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tintype artist john dimartino jr. in residence at greenhorns june - july 2022

Posted: May 25 2022

John DiMartino, Jr. is a Hudson Valley, New York based wet plate collodion photographer and educator specializing in authentically made ferrotypes (commonly known as tintypes).

visit john's website here.

After working for the United States Environmental Protection Agency for over 20 years, he became demoralized by the dismantling of environmental regulations by the Trump administration. He concluded that he could no longer be a party to it and decided to leave to pursue his artistic interests. He apprenticed and assisted John Coffer for 3 years at Camp Tintype, the world’s leading teaching center for all things wet plate. He makes all of his own chemistry, black japans (a process where a thin metal plate is coated with black varnish and then dried in a heated oven) his own iron plates to create historically accurate ferrotypes, and uses only natural light.

During these highly polarized times, he strives to make art that promotes acceptance and empathy. He is interested in people, their histories and their stories, how they interact with each other and their surroundings and how that informs their world view. He wants to explore what connects us as opposed to what drives us apart, an especially relevant and worthy pursuit given the current climate of divisiveness and us vs. them.

The wet plate collodion process he now works in is a perfect medium to explore these themes. It is a difficult, time-consuming process requiring attention to detail. The artist must block out all the noise, be present and engage with the subject and task at hand. The process itself embodies chaos, as chemistry and technique all must coalesce at the right moment in order for the image to materialize. The finished tintype is a one-of-a-kind image etched into a black-japanned iron plate using silver and light. It has weight to it. It is to be reckoned with. While holding it in one’s hand, the viewer contemplates the themes presented, forming a connection to the artist and the work.

Greenhorns is excited to work with John and capture the beauty of Pembroke in this historical art style.