Tintype Portrait Studio coming to Downtown Newark

Alone and Together: Tintype Portrait Studio at Gallery Aferro
October 3 + 4th, 1-7 PM

Photographer Keliy Anderson-Staley is inviting the public to have their portrait taken at Gallery Aferro on October 3 and 4th from 1-7 PM. Sitters can come solo or with a loved one. The sittings are free. A print of the image is $10.

The downtown Newark area was once home to many portrait studios where people could come to have a high-quality portrait made. By photographing contemporary America, especially in diverse New Jersey, Keliy is compiling a beautifully made record of what we all really look like, using a classic process.

Keliy hopes to meet and photograph as many people as possible while she is in Newark. All are welcome!

This portrait series is made with the wet plate collodion process, the leading mode of photography in the 1850’s and 1860’s. Tintypes are positive images exposed onto metal. This historic process has a different relationship to time than digital or film photography. The chemistry is hand-mixed and poured onto the plate in front of the sitter. As soon as the exposure is made in the wooden view camera, the plate must be taken to a portable dark box to be developed and fixed. The wet plate collodion image captures a pose held over several seconds or even minutes. This prolonged gaze creates a tension between the sitter and the camera. While a snapshot captures a moment about a 1/1000 of a second long, the tintype process allows for a portrait of a person or a couple to unfold over time; the image produced can then slow down our looking. A viewer sees the hard lines of bone structure, wrinkles and blemishes, but also sees bright, focused eyes staring back intently. This process allows the photographer and the viewer to stare, but it is not entirely voyeuristic, as the sitter stares back. The act of taking someone’s portrait can once again be an event.

Author: Ken Walker

Husband, Father, Analyst. In a glass case of emotion since 1978.

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