Traditional photographic and printing processes such as cyanotypes, daguerreotypes, tintypes and other wet plate methods have always interested me. It's partly due to the history behind the methods but also the look and feel of the finished artwork, and of course the art, craft and effort that goes into each masterpiece. Each image is a unique one-off.
Nowadays, the digital brigade has gotten in on the act and there are software analogue emulators that will do some of the heavy lifting work for the avid photographer who wants to try these techniques out without the huge investment in learning and the specialised equipment. This is convenient but loses so much of ethos and magic which makes the traditional methods much more appealing to me.
Having said that, I'm here in Nashville to shoot a music festival with an assortment of 35mm cameras (digital and film), an instant film camera and an iPhone with an app on it called Hipstamatic. And, you guessed it, this app has some emulators for mimicking C-Type and D-Type plate film and lenses.
So, one of my side projects for the trip is to try it out and get some portraits of the artists that I get to work with while I'm here. I'll put together a wee montage of images on my return.
An artist I admire greatly who works with the traditional methods is Emil Ryge. Emil uses Wet Plate Collodion and he made a fantastic image of Andy Washington who is a very familiar character in the music circles that I mix in. Emil and Andy have given me permission to use the image to illustrate the method and the results that can be achieved using the traditional analogue method.
You can see more of Emil's work by clicking here.
Digital methods are no competition for the analogue methods and one day soon I will try out the traditional method. In the meantime, I'm gonna be lazy and use the app.