I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming to this exhibit of my wet plate photography work. I am privileged to have lived on Kauai for the last 36 years. In the last 16 months, I have put together this portfolio of photographs which started as the result of seeing a documentary about Billy the Kid and Tintype (wet plate) photography. While sitting in a restaurant a bit later I realized Kauai’s diverse population would be fascinating to capture using the aesthetic of wet plate. I was drawn to its slow tactile nature and raw soulful aesthetic. So after a year of self study, research, and resourcing, I “poured” my first wet plate image. Dating back to 1851 it is considered one of the oldest photographic methods and was used primarily during the Civil War period. The process is currently practiced by about 2000 people worldwide and I am the only one in Hawaii doing this type of art. At first I did mostly portraits but as my skills grew I was able to start adding more creativity to my work. My work is already garnishing some recognition and awards. Most of my sitters represented in this show are average people (not professional models) who live right here on Kauai with the exception of a few Heiva dancers from the outer islands.
I use original lenses and wet plate recipes from the 1850-60s. Mixing my own chemistry requires great patience and attention to detail. There are hundreds of variables that can go wrong with a shoot from environmental factors to focus issues, etc. The sitters are briefed during an initial consultation where wet plate is explained and ideas are discussed for the shoot. I view every hand crafted image as a collaborative effort with my sitters. The shooting sessions can last 4-6 hours and sometimes many attempts are required to achieve an acceptable image. So the sitters have to have great patience and interest in the process.
“Kama’aina Soul – Anthology” is the title I have given to this show because I have been told that my images have a way of welcoming the viewer into the soul of the person I’m photographing. These images represent a collection of stories told through my sitter’s eyes, or stories about Kauai’s culture, history, and things of importance to us such as family and preservation of culture and environment. I have tried to cover a swath of emotions in this body of work withdiverse influences ranging from pictorialism to street art. I especiallyenjoy working with the keiki (children) as I think that they are able to show us things about the complexities of life and its challenges more poignantly than I could show through an adult. They also cause us to temper our thoughts regarding adult issues for you cannot blame a child for the problems we adults have created. It is my personal call to a simpler time of innocence and beauty. As the great photographer Richard Avedon once said, “My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph.”
It is my desire to continue creating fine art with layered meaning and evocative imagery as this is where my passion lies. In that effort I will continue to look for potential sitters and willing individuals who want to be a part of this work. But I will also be availing my skills as a portrait artist for private commissioned work. Please pick up a portrait package brochure if interested in having a hand crafted timeless piece of art created with your likeness or the likeness of someone you love.
I invite you now to take in each image, watch the looping videos, andview the “What is Wet Plate Collodion Photography “ learning area within the gallery to better understand its history and process.
I am offering special pricing on these images during this show. Please see the cashier if interested in becoming a collector of my work.
Mahalo for coming. I am honored by your presence.