Prints, digital scans, framed and unframed tintypes and ambrotypes are available in a variety of sizes.
I am equipped to shoot tintypes and ambrotypes in any size from 4"x5" to 14"x14".
The wet plate collodion process was the leading mode of photography in the 1850's and 1860's. Ambrotypes are sepia-colored black & white positive images on blackened glass and tintypes are sepia-colored positive images on blackened metal.
Sitting for a tintype is an experience in itself. I use old brass lenses from the 1850's and a large wooden Eastman Century camera to make 8x10" ambrotypes and tintypes. The wet plate process, which requires images to be exposed and developed while they are still wet, allows images to be seen minutes after the exposure has been made. Sitters must sit extremely still for about 10 to 60 seconds, making a smile impossible to hold–hence the serious expressions you may be familiar with in antique photographs. I use a cast iron head brace to help keep you still.
I strive to make sitters comfortable and to make the process as pleasant as possible. I also see it as a collaborative experience; we will work together to find the best image. We will need to allow time to make a bunch of plates because each image can be vastly different from the one before (the chemistry is finicky). During the shoot, you could choose to try images on glass (ambrotypes) or metal (tintypes or ferrotypes) or I can do both during the same shoot.
Each plate is one-of-a-kind and only reproducible in the same way that paintings are, by scanning or re-photographing the image. So the photographs, like those treasured tintype images of our great-great grandparents, are heirloom objects in themselves. At the end of the shoot, when you are satisfied with the choices of plates, you can choose the two you would like to have scanned (all portrait packages include as a minimum the sitting and the two scans). You will also have the option to purchase any of the plates, but I will need to retain them for one to two weeks to varnish them and allow them sufficient time to dry.
All the above images by Tom Grill 2010
What to Wear
The photo process does not react to color in the same way film does, so please wear or bring a shirt or blouse that does not have text on it (images will be reversed) and that is not predominately black, white, blue or dark red. A shirt that is purple, green, pink, or brown is ideal, and patterns are fine. Shiny or shimmering materials also look great, as does skin, so tank tops or short sleeves are good, too. Jeans, pants or a skirt are fine. Feel free to bring an extra shirt or two along if you have any doubts about what to wear. And of course, formal dresses, gowns and tuxedos always look good.
How to reach me
To schedule a portrait session, please contact Keliy Anderson-Staley at keliyas[at]gmail.com or 917-545-6873.
To see some of my fine art photography, including several galleries of tintype portraits, please visit my website www.andersonstaley.com