Data + Design Project

Tintype Photography- Time Warp to the 1800’s

Tuesday 06.12.2012 , Posted by
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Through another serendipitous series of events, the Visual News Van ended up surrounded by talent and new friends at Maine Media Workshops (MMW) in Rockport, Maine. Taylor McIntosh, who is a teaching assistant on the campus, gave us a tip to meet former MMW grad, Matt Cosby on our way back down South to New Hampshire and we were fascinated with his use of an old photography technique, known as tintyping. A self-taught photographer, Matt Cosby has been interested in photography since high school and got his start after receiving positive reactions from his travel pictures. He is the bass player (and of course, photographer) of the Pete Kilpatrick Band and also does freelance portrait photography for Maine Magazine.

Matt Cosby has always had an affinity toward photographing people, but his education at MMW helped him “hone his craft and vision.” There he was introduced to tin type photography and captivated by its ability to slow people down. Cosby explains, “when you use a view camera (with a cloak over your head) and the mask/facade is gone, people relax and you get something more real than a snapshot.” The process of tintype photography was started in the 1850’s and many of the best tintype photographers from that time lived short lives due to exposure to the harsh chemicals in the un-ventilated dark rooms of their time. Thankfully, Matt Cosby works in much safer conditions.

See Jessica Czeck’s 15 second interview with Matt, followed by the intricate process of how tintypes are made in the videos at the end of the post. Be sure to check out more of Matt’s photography on his websites: MattCosby.com and AmericanPictureBook.com and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The Camera Matt Used for These Tintypes

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Paul Caridad

Written by Paul Caridad



Bicycled the perimeter of USA, hitch hiked across the States dressed as monk. Nomadic for the next few years. Would love to connect, so check out my links below! email: soloride@gmail.com

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