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Idea Generation

TinType Photos Capture the 99U Conference in Vintage Style

Forget instagram, it's all about tintypes. Michael Shindler documents the 2012 99U speakers with an incredible, old-school photography technique.

One of the coolest additions to this year’s 99U Conference was an incredible TinType Photobooth presented by Pentax, where photographer Michael Shindler shot portraits of speakers, staff, and attendees. Made by hand on 4″ x 5″ metal plates, tintypes are unique images that capture the intensity of the individual personality in the tradition of 19th-century photography. Or, put another way, they transform respectable creatives into hard-bitten bank robbers, coal miners, and cowboys.For a behind-the-scenes look at the tintype process, check out this video from our curation partners at Cool Hunting. Then scroll down for a look at our 19-century-style 99U portraits of Baratunde Thurston, Alexis Ohanian, Rilla Alexander, Jenn Hyman, and more.

Photobooth: A Cool Hunting video premiere for the 99U Conference

99U Speaker Alexis Ohanian // Co-Founder, Reddit

99U Speaker Baratunde Thurston // Author, How To Be Black

99U Speaker Jennifer Hyman // Co-Founder & CEO, Rent the Runway

99U Speaker Charlie Todd // Founder, Improv Everywhere

99U Speaker Rilla Alexander // Co-Founder & Illustrator, Rinzen

99U Speaker Jad Abumrad // Creator & Host, Radiolab

99U Speaker & Host, Scott Belsky // Co-Founder & CEO, Behance

99U Speaker Alexis Madrigal // Senior Editor, The Atlantic

99U Speaker Keith Yamashita // Chairman, SYPartners

99U Director & Executive Producer, Jocelyn K. Glei

Matias Corea //
Behance Co-Founder & Chief of Design

Josh Rubin //
Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Cool Hunting

Tintypes packaged and ready for pickup


In the booth at the 99U Conference with Michael Shindler
All tintype photos courtesy of Michael Shindler and Photobooth. All behind-the-scenes photos courtesy of Lauren Lancaster.

Jocelyn K. Glei

A writer and the founding editor of 99U, Jocelyn K. Glei is obsessed with how to make great creative work in the Age of Distraction. Her latest book is Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distraction, and Get Real Work Done. Her previous works include the 99U’s own bestselling book series: Manage Your Day-to-Day, Maximize Your Potential, and Make Your Mark. Follow her @jkglei.

Comments (17)
  • Pushing Giants

    The was an amazing addition to the event and I hope you do it again. My only regret for the whole conference was that I didn’t have a winning number!

  • jkglei

    I hear you Greg! I wish we could have done tintypes for every single attendee. Alas, this slow, beautiful technology takes time & we didn’t have enough of it! Thanks for joining us for an awesome conf! -Jocelyn

  • Roger Ellman

    Any visit to the UK lined up!!? I’m ready to sit for a Tintype.

    One of the more valid and intriguing aethetic maneouverings by technique I’ve seen in a long time.


  • Marcin Prasal

    Beautiful work Sir!

  • Andreas Kopp

    I am following their Facebook Page after purchasing my first Polaroid Camera Last year. I am thinking about doing some tintypes no with my polaroid. It is so much fun shooting polaroids. I shot a lot of them last summer. I had a friend that had a small shop in Munich and we would just set up a little studio their and invite people in to shoot their portraits and then stick the finished polaroids on the window. 

  • TheAndHeDrew

    That’s amazing. What a beautiful way to turn a photograph into an object of value.

  • Allen Venables


  • Lisa Creed

    I really like the way this brings the past into the present! Way cool!

  • Mark Parson

    how cool is this! I want a tintype camera 🙂

  • Warren Eakins

    The Tintypes are wonderful. Not
    everyone, but some subjects really looked super great. I think the amount of
    very dark tones makes a big difference. The light areas look great.
    I recently saw an exhibit of portraits here in NYC of the Russian Photographer,
    Kirill Nikitenko’s work. They were very powerful; the technique had a similar
    look as these Tintypes. Maybe they were.

  • Justin

    I am so inspired by this.

  • Piero Salardi

    awsm shots!!!! nice camera

  • Gary

    Great technique and love the end result. It’s nice to see craft away from a computer.

  • Jens Ole Amstrup

    wow – I must try this at home. Thanx for the continuing inspiration. 

  • Kristinlar

    Wonderful, I’ll have to show these to my Journalism Students

  • Gaurav Mishra

    It appear, as another layer of there character/persona..have been boiled up to the surface. Brilliant stuff!

  • Amyn Nasser
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