Yellowstone 📸 Creating Season 2 Tintype Photographs | Paramount Network


There’s some sort of
intrinsic value to film that digital doesn’t have and it
yields beautiful portraits and that’s what
we wanted to capture. My name is Sarah Coulter and I am the Senior Photo Editor
at Paramount Network. Tin Types were the predominant
and mostly only photography
in the mid-19th century. A lot of that early frontier
imagery was made by these photographers
who were traveling in a caravan and it’s a nice
throw back to that. But also, the themes
in Yellowstone, like the traditional values met
with the world as it is today, we just thought
it was a great fit. I had been shooting wet plate
and tin types for about four years. I really enjoy
tactile photography, like something you can touch. Tin types are kind of like
the original Polaroid. It’s an instant photo. We’re, it’s starting to think
about our photography for season two,
how can we make it different? Our creative team loved
the idea of doing tin types. I was very excited about it. There’s so many
different nuances of it and things you can change up. Tin types are part of a process
called wet plate collodion and that involves
creating your own film, essentially, which is collodion.
You use that coat a surface. You put it in a silver tank
and that sensitizes it. You have to put it
in a film carrier, run it over to your camera,
frame your shot, pull up the dark slide,
get your shot, put it back in and then you have to run back
to the dark room and develop it, fix it. Fixing the images was what turns
it from a negative to a positive and then you have to wash it all
while it’s wet and you have about 15 minutes
to get your shot. On this shoot, no one can do
everything themselves. Everyone has one job and we did it
with a skeleton crew, I think. We ended up driving
across the country in a U-Haul with all our gear,
cameras, chemicals, black cloth to turn the U-Haul
into a dark room on site, just, everything
we could possibly need. The process itself is
very chemically intensive. You’re using more than
20 types of chemicals. Traditionalist use cyanide,
it yields more punchy blacks. One of the things that happened
that really brought home this powerful image of Beth
was an uneven developer pour. The tin types do feel very raw,
especially the cowboys. I think some of those
are the most powerful images. Those guys were so great. They would use their gloves
or belt buckles as props. Shooting Rip,
we brought out the gun and I think
that really signified his role as the protector and this was a shot that
ended up being Cole’s favorite and also one of my favorites. I really like a few tight
portraits of Costner where it looks like
he’s in distress. It captures his character
this season and everything
that’s going down. We were only able to get
one shot of the family which was entirely unplanned. That image we were having
a heart attack about while we were waiting
for it to come out of developing and it actually
developed perfect. It was interesting bringing
this process to the set. This cast, they got really into
it and thought it was fun. It’s such a cool thing to watch. You don’t even feel like
you’re working. I remember thinking of those
1920 shots, that, you know, so suddenly to see myself thrust
back into that time, it’s kind of haunting. This was a different
look completely. In the moments of chaos, it was
calming to be on this beautiful, sprawling ranch with horses
and, like, technicolor sunsets. It was a great location. New York is very hectic.
You’re very confined and I’m more
of an out-doorsy person as it is so this was like
a dream job for me. I felt like it was
some of my best work and I wasn’t expecting that. You know, there’s a lot of room
for error with these cameras. They have a very
shallow depth of field. The fact that you have to put
all these steps into it, that it’s something
you can hold, that it’s a one-of-a-kind, it has more value
and it feels very authentic and that was a really big deal
on Yellowstone because Paramount has
a long history of cinema and I think that these images
have very much a cinematic quality to them. For me, it’s been really great
working with Paramount Network and being able
to do film things. Everyone is so supportive. They wanted to make it
our office art and it was really crazy
to see them that big and it was amazing to get all
this support from my coworkers and the creative freedom
to do these things.

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