Can you tell us your Name, age and what Lumiere is?
Adrian Whipp, 31 long years, Born in the midlands, UK. Lived in Leeds for a while, now residing in Austin, TX.
Lumiere Tintype is a little traveling studio and darkroom that I built. I keep it in Austin at a little French Restaurant and make tintype photographs of folks who visit the restaraunt. The studio is mobile so we travel around with it too, kind of like the itinerant photographers of 150 years ago. Tintype is an old civil war era process – I use a handmade chemistry to coat a piece of metal and make it light sensitive. It is exposed and developed much like a piece of film.
I started by just buying some basic chemistry and a cheap large format camera. I’m self taught so the first few attempts were pretty pathetic – but there’s something very cool about making an analog photograph entirely from scratch, so I was hooked. Seeing an image you made by hand appear in the fix really never gets old.
Since embarking on this photo journey with Lumiere, are there any noteworthy adventures you would like to share?
This summer was a big test for us, I wanted to see if I could survive on the road for a few months, shooting tintypes across the country. I traveled from Texas to Canada, and back down the west coast all the way to San Diego before heading inland. Me and the dog camped most of the time in National Forests, shot tintypes on the weekends to make a little cash, then kept moving along. I got to see some awesome parts of the country, and meet some great people. I also got to ride bikes and work on my Trail Digger Tintype project, something I want to add to over the next few years.
is there any explanation to the fact that your images seem to draw even more character out of your subjects than other mediums?
It’s super detailed, the resolution of an 8×10 tintype blows any DSLR out of the water. Old lenses help too, they don’t make ’em like they used to. Add to that the fact that the chemistry can’t ‘see’ color correctly, (for example, blue eyes will glow, while skin darkens) and you have a pretty captivating image. Also – the image actually exists in the physical realm, which is a treat these days… As good as they look on screen, they look even better in person. Even the act of making one is magic, I always rush the fix tray out of the darkroom to show people the image appear before their eyes.
What gets you stoked?
Building stuff. Finding other people that build stuff. Owning your own business means you get to build every little part of it. The studio, the camera, the chemistry, whatever. I think I probably enjoy that as much as the photography. It’s like building trails. Total creative control of your environment.