A Perfectly Imperfect Picture

Giles Clement is a Nashville based photographer specializing in tintype and portraiture. On December 30 from 1-9pm he will be at Dry Ground Brewing, offering one-of-a-kind tintype photos sessions.

What’s a tintype?

A tintype, also known as a melainotype or ferrotype, is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel. This used as the support for the photographic emulsion. Tintypes enjoyed their widest use during the 1860s and 1870s, but lesser use of the medium persisted into the early 20th century and it has been revived as a novelty in the 21st.

As the technique was perfected and the equipment became more common, they were most commonly made by photographers working in booths or the open air at fairs and carnivals, and even by itinerant sidewalk photographers.

Because the lacquered iron support (there is no actual tin used) was resilient it not need drying. A tintype could be developed, fixed, and handed to the customer only a few minutes after the picture had been taken.

Capturing History

The tintype photograph saw more uses and captured a wider variety of settings and subjects than any other photographic type. It saw the Civil War come and go, documenting the individual soldier and horrific battle scenes. It captured scenes from the Wild West, as it was easy to produce by itinerant photographers working out of covered wagons.

The equipment Gile Clement uses to create a tintype is ancient. His oldest lens was made in 1849 and the process is one that is beautifully flawed. Please expect minor irregularities from this perfectly imperfect way of stealing a tiny bit of your soul.

The cost for a portrait session is $80 which includes your sitting, the original 4×5″ tintype and a digital scan of your image. Each session lasts about 20 minutes, and during it, they’ll work with you to create a one of a kind tintype photograph.

They can fit as many as five people in one image but smaller groups or individuals generally work best. You’ll be able to see your photograph come to life immediately after your session, but they will need to process them off site and will have them in the mail the following week.

You must pre-register for a photo session and the number os slots is limited. Go to http://www.gilesclement.com/tour/ and click the Paducah date to register. These photos are super cool, so spots are likely to fill up fast. Get registered ASAP!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask at press@gilesclement.com. Visit the event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/160415004705453/.