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APPAs: Old techniques revisisted

South Gippsland photographer Trevor Foon, named the 2019 Australian Alternate Processes Photographer of the Year at the prestigious national Australian Institute of Professional Photography Awards, used a vintage camera and the tintype process to create his winning image.

APPAs Trevor Foon
‘Rocket Man’, by Trevor Foon, 2019 Australian Alternate Processes Photographer of the Year 

Mr Foon, 58, from Wonthaggi said his use of old techniques was a driven by a determination not to lose skills from an earlier era when photographers were more attuned to basics like the value of light.

While most photographers today use digital cameras and editing software to create their photographs, Trevor said: ‘My images are unique because I use vintage cameras and historic photographic processes to capture and create each one.

‘They begin with glass or metal plates and bottles of chemicals. They are all done by hand and each one is a special as my own children,’ Trevor said.

He added that the use of vintage equipment and processes requires a great degree of craft and skill.

‘I grew up with this technology and I don’t want to lose those skills.

‘My system doesn’t require a computer, printers, inks or any degree of modern technology.

‘It is empowering to make images using the principles of photography, an understanding of lighting and whoever I photograph gets a small history lesson in these skills,’ He said.

It took three days to prepare for the shoot and he sourced old gas cylinders, props from local thrift shops and vintage artifacts to create the image ‘Rocket Man’.

The winning photograph, known as a tintype, is made by creating a direct positive onto a sheet of metal coated with enamel.

‘The tintype is made in-camera; there is no way to manipulate, retouch, burn or dodge a tintype. What comes out of the camera is the final image and there are no second chances to reshoot,’ Trevor explained.

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