Catawba Valley Community College recently received a Projects Pool Grant from the United Arts Council of Catawba County that funded a workshop on the wet plate collodion tintype photography process.
Joshua White, assistant professor in the Department of Art at Appalachian State University, led the workshop. The goal was for students to learn the historical art form of wet collodion tintype photography, the dominant photographic process of the 1850s. It overtook the daguerreotype and reigned for more than a decade until it was supplanted by dry plate collodion emulsions and eventually film.
Photographic Technology Program Director Clayton Joe Young compares the finished tintype image to a one-of-a-kind painting with the maker’s mark, flaws and all.
For the project, CVCC’s Photographic Technology Program students photographed and interviewed a number of prominent Catawba County African Americans for an upcoming documentary art exhibit. Using a large format camera and dividing up the multi-step process among groups of students, they recreated historical photos of 13 individuals identified by the local NAACP chapter president Jerry McCombs, CVCC’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Xenophone Lutz, member of the undefeated Ridgeview High School “Untouchables” 1964 football team.
All the images will be featured in a public exhibit that is scheduled for the spring.
The project was supported by the United Arts Council of Catawba County through the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the State of North Carolina.