Personal Study Essays

The fact that each plate has its own unique flaws caused by inconsistent flow of collodion over the plate also aids this discussion.

Ed Drew Ed Drew is an avid Tintype photographer as well as being an USAF & National Guardsman veteran.

Drew’s portraits of military instillations and soldiers serving in across the Middle East is entirely unique due to his use of collodion wet plate photography, creating a symmetry between, and homage to, the use of large format cameras in the American Civil War.

The construction of the scene detracts from the facial expression and forces the viewer to consider the portrait as a whole.

The American flag behind the soldier is a dominant symbol of patriotism, it sits above him in the frame, possibly representing that the country is greater than him and his personal anguish is worthwhile for the benefit of the nation. The word uniform itself can be defined as “remaining the same in all cases and at all times” ( The purpose of my project is to reveal the subject in greater detail, by placing the subject in a uniform it has in fact removed the subjects identity and therefore must be considered when developing my own work.

Given our knowledge of the necessary exposure times of Tintypes we can assume that the sitter would need to be stationary for at least three seconds in order to achieve correct exposure using daylight.

Within the context of my project this leads to the conclusion that the representation of the subjects face would be considered true, as a long exposure would require a still pose in order to avoid motion blur.

The most engaging element of the portrait is the subjects face.

The necessity of a long exposure forces the sitter to remain still, and whilst the scene as a whole is constructed (the deliberately placed elements leading to a sense of performance) his face must remain relaxed and motionless, offering a blank expression which is unable to perform.

A downside to using Tintypes to document in this way is the time it takes to create a single exposure.

A sensitised plate has the equivalent ISO of 1, in a studio environment a one second exposure would require four 800 watt flash heads.


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