The wet plate collodion tintype process was first invented in the 1850s and became a primary photographic practice in the 1860s and 1870s, documenting much of the Civil War. The tintypes of the Black Stories Project embody the history of photography and the history of racial inequity in the United States and more specifically in the state of Utah. They draw a connection between the history of racism and the dialogue about race today. In a state where the Black population is less than two percent and a dominant religious culture presents a unique and complicated narrative of the past and present, we can only address the current issues of systemic inequality while acknowledging and grappling with the history behind them. This project is a study about how the weight of our state’s history and the lens through which it is told, affects how Black individuals experience life here today. The Black Stories Project is made up of the portraits and voices of members of the Black community here in Utah, and stands as an effort towards opening the conversation, understanding the past, and changing the future narrative of our history.
Madison Casagranda is a BYU photography and art education student. She is currently in her last semester of classes before student teaching. “My time here at BYU has given me many opportunities to explore a vast array of art forms, and especially to dive into alternative photographic processes. I love the hands-on nature of the darkroom and the history of photography. My work has largely been about history, family, and current issues and is an effort to connect us to the past in order to address our present day. I’ve had opportunities to exhibit my photographs in the Springville Art Museum, UT, The Praxis Gallery, MN, The Southeast Center for Photography, SC, and the Harris Fine Arts Center here at BYU.”