Yes, it is a strange combo - a post about the regrets of the dying married with contemporary tintypes but for some reason I feel they go well together. Maybe it's the nostalgia that old tin photos evoke. There's more information towards the end of the post about the art project that's producing contemporary tin art works. The list of 'regrets' comes from the book 'The Top 5 regrets of the Dying' by palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware.
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends and family
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends and family members until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
Well I’m used to seeing old tintypes but I had no idea that some photographers were resurrecting the technique. I came across the work of Meghann Mary Gilligan of the Tin Gypsy Project on Etsy. Meghann rescued and rehabilitated the a 1961 vintage travel trailer and retrofitted the ‘Tin Gypsy’ as a mobile darkroom, specially designed for the practice of antique photographic techniques. Meghann says, I am most interested in the salt printing and wet-plate collodion processes. I make my own photographic emulsions from scratch and all of my prints and tintype creations are handmade and one of a kind.
I find my inspiration from the historical origins of photography and its earliest practitioners, who were equal parts mad scientist, adventurer and artist. Working with large- format cameras that are 60-90 years old and using antiquarian photographic processes is an incredibly enjoyable way to make images. I love moving the knobs and bellows on the camera to focus, pouring the emulsion on the aluminium plates, putting salt prints out in the sunshine to develop and, most especially, finding new creations to craft from salt prints and tintypes. Visit the Tin Gypsy Project Store to purchase one of these unique works of art and follow the adventures, travels, and creative experiments of the Tin Gypsy Project on a blog here and on Facebook here.