MythBuster Adam Savage meets tintype photographer onstage for live portrait session


posted Monday, November 23, 2015 at 11:37 AM EDT


Adam Savage of MythBusters fame had a tintype portrait done live on Tested. Tested is an online science and technology publication from Jamie Hyneman (also from MythBusters), Norman Chan, Will Smith (not the Fresh Prince, in case you're wondering), and Adam.

During Tested: The Show, which was a live show version of their online show that took place on October 23rd at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, Adam invited photographer Michael Shindler onto the stage to capture a tintype portrait of Adam.

Michael went through the entire process of capturing a tintype portrait on stage, including discussing his materials and chemicals. With the theatre bathed in red light (the process is sensitive only to blue light), Michael worked feverishly to bathe the plate and get it set up in his camera before the light-sensitive nitrate solution had dried.

According to Michael, the ISO equivalent of the light-sensitive plate is about "0.5," so he has to use very powerful lights to ensure that he can capture a sharp portrait. In the distant past, wet-plate collodion photography was done outside and yet still required subjects to sit still for four to eight seconds.

Check out the video below to see Michael go through the entire process and see the very cool final result.

Michael Shindler operates a portrait studio and can also come to you to take tintype portraits. To see more of his work, see here


@kelemaxwell, eyewear test subject. So nice! #tintype #wetplate

A photo posted by Michael Shindler (@m_shindler) on

Shindler is not the only photographer that has continued to utilize the wet-plate collodion process. Ian Ruhter, who I wrote about here, also uses this process. Interestingly, both photographers have cited similar reasons for their continuing to use this process from the mid-19th century; they both feel closer to their photography through the use of this hands-on, wet-plate process. 

(Seen via YouTube)