Three years ago I wrote a short story called ‘The Magic Lantern‘. I revelled in the research as I’ve been a photography buff since highschool. (About every five years I contemplate setting up a darkroom…) I fell in love with tintype photography and now keep an eye out for them on my travels.
I had my first opportunity to experience nineteenth century photography during the 2016 Adelaide History Month. This tied in with my research perfectly! I wrote this post on the history of early photography and a bit on the process.
This year I had the opportunity to share the experience with some of my fellow steampunks, as a promotion for this year’s Adelaide Steampunk Festival’s resident tintype photographer, The Tintype Traveller.
As a writer, experiencing the process of ‘period’ photography helps me to bring it to life in my writing. Photography in the nineteenth century wasn’t just a matter of pressing a button and having an instant image able to be deleted without a thought. The process takes approximately thirty minutes. The sitter relies on the knowledge of the photographer, but there is an element of serendipity (and some excitement) waiting for the final image to appear on a piece of metal. It’s tangible evidence of a snapshot in time worth waiting for. And perfect for steampunk attire!
Here are some photos from the shoot, thanks to Sam Oster and Peter Stanley:
Sam and her team will be set up in The Tintype Travellers’ caravan at this year’s Adelaide Steampunk Festival. You’ll be able to book your own ‘period’ photography experience. Sam will talk you through the process. You have a personalised sitting (or standing) and get your very own, exclusive tintype photo!
About Tintype Photography: Tintype photography is a classic process which was used from the mid 1800s to early 1900s. The processing must be done immediately after the exposure meaning the whole process from shot to final unique photograph takes around 30 minutes. The result is a picture developed in the same process that would have been performed in the era of steam travel and associated vintage life.
About the Photographer: Sam Oster is an accredited member of the Australian Institute for Professional Photography (AIPP) and is Principal photographer for Silvertrace www.silvertrace.com. She is an active member of the professional community and is also a lecturer in photography. Sam has been working with Tintype photography for the last few years and has invested in a mobile darkroom to enable on location tintype photography processing to make it accessible to interested members of the public.