Photography + Imaging student Jessee Torres’s work is included in the 25th Annual Hearts & Flowers Exhibition currently on view at The Folk Tree in Pasadena. Torres specializes in wet plate collodion prints, the prevalent photographic method used through the end of the 19th Century.
The collodion process requires the photographic material to be coated, sensitized, exposed and developed within the span of about fifteen minutes, necessitating a portable darkroom for use in the field. In the following video, she describes her progression from digital to collodion photography. Torres credits Art Center faculty Stephen Berkman, Ken Merfeld and Steve LaVoie as influencing her work.
Torres will be at The Folk Tree this weekend photographing portraits using the wet plate collodion process. Participants who reserve a time will receive a varnished tintype/ferrotype, an 8×10 archival print a digital image, all for the reasonable price of $75. To sign up, call Gail Mishkin at 626.793.4828 or call The Folk Tree at 626.795.8733.
The Pasadena Star-News recently spoke with Torres about her participation in the exhibition. For excerpts from the article, read more after the break.
For Torres, the event is something of a homecoming, as her mother worked at the Folk Tree while she was growing up in Pasadena. Torres was inspired by the venue’s art and drew and took photographs of old cars. At age 18, she took her first class in photography.
“I learned that I could make a picture perfect; what I saw in my head could actually be on the film,” she said. “That opened a whole new door for me.” …
She studied photography at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. One of her classes took a trip to professional photographer Stephen Berkman’s Pasadena studio to learn about the collodion wet process. …
Torres was fascinated by the process, and Berkman invited her to work with him on a shoot. Torres was inspired to save money for her own wet process kit. Within six months, she was doing her own collodion photography.
The photograph’s subject must remain still during the exposure portion of the collodion process, which can take as long as five minutes, Torres said. The day’s temperature can affect the time needed: the warmer the day, the quicker the exposure is finished.
“I usually have the person sit. I keep talking to them and see that they’re comfortable,” Torres said. …
Torres allows the chemicals to take over the outcome of the art. Her images may have hazy spots and scratches.
“I like the weird things that happen,” she said. “I like to be surprised. I don’t want a perfect image every time.”
HEARTS & FLOWERS XXIV, an exhibition for the romantically inclined, offering an eclectic blend of fine art, contemporary crafts, and traditional folk art, runs through February 18, 2012.