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:
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.
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.
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.