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Tintype

Victoria Will

Written by Fredrik Franzén

At 2015 Sundance Film Festival, photographer Victoria Will decided to put down her digital camera and use a century-old technique to shoot the stars. The result is celebrity portraits unlike any other you have ever seen before.
We all know the feeling of being stuck in a rut. So what do you do as a portrait photographer when you need to reignite your creative spark?
One thing you can do is switch tools. Replace the pen with a brush, and you will probably be surprised by what you end up putting on the canvas.
Celebrity photographer Victoria Will’s recent shoot at the Sundance Film Festival is a good example. Victoria had been shooting the stars at the festival for three years in a row when she started to feel as if she was reinventing the wheel every time. So for her fourth year, she replaced her DSLR with an old Graflex Super D camera and the TIFFs and JPGs with beautiful, aluminum tintypes.
The switch did not make things easier for Victoria, quite the opposite. But the demanding process resulted in some of the most inspired and highly praised portraits from that year’s festival.
“What I love about the process is how raw it is,” says Victoria. “We live in an age of glossy magazines and overly retouched skin. But there is no lying with tintypes. You can’t get rid of a few wrinkles in Photoshop.”

Milan

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