Blkk Hand is the Finest Tintype Artist in the Upper Midwest

Her wet-plate portraits are hauntingly beautiful

Carla Alexandra Rodriguez — the first-generation Venezuelan-American visual artist behind Blkk Hand — has been making tintypes since 2014, but the wet-plate collodion process dates back to the Civil War. She offers studio sessions using a high-powered strobe light, natural light sessions that require a subject to hold still for a longer period of time, and boudoir/nude sessions. (Full details and pricing can be found here.)

She’ll photograph kids and pets with caveats: Capturing them at the exact right moment can be tricky, especially if they’re squirmy. She can also make a tintype out of an existing photo, a technique she perfected during lockdown and still offers to people wary of in-person sessions.

We nailed our family portrait on the first try, but Rodriguez will reshoot a portrait if the subject blinks or if there is a chemical anomaly in the focal point of the print. If a subject doesn’t like a tintype for aesthetic reasons, she’ll reshoot it once for free. After that, it’s an additional $25 to cover the cost of the chemicals.

Our first professional family photo is pictured above and we couldn’t love it more. Rodriguez also photographed Minnevangelist co-founder Ashlea Halpern when she was 8.5 months pregnant, so it’s cool to have such an old-fashioned and timeless record of the Before and After.

Rodriguez has put together a detailed FAQ section on her website; when you’re ready to book a session, click here.