I am filled with admiration for people like Joni Sternbach, who not only take a large format camera into the field but because she is using a wet-plate collodion process the photographic plates must be prepared and developed on location too.
The project that I’m most familiar with is – Surfland. It’s a project that was started ten years ago and has taken her to local surf spots on both coasts of the US, to Hawaii, Uruguay, Australia, France and England. It is a fascinating exploration of surf culture across the globe and well worth a deeper look.
Check out the Surfland project on Sternbach’s website here. There are also a couple of books associated with the project that can be found on her website here or from amazon.
I’ve been following Jack Lowe’s ‘The Lifeboat Station Project’ for a while through his instagram posts. I was excited when I saw that he’d photographed the lifeboat station of the little Yorkshire fishing village where I spent my summers.
The RNLI – The Royal Lifeboat Institution – is a 200 year old charity that saves lives around the coast of the UK and Republic of Ireland. That the RNLI is a charity and uses community volunteers really distinguishes it from services in other countries such as the US coastguard. The RNLI provides a vital service and is well worth supporting.
Jack is on a mission to photograph all 238 RNLI lifeboat stations in the UK and Republic of Ireland. That in itself would be a challenge but to make things more interesting Jack’s choice of medium is wet plate collodion. He’s making photographs on glass plates and developing them in the field using his mobile darkroom Neena, a refurbished ambulance. The culmination of the project will be a book and exhibition that will help the RNLI raise awareness for their mission and funds to support it. Check out how Jack’s project is progressing on his mission map page here.
Sally Mann has used a large format camera to photograph the deep south since the 1970’s producing bodies of work that cover portraiture, architecture, landscape and still life. Perhaps her most well known work was ‘Immediate Family’ which focused on her three children who were all under 12 at the time. It’s release was met with controversy, including accusations of child pornography – many of the photos were of her children playing and swimming naked at the families summer cottage.
Sally Mann has received many awards including being named ‘America’s Best Photographer’ by Time Magazine in 2001, she’s a Guggenheim fellow and three times a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship awardee.
Check out the 2006 documentary of Sally Mann, her work and her process ‘What Remains’ below.
Occasionally I will find the same snippet of information pop up across a variety of different webpages, magazines, etc. that I turn to on a daily basis to find out what’s going on. That’s how it was with John Coffer.
John was recently featured in the Atlantic Magazine. John lives off the grid on a 50 acre farm in upstate NY that he uses as his base for “Camp Tintype”, ‘the best known and longest running learning center for wet-plate collodion photography in the world’. In addition to the video below, there are more videos on John’s website that are well worth a look. While you’re at John’s website you should also check out some of his tintypes.