Hello, thank you for visiting and considering my work to help you capture or recreate a moment of your personal history.
My work is heavily based on freezing, recreating, or restoring moments of time. I have been fortunate to work internationally with all types of clients, setting up private photographic events in unusual spaces. My proudest moments have come during the one on one private sessions or custom restoration exchanges where my clients have felt comfortable share their personal and sometimes complicated stories behind the old photographs we are restoring or the people and moments we are contemporarily freezing. It is a gift when someone invests their time and attention into your personal passions, and can be reciprocated when giving back that lost story in the form of a new moment. It is often more than photographs I am bringing back to life, it is often new perspective on old family conflicts and stories. There seems to be something in the telling of our stories that can restore both our tattered old photographs, but deeper, the history shared within the image.
While a lot of my work is in wet plate and analog photography, I also shoot digital photography and arrange corporate events. I restore custom pieces requiring textile restoration that employ the use of sewing, knitting and crochet. If wanting fiber based silver gelatin work, I do still expose children's panels and offer commission sessions. These work can be sepia toned, hand painted with oil and finished with fine frames; the techniques I use for painting take inspiration from the original hand painting techniques evolved in Japan in the 1860's. I weld my own steel works, as well as do some of the fine mending of delicate pendants and other jewelry elements. I am also the owner, inventor, and founder of www.digitaltintypes.com and am half of a rock and roll musical duo, that you can find at www.thedisplaced.com.
Photographically, I have been working for over 20 years in analog processes to preserve history, exploring identity and our relationship to time. In creating photographic memories you can hold and treasure, I hope to create an honest frozen moment of your history. All my chemical formulas are made by hand, as well, l perform all the camera modifications and restoration work necessary to breathe new life into this modern age. When restoring a damaged original photograph or staging a modern session, my goals are to capture or restore a real moment of your history and create an heirloom image that can be treasured for generations. I have worked with dozens of artists to create the art they see in their mind's eye. As well, hundreds of families to capture or recreate a magically moment in their family.
My personal aim is to capture authentic photographic moments that both add to our shared history and the greater artistic landscape.
For private commission or corporate event information, please email: email@example.com
"Jen, seen here with her 11x14 Deardorff Studio Camera. Jen is not unlike the artisan maker of this camera, Laben Deardorff, who had a lifelong way of making the things that he needed. The Deardorff camera company was founded in Chicago in 1923, Laben worked repairing cameras for 30 years before founding his company. Jen has a 'make it yourself, nothing is impossible' philosophy and that is what inspired Laben over one hundred years ago to create his company and line of world changing cameras at the sunset of his life. Jen was born with that same autodidactic drive that fueled Laben, believing that you can do the impossible, you can pioneer a new invention never knowing where in all your hard work will end up. It is always best to say yes, to be kind, be vulnerable to change and open to realizing you are just at the beginning of your learning adventure.'
'I want to create a safe environment where you can be your honest and perfect self. My tendency is to go slow, if it takes a little longer for a kiddo to get comfortable before we shoot, that is best. I never force a moment, I set everything up so that when my client is ready and comfortable they have but to be themselves and let me do all the hard work.'
Watching Jen work with my wife and baby is wild. As a pretty good photographer myself, I somehow can never do what Jen just did. My wife holds the small of our son's back while he coos and drools. Jen sings a little song to keep my son's attention. Little buddy and his little toes, goes everywhere cause he knows he's gotta grow grow grow. Jen grabs a brush and gently brushes my wife's hair all to one side. You have such a beautiful neckline if we pull your hair just to the side, is that ok? Back to my son, chunky little toes chunky cause they are ready to grooowwwwww!
'Ok all, I'm gonna grab the plate just stay here looking awesome, ok?', Jen spins around from my son, and shoots me a sweaty smile as she heads to the darkroom for the plate. 'I get pretty silly with the kiddos, I can't help it!' she exclaims. When we then all watch the exposure come to life in the fix bath, she whispers, see???? wow, this moment is magic.' Jen is pointing at the tintype of my wife and son with a huge smile on her face when we all realize we have been holding our breath.'
'Laben Deardorff, the camera’s designer, grew up in Ohio among the Dunkers, a sect not unlike the Amish, and some people see their influence in the elegant simplicity and fine craftsmanship of the Deardorff, with its bellows stretched across a polished mahogany and metal frame. It’s light compared to metal view cameras, and it folds into itself, becoming its own surprisingly compact case. Photographers must drape a dark hood over their heads to see the dim image projected on the camera’s ground glass, but the front and back move independently, allowing maximum control of perspective and focus; among other things, that control keeps the vertical lines of skyscrapers from receding to a point like railroad tracks when an architectural photographer takes their picture. The resulting images are remarkably rich in detail.
More than 10,000 folding Deardorffs were made, from portable 4-by-5s and 5-by-7s (the same cameras with different backs to hold the corresponding size of sheet film) to mammoth 11-by-14s and 12-by-20s, though most were 8-by-10s. Larger, nonfolding models also were made in much smaller numbers for institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum and the U.S. Army. Deardorffs were always the Cadillac of American view cameras. In 1947 a four-by-five went for $150, in 1982, $1,650.
For much of the 20th century Deardorffs were a mainstay of busy Chicago catalog photography studios such as Grignon, Kranzten, and Vogue-Wright, whose clients included Montgomery Ward and Sears, Roebuck. They were used by Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Art Sinsabaugh, and Yousuf Karsh, and they remain the tool of choice for fine-art photographers using large-format sheet film–especially landscape photographers, who appreciate their portability. Among those who use the cameras today are Sally Mann, Richard Misrach, and Hiroshi Sugimoto.'"
Excerpt taken from Stephen Longmire's article in the Chicago Reader
Past corporate clients include:
the Artist Oddessy
Prisoner Wine Company
Ace Hotel Chicago
Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
MOPA San Diego
Ogilvy & Mather
Japanese Cultural Center Chicago
Bei Dou Kung Fu
Chicago Photography Center