In April, join us for the opening reception, a wet plate photography demonstration and a shadowgram sunprinting workshop at Central Library with acclaimed photographer Mac Cosgrove-Davies.
Cosgrove-Davies employed the historic wet plate collodion (or tintype) photography technique to create unique portraits featuring scores of Arlington volunteers. Representing over 30 local organizations and causes, this exhibition spotlights the experiences of dedicated community volunteers.
The exhibition will be on display during open hours at Central Library, April 1 - May 31.
About the Exhibition
Photography and volunteering have been two longstanding interests of photographer Mac Cosgrove-Davies, and it was from the intersection of the two that the "Arlington Volunteers" project emerged.
Conceived as a way to honor Arlington’s many volunteers and volunteer organizations, and to introduce others to volunteer opportunities, Cosgrove-Davies sought to depict participants in their chosen volunteer activity and environment.
From April to December 2022, Cosgrove-Davies conducted over 30 photo shoots across the County.
The resulting more than 135 photo plates, of which 35 are on display at Central Library, are the culmination of the desire and passion of people to help others and to improve our local community — a manifest to Arlington’s outstanding volunteer spirit.
Although commonly known as tintypes, the images in this exhibition were made on sheet aluminum using the wet plate collodion photographic process.
All photos were taken outdoors since this process responds to blue and ultraviolet light. Anything that moved during the multi-second exposures is blurred or invisible.
The process starts with coating the plate with the collodion mixture. Once coated, the plates must be sensitized exposed and processed before they dry which is why the process is called wet plate. This requires a portable darktent which the photographer brings to each photo shoot.
About the Artist
For more than half a century, Mac Cosgrove-Davies has used photography to express his view of the world.
Cosgrove-Davies began this photographic conversation producing black and white photographs in a darkroom at age 12. In college, an independent study in historic photographic processes revealed their creative potential.
Cosgrove-Davies has been using gum bichromate, cyanotype, oil and carbon printing to produce striking, unique images for more than 40 years.
His 2021 foray into the wet plate collodion process at the Maine Media Workshops became the starting point for the Arlington Volunteers project.
Cosgrove-Davies currently teaches a variety of hand-made photo processes at Photoworks, Glen Echo Park.
He has exhibited nationally and is represented in public collections, including the Library of Congress, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Ogunquit Museum of American Art and others.