At first glance, it appears that these surf portraits were taken decades ago. Truth is, Joni Sternbach captured these shots pretty recently using a 19th-century technique that hasn't changed much since its invention. It's called “tintype.” Using a large-format camera and portable darkroom, Sternbach photographed surfers on New York and California shorelines. She then made tintypes on the spot. Created using a wet-plate technique, tintypes demand that chemicals be hand-applied, exposed, and developed before the plate dries. Subjects must remain still throughout the process. “The process of posing can be a little intimidating as each surfer has to stay in the same position while I frame the image and coat the plate and then finally snap the shutter,” says Sternbach. “That could take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. All the time there are people on the beach watching and sometimes interacting, so they are ‘on view' as they wait around for the photograph to actually be taken.” If you're diggin' these photographs as much as I do, I would recommend checking out her book, titled SurfLand.
Joni Sternbach Buy SurfLand quote via doubleexposure via curatorial