About

What is a Tintype?

Wet collodion photography, better known as "tintype" photography began in the 1860s.  The wet collodion method had a faster processing time than earlier photographic processes rendering an image within minutes as opposed to hours in the past.  "Tintypes" became very popular during the Civil War because it was a fast and inexpensive way for people to have a photo of their loved ones taken before they went off to battle.  Today, Paige uses the same chemical processes as the Civil War era photographers.  She works with highly toxic chemicals such as ether, cadmium bromide, and silver nitrate; without proper handling of these chemicals the outcome could be fatal.  Paige uses an authentic camera from the 19th century. The only difference between Paige’s process and the photographers in the 1860s is that she uses contemporary studio lighting instead of gunpowder. Compared to modern photography there is a certain grit about the aesthetic of a wet collodion photograph that the camera and chemicals are able to draw out of the subject.  In the past people called tintypes "soul photos" and it is easy to understand why.

About the Artist

 Artist's Self Portrait, 2018.

Artist's Self Portrait, 2018.

Press

"Best of 417 Magazine 'Editor's Pick,'" 417 Magazine 2018.

  • https://www.417mag.com/issues/february-2018/best-of-417-2018/#services

"How to Tackle the Taxidermy Trend," by Juliana Goodwin for 417 Home, 2017.

Paige Whitcomb is an artist living and working in the Ozarks of Southwest Missouri.  Paige creates photos using the traditional method of wet collodion photography with an authentic 19th century studio camera.  This historic process allows for a single photo to be captured without any possibility of duplicating the image. 

Paige received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History with a minor in Critical Methodologies to Literature from Missouri State University.  Paige approaches tintype photography from an art historical perspective; she draws inspiration from the invention of the camera and the possibilities that came from artists being able to capture the world around them as they saw it, as opposed to the past way of attempting to recreate reality on canvas. 

Paige creates tintypes to capture a staged fictional world, literally.  Paige’s images are the opposite of modern photography; in a society where anyone can take a picture anywhere, her meticulously staged scenes allow the viewer to see the world through the artist’s perspective, which is often an allegorical view of modern culture.  Paige’s intention is to have the observer question what century the image was taken, where, and why.