Whenever possible I try to bring across a short film to highlight an individuals work because I think you really get an overall sense of what both they and their project are all about. Just being able to hear in their voice and visualise the intricate processes involved goes a long way in deciphering those creating a completely diffrent path from the norm. I like to think we celebrate this thinking outside of the box here, and todays addition to our archive is a prime example of an independent with a passion for something you don’t come across everyday, a 150 year old craft that is tintype photography.
Harry Taylor found himself attracted more and more to this style of shooting after a family member passed away, and although this was obviously a really difficult time for him personally I’m glad that he was able to channel his thoughts into something progressive and positive. I’ve seen many scenarios of this nature, particularly with creative jobs, where a death of a loved one has become the protagonist for a search of purpose, a drive to find what you really love. Whenever I come across this topic I always refer in my mind to this Steve Jobs quote “almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important”.
Tintype photography is what makes Harry tick and it’s wonderful that he’s been able to revive such a delicate art. The photograph is made by creating a direct positive on a sheet of iron which is first blackened by painting and used as a support for a photographic emulsion. This style was typically seen out on location at fairs and carnivals, as photos could be produced within a few minutes without the need of drying, an archaic Polaroid if you will. Harry creates his own, both on location and within his studio, which we get to see in the film below. Given there are only a limited number of people still working in this way he’s generated quite the demand for the tintype aesthetic and I really enjoyed having a browse of the work he’s completed in the past over on his website.
Like many of you I’m sure I’ve only just come across Harry’s work today, however he’s instantly become a big inspiration and I hope most of you will use his story as fuel to your own fires. I know it’s a bit morbid mentioning death but it’s a fate we all share and none of us know when our time is going to be up. I intend to stay “hungry and foolish” whilst I’ve got the opportunity, I hope you all will too. Watch below and enjoy!