HS: You talked about working with your hands and shaping material. You experiment with historic photographic processes, namely, the wet collodion process, and you blend the digital with the analog. Can you talk about the technical and conceptual challenges that you face as an artist as you transgress these quote-unquote boundaries and why you're compelled to do that?
WW: I think again, getting back to the materiality of photography, all of my work up until the advent of digital was shot on film, and I developed it and made prints, and there was a period when that wasn't happening in my practice, and I really missed it. When I moved to Santa Fe, I got a studio and it happened to be right around the corner from Bostick & Sullivan, who has been the premier producer of these historic, photographic chemistries for a long time. One day I went over was like, "What do you guys do?" They invited me in, and, by the end of the day, I had made my first wet plate. Dana [Sullivan] took me under his arm and was like, “Come here. I've got to show you this,” and I was just hooked from that moment on. There is something really magical about the photographic process of making your own film in real-time and working with the physical material. I'm also interested in the technological history of photography. Now, in the digital age, we have augmented reality. You can scan an image, and then, on your device, it will come to life and talk to you. When I saw that, it unlocked something for me. And this does go back to Curtis. I remember being a kid in San Francisco and my mom hearing about this book. It was an early re-issue of a collection of Curtis works that showed these honorific, native images, and she really wanted to find that book because it was important to her to have visual examples of Indigeneity for me, for her child. And so we went from bookseller to bookseller, and finally found this beautiful book, and I remember just spending hours with it, wondering who these people were. And more than anything, I wanted to hear what they would have to say. So when I ran across this app called Layar, and the last AR stands for Augmented Reality, I realized that I could make a tintype, invoke that 19th-century history, and then have the tintype come to life and talk to you through this device that everyone has. That would give me the ability to give voice back to the sitter in a different way. You could just make a video but I love invoking that history and going through the process and the work and making this collaborative portrait together and then being able to reactivate it with this thing. Layar went out of business, so I worked with a colleague at Santa Fe Community College, Alison Johnson, and her partner, who have a digital company, and they built me an app. So I have this app called Talking Tintypes now and you can go to my website, download the free app and then hear these people tell their own story. There are violinists, political leaders, a water protector... there is an amazing dancer. And again, it's also about that collaboration. I ask, how do you want to represent yourself? Do you want to say something and tell the world something? The pandemic hasn’t allowed me to keep expanding that but I’m hoping to add more soon. I collaborated with a friend, Adam McKinney, who is an amazing dance professor at Texas Christian University. He has done a project around a traumatic episode in history in Fort Worth. There was a man named Fred Rouse, who was lynched by a mob in 1921. He was African-American. He worked in the meat processing industry and he crossed a picket line. He brought a gun with him because he knew there would be trouble, and he ended up in the hospital. A mob came for him and they lynched him. So Adam did all of this research. He created costumes and choreography at important sites in Fort Worth, and he asked me to come make talking tintypes, but rather than talking, they are dancing tintypes. You will be able to scan the images, which are really powerful and beautiful, and then see Adam's performance. He and his partner, Daniel Banks, have an organization called DNAWORKS and they're putting together a tour based on this history. They just got this really amazing grant and bought the site where the lynching occurred, and they're going to turn it into a memorial park. I hope that, through collaboration, my little part of it can expand the idea or the notion for the memorial. I'm excited about that.