worn and torn

Stephanie and I went to an artisan festival on Sunday – hundreds of painters, potters, photographers, etc. The highlight for me was a photographer named Jack Stoddart. This guy is as old school as they come. Serious about his art and his method. Jack’s from the Plateau region of Tennessee, east of Nashville, about halfway to Knoxville. Together he and his wife moved to the area about 35 years ago with the intention of creating a “black and white silver gelatin historical documentation” of the area. The silver gelatin process, which I don’t fully understand yet, is a dying art… so much so that the last remaining manufacturer who provided the developing paper needed to reproduce the images recently went out of business, effectively putting Jack out of business. But I won’t pretend to speak with authority on things I know nothing about….

Jack’s pictures speak for themselves. His vintage method of capturing and re-producing life is striking, and as a result of this developing process you are left with an image that reminds you of the worn oval pictures of your great-great-great-grandparents, hanging on your relatives hallway walls. The silver-gelatin and washing process leaves the picture with this aged and rugged feeling, as though you can feel years through the picture itself, yet the photograph jumps out at you with such a vibrancy and life that it just captivates your attention.

Recently Jack has been honored for his work by being accepted into several museums, not the least of which is the Museum Of American History at the Smithsonian. If you have an appreciation for film photography, check out Jack’s online gallery. The resolution online isn’t the best and doesn’t do the film justice, but you may get the general impression:

Online Gallery: jackstoddart.com

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