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BRATTLEBORO — Two online talks are scheduled in conjunction with “Rachel Portesi: Hair Portraits,” an exhibit of tintype photographs on view at Brattleboro Museum & Art Center through Feb. 14.

Helen Sheumaker, Ph.D., author of “Love Entwined: The Curious History of Hairwork in America,” presents “Linking Us Fondly: Hairwork in 19th Century America” tonight at 7. Sheumaker will explore the practice of transforming hair into mementos, which was one of the inspirations for Portesi’s photographs of women with their hair pinned to walls in elaborate designs.

Sheumaker is an associate teaching professor in History and Global and Intercultural Studies at Miami University, the co-editor of “American Material Culture: An Encyclopedia,” and the author of “Artifacts from Modern America.”

Portesi offers a tintype photography demonstration and Q&A Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. from her studio via Zoom. Portesi will demonstrate the process she used to create the tintype photographs, each of which is the result of a 26-second exposure directly onto a thin sheet of metal. The exhibit was recently featured in Forbes, Vogue, British Vogue, Art New England, Juxtapoz and L’Oeil de la Photographie, among other publications.

“I have always been drawn toward the lack of control, the mystery of the final image that emerges, and — because there is no negative — the fact that each tintype photograph is an original,” Portesi said. “It feels like a magic trick.”

Participants should register in advance at to receive a Zoom link. Both events are free.


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