For more than 15 years, Boston-based artist, photographer and teacher David Prifti has embraced many of the earliest techniques of photography to make his art. His work is included in several renowned collections, and was included in a group show at The Museum of Modern Art in 1991.

In an email correspondence, Prifti told me:

"Using the traditional wet plate collodion process, I am working in collaboration with the sitter as exposures range from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. It is in that collaboration that I find the power of this process, as if the commitment of time required of the sitter is present in the final image."

This selection is recent work that he has made with personal friends, acquaintances, students and family. All are unique 8" x 10" Tintypes.

About the process:

The wet plate process was invented in in 1851, and became the most important photographic process of the 19th century.  The photographer must coat and sensitize a plate, then expose it in the camera, and develop the image before the plate dries out. This requires a portable darkroom to be set up wherever the artist is working.  By varying the technique, the photographer is able to make Ambrotypes (unique positives on glass), Glass negatives (for traditional or albumen printing) or Tintypes (unique positives on japanned steel). 

All timing and exposure decisions are made by observation, and all the chemicals and materials are prepared by the artist.