© Todd Vinson

This is a wet plate collodion image is of my adopted sister, Anna, and her boxer fiancé. She is a professional model and has appeared in multiple major publications. Some of you may recognize her. Unfortunately, my sister was involved in a serious automobile accident in 2001. The accident left her with severe facial lacerations and a partially paralyzed lower body. 

Anna’s road to recovery has been difficult. She endured many surgeries to repair the damage to her face. Thankfully, she is modeling again and doing what she loves, although her work is limited to smaller local jobs because of chronic lower back pain.

Her fiancé (who wishes to remain nameless at this time – don’t ask) fought for the WBA-sanctioned Maryland light welterweight championship on December 13, 2005, losing a brutal fight in a split decision to somebody nicknamed, “Killer”. The loss killed something inside him. He’s been little more than a punching bad and sparing partner for potential championship contenders ever since.

He makes a living getting cut by other fighters, and Anna makes a living after getting cut and fighting back. 


The above text was a combination artist statement and narrative text meant to be presented with the collodion plate.

Anna and Her Lover is part of a series I did based on something wet plate collodion master, Mark Osterman, said during one of my visits to the Scully and Osterman Studio in Rochester, NY. Mark said that there was no truth to be found in photography. I tried to counter his comment but ultimately concluded that he was right. His quote inspired me to explore that premise.

I lied to you about the people in the photograph above. Anna and her lover are both magazine cutouts. Here is how it was done:

© Todd Vinson

I searched magazines for images that would work together, then cut them out. I taped each cutout to a separate piece of glass and placed the glass in a rack to hold them vertical. One is closer to the camera for depth of field and selective focus (I focused on her). I used natural outdoor lighting for the collodion exposure.

© Todd Vinson

This is a digital image of one of the test arrangements. You can see the printed magazine text on the back of “Anna”. The rack holding the plates of glass was kept just out of the image. In this one, Anna’s behind the boxer. I switched their positions for the final version, since he played a minor role in the story.

If you are not familiar with large format or collodion cameras and lenses, the digital image above is the mirror image of the collodion version at the start of the post because lenses used with large format and collodion cameras are uncorrected. The image inside the camera (and what ends up captured on the collodion plate) is always upside down and backwards from what we see with the unaided eye. You can scroll back to the start to compare.

Oh, and the story explaining my relationship to Anna, her modeling profession, her accident and recovery, and her boxer boyfriend’s pitiful career was completely made up.

That’s the truth!

Hope you enjoyed this!