The days of my motorcycle journey from California would soon be coming to close and now that I didn’t have to worry about souvenirs taking up space or breaking, I was in search of something to remember this journey with. A fellow traveler and photographer mentioned that while I was in Buenos Aires, I should visit Studio Fotin, a photography studio in San Telmo using a really unique type of photography. I checked out their website and saw their ambrotype portraits. Instantly I knew I had to find a way to get myself and my motorcycle in their studio.
Meghan and Juan, the wonderful owners of Studio Fotin, found a larger space that could fit my motorcycle and we set an afternoon aside for the shoot. Traditionally, they mostly do headshot portraits but when I told them about my trip, they were just as excited as I was about including my motorcycle. Before arriving Meghan told me all the details about the process. She gave me the disclaimer that because ambrotype is an old photography method, I would have to remain perfectly still and not blink or the image would be blurry.
Ambrotypes are one of the oldest methods of photography. Dating back to the 1850s, the photograph is a positive created on a glass plate. Both Meghan and Juan have been working as photographers for years and eventually decided to open Studio Fotin in San Telmo to share this style with others.
We moved the motorcycle into just the right place and Juan adjusted the lighting. Uno, dos, tres. After each shot, Meghan would take the undeveloped plate into the dark room and let the photographic magic start to work. Within a few moments the images were revealed. The edges of the photos scarred by the chemical process giving it a truly unique look. They did two shots of each and let me pick the two I liked the most. And once again in Buenos Aires I was treated as we’d been friends for years. They fed me empanadas and poured me coffee. Coincidentally Meghan had lived in the same small Southern California city as me before relocating to Argentina.
This journey of mine is one I’ll remember forever and now I have a timeless souvenir to mark the ending of it. I get to keep the original glass plates which are about 6×4 and then two larger prints.
A special thank you to friends John and Katrina, who I met several months before while hiking in Torres Del Paine. They told me about Studio Fotin and I’m so glad I ran into them again in Buenos Aires to have my own. And thank you to Meghan and Juan for using their talents to give me a truly remarkable souvenir.