The latest issue of The Magazine contains a great article by April Kilcrease about Photobooth, a tintype portrait studio in San Francisco. She writes:
We live in an era of the fast and furious digital snapshot. More than 500 million photos were uploaded and shared across Flickr, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook every day in 2013 according to the Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers “2013 Internet Trends” report. The study’s author, Mary Meeker, expects this number to double in 2014. And Yahoo predicts that people will snap 880 billion photos this year. But while more photos are being taken, they’re also becoming more ephemeral.
Amid this monstrous mass of images and the slew of selfies — photos of oneself meant to look tossed-off despite countless retakes and filter debates — a sort of anti-selfie has re-emerged in the form of the wet-plate portrait, one of the earliest photographic processes. Patented in the United States in 1856, tintypes are the least expensive form of wet-plate collodion photography, which includes glass-plate ambrotypes.