Photographer Giles Clement claimed Instagram fame with his distinctly beautiful tintype portraits taken of the likes of Courtney Barnett, Fiona Apple and Hoizer at SXSW and the Newport Folk Festival. The Nashville-based artist left his job as a news shooter in 2008, pursuing large format photography and selling gear before taking up tintypes full-time with his trusty Petzval lens and a mobile studio in 2012.
“[Shooting tintypes] is very involved and technically challenging, but it’s very rewarding,” he explains. “You prepare and shoot a plate in five minutes, and you get that reward of whether it worked or not. The process is very addictive.”
A tintype photo prints on a thin sheet of metal, impressing a one-of-a-kind positive that reads as glossy, heavily saturated and full of character. The process takes a few minutes (Clement says about five) and each tiny metal tintype is impossible to physically reproduce.
Clement decided to pursue tintypes full-time, and by chance found himself with a lease in Portland where he set up a temporary shop. While it was a bootstrapping learning experience, it wasn't totally a lucrative one. “It’s not in anyone’s vernacular anymore to go to a photo studio,” he says. But when an invite to shoot at Willie Nelson’s ranch during SXSW came his way, Clement packed up and hit the road.