Some portraits cannot be rushed: they need to be crafted with patience and care. While digital photography offers precision, efficiency and choice, Horst finds that the 19 century technique of tintype photography offers depth and beauty in portraits found nowhere else. It is with this in mind that Horst turned his skills towards tintype portraiture.

Portrait session at Fulton House Studio, 2015.

Tintypes by Horst:

Dating back to the 1850s, tintype photography is a process that captures an image directly onto an enamelled metal plate. Using chemistry recipes that are more than 150 years old and developed by hand, these images make for a distinctive portrait of any subject. Tintypes by Horst offers these handcrafted 19th century photographic images at his Industrial Studio in Toronto.

Each tintype is one of a kind, and cannot be duplicated.  The slow, fastidious steps only permit a handful of portraits per hour. The open-air darkroom where many of the steps can be viewed will fascinate many members of the public. This handcrafted art form, which rebuffs the modern era’s need for pixel-perfection at a push of a button, instead strives to make the process of portraiture a personal one.

Horst has worked as a professional photographer with corporate, commercial and editorial clients for over a decade, and consistently finds himself seeking out opportunities to stay connected to the artistic aspects of his craft. With tintype photography, Horst has found a process that is thoughtful and deliberate, and keenly focuses both the photographer and subject on creating a compelling and genuine portrait.

Tintype: a brief history

Tintype photography was invented in the early 1850's, and quickly gained popularity among North America's late nineteenth century's working class.  Tintypes presented a low-cost, affordable opportunity for everyone to access.  The process had various names in the beginning – ferrotypes, melainotype - but ultimately the name tintype stuck because it sounded cheap, just like tin. The images, however, were never captured on tin plates, only thin iron plates and now most commonly on aluminum.

Tintypes were immensely popular for about 30 or 40 years, but fell out of favour in about the 1890s with the introduction of dry plate and celluloid roll film, only recently undergoing a well-deserved renaissance.