Tintypes, Handcrafted Portraiture & Fine Art from Roll-Up
Roll-Up co-founders Anna Daedalus and Kerry Davis present large prints of their tintype portraits, along with Davis’s three series Object Immobiles, Precessions and Distilled Lifes and Daedalus’s Night Tree series.
For their tintype portraits Anna and Kerry use the wet plate collodion process, popular in the 1860s and 1870s. The images are handmade by first coating metal plates with collodion and silver in the darkroom and then loading the plate into a large format camera where they capture a portrait directly on the wet plate. Non-digital and non-electronic, each image is handcrafted, celebrating slow photography and an authentic experience. Their large fine art prints are made from scanning the original plates in order to reproduce and share the portrait. The larger prints also highlight the many artifacts that make the process so distinctive.
Anna Daedalus’s series Night Tree series is a photographic exploration of arboreal gesture and life in predominantly urban landscapes. In an allusion to the hubris of anthropocentrism and the possibility of unperceived existence, she often photographs trees at night or at dusk when the city lights are on but most of us are not looking.
Kerry Davis’s Objects Immobiles series employs digital photography to emulate master still life paintings, a genre once considered the lowest form of expression in the hierarchy of painting but that has subsequently become highly regarded as both an artistic commentary and an elegant socio-historical document. Davis strives to remain true to the spirit of the genre as he utilizes new technology to not only recreate the images, but to also add contemporary objects to the visual narrative and new cultural references within each composition.
Davis’s Precessions series explores Jean Baudrillard’s writing about contemporary society having substituted reality and meaning with symbols and signs (simulacra) such that all meaning had been made meaningless by “the infinitely mutable,” a phenomenon Baudrillard termed the “precession of simulacra.” Davis’s series illustrates such a precession and what Baudrillard calls “the proof of art through antiart.” All the photographs were shot digitally through the view-finder of an analog camera, either a ciroflex or a Kodak Duaflex. By using the old technology of these analog cameras to creating an image of an image Davis is interested in making a link to a historical period when the flow of simulacra was just beginning to create an era of mass reproduction and reproducibility.
Davis’s Distilled Lifes is a series of constructions presenting strange interactions between ceramic birds and manmade environments. These improbable scenarios are an exploration of how this popular symbol of nature is mass-produced, reproduced, consumed and ultimately discarded. Davis works by compiling groups of images and artifacts and combining the separate elements to form a tableau that becomes a part of a bigger theme or story. The Distilled Lifes represent a collision of perceptions about the way that nature and wildlife have been reduced to a commodity in the form of a curio or trinket.