Interviews

Shane Balkowitsch, Photographer, Ambrotypist, documentarian and one of North Dakota’s premier Wet Plate photographers appears on the Red Road Radio Show Sunday December 23rd, 2018

Shane Balkowitsch, Photographer, Ambrotypist, documentarian and one of North Dakota’s premier Wet Plate photographers appears on the Red Road Radio Show Sunday December 23rd, 2018

Shane Balkowitsch was born and raised in Bismarck, North Dakota. He never formally studied photography or been formally trained but does consider himself an image maker. In fact, the first personal camera he ever owned was a 5×7” wet plate camera.

In October 2016, the Smithsonian and their Portrait Gallery contacted Shane and obtained
his original wet plate of Evander Holyfield for their permanent collection.
Also in 2016, with the assistance of the Historical Society of North Dakota, he started his series “Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspective”.
Shane’s goal is to capture 1000 Native American portraits following in the footsteps of Orlando Scott Goff and Edward Curtis. The series will take him 20 years to finalize at the present rate. In 2017, the Bismarck Art and Galleries Association (BAGA) held the first exhibition of this work and put 145 plates on display.
All of the original plates from this series are curated at the Heritage Center in Bismarck by the Historical Society of North Dakota.

As of November 2017, Shane has created over 2500 wet plates.
In 2017 he also brought the first natural light wet plate
studio to the State of North Dakota in over 120 years. With much planning and design and working with a local builder, the new Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio was completed in November. This 1800 square foot facility was designed after historical studios of the past and includes specialty UV windows and skylights that will allow Shane to take pictures just as photographers did in studio 165 years ago. 

Shane recalls “On October 28th of this year, Calvin Grinnell “Running Elk” from the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation bestowed upon me the honor of my own Native American name “Shadow Catcher”, Maa’ishda tehxixi Agu’agshi – Hidatsa in a formal ceremony.”

Join us for our discussion with Shane on December 23rd and visit his website http://sharoncol.balkowitsch.com/wetplate.htm

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