Photography is essentially a mechanical process and one that is endlessly repeatable. Now in this digital age anyone - young or old – can create images with ease. As a consequence we have reached an image duplication saturation point. The one-off unrepeatable object therefore takes on a special significance. This is what Melton Original Portraits offer. A unique and lasting memory to treasure for ever.

The Tintype

Englishman Frederick Scott Archer first invented the Wet Plate Collodion process in 1851. The tintype is essentially a variation of his original process but using a sheet of metal coated with black paint instead of a glass plate. This made the tintype very hardy and compared to the Daguerreotype they were not only inexpensive to produce they were more importantly quite quick and easy to create. This revolutionised photographic portraiture as it meant that almost anyone could afford to have their photographic likeness made. Initially most tintypes were made in formal studio settings but soon they were being created by photographers at fairgrounds, at the beach and on street corners.

Each Tintype image is made directly onto a metal plate placed in the camera. These plates are individually prepared and must be exposed and developed within just a few minutes or they are ruined. The skill of the photographer in mastering the chemistry, lighting, and careful timing to create the tintype is all-important. The entire process is done on location, with a portable darkroom. The tonal variations in the finished images reflect their hand-made character; the corners rubbed where they were held in the camera. The original, finished plates are later scanned to create archival pigment print photographs.

Melton Original Tintype Portraits use the same materials and techniques of Frederick Scott Archer and other 19th Century photographers. It is a totally handcrafted process and we create for you a historical document that will last forever – far longer than a traditional photograph or digital image. The photographs are a unique blending of subject matter and photographic technique. Part craft and part theatre. In fact they could be considered to be photographic sculptures because each one is individual and unique.

Positive Paper Portrait

Our Melton Original Positive Paper Portraits mix traditional darkroom practice with modern materials to create a unique and individual object that will be treasured by all. Using the same large format technical camera that produces our captivating tintype images, we use a special photographic paper that once processed yields a direct positive image – no negative involved – in luxurious rich tones of black and white.

The Team

Melton Original Portraits are a father and son team with over 30 years experience in the commercial photographic industry and who still retain a true love for traditional photography-based methods of creating long-lasting and memorable images.

Barney followed in his fathers foot steps to become a full time photographer, and studio manger for the UK's leading retail ecommerce provider, as well as shooting for hi-end clients on many different projects, also shooting under his own name commercially www.barneymelton.format.com and owner of Melton Original Portraits.

Trevor was an advertising photographer based in London for over 20 years and has been teaching photography at all levels for the last 15 years.

Between them they have decided to create little pieces of 'magic' – a blend of science and art – that will leave each sitter with an ever-lasting memento to cherish and share with family and friends.

Using Format