Wet Plate Collodion Tintypes: The Madonna Project

The Madonna, the Virgin Mary, has many faces, even though no one knows what she actually looked like. Nevertheless, the little known peasant woman is the subject of more artists than can be imagined. Past works portray feminine ideals and religious traditions from all contexts, showing the Madonna as a mother, peasant, queen, virgin, and griever.  Mother figures were worshipped in several ancient religions. Older paintings were founded from different biblical passages about Mary. Artists were left to their imaginations based on religious texts and beyond.  Mary has been portrayed from  humble to royal, and in many forms in between. Joseph chose the ancient photography form known as wet plate collodion for this portfolio.  It provides the perfect marriage between the earliest forms of photography and the ancient subject of the Madonna.  Joe incorporates many symbols from ancient Madonna lore, such as the rose, lily, crown, and chalice.  He chose one person to portray the Madonna.  Suffice it to say, she didn’t have blue eyes and blond hair like many of the misrepresentations of the Virgin Mary.