Since 2010, Lisa Elmaleh has been creating tintypes of traditional folk musicians who live in and around the Appalachian Mountains. Her project grew out of a love of the land, American folk music, traditional American culture and her own romance with this 19th century photographic process.
Portraits captured by tintype call for great patience from both the sitter and the photographer. An entire day is spent with each musician – each 8×10 plate is hand-coated, exposed in a large-format camera, and developed on-site. The tradition of American folk music echoes in the historic nature of the tintype photographic process, connecting photographer with subject, each with their pursuit of keeping their own respective histories alive and well in the 21st Century. – Courtesy Foley Gallery
“American Folk” is currently on view at Foley Gallery in New York City through Saturday, August 9, 2014. Exhibition hours are 12pm – 6pm.
Elmaleh was one of PDN’s 30 2013: New and Emerging Photographers to Watch, and has since then made a name for herself by working with tintype and wet-plate collodion processes, developing photos in the back of a pickup truck that doubles as her bunk when she’s on the road. Elmaleh has a very low-tech approach, often spending days on the road without internet access or even a mailbox. Her assignments come from word of mouth, and she stays connected to her community by teaching alternative processes. Originally from Miami, she now calls Brooklyn home.