5″ x 7″ Tintype
Compositionally, this is another very pleasing contribution to the series, with Sister’s legs, and box behind her, framing the subject – the Mask itself. Yet the clever layout forces your eye to follow the lines up and down her legs, and across the box.
Equally intriguing, is the fact that the text on the box has been reversed by the very nature of the medium. This makes it seem almost Russian at first glance, adding relevance to the theme.
Similarly, although the lines on Sister’s stockings invite your eye to dance along the vertical plane, the fact that these lines are not perfectly straight is also highly evocative. It’s as though the viewer is being offered yet another invitation to consider that things aren’t quite as straightforward as they appear.
John Fink Jr, the American artist who created this image, explained his process as follows:
Sister’s A Gas came about in a slow and methodical fashion. Centered around the M10 Gas Mask, it brought back specific childhood memories. They struck a cord and brought ideas on what image I would create. As a grade school student during the Sixties, at a time when many thought we were very close to nuclear annihilation, we were taught benign survival techniques. One I remember well was hiding under our school desk.
I went to a parochial school. I remember well having nuns tell us to get under our desks, to put our head between our legs.This is the basis for the image Sister’s A Gas. One has to see the humor in these childhood absurdities.
So sister, I don’t know what stockings you wore, but here you are. As an adult, you damned well knew that getting under the desk wasn’t going to save us from a nuclear bomb. Did you know it would leave this strong impression on us for life? Did you care? The M10 has it’s head between your legs now and we like the view! Sister’s A Gas!
Can I also say that it is an honor to take part in this wonderful project, alongside so many brilliant artists in the wet plate collodion world. People from all over the globe, dedicated to an historic mid-19th century photographic process. I would also like to thank my dear friend Shane Balkowitsch, the organizer of this exciting project. A true gentleman and wonderful collodion artist. Thank you Mr. Balkowitsch!
If you would like to know more about John and his work, check out his website www.johnfinkjr.com
Sister’s A Gas Studio Teaser