On today’s episode of the FRAMES Photography Podcast W. Scott Olsen is talking to Shane Balkowitsch, a US-based wet plate photographer, owner of the Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio.
You can listen to this interview using our podcast player below, but we strongly encourage you to subscribe to the podcast in your podcast app, so that you don’t miss any future episodes of the show.
Shane Balkowitsch never owned a camera before 2012 or had any interest in photography. His first camera was a large format bellows camera and from day one he pursued the historic wet plate collodion process from 1851 of pure silver on glass. Frederick Scott Archer invented the process and there are thought to be less than 1000 wet plate artists in the world today.
He has made over 4000 black glass ambrotypes over the years and has his work is archived in 29 different museums around the globe including the Smithsonian Institute, Library of Congress, The Heard Museum and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
He considers his life’s work his series called “Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspective”. The goal is to capture 1000 Native American portraits over a span of 20 years. The first wet plate for that series was of Ernie LaPointe, the Great Grandson of Sitting Bull. The State Historical Society of North Dakota is curating indefinitely the entire series in their archive.
Shane has photographed such notable sitters as Evander Holyfield, Greta Thunberg and Congresswoman Deb Haaland. His wet plate of Greta Thunberg called “Standing For Us All” has been liked and shared on social media over 3 million times.
He has been involved in large wet plate collaborations with his community and hosts classes at his natural light studio from the local university and college.
Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio is the first of its kind built from the ground up in over 100 years. It is his goal to have his natural light studio be the cornerstone of creativity in the Dakotas. Shane can be found every Friday afternoon creating in his studio. His goal is to capture the “human condition”. The silver and glass plates that he creates will be around long after both he and his sitters are long gone and he finds comfort in that thought.
Every year we release four quarterly printed editions of FRAMES Magazine. Each issue contains 112 pages printed on the highest quality 140g uncoated paper. You receive the magazine delivered straight to your doorstep. We feature both established and emerging photographers of different genres. We pay very close attention to new, visually striking, thought-provoking imagery, while respecting the long-lasting tradition of photography in its purest incarnation.
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