Friday, December 26, 2008

Denver Post review

Arts and Entertainment

New photos, vintage process
By Kyle MacMillan
Denver Post Fine Arts Critic

The imperfections inherent in the 19th-century wet collodion process only enhance the mystery and timelessness of "Kristen Floating," a unique 4" -by-5" -inch print by Mark Sink and Kristen Hatgi. (Images from Rule Gallery )
* Andy Warhol pictures that you haven't seen

For centuries, artists have turned to the past to inspire the new.

So it is with Denver photographers Mark Sink and Kristen Hatgi, who collaborated earlier this year on a series of 79 spellbinding, anachronistic-seeming images on view through Jan. 17 at the Rule Gallery.

The two have revived the nearly forgotten wet-plate collodion process, which replaced the daguerrotype in the mid-1850s but was itself supplanted by less laborious dry-plate techniques a few decades later.

In the demanding collodion process, tin or glass plates are immersed in a silver nitrate solution, and then they must be exposed in the camera and developed in minutes while still wet. The negative images appear as positives when mounted on dark paper.
Figurative images, including "Charlotte in Bow," dominate the 79 wet collodion photographs on view at Rule Gallery.

Using a vintage 1850s camera, Sink and Hatgi traveled back into photographic history for this ambitious project, mastering the intricacies of the venerable technique while simultaneously updating and revitalizing it.

The enticingly dark-hued images that resulted — most 4 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches — have a sometimes murky, sometimes shadowy look, with serendipitous flaws and imperfections that are an inevitable part of this imprecise process.

Their intimate size and inherent inexactitude mean that viewers have to look more closely and spend more time with these photographs to fully appreciate their power — a welcome antidote to today's nonstop, instantaneous imagery.

Because viewers cannot help but associate the antique appearance of these photographs with some bygone era, the subject matter, however modern it might be, is inevitably refracted via the past. And, paradoxically, this intersection of past and present gives these pieces an unmistakably contemporary feel.

In many of these works, the two collaborators deliberately play up the ambiguity of time. Selections, such as "Rose in Water," possess a vaguely and probably deliberate Victorian flavor.

In addition, some of the apparel worn by the
A graceful quietude pervades Sink and Hatgi's "Datura in Hand." 5.5 X 4.5 inches
women, such as big, flowing skirts, also suggests the past, as do some of the accompanying props, such as the ungainly, old-fashioned brace in "Lauren With Leg Brace."

While these pieces cover an impressively broad range of subject matter, including still lifes and stunning landscapes such as "Small Aspens," most are devoted to portraits (including some self-portraits) and nudes.

The nudes (some recalling E.J. Bellocq's alluring portraits of New Orleans prostitutes in 1912) are suffused with freshness and sensuality, even eroticism at times, with nearly all of them coming off as refined rather than crass.

These figurative images are obviously staged, some with intriguing props, such as the odd, open hoop in "Sascha in Hoop Skirt," that add a kind of enigmatic air. Most are successful, but a few, such as "Mark and Kristen" go too far, becoming stagey and forced.

Sink, by far the better known of the two photographers, has been such a ubiquitous presence on the Denver scene for some three decades that it is easy to take him for granted.

It doesn't help that he is so prolific that much of what he does gets exhibited little if at all. The result is that viewers see a tree here and there, but never the full forest that is his extensive oeuvre.

This exhibition, along with a smaller, accompanying look at his portraits of Andy Warhol from the early 1980s, provide a strong reminder that it is time for a local institution to undertake a mid-career survey of his work.

Meanwhile, photography cognoscenti and people who simply enjoy intriguing, unusual imagery can bask in this compelling show.

"Light and Time: Wet Plate Collodion Photographs"

Photography. Rule Gallery, 227 Broadway. An exhibition of 79 collaborative images by Denver photographers Mark Sink and Kristen Hatgi that make use of an obsolete yet still viable 19th-century process. Extended through Jan. 17. Noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Free. 303-777-9473 or

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mary Voelz Chandler, Rocky Mountain News

Images reflect bygone process in photography
By Mary Voelz Chandler, Rocky Mountain News
Published December 18, 2008

Dawn Curls, a collodion wet plate image by Mark Sink and Kristen Hatgi.

More than a search for comfort steers photographers back in time to work in archival methods when the rest of reality is navigating a high-tech future at warp speed.

The need to experiment and understand unusual photographic techniques keeps things interesting, for one thing, and offers a reminder of the way in which humans have captured images since the 1830s.

That's the intellectual takeaway from "Light and Time," a generous selection of glass-plate images on view at Rule Gallery.

Area photographer and arts advocate Mark Sink and partner and photographer Kristen Hatgi have stepped back into the 1850s to work in the exacting - i.e., unforgiving - process in which a piece of glass is coated with the chemical stew called collodion, dipped in silver nitrate, put in the camera, then exposed as a photograph was shot. This needed to be done quickly, while the plate was still wet.

Sink and Hatgi have a knack for innovation and a penchant for the romantic side of photography, and here have parlayed that into a beautiful exhibition.

Part of that derives from the plates themselves: almost 80 small, blue or black glass objects displaying nudes, fanciful scenes, dreamy landscapes (lots of ethereal aspen here), and the skillful use of props and costuming. These shimmering works are displayed on shelves, lined up in a fashion that plays up the historical nature of the work on view. It has the air of a photography museum, exploring a process that had its day in the sun and is back for a brief reappearance.

That's the other element that adds to the appeal of "Light and Time." Gallery owner Robin Rule again has capitalized on the long, narrow confines of her space to install this show, and two others, to good advantage.

Behind the wet plate imagery she installed "The Untold Story," a small show of photographs by Sink from his days in 1980s New York. These are predominantly candid silver prints and chromogenic prints of Andy Warhol in a range of situations, at work and at play - another recollection of a decade in which the creation of art and the spirit of the time was different from today.

The standout image, though, is the 1988 photograph Man Dies, a shot of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat standing near a work bearing those words. Sink notes that he took the photo shortly before Basquiat's death, at a show at the gallery run by Vrej Baghoomian.

There is a sweetness to this piece, countered by the shock of realizing that the artist - so young, provocative and influential - was coming to the end of his very short life.

Mark Sink's Man Dies, an image of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, taken at his last show a few days before his death in 1988.

Light and Time/The Untold Story

* What: Wet plate collodion photographs by Mark Sink and Kristen Hatgi, with 1980s portraits by Sink of Andy Warhol and others in the New York art scene.

* Where and when: Rule Gallery, 227 Broadway; through Jan. 10

* Information: 303-777-9473;

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bettie Page 1923 - 2008

1950s pinup model Bettie Page dies in LA at 85

This undated photo provided Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008 by CMG Worldwide shows AP – This undated photo provided Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008 by CMG Worldwide shows Bettie Page. Page, the 1950s …

LOS ANGELES – Bettie Page, the 1950s secretary-turned-model whose controversial photographs in skimpy attire or none at all helped set the stage for the 1960s sexual revolution, died Thursday Dec. 1tth . She was 85.

Great Debate

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Denver Connects Review

Warhol, wetplates at Rule Gallery


Walking into Rule Gallery this month, it appears as if someone has raided a museum and put all the beautiful, antique glass photo plates on display. It is surprisng, then, to notice one of the models standing in modern clothes at the other end of the gallery, chatting away with friends.

Indeed, photographers Mark Sink and Kristen Hatgi harkened back to the early photographic method of wet plate collodion to capture scenes that are both antique and modern all at once.

A popular technique for photography in the 1800s, wetplate collodion creates an image that is almost ghostlike on the glass plate, and the images at Rule sparkle as if lit from some mysterious source.

On the other end of the gallery, Mark Sink’s photographs of Andy Warhol fill the walls for the show Untold Story. Smiling, laughing, and posing, Warhol looks amazing and real in these photos, giving viewers who are just crazy about the man (like your truly!) a feeling of being right there with the famed artist.

The shows run at Rule through Jan. 10th and are definitely something to see.

Westword Review .. yayee

Light and Time at Rule Gallery

By Michael Paglia

Published on December 10, 2008 at 11:17am

Light and Time, in the front of Rule Gallery (227 Broadway, 303-777-9473, consists of small, wet-plate Collodion print photographs by Mark Sink and Kristen Hatgi that have been propped against the walls. The Collodion process is an early photographic method used by Civil War documentarian Matthew Brady.

In a jointly written artist statement, Sink and Hatgi observe that archaic chemical processes — including the Collodion procedure — that fell by the wayside in the late 19th century are making something of a comeback at the beginning of the 21st. This is no doubt a reaction to the digital revolution, of which these methods are decidedly not a part.

The diminutive photos on glass or tin depict men, women, landscapes and still-life scenes; they are very beautiful, if more than a little creepy. Many feature self-portraits of Sink and Hatgi, sometimes together and sometimes alone. The most striking are printed on blue sheets of glass that have been sprinkled throughout the display. The entire presentation is very engaging.

In the middle part of the gallery, in the exhibit The Untold Story, are some remarkable candid shots of Andy Warhol (and one of Jean-Michel Basquiat) that were taken by Sink during his youthful sojourn to New York a couple of decades ago. Sink has long talked about his close relationship with Warhol, and these intimate photos of the artist's private life prove that he wasn't just whistling Dixie. I have to admit, I was one of those who doubted him, but I guess I was wrong. The color photos show Warhol as he was in his everyday life not long before he died.

The festivities are finished off by Stills, which comprises edgy and awkward representational paintings done by emerging Denver artist Nathan Abels. Though technically not photo-realist in style, these paintings make wonderful companions for the photos from the other two shows.

All three exhibits close January 10.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Rule Show November 14th


"At the turn of the century, the beautiful process of chemical photography was left behind. It's funny to think that we are already experiencing it's revival. In this new age of digital inkjet reproduction it is very refreshing and special to make a one of a kind art piece that was made by light striking it directly."-Sink and Hatgi

Mark Sink and Kristen Hatgi collaborated over the summer of 2008 to create images using one of the earliest photographic methods, wet plate collodion. Their romantic mix of still lifes, portraits, nudes and landscapes are a mix of modern and antique elements. Frederick Scott Archer developed the wet plate collodion process in 1851. Collodion on glass is known as an ambrotype, while the same process on tin is called a ferrotype. Collodion positives were extremely popular from 1852 to the mid 1860's. The photograph is created by pouring a thin layer of collodion on a glass plate before sensitizing it in a silver nitrate solution. The plate must then be exposed and developed while it is still wet. Sink and Hatgi use this historic process and an antique camera to create their modern ambrotypes. The revival of this photographic method once used by William Henry Jackson and Civil War photographer Matthew Brady, can also be seen in the work of contemporary artists, Sally Mann and Scully & Osterman.

Kristen Hatgi received her BFA from the Art Institute of Boston in 2008. She has exhibited her photography in the Denver Public Library, FLASH Gallery in Belmar, Gallery Sink, and the Art Institute of Boston. She was inspired a decade ago by the local teacher and collector Paul Harbaugh and later she came to work for Mark and Gallery Sink.

For more of Kristen Hatgi's work visit:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Todd's Press Release

Well. Mark has started doing wet plate collodion process photos (think 18880's or jacksons wardrobe) .Then then in your mind think of all the cute watresses in town naked and walla. Then as an added boner Mark blew up extra big some of the photos he took of warhol also in 1880.These are a must see. Affordable if you have a job.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008



As printed snapshots vanish, we're losing more than shoe boxes full of mementos

By Dushko Petrovich

One hundred years ago, one of Paris's richest men had a quixotic dream. Returning from a personal trip to China and Japan, the banker Albert Kahn decided to build a huge visual archive of the planet. Kahn believed that mutual misunderstanding was the source of world conflict, so in 1909, he began funding scores of photographers as they set out across five continents. By the time the Great Depression finally bankrupted him 22 years later, Kahn's intrepid operateurs had managed to document almost 50 countries, returning to France with 120 hours of film footage and 4,000 black-and-white pictures. This alone would have been a remarkable legacy, but the real jewels of the collection were printed on glass, in a full spectrum the world had never seen. The recently invented technique of the autochrome - which made portable color photography possible - meant that Kahn's emissaries could also amass a staggering total of 72,000 color plates.

Today, Kahn's project - still housed in a suburb west of Paris - is a stirring and underappreciated monument: the first great work of color photography. Princeton University Press is marking this centennial with a beautifully illustrated book. "The Dawn of the Color Photograph" is a handsome document full of lush and memorable images. Most of us still picture 1909 exclusively in black and white, so it's a revelation to peer back 100 years and see such eerily bright hues. French soldiers - dressed inadvisably in red, white, and blue - carve trenches through the verdant countryside; members of the Indian aristocracy, though recently stripped of power, still gather for a portrait wrapped in a defiant regalia of lavender, gold, maroon, and orange. Back in its heyday, the Moulin Rouge is pictured truly red. The most poignant autochromes - the really haunting ones - are those where the richness of color fixes people whose ways of life are unwittingly on the verge of extinction: Farmers, shepherds, and weavers all stand still as their tools and costumes enter the afterlife through a revolutionary new medium.

In the years since Kahn sent his crews out with thousands of pounds of coated glass, the color print has evolved from an expensive novelty into an affordable, nearly ubiquitous object. What used to take specialists many painstaking hours can now be done by machine in a matter of seconds; 30 cents now buys an accurate, glossy color the likes of which the wealthy Kahn could only have dreamed of. As an object, the color print has finally been perfected. And yet, the 100th anniversary of Kahn's project isn't so much a triumphant moment as an elegiac one. Like the shepherds, the color print has nearly vanished. Today, you get some glossies sent out as holiday cards, and some lucky ones get matted and framed, but the vast majority of color photographs now taken - and there are countless millions of them - pass before us, just briefly, on a screen.

Our rituals have already shifted. We no longer hand vacation photos around patiently at dinner parties. If we do reach for our photo albums, the collections start to thin out around 2006. Family pictures migrated from our desktop to our "desktop," and showing off a wallet photo is suddenly very rare. Instead, we flip open to the snap on our cellphones, where our beloved's low-res face competes brightly with the time, date, and number of bars. (Many of our friends are smiling away inside that camera phone.)

Printing is still just as easy and cheap as it ever was, but given the option, we now prefer to save - or upload - instead. That tells us something about our appetite for convenience, but even more about what we want from photographs in the first place. The object itself, no matter how crisp and permanent, how lush or mysterious, turns out to matter less than our ability to capture, store, and share an image. Without the print, photography's magical power - to freeze a moment in time - is still ours. In fact, although we continue to think of the photograph as a physical thing, we are finding out that it better serves our needs without being printed.

But as with each of our advances, something else is being lost. It is easy to think of the print and the digital image as the same thing, but they're actually very different. Even as cameras tout their ever-increasing megapixels, nearly everything we view is projected out at 72 dots per inch, the standard resolution of a monitor. The resulting pictures are back-lit, vivid, and very easy to scan, so we hardly notice how hard it is to look into them. Your eyes move side to side, and you can easily gather all the information, but if you linger for a minute - an actual minute - you'll notice that the screen doesn't quite accept your gaze. A printed photograph, however - even when small, or blurry - has a way of letting you in. The paper surface is less aggressive than the liquid crystal one, so your eyes can roam around. The brightness of the pixel has a price: The illusory space of the photo is subtly reduced, along with its invitation to wander - or simply rest - inside it.

Of course, the real space photographs take up is also reduced. Like most technology, the color print seemed ever so sleek . . . until we saw the upgrade. A laptop effortlessly holds what hundreds of shoe boxes could not; we now send 50 pictures with a click. Still, the actual third dimension is an important aspect of the supposedly 2D print; the physical contact establishes a certain intimacy. Who has not held a photograph and wept? Who hasn't felt their nostalgia settle for an instant on the thinness of a print? To hold a photo is to hold a person, or even a place, in your hand - a momentary illusion that has no parallel on a monitor.

The digital gems we hoard can number in the thousands, or even in the tens of thousands. Of course, the idea is that any and all of them could be printed, if an occasion were to arise. But what would that special day be like? Years pass, and it never comes. The prospect of printing them all out becomes unthinkable. The reason they never turn into objects is precisely because these photos have already served their purpose: At the party, which we wished would go on forever, we posed and we clicked. Then we showed each other the little LCD screen, and we were satisfied - the moment would last. (A little while later, we repeated the ritual.)

But just as the paperless format erases one kind of closeness, it can open entirely new realms of intimacy - the minute you hit "upload." While our stored photos are shy (you have to search for them) and a little vulnerable (they can all disappear with a hard drive), the ones we put on the Web are gregarious and immortal. Never before has the photo been so emphatically public, announcing our achievements and pleasures with a swiftness we never dreamed of. So even when these disseminated images come to haunt us, it's not in the manner of the print - which conjured private sentiments, like longing or regret - but with rather more civic feelings, like shame and embarrassment. Usually these unnerving photos are the ones other people have posted (and "tagged"), but what's really irksome is that other people are seeing them, and that these other people can even copy them and distribute them, if they so choose. The old idea of "destroy the negatives" sounds pretty quaint in a world of endlessly reproducible jpegs, as does the notion of asking to take someone's picture. We're all celebrities now! But it is the photographs, not their subjects, that are godlike in their movements.

The lowly print, meanwhile, can only exist in one place at a time. It's easily damaged, or hidden, or lost. In these weaknesses, however, lies a particular charm. Only a few years have passed, and we already wax nostalgic about the old processes. Remember when you used to have to wait? The premeditation is gone, as well as the anticipation, investment, and surprise. The photograph is less of an occasion. Don't worry, we can take another one! In the era of prints, the image was just part of the photograph. The carefully avoided thumbprints, the unfortunate creases, the ugly red digital date stamps - we will come to miss these subtle markings. Hold them by the edges! But the new images don't even have edges - they're all front. It has become common for critics and artists to mourn the passing of particular formats - the Polaroid, the Lomo, or the Kodachrome - but these eulogies only scratch the proverbial surface. What we will really miss is the print itself.

It seems strange that this long-awaited miracle - this icon of modern life - would even have a life span. But after a century of printing full color images of our lives, the habit is quietly dying out. Of course, hobbyists and art schools will keep the techniques alive. Liberated from utility, the photograph is already following other antiquated printing processes - like engraving and lithography - into the domain of craft and fine art. And old-fashioned photos will probably still be employed, like wax seals and letter-press invitations, to commemorate special occasions.

But Kahn's haunting autochromes - which are cracked and worn, imperfect, fragile, and well traveled - should remind us that there is magic when the object itself, not just the occasion, is special. Whether they have crossed continents, or just sat in somebody's pocket, even the flimsiest photographic prints take on a certain weight. As they fade from use, we can start to sense what these objects really did: They carried feelings their images didn't intend, feelings that mattered more than anyone knew at the time.



Dushko Petrovich, a painter and critic, is the resident fellow in painting at Boston University and the founding editor of Paper Monument.

The Boston Globe
January 4, 2009

Friday, November 7, 2008

WWA and The Lab

Join us as we celebrate a year of success!
Good food, community & photography!

Sunday, November 16th, 6-8pm

at The Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar

with special guest speaker, Evan Anderman
Member of the Photography Curator Selection Committee for the DAM

plus a special conversation with Mark Sink on his great grandfathers' collection of Orientalist Photography | on display now at The Lab

Orientalist Photography at The Lab$65 person | $95 couple
$55 | $75 WWA Members
Advance Reservation necessary
Seating very limited

Call 303.837.1341 to purchase tickets

The Lab is located at 404 S. Upham Street, Lakewood CO

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008




5:00pm Patron Champagne Reception and Discussion with Guest Curator Dr. Christoph Heinrich

6:30pm Salon du Musée Soirée & Fine Art Sale
Live & Silent Auction

Gallery 1261 | 1261 Delaware Street | Denver

Cocktail Attire | INFORMATION: | 303.494.0180 |

Mark Sink, Private Photo Session. Mark Sink’s passion is beauty, resulting in unique and engaging images. His work is in numerous museum collections, notably the Denver Art Museum, and he exhibits in solo and group shows worldwide. The successful bidder on this auction package will enjoy the discreet and compelling talent of one of the country’s leading photographers. Session date to be decided upon mutually between successful bidder and Mark Sink. Value: $1,000

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Stephine meets Kristen and Mark


A show of toy camera photography

Sharpness is a bourgeois concept" - H. Cartier Bresson

Oct.9th - Nov.9th 2008

NEXUS/foundation for today's art
1400 N. American Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Monday, September 22, 2008

A new show i curated at The Lab

Orientalist Photography
Japan during the Bakumatsu - Meiji period 1868 – 1912

the Lab at beLmar
404 S. Upham St. Lakewood, CO 80226
303 934 1777

September 24, 2008 – January 4, 2009
Opening Wednesday September 24th 6-8 pm

A complete image catalog of the presented work is here:

Visual Pleasure and Cultural Contact

The Yokohama Album

An unexpected adventure into Japanese photography.

The Yokohama Album is a term used to describe late 19th century Japanese albums of albumen photographs hand tinted depicting studio and scenic views of Japan during the Bakumatsu - Meiji period 1868 – 1912. The The late 19th century Japanese term for photography, “ Shashin” “ to copy the truth” or “realism”.

While researching my great grand father James L. Breese, a society photographer in NYC in the late 19th century, I acquired from my aunt a treasure from one of his trips to Japan at the turn of the century. A beautifully decorated inlayed and lacquered album of 19th century images of Japan and its people. I had little information on the images so through the years it was always set aside. I had many unanswered questions. Time to time when I presented the images to photo historians they also had very little information to provide me other then they were a common photographs for traveling tourists of the day.

Recently my interest in the album has been renewed for I have been making images myself using the one of the earliest methods of photography, wet plate collodion, “ Ambrotypes”. A process developed in 1851 by Frederic Scott Archer. Collodion is poured on a glass plate and carefully rocked back and fourth till is spread evenly on the glass plate, which then is sensitized in a silver nitrate solution and has to be exposed and developed while it is still wet. This rare and historic process produces a stunning high quality negative and positive. It was employed by well-known photographers as William Henry Jackson and Civil war photographer Mathew Brady. It was at this point when I came to learn that the wet plate process I was exploring had been used in many of the images from the Yokhama Album. Thus my interest in this album was renewed.

Now twenty years since acquiring the album the resources for research on the Internet have dramatically grown and with it exciting new information has surfaced answering many questions about this rare album. It has been an enlightening crash course on 19th century Japan and its beginnings in photography. Through the Nakasaki University on line archives, ( Terry Bennet and Rob Oechsle, I was able to identify a large portion of the collection. I found the locations the studios and many of the photographers behind the camera. This journey of rediscovery has led me into learning the personalities and styles of many of the photographers to the point where I now can identify with confidence many of the remaining “ unknown photographers”. But at this point they still have to be left as unknown till I can verify it with an image match from a university, museum collection or specialist in the field. Also it should be noted only half of the album can be displayed for each page of the album has a mounted photograph both on the front and the back thus I had to choose one side or the other. This was a difficult editing process. You can see the total set and full descriptions at “ Breese Japan.

In the last couple years several books have been published on the subject.

Terry Bennett who was very friendly and helpful in my research:

I highly recommend his book if your interested in the subject.

Photography in Japan 1853-1912

By Terry Bennett

Published by Tuttle Publishing, 2006

ISBN 0804836337, 9780804836333

320 pages

Old Japanese Photographs Collectors' Data Guide

By Terry Bennett

Published by Old Japan (November 15, 2006)

ISBN-10: 0955400007, 13: 978-0955400001

300 pages

Also my kind thanks for support from Rob Oechsle who’s dedicated research has answered many a questions for myself historians world wide. His essay “ Searching for T. Enami ” is an amazing find.

And thank you Adam Lerner the director of the fine museum “ The Lab” in Denver Colorado for setting me a sail into this exciting project of rediscovery.

Mark Breese Sink

Michael Ensminger Stand out Show "Zottelbart"

Go Michael
16x20 Silver Prints

Reed Photo-Art steps out.
I'm impressed Gary Reed took him on.
Great play on nude babe in the wilderness shots.
Wonderful staged work.

Reed Photo-Art

Through November 11th

Michael Rolf Ensminger is


833 Santa Fe Dr Denver, CO 80204 303.744.7979

Monday - Saturday 10-6