Market on Main St. Approximately 1/2 block west of Florence St. Don Prettyman Sr. on left and Ramon Andrade Jr. Circa 1920. 

Photographs are one of those rare possessions that people tend to hold most dear. My reasons for pursuing photography are many, however one reason remains most prevalent. That is to be responsible in capturing one's likeness for future generations to view upon. Responsible for capturing all the details in an attractive image. Photography's ability to hold something sacred, especially when it comes to those of our families is for me one of my most dedicated pursuits. That visual memory is so important. As it's viewed upon stories of days past come to light solidifying our own importance of existence, pushing us to make something real for ourselves. It seems apparent that the photographs we make today only age to perfection for tomorrow as the photographs taken of long ago stand as masterpieces of the past. 

The writing on the back of this photograph reads: Sara, Fred and Salvador Andrade 1912. My grandfather was dressed as a girl?! . . . not quite sure why this happened . . . sometimes unearthing images from the past exposes more questions than answers, regardless, visual proof is most impactful and somehow more resilient over anything passed down through story or word of mouth. 

The writing on the back of this photograph reads: Sara, Fred and Salvador Andrade 1912. My grandfather was dressed as a girl?! . . . not quite sure why this happened . . . sometimes unearthing images from the past exposes more questions than answers, regardless, visual proof is most impactful and somehow more resilient over anything passed down through story or word of mouth. 

5280 Magazine publishes Tintype images for Feature story

I'm proud to announce my newest wet plate collodion (tintype) photographic work published in 5280 magazine this month!

Here is the link to the Feature story, which is a very good read:

Click Here for 5280 Feature Story

I was honored to help tell the story of local veteran Julian Scadden whom accompanies dying veterans during their final hours at the VA in Denver. Sometimes patients aren't fortunate enough to have family at their side during their last moments, that's where Scadden walks in. If anyone should be considered a hero it should be him. Military heroes aren't always merited on feats of combat rather most often times the largest and most sustained battles are fought after the war is long over. Inside the Denver Veterans Affairs Community Learning Center lies a sanctuary for those of wars past. A bumper sticker to support the troops looks great but it's those like Scadden who selfishly donate hours upon hours of their precious time to give the kind of support our otherwise forgotten veterans really need. 

Wet Plate Photograph of Julian Scadden by Patrick Andrade

Wet Plate Photograph of Julian Scadden by Patrick Andrade

It was quite a feat to set up everything to make a wet plate collodion image inside the VA. When I work off site, outside my studio, I have to bring everything with me. The equipment includes a huge amount of chemistry, a dark tent/room, several lights, large format camera etc. I managed to squeeze everything into my Toyota Rav4 and was lucky enough to have a great assistant Karim Lopez to help me out as well.

This was obviously an illustration piece as the VA did not want any dying or deceased vets in the shots so I think the photo editor made the right choice when assigning this to a wet plate photographer. I think this photography process worked well for the story because of its inherent ability to slow everything down to a somber, reflective and profound mood. While setting up each photograph the subject needs to sit still as the extra large camera is focused and the plate is loaded. When working with 35mm digital of film photography, naturally in the seconds of time when a person is having their photograph made the human consciousness prepares itself to project a calculated look towards the camera. With the wet plate process the subject is forced to wait for the photographer. This amount of time lost leads to a much more natural, humanistic state. The subjects true self is revealed and a more serious and formal outcome is captured. 

Digital photograph of Vets by Charli Ornett

Digital photograph of Vets by Charli Ornett

Wet Plate photograph of Vets by Patrick Andrade

Wet Plate photograph of Vets by Patrick Andrade

 

I'm hoping to work on more projects like this in the future. I think the aesthetic and unique look of Tintype photography lends itself well to magazine work.  

 

Unique Valentine's Day Gift Date Night Tintype !

For a limited time if you book a session with us before this Valentine's day you can receive:

1 LARGE couples plate plus 1 bottle of sparkling wine for only $119.00 !!

A $160 value !

Getting your tintype is an experience in itself.  You will be able to experience the process of wet plate collodion photography first hand. Our recent participants have described our Valentine's package as a perfect date night. 

Your tintype will become a family heirloom and a precious memory for the mantel. Slow down with a slow selfie.