Opening Night – COS19Century Project

The Carter Payne Center, July 2, 2021

July 2nd, 2021 and our show is hung at The Carter Payne Center! We are all excited for the opening of COS19Century Project. Dan, Don and I have worked hard since March to get good weather, and lots of images for our own celebration of the Colorado Springs Sesquicentennial. We produced an exhibition catalog, and we secured the show for two months in the venue thanks to the owner of Carter Payne and Local Relic, Jeff Zearfoss.

Below are photographs by our friend Dustin Price of opening night.

Our Artist Statement

We are three Colorado Springs-based photographers practicing nineteenth-century photographic processes, using nineteenth century-type cameras, lenses and original chemistry recipes.

As we document the architecture and landscapes of Colorado Springs­­—that would also have been the subjects of our image-making predecessors—we walk in their footsteps inspired to document these same places today, as they may have been photographically recorded 150 years ago, or more. With respect for these processes, and those that pioneered them, we take great care in our research and understanding of those who came before us.

We wish to promote the revival and continued use of these historic processes, bring awareness of the history of Colorado Springs, and educate anyone interested in learning how to visually tell their stories with antiquarian recipes and photographic equipment.

Our Exhibition Book

2021 Much Welcomed With New Projects & Inspiration

COS19Century Project

My good friend Dan Russell asked me to join him and our good friend, Don Jones, in an amazing exhibition. He said, let’s document 19th century Colorado Springs with 19th century photographic processes for the 150th birthday of Colorado Springs this summer. And, he said, I even have a place to exhibit! An honor, and a whole hell of a lot of fun!

So, I got started, and I chose the landscape – the ancient rocks of the Garden of the Gods, the hogbacks of Glen Eyrie, and the Hoodoos of Palmer Park and Woodmen Valley. All these geological wonders would have been here, standing alone without roads, neighborhoods, houses, and shops, when the earliest settlers came to Colorado Springs. I chose to photograph most of this project in the Wet Plate Collodion process using the darkroom trailer (or “What is it?” wagon) that Don and I pull around town. For a few of the shoots, I decided to use a dry plate negative printed via the Van Dyke Brown process on cotton paper. This was for the areas I had to hike into, and couldn’t run to the trailer in time for the wet-plate exposure. I also gave a nod to one of the earliest female photographers, Anna Atkins, a botanist and photographer, who used the cyanotype process to document the specimens in her botany work. I chose to document specimens that would have been found living here among the earliest settlers. Here are some photographs and videos documenting our journey to complete this project in about 5 months before our July 2nd, 2021 opening at The Carter Payne Center.

Mixing Chemistry at Don’s Studio, Getting Ready for our COS19Century Shoots
Getting ready to float our first plate on the Mesa, first shoot of the COS19Century Project
Varnishing a finished plate
Loading dry plates at Woodmen Valley

Victor, Colorado

A Cold Day to Test Gear!

Don, Dan and I decided to visit Victor, Colorado to shoot some wet plate and dry plate negatives. Don and I were testing the new tank heaters to see if we could get our chemistry to proper temperatures in freezing conditions. Dan was shooting his dry plate negatives. It was cold, cold, cold and we lacked sunshine and good contrast in the skies, however, we all managed to get some successful plates and negatives!

Heating our chemistry, and our trailer on a freezing day in Victor


A Year I Continually Skip Over

This was a strange year indeed. I still skip over it in conversation and forget we’re already in 2022. I am grateful that during that year, I had plenty of projects to work on from home. In addition to having our best year ever for Spotted Dog Excavating (being essential in public health helped), I also started on a book project for some friends. I was hired to layout and design a book for Rich Carnahan, who was authoring a book on an historic Colorado photographer, Louis Charles McClure. Right up my alley, as I love the history of photography. I was also asked to write the appendix in the book describing the historic processes used by both McClure, and his mentor William Henry Jackson. We completed the project in 2021 and the book was released for purchase. This was a project I was thrilled to be a part of. Thank you D and Rich!

Second Amendment with Wet Plate Collodion

Testing the Wet Plate Trailer out on rough grounds!

Don and I decided to take the mobile darkroom up to Rampart Range Road to get a few plates for my Second Amendment project. What a fun day, although being beneath a dark cloth, composing and focusing my shot, and hearing bullets whizzing by isn’t the most settling feeling. But, all in all it was a fun day to practice, experiment, and get a couple successful plates for my on-going documentary project.

Video by my friend, Don Jones
Video by my friend, Don Jones
Video by my friend, Don Jones

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Architectural Studies in a Colorful Old City

What an amazing place, Puerto Rico! Between the beautiful people, the music, and the architecture, I was in heaven. Old San Juan is a feast for the eyes with so much history and color. The alleyways, and the doors pulled me in. I photographed, and photographed, and added to my architectural portfolio. While I know my website is all my film and historic processes work, as that IS my passion, I do shoot some digital and color! I have an architectural portfolio that I love to build upon when traveling, so I carry my trusty Leica Q with fixed Summilux 1:1.7/28mm lens. It is small, compact, light weight, makes one hell of an image in RAW, and is easy in my carry-on. My husband and I love to travel light – we both carry just one Osprey backpack most places we go and love to walk the cities, so this is my go-to architectural camera. Here are the colors of Old San Juan I fell in love with!

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