If a camera could steal your soul, it would not be a Coolpix. It would be something big and metallic and smoky, a machine from the golden age of photography that had to be tended to like it was an angry locomotive, and it would definitely not be embedded in a cell phone. The darkroom technology would have a name invoking Industrial Age nostalgia, like “the Wet-Plate Collodion Process,” which, according to the RayKo Photo Center, involves “coating an enameled metal (Ferrotype or Tintype) or glass (Ambrotype) plate with a collodion mixture” — the definition then gets incomprehensible. The fact is, many photographers still use the W.P.C, since the 150 year-old technology produces incredible looking pictures, with a milky-metallic glow that captures the depths of the soul, making everything, portrait or landscape, look timeless, mysterious, and a little bit famous. Who doesn’t want that? Today, the venue presents a group show of expert collodion photographers titled “Into the Ether.” Among the more spirited artists is John Coffer, a one-time traveling portrait tintype photographer who now lives off the land in a cabin he built, taking photos of what’s outside. Also contributing is American history re-enactor Will Dunniway, cowboy-photographer Robb Kendrick, and many more.
July 18-Aug. 28, 2008