Lisa Elmaleh

American Folk
Location: Paw Paw, WV
Nationality: American
Biography: Lisa Elmaleh’s work is an exploration of rural America. Using a portable darkroom in the back of her truck, Elmaleh photographs using the nineteenth century wet plate collodion process. Elmaleh is a West Virginia based photographer and... read on
Public Story
American Folk
Credits: lisa elmaleh
Updated: 01/06/17
Location: Appalachia
Archived as:  ,
Since 2010, I have been creating tintypes of musicians who play traditional American folk music in and around the Appalachian Mountains - West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. I travel out to the homestead of each musician, and spend a full day or more with each musician, documenting their likeness, their instruments, and the landscape that they reside in. Each 8x10 tintype plate is hand coated, exposed in a large format camera, and developed on-site in a small darkroom in the back of my pickup truck.

This music guides me visually – the portraits are traditional, with historical references, as the music is traditional. I am largely influenced by those who came before me - the Appalachian portraits of Doris Ullman, or the agricultural portraits and landscapes of Dorothea Lange. The tradition of American folk music echoes in the historic nature of the process I am using.

Also by Lisa Elmaleh —


Daily Self Portrait 2012-2013

By Lisa Elmaleh — In 2012, I felt the earth move beneath my feet where I did not choose to step.  I slipped into a..

Between the Divides (ongoing)

By Lisa Elmaleh

Lonesome Valley

By Lisa Elmaleh / Beatty, Navada — In 2010, I set out for the ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada with my wet plate darkroom and a need to exist in..


By Lisa Elmaleh — The keys to my first car were a means of escape. I was free to drive to the ends of the earth, to be alone..


By Lisa Elmaleh — The Everglades is the only ecological system of its kind. In the dedication of Everglades National Park,..
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