‘What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time’. John Berger
For the past seven years, photographer Tif Hunter has nursed an interest in ‘tintypes’. These are handmade, one-off images which use a 19th century technique, developed in the early days of photography. First invented in the 1850s, tintypes were particularly popular during the Civil War in late 19th century America.
Join us on Wednesday 16 May for a preview of the exhibition and talk with Tif. The talk is a free to attend event but there is the option of joining us for supper in our Mess Restaurant afterwards. There is a fixed menu for £30 per head excluding wine.
Messums Wiltshire is offering the unique experience of having a tin-type portrait taken by Tif in our 13th century barn. There are only twelve opportunities, across the course of two days for this to happen! Tin-types are original in ways that photographs from the 20th and 21st century simply are not. There are no negatives to print from and no other ways of creating identical multiple images. When Tif creates his beautiful prints he does so through using digital scanning and printing techniques. Tin-types, produced literally on a single tin sheet cannot be modified in anyway. Tif joins a whole host of makers such as the ceramicist and painter Makoto Kagoshima who have created one-off pieces of art in our medieval barn.
A tintype is a photograph with warm monochromatic tones on a thin sheet of metal. Tintypes, (or wetplates as they are also known) involve a cocktail of chemicals and must be prepared moments before the image is taken and developed and fixed immediately after. Each one-off tintype has a beautiful surface of marks and smears resulting from the chemistry involved. The final image is grainless with exquisitely smooth tones.
This photographic experience will be complemented by an exhibition – Mirror Mirror – Tif’s original tin-types and prints in the Long Gallery spanning the genres of still life and portraiture. This will be the prologue for our larger Image show on from 15 September – 21 October 2018 across both of our exhibition spaces. Image is a two-fold exhibition showcasing a diverse range of contemporary and historical photographers, with a focus on portraiture, encompassing Surrealism, fashion, celebrity and visual humour. This show will feature some of the most respected names in the industry such as Peter Beard, Andy Warhol, Man Ray, Mick Rock, Guy Bourdin and Neal Slavin. Upcoming and established women artists featured in our medieval barn will include Anna Fox, Alison Goldfrapp, Polly Penrose, Maisie Cousins and Juno Calypso.
Hunter’s pioneering work with tintype portraiture, combined with 21st century lighting techniques, has led to many commissions including those from The Jerwood Foundation and retailer Toast. Tif has worked for an international range of clients for over twenty years. His commercial work has been featured in Lurzer’s Archive 200 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide. Hunter’s clients include British Airways, Sony and The Guardian. His personal work has been exhibited and sold at the Michael Hoppen Gallery. Tif Hunter lives and works in an 1850’s saddlery workshop in Bermondsey, London.
Top images (from left to right): Charan, Celeriac
Messum’s Wiltshire is a pioneering multi-purpose gallery and arts centre celebrating the creative endeavour.