Having already named Steven Glynn as an official #VanguardPro earlier in 2018, Vanguard was thrilled when Taproot Pictures asked us to be part of their film. On the surface, BIG RED is the story of one man’s unique photographic process. But it’s also a timeless story for anyone who grew up feeling ostracized, only to come out on the other side stronger and more confident to face life’s challenges with their own unique perspective.
BIG RED depicts Steven Glynn's adoption of the age-old process of tintype photography, by all intents and purposes a lost art in today's world of digital gratification. Using an old 1960s Burke & James field camera to capture his subjects, and then entering the darkroom to print his iconic images on metal tintypes, the portraits Steven creates have an old-timey quality to them, regardless of what he shoots.
BUT WHY TINTYPES?
Tintypes were utilized in the mid-1800s to capture everything from family photos to soldiers of the American Civil War. This method of photography is known for its imperfections and unique character.
The process involves sensitizing a large tin plate (hence the name tintype) with silvers which will create an image on the plate once developed in a darkroom. This practice eventually becomes obsolete with the introduction of film in the early 1900s. Because each plate is hand poured and developed there are never two photos that look alike even of the same subject. (excerpted from sglynnphoto.com)
As Steven explains, "I put painstaking efforts into learning the process and conserving this amazing historical process so I can keep a little piece of history alive and share it with others. My goal is to document people's stories today with this incredible, but mostly forgotten technology."
But BIG RED isn't just about tintype photography; it's also about the atypical photographer behind the lens. Standing at 6'7" tall, and donning a beard that could own its own zip code, Steven Glynn stands out in a crowd.
As producer/ director Josh Carrasquillo explains, "The reason I wanted to tell Steven's story and direct this film was that his story is one that I think a lot of people share. As a young guy, he didn't feel like he fit in, and he found creative outlets that led him to connect with people on a different level. I think the connection we all seek is in his tintype story and the process at which he uncovers photo"
Josh continues, "The entire tintype process is one that forces you to have a conversation with the individual in front of the camera. Unlike digital photography where you can take thousands of pictures on one card, with tintype, you get one shot. So developing a rapport with the subject and connecting with them is crucial to the finished product. I am really happy with how this turned out and think it provides a look into an otherwise forgotten time." - Josh Carrasquillo Producer at Taproot Pictures
We'd be remissed not to mention that Steven mounts his vintage camera atop Vanguard's award-winning ALTA Pro 2+ tripod, the perfect mix of old vs. new.
Oh, and by the way... If you're interested in having a special tintype portrait made by Steven Glynn, he's always for hire! Visit his website to make arrangements.
Vanguard would like to thank everyone involved with the BIG RED project, from the crew to the bagpiper (Lee Bristol, FTW! ). Please take the time to give our partners a follow.