After recently buying 200 tintypes from the deep archives of estate sales, eBay, and Etsy auctions, I became transfixed by seeking out if there was still anyone making imagery using this 160-year-old process. I found a wide range of Instagram accounts ranging from those just starting out to those with thousands of followers. These are the top 10 tintype photographers that stood out with their compelling visuals and dedication to keeping this lost art alive.
Serge Romanov has reinvented tintypes from a foregone thought of the past to a modern masterpiece; his technical lighting skills give his tintypes a strong commercial edge compared to the soft, naturally lit tintypes you usually envision, with themes ranging from dark, sexual vixens to good vs. evil in his heroism series. Featuring alluring female muses encapsulating everything on the spectrum from angelic innocence to enchantresses with bondage fashions, Sergero is a hidden gem among tintype photographers with a relatively smaller following, but with an all-star portfolio.
Over the past decade, Joni Sternbach, a fine art photographer living in Brooklyn, NY, has traveled around the world to create one-of-a-kind tintype portraits of contemporary surfers using the nineteenth century wet plate collodion process. In her stunning new monograph, Surf Site, Tin Type, Sternbach gathers the worldwide surfer community together in a series of fascinating portraits that celebrate surfing as a sport and way of life. Her portraits evoke a sense of ambiguity and timeless mystery.
One of the newest members of the Instagram tintype community (barely two months old) is Wow Productions. Created and founded by Marco Chow, Wow Productions is a Hong Kong-based production house specializing in fashion and advertising. WOW Productions has a huge client list for its digital side of photography, but recently started up an Instagram page showcasing stunning fashion portraits. I'm sure they will continue to provide stellar content for us shortly.
Tintypes by Horst
Grarup has created compelling imagery over the course of his 25-year career photographing with many of history’s defining human rights and conflict issues. His tintype work takes a more fine art approach with deep contrasts, unveiling a stronger emotion and story from within his subjects.
Kari Orvik Tintype Studio
Kari has incorporated the wet plate collodion process into her photography for the last ten years, operating an entirely tintype focus business model. She was also a part of the San Francisco fan favorite, Photobooth, as a tintype photographer for two years of its operation. The part of the process Kari enjoys most aside from being able to create photos freely without being stuck in front of a computer screen is being able to meet the full spectrum of people who have visited her studio and the remarkable collaborations that have transpired.
Sean Hawkey is well known for creating profoundly moving portraits of miners of SOTRAMI, a worker-owned and fair trade certified mining company in Peru. Capturing portraits during a demonstration in Lima about an illegal claim on their concession, his striking imagery shows the prolonged effect on the weary men that toiled in the silver mines for most of their lives. His dedication to using the tintype process in such a powerful documentary way is admirable.
Andreas Reh is one of our international picks for the list with a killer portfolio of captivating headshots and breathtaking nude muses. These bare and raw tintypes make you feel an intimate connection to the subjects, as if you have known them for years.
Lead image used with permission of Joni Sternbach.
Great article Presley, some of my favorites on this list.
Check out Alex Timmermans also, he's amazing.
and I could use some IG love :)
Scott, great work.
Thank you so much! I will be sure to give you some Insta love!
Is it flagged not safe for work because the images and concept are awesome and I'm likely to spend the rest of the workday researching the tintype process?
Exactly. I spent hours obsessing over this
:) Love me some tintype
Wet plate is a fun and expensive process. But I found that for those who don't have extra money to do this process. There is the dry plate process which is much easier for first timers and much cheaper for similar results. http://rockaloid.com/tintypes
there are lots of other true masters...not only doing portraits but using wet plate to achieve their vision...
Ed Ross NSFW
Alex Timmermans like Scott said
love love love love love these
Thank you so much! I will be writing more about film be sure to keep checking in!
why is this nsfw? all the photos are on Instagram.
Sadly anytime a boob is showing I have to flag my article as NSFW.
In my opinion I am a firm believer in #freethenipple
but here we are :(
Ian Ruhter? I just briefly checked his Instagram and the first images are not tintype, since it seems it's background photos.