When I sat down for my tintype portrait I was nervous. It was expensive. The depth of field is incredibly shallow. You can’t really move. And I only had one chance. As a photographer I am also keenly aware of my most flattering angles and inability to look “natural” in front of the camera. The sun was setting behind lower Manhattan and I was sitting by the East River facing an incredible glare. I was squinting, uncomfortable, and probably wondering if my hair was okay. When I am on the other side of the lens I forget how much awareness a subject has of their own presentation. There’s a constant frantic internal dialogue. The photographer started speaking to me. Finally, a distraction. I had to sit up straight, lean forward, smile “just a little bit” and try not to blink. After he loaded the film all he had to do was remove the lens cap for half a second and then put it back. “That’s it?” I asked. “That’s it.” I didn’t even know it had happened. No shutter. No click. Just a slight wave of the hand.

Tintypes & Instant Film at Jazz Age Lawn Party

We were delighted to find ourselves shooting portraits at the second weekend of this years Jazz Age Lawn Party.

As we started sifting through images we found that a handful of people were photographed in both tintype and instant film. We thought it would be fun to match up some instant film portraits with their tintype counterparts. 

Hope you enjoy! 


Here is a slideshow from our recent #WetPlate #workshop with Lisa Elmaleh @elmalayheehoo It took place at her cabin in Paw, Paw WV. Students had the opportunity to learn the process hands on and work together in the field. Of course there was time for camp fires and camaraderie!

You can see the full set on our FB page.
#penumbrafoundation #tintype #alternativeprocesses #travel #westvirginia #greatoutdoors (at Paw Paw, WV)

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We had Intro to Wet Plate with instructor Same Dole this past weekend. Here is a gif file showing the technique of pouring a plate.

#wetplate #collodion #tintype #workshop #penumbrafoundation #gif #alternativeprocesses #nyc #newyork

(at 36 E 30th Street, New York, NY)

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Traveling Back in Time | Portraits from the Jazz Age Lawn Party

What do you get when you mix 1920’s fashion, prohibition-era cocktails, Michael Arenella & his Dreamland Orchestra and plenty of razzle dazzle? A classic summer weekend spent on Governor’s Island.

The Penumbra Tintype Studio was thrilled to be a part of this years Jazz Age Lawn Party, capturing portraits of the fashionable guests. We had a great team working our portable tintype booth and wandering the VIP area capturing some behind the scenes moments and portraits in instant film.

If you happened to miss the June celebration, don’t worry, there is an encore party on August 17-18. We look forward to seeing you there!

Here are some of our memorable moments from that weekend.

Behind the Scenes and Portraits from the Portable Tintype Studio:

Instant Portraits from the VIP Area:

These portraits were taken with a1920’s Graflex Series D 3.25x4.25 Single Lens Reflex large format camera. Two cameras were used, one for color and one for B&W. The cameras were specially modified so that special lenses could be mounted on them.  The two lenses used were a Cooke Series O Opic 8” 203mm f2 lens and a Carl Zeiss Biotessar 16.5cm f2.8. The film used was Fuji Instant Polaroid type film.

Check back in a few days - we are going to share a few portraits of notable folks who we had the pleasure of photographing at the event!


Here is an image slideshow from our #WetPlate in the Field workshop. Students spent time with instructor Lisa Elmaleh @elmalayheehoo learning and shooting at her cabin in West Virginia.

#penumbrafoundation #tintype #alternativeprocesses #workshop

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Interested in learning wet plate on a smaller scale? Check out this workshop with Lisa Elmaleh on shooting wet plate in 35mm and medium format May 2 & 3. Students will learn the techniques from preparing the plate through to varnishing. The class will also discuss chemical mixing and safety. Experimentation is strongly encouraged!!

Grab your spot today: penumbra

#wetplate #35mm #mediumformat #alternativeprocesses #workshops #penumbrafoundation #nyc #newyork

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