Monday, July 18, 2016

The Tampa Indie Flea and Tintype Photography

The third Sunday of each month, the old Rialto Theatre in Tampa hosts the Indie Flea for all types of arts and crafts.  The artists have to go through a submission process and, even if accepted, there isn't enough room for everyone each month so sometimes people have to wait for the next month in order to be able to show their wares.

The Rialto was built in 1926 and was originally a movie theater.  It went through a number of changes over the years as different businesses used the building and was also simply closed down a couple of times.  Now, though, it has become a venue for events like the Indie Flea, weddings, parties, etc.

Yesterday was only the second time I've been to the Indie Flea.  Duane and I went to it last December (it was so packed you could barely move!) and Linda and I went yesterday.  Since it's so darned hot in Florida right now -- the 90s every day -- I only went because my nephew, Jeff Howlett, was visiting us and he was taking tintype photos at the Indie Flea.

The Rialto has a couple of different rooms.  One is the main area where the theatre had been.  See below:

Vendors in the main room.

Looking through the entrance to the whitewashed brick in the back.
Linda and I went early -- due to complaints about the crowding, you can do that now for a fee -- and I'm really glad we did.  George went later in the day to help Jeff (Jeff's assistant couldn't make it down for the trip from South Carolina) while he was busy taking pics and developing the plates.

Jeff -- all set up to do his thing!
Jeff took a tintype of me while I was there.  I don't know how he stood the heat!  The section of the Rialto where he was located was blisteringly hot.  They don't have air conditioning in that smaller section -- just a big industrial fan.  Yikes.  With the hot lights necessary to take the tintypes and the Florida heat -- it was brutal.  Most people didn't seem to mind it, though.

I really like the pic Jeff took of me.  I only wish I hadn't squinted so much.  Despite having brown eyes, they're very sensitive to light and it was difficult to keep them open very wide.  I've seen pics Jeff has taken with people who almost look 'buggy-eyed' and I have no idea how they can look into the lights like that.

My tintype.  I'll treasure it.

Linda and I also purchased a few small items from other vendors.  I bought a couple of porcupine needles (I think they're beautiful) along with a drop pendant made of howlite.  Linda purchased a pretty handmade trinket bowl and a set of pins with original art on them.  The pics I took for this post are from my new smart phone.  I definitely prefer using my Canon camera and think I'll go back to that for future posts.  Either that or I'll have to get better using the camera on my Samsung phone.

Our purchases.

Jeff headed back home to South Carolina -- he lives near the SC/NC border and works in Charlotte.  He's a very talented photographer and there aren't many people around who make tintypes.  His website is here:  Howlermano Photography.   I've mentioned him on posts here before.  He directed the music documentary A Band Called Death.  If you haven't seen it, it's a wonderful film.

We enjoyed having Jeff for a few days and hope to have him back soon or head up to Charlotte... 


  1. The tintype of you is beautiful. I had no idea there were photographers who still did those. Very cool!

    1. Thanks, Dana! My nephew is among the very few who do these. The Indie Flea was lucky to get him for a day. :)