New York Film Academy Photography Students Meet Historical Processes Through Hands-on Field Trips

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Students enrolled in New York Film Academy photography courses at the Los Angeles campus attended two exciting events last week. Renowned photographer, Abelardo Morell’s retrospective exhibition, The Universe Next Door, opened at the Getty Museum and students were treated to a talk by the artist last Thursday night.
NYFA Photography
It’s a small photography world –  one of our regular guest instructors, Luther Gerlach, built a special camera obscura for the Getty exhibition and NYFA photo students attended a wet-plate workshop with him on Friday.

Luther Gerlach has been making images using historical processes for over thirty years, and he makes them big! With these processes, big means big negatives – not made from the computer using transparency paper. He uses large format cameras (8×10 inch through 30×40 inch) and lenses dating from 1850 to 1940, which he has been collecting and restoring for many years.

The wet-plate photographic process dates from 1851. For tintypes, he uses black sheet metal bought from a trophy manufacturer (it’s clean and painted black – which is necessary for the negative image to show up).

One of Luther’s terrific qualities is how open he is. He opens his home for students, shares his historical collection of daguerreotypes and wet plate images, and makes a 12″x20″ tintype group photo (see below) using his mobile dark room – a truck. He’s generous with explaining the process and it’s clear he is one of the most knowledgeable people on this format. We like Luther.

NYFA Plate

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