Photos as Physical Art Objects — They’re Not Going Away

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Photo: Michael Shindler

On Tuesday my post on backing up your digital data elicited hundreds of responses online. Many of you had a good quip on a time-tested methodology on how to back up your most treasured memories: print them.

What a concept – the photo as an object. As our culture ebbs and, largely FLOWS to just some bits and bytes on a hardrive or server somewhere, an actual physical photo unmistakably elevates in value because of scarcity. I love art as artifact – it’s so damn meta.

Click through the tabs above to see some stylish examples of a very physical photography: tintype photos.

Tintypes (as you might guess based on the ‘tin’) are images that are exposed directly onto a stainless ferrotype plate. As physical as it gets. To see a behind-the-scenes video (via our friends at Cool Hunting) on how these were made at the Photobooth studio in the Mission District of San Francisco click HERE.

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58 Responses to Photos as Physical Art Objects — They’re Not Going Away

  1. brandon shane warren June 21, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    So awesome.

  2. Corporate Photographer June 21, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    Stunning photograph and as powerful as any painting or sculpture

  3. Michael June 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    What makes the tintypes, ambrotypes, and daguerreotype so special is the image is a direct impression of the subject like the old time death masks. The captured photons actual touched the subject just before capture. Other photo processes require some conversion to get the image view-able so “something” is lost. That was a wandering off into the metaphysical…..

  4. Chris Ridley June 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    I love this blog, but navigating through the images is such as pain in the ass, can’t you bring the slideshow/quick nav back?!

  5. Dave June 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    tintypes and wet-plate collodion= Polaroid Type 55 for the new millenium

  6. Aaron June 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    Hundreds of responses? I’m pretty sure the total reads 28.

    • Chase June 22, 2012 at 9:24 am #

      @Aaron – no need to be a hater, or a contrarian. The same past got 499 comments on Google+, and last time I checked i’m “pretty sure” thats online. If you have something constructive to add to the conversation, please do. Otherwise… you know….

  7. Tatueringar | Tattoo design June 22, 2012 at 3:08 am #

    Very nice!!

  8. faisal June 22, 2012 at 6:55 am #

    They wont atleast not in this decade

  9. steel tooth bits June 24, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    Aaron – no need to be a hater, or a contrarian. The same past got 499 comments on Google+, and last time I checked i’m “pretty sure” thats online. If you have something constructive to add to the conversation, please do. Otherwise… you know….

  10. steel tooth bits June 24, 2012 at 12:19 am #

    What a concept – the photo as an object. As our culture ebbs and, largely FLOWS to just some bits and bytes on a hardrive or server somewhere, an actual physical photo unmistakably elevates in value because of scarcity. I love art as artifact – it’s so damn meta.

  11. Christy Harper June 27, 2012 at 2:51 am #

    Interesting images. The freckled girl reminds me of my own freckles, hard to photograph.. haha :) I love the processing!

  12. Max July 4, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    Always looking for more B&W shots that just stand out. Awesome capture here.

  13. Fashion Photographer Jerry Avenaim July 18, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Love these portraits Chase, I miss printing from Polaroid negatives. Time to get out my 190

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  1. Emerging Talent: The Wetplate work of Mark Tucker with a Q&A from Chase Jarvis | Chase Jarvis Blog - July 10, 2012

    [...] another look at some wet-plate work check out my blog post on “Photos as Physical Objects,” from a few weeks [...]

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