Catawba Valley Community College Photographic Technology students recently participated in a workshop for tintype photography through a Projects Pool Grants from the United Arts Council of Catawba County.
The goal of the workshop was for students to learn the historical art form of wet collodion tintype photography — the dominant photographic process of the 1850s that overtook the daguerreotype and reigned for more than a decade until it was supplanted by dry plate collodion emulsions and eventually film.
Joshua White, assistant professor in the Department of Art at Appalachian State University, led the workshop.
Photographic Technology Program Director Clayton Joe Young compares the finished tintype image to a one-of-a-kind painting with the maker’s mark — flaws and all.
“It’s one of the earliest processes in photography — before film was ever invented,” Young said. “The plate has to be hand-coated, then shot, and processed before the plate dries. You have a 10-minute window to work in. You need to have a darkroom on site.”
The culmination of this project involved CVCC’s Photographic Technology Program students photographing and interviewing a number of prominent African Americans in Catawba County.
Using a large-format camera and dividing up the multi-step process among groups of students, they recreated historical photos of 13 individuals identified by the local NAACP chapter president Jerry McCombs, CVCC’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and Xenophone Lutz — a member of the undefeated Ridgeview High School “Untouchables” 1964 football team.
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