Ruth West

17 Mysteries and Signs:
Tintypes in the Digital Age


These art pieces touch the non-verbal part that comes with seeing. Each piece hovers on the edge of a full story.  Linear time is suspended by mysterious, dreamlike elements offering glimpses of a story that is just out of reach.

Photography of the late 1800’s contained a process of making photos on lacquered iron called tintypes. This method was used to capture a wide variety of settings and subjects, as it required minimal drying time.  It documented time both mysterious and mundane, from civil war battles to carnival souvenirs. All had an eerie other world feeling, as the final photographs seemed to appear and disappear in puckered and cracked black and white.

Using her Itouch, West set about creating a modern series that had the feel of historic Tintypes while taking the process deep into her personal mythology. Printed on aluminum, in intimate sizes 6”X6” , these pieces contain West’s fascination for showing only part of  a story. Subjects often have their backs turned to the viewer, or exist only in shadow. Locations are otherworldly. Words and signs appear as the focus of some pieces, dreamlike in their format.


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Copyright Ruth West 2016