The Tintype

A tintype, also known as a melainotype or ferrotype, is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel and used as the support for the photographic emulsion. Tintypes enjoyed their widest use during the 1860s and 1870s, but lesser use of the medium persisted into the early 20th century and it has been revived as a novelty in the 21st.

The great thing about Tintypes is that they are SUPER HIGH RESOLUTION!




They were called TinTypes not because they were shot onto TIN, but it was a derogatory term for something cheap and with no value. The great thing about TinTypes is that it make photography available to EVERYONE. Before them you had to be rich in order to get a picture done. No people were getting pictures done who were just normal working folk.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 5.42.38 PMIt was something that you could do at a carnival or faire.

It is not an easy process to do. It is also considered a WET PROCESS. Your chemicals have to be wet when you take the image, or you can’t get a result.


Most of this has to be done in COMPLETE DARK. It’s a drag. And the exposures are REALLY LONG. And you will often need to use crap ton of light in order to make an exposure.


Drew-Afghanistan0001This is taken by my friend Ed Drew. This is the great grandson of Buffalo Bill.

TINTYPE COPYRIGHT OF VICTORIA WILLfrom the Oscars by Victoria Will

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 5.49.08 PMShot by Josh Brand. (Full light of summer sun, 4 second exposure)


Watch this 9 minute video, it’s worth seeing.

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