Leah Sobsey and Tim Telkamp were the recipients of the first Click! Photography Festival PIC Grant. The goal of the project, Tintypes: A Community Portrait was to engage with the community and bring people together through the wet plate collodion process. The idea was similar to that of the bookmobile or the ice cream truck where people come out of their houses and on to the street to engage with each other and in the process, create a large community portrait. The project had them taking their mobile tintype unit into the community, setting up across the Triangle hoping to include a few participants from each location. What happened instead was an overwhelming interest from the community and in the end, they made over 80 tintype portraits. In the spirit of a true collaboration, families, friends, couples, and individuals came out to participate in the mobile tintype project. Sitters decided how they wanted to pose collaborating with the artists to create their own unique portrait.
Tintypes are created using the wet plate collodion process which dates from the mid-1850s and was in widespread use through the 1870s. To take a collodion photograph, collodion and other chemicals are applied to a plate just before use and the photograph is captured, developed, and rinsed before the plate is allowed to dry. The whole process takes about 15 minutes while the photographer goes into the mobile dark-room, pours the emulsion and then processes the plate.
Leah Sobsey is an artist and Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Sobsey works in 19th-century photographic processes combined with digital technology. She exhibits nationally in galleries, public spaces, and museums; her most recent installations were exhibited at The Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, 21C Hotel Museum in Durham North Carolina and Rayko Photo Gallery in San Francisco, California, which also featured her first monograph, Collections, released in July 2016 by Daylight Books. Her work is held in private and public collections across the country. Her images have appeared in New Yorker.com, the Paris Review Daily, Slate.com, Hyperallergic.com, The Telegraph.
Tim Telkamp is a photographer, craftsman, technologist, and mentor currently living in Central Florida. Wherever life has taken him, from crossing the Arctic Circle to South America and Europe he has gone with camera in hand. His photographs have been published in books, newspapers, and magazines, and he wrote and illustrated “The Place That’s Always with You,” a children’s story set in Central North Carolina that celebrates home and history. In contrast to his historical craftsmanship, he has also been involved in many high-tech designs and engineering projects.