Oxford American - A Photographer's Daybook by Lisa Elmaleh

For our Fall 2016 issue, Catherine Venable Moore investigated the 1931 Hawk’s Nest Tunnel Disaster, which buried more than 700 workers in anonymity, many of them African-American; this event is still considered the worst industrial disaster in U.S. history. In our pages, the story was made all the more impactful by Lisa Elmaleh’s commissioned wet-plate collodion photographs. Here, Elmaleh shares additional photographs from her journey in West Virginia and her daybook from the trip.


Oxford American - The Book Of The Dead by Catherine Venable Moore

In Fayette County, West Virginia, Expanding the Document of Disaster

Photographs by Lisa Elmaleh


CNN.com - Modern-Day Musicians, Old-Time Feel by Allison Love

Pat Shields holds his mandolin close to his body, his hands weathered from years of playing the instrument.

Janice Birchfield poses with a washtub bass that's taller than she is.

Against a backdrop of chopped wood, Ralph Roberts holds his fiddle to his shoulder.

These photos, captured on tintypes, seem to transcend any specific point in time. They were taken by Lisa Elmaleh as part of her project "American Folk" -- a portrait series documenting folk musicians in and around the Appalachian Mountains.


Harper's Magazine - Portfolio: Into the Shadow of These Trees

Photographs from the Everglades series.  The wet-collodion negatives are processed in a portable darkroom in the trunk of the artist's car.


Garden & Gun - Lyrical Portraits by Steve Russell

The sepia tones and shadowy edges of Lisa Elmaleh's photographs so resemble Civil War–era portraits that you expect the subjects to be gripping Enfield muskets and bone saws. Instead, they brandish banjos and fiddles.


Dear Dave, Magazine - A Pilgrim Amongst Us by Anna Blume

Like lines from Yeats, there are things conspicuously from another century in the photographic works of Lisa Elmaleh. In “The Tower,” with his interest in images, memories, ruins, trees – at first glance he could be Wordsworth one hundred years earlier. But Yeats had lived through the turn of centuries, the First World War, and could not look at ruins and nature to ask questions of perception and sentiment as the Romantics had. It was no longer a question of the “half-perceived nature” at Tintern Abbey in 1789; for Yeats it had become a question of seeing at all: “Images and memories…I would ask a question of them all.” With metaphors and references to blindness as an inevitable, constituent element of seeing, Yeats brings us to this distinctly Modern alienation, springing from the Romantics, taking us along with him into a cold dark night from which he and we can look back but only forward with doubt.

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Harper's Magazine - The Separating Sickness by Rebecca Solnit

Eddie Bacon was a forklift operator at Trident Seafoods in Akutan, Alaska. In the summer of 1999, he developed mysterious rashes on his hands, arms, and legs. He visited a doctor, who gave him a variety of ointments, but they did nothing. He grew weak, lost weight. He had trouble seeing. No longer able to earn a living, he moved in to his parents’ house in central California. There, at a New Year’s Eve party in 2000, he passed out, and his parents took him to the emergency room. He had green blisters on his hands, his weight had dropped to ninety pounds, and he couldn’t stand up by himself.


National Geographic PROOF - Musings: Lisa Elmaleh’s Lyrical Tintypes From Appalachia by Becky Harlan

“The guys are here working on the well outside so that I can have pump water, and one of them needs to use the phone,” photographer Lisa Elmaleh explains over the phone from a cabin in West Virginia during the first minute of our conversation. She asks if she can call me back. I am immediately reminded of being at home in northeast Tennessee, listening to my mom talk on the phone, the windows open and a breeze carrying the chatter of neighbors inside. An interruptible, unhurried existence.


PDN's 30 2013

Lisa Elmaleh “fell in love with the alchemy of the photographic process” as a child while watching her father develop and print his photographs in the darkroom. But Elmaleh owes her drive to become an artist to her mother, a “strong, fiercely independent woman.” That example has proved invaluable. “Being an artist is such an uncertain path to follow—it can be very difficult and very trying at times, but I never doubt that this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing with my life.”


NPR Picture Show Blog - 100 Words: Lisa Elmaleh On Photography

As a native of South Florida, my own history has been shaped by the ecosystem of the Everglades. Inspired by the early photographers of the American West, I have documented the flora and fauna of the Everglades and surrounding natural areas using my large-format 8-by-10 camera and the wet collodion process, a 19th-century process requiring that the image be exposed and developed on-site. The collodion process renders light slowly and reveals the passing of time, a quality which is essential to my work. I hope to preserve an essence of the Everglades, a land we are rapidly losing.


Aperture - Portfolio Prize 2015 Winners: Lisa Elmaleh by Chris Boot

History resonates in Lisa Elmaleh’s American Folk series. She’s using the mid-nineteenth-century tintype photographic process—slow, chemically dangerous, and incredibly cumbersome—to record glimpses of an Appalachia that appears as an echo from the dawn of photography, a century and a half ago. Only the most minute clues, such as a belt buckle or style of shoe, give these pictures away as products of the twenty-first rather than nineteenth century. We presume Elmaleh identifies with her humble artist subjects, and with the idea of an art, or of folk, unpolluted by the rush of modern society. There’s even something about the artist’s name, “Elmaleh,” that suggests a character out of the deep past, perhaps someone who wandered out of a James Fenimore Cooper or Herman Melville novel.


Harper's Magazine - Old Ms. J by Yoko Ogawa

My new apartment was in a building at the top of a hill.  From my window, there was a wonderful view of the town spread out like a fan below and the sea beyond.  An editor I knew had recommended the place.


PDN - Studio Visit: Lisa Elmaleh's Live-Work Space On Wheels by Holly Stewart Hughes

When Brooklyn, New York-based photographer Lisa Elmaleh travels in pursuit of her ongoing projects, her Toyota truck functions as her darkroom and living space. Elmaleh, who uses the wet-plate collodion process to make tintypes and images from glass negatives, has driven the truck, following the Appalachian Mountains, through Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, and taken it on repeated trips through the Florida Everglades.

Lisa Elmaleh Photography

Lisa Elmaleh, 1984, USA, lives in West Virginia, and is a photographer who uses a large format camera, the wet plate collodion process, and travels the country in a red pickup truck working in the Everglades and Appalachia.
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