“Tin Tribes in the Garden of Ether” is a wet plate collodion photographic series that presents a selection of unique looks into different subcultures where style and fashion play an important part. The use of wet plate collodion references early Victorian photographic portraits. The process, which involves coating a glass or metal plate with a mixture of chemicals before exposing it to a camera, was used widely throughout the nineteenth century.
Today, people are drawing style and fashion inspiration from the distant (and more recent) past to inform their distinctive, contemporary looks. These portraits focus on these “tribes” which—whether for political reasons, issues of freedom, resistance, gender equality or self-expression against the norm and society—tie their identities closely to their appearance.
Editor’s Note: Laborie’s project was recognized by the jury of the LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017—don’t miss the work from all 44 of the outstanding, international talents! You can follow Laborie’s work on his personal website. This series was just accepted for this year’s Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like these previous features: Shot, a series of contemporary tintypes that comment on contemporary gun culture in America; War Memoranda, appropriated portraits from the Civil War printed on leaves; and Surfers, a project by Jodi Sternbach that depicts modern surfers in California and Montauk using wet-plate collodion.