Originally from Prague, Stephan Kotas left home to wander the world from a young age and found his way to Indonesia, where he received a scholarship to study Indonesian Literature and Art at the Yogyakarta State University. Kotas initially immersed himself in photography as a way of documenting his love of travelling, and over time began to develop a keen eye and approach to photography in which he dives fully into each step in the pre-production process, execution, and final delivery of the work. He values the meticulous work and planning that go into capturing the perfect shot--preferring to play with in-camera tricks and lighting over digital manipulations done in post--creating works of art with a distinctively stylish point of view.
Stephan's latest accomplishment is his recreation of the tintype photography technique, making him one of the first in Bali to successfully do so extensively. The beautiful vintage look of the photographs do not come easily; the wet-plate collodion process is known to be one of the most complicated photography techniques. Each image is processed directly on the ambrotype or aluminum plates, and requires the photographic material to be coated, sensitized, exposed and developed within the span of around 10 minutes, making it necessary to work in a portable darkroom to use in the field. Prior to making the images, the photographer must mix his own liquid solution to coat the photographic material and ensure that the plate remains wet throughout the development process or the image will not appear. The chemical solution will then react to UV light to produce images with a distinct look that is unlike others.
His tintype photography is an homage to the manual processes of the past that he feels can be celebrated more in our increasingly digital world.