via guest contributor, Chris Holmquist
Photographic Process Research Apprentice
In a few weeks, George Eastman House Process Historian, Mark Osterman and team will lead a photography workshop unlike any other; a tintype excursion along the historic Erie Canal.
For three days we will float down the waterway in an authentic canal boat; navigating the step locks, staying overnight in a bed & breakfast and most importantly, stopping along the way to make authentic large-format tintypes on location, using a portable darkroom.
This excursion is modeled after similar trips that took place in the 1860’s by members of the Philadelphia Photograph Exchange Club. Groups like this consisted mostly of ‘gentleman scholars’; men with the benefit of free time, the resources needed to pursue such an involved hobby and an aptitude to make legitimate contributions to an ever evolving science. Outings like a canal trip were an excellent opportunity for amateur photographers to share their techniques, enjoy the surroundings and generally celebrate the wonderful process of making images in a camera.
In that period it was “mule teams”on shore that pulled the canal boats along, and although we will be taking advantage of the internal combustion engine, it’s in the same spirit that we set out to explore the Erie Canal in the first week of June. It’s a rare treat to learn the wet collodion technique from one of the world’s leading authorities, while also getting a chance to forget the modern world for a few days and relive a piece of photography’s past.
If this sounds like a fantastic opportunity, you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s one open spot remaining in our roster!