Aimee & Bert said their vows in the very beautiful Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. This architectural gem sits atop a steep street in the Polish Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, which happens to be where I live. I’ve admired the church on the countless walks with my dog. The scene is ever-changing, depending on the sunlight, the season and whichever architectural detail catches your eye in that moment.
Polish Hill also happens to be where Jason Snyder runs a tintype photography studio. A tintype is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal, coated with a dark lacquer or enamel, which is used as the support for the photographic emulsion. In laymen’s terms, the tintype was the photography technique that captured the Civil War and the Wild West.
The tintype method requires a long exposure, which explains the very staid facial expressions of portraiture in the 1800s. What I find so alluring about this historical format and Jason’s work is the way the portrait reveals deeper emotions, from dark sadness to hopeful eyes. The end photo feels dated and timeless in the same breath. For that reason, I suggested Aimee and Bert immortalize their wedding portrait in a tintype.
Inspired by the early tintype studio sessions, I painted a backdrop informed by the above image and paired it with a weathered urn and a velvet chair.