Paper Moon Series

Roughly between the 1900’s and 1950’s (first half of the 20th century) you could find a paper moon photo booth at parties and carnivals where you could get your picture taken. It was also the title of a quite good film from 1973 (Paper Moon IMDB).

When I first started designing my set I was trying to figure out if traditionally the moon was in its waxing or waning phase. Waxing is when the shadow of the earth covers the left side of the moon and waning is when the shadow covers the right hand side. From the online images it looked rather random. I ended up duplicating the drawing on both sides so I could flip the moon if I wanted to. (Tintypes will already be flipped horizontally)

The set was hand built. The bench I made out of two-by-four’s and plywood. I bent the top of the bench to match the inner curvature of the moon. The moon is just foam-core with a hand drawn graphite face and all the stars are from leftover foam-core.

Lighting ended up being the biggest issue. At the time I used one 4000 watt strobe and two 2000 watt strobes and shot at the fastest speed my lens would allow. It was right on the edge and really I could have used more light.

The photos below are part of my first series of Paper Moon photos. This was one of my first shoots and I was not really sure what to expect so it was fun to see how the different textures and patterns came out.

Prints of the tintypes are available on Society6 and original tintypes are sometimes available at Etsy. If you don’t see a tintype or print you want please contact me to see if its still available.

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