Tintype Portraits with artist Rachel Portesi

July 29, 2021 10:00 am - 6:00 pm Griswold front porch

In the age of digital images, there is something mysterious and wonderful about a tintype. This antiquated and unpredictable process is one of the earliest forms of photography, dating back to 1850. It captures the sitter’s portrait in a patinated black and white on metal, each image one of a kind. Witness the image reveal itself through the tintype’s slow developing process, and it’s easy to understand how sitters felt these photographs took part of their souls. Tintypes seem to capture an apparition, an aspect of the individual not visible to the eye.

Hair Stories exhibiting artist Rachel Portesi keeps this antiquated technique alive through her art work, and is inviting you to witness the process and even have a tintype made of yourself or your family and friends! Keep in mind – between the long exposure time, and the fussy chemistry (which Portesi makes from scratch) the resulting image is always unpredictable.

Portesi’s portable darkroom will be set up on the Griswold front porch. No reservation is necessary to come watch and learn, or have a portrait taken, though portraits will be done on a first come first served basis and will be limited to one per group to allow for the slower developing time.

Free for everyone. 

About the Artist

Rachel Portesi received a BA in Sociology and Photography from Marlboro College, VT. Her work as a black and white documentary photographer was complemented by the acquisition of her first Polaroid Land camera in 1991. Ten years later, with a move to New York City and no access to a darkroom, Portesi’s practice shifted exclusively to the immediacy of the Polaroid.  Working this way resulted in a body of work produced over more than two decades ending a few years ago when an older, even more finicky and time-consuming way of making “instant pictures” caught Portesi’s attention — the wet plate collodion tintype.  Her recent work explores how female indentity is redefined by motherhood and aging. Portesi’s photographs have been exhibited at various venues in New England and in New York, and have been written about in Vogue, Forbes, and Musée magazines among others.

She works and lives with her family in Saxtons River, Vermont.