Friday, September 5, 2014

Reenactors in Tin Types - The Third Edition

Well, I asked and you answered!
Man! Did you answer!
I put a posting on my Facebook page asking for reenactors who had had their tin types taken by way of an authentic period 19th century camera to please allow me to include them in this third collection of my "Reenactors in Tin Types" series, and did I get a great response!
And I certainly appreciate it!
My first two postings of "Reenactors in Tin Types" are still pretty popular and receive at least a few hits a week. The comments I've gotten from readers have been great, with my favorites being along the lines of "if you didn't tell me, I would have never known they were not originals."
That should certainly make those who's images are included here and the photographers who took them very proud indeed.
There is something about an original wet plate photo that modern technology cannot seem to replicate. I mean, I can take pictures with my modern digital camera and then, by way of Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop, instantly transform them into "tintypes."
Look here:

and here:

Pretty cool, huh?
My fake tintypes do look very real, but in order to get my color digitals to this realistic-looking point I do quite a bit of messing around with varying brightness/darkness, bluring/sharpening, and numerous other computer doo-dads in my attempts to make them look authentic.
And it doesn't work too bad.
That is until you actually see an authentic wet plate photograph taken with an original period camera:

Mrs. Jankowski - taken by Greg Schultz

It's then that you can compare the differences, which can be quite astonishing.
As I wrote in 2011:
"I collect original 78 rpm records from the 1930's through the early 1950's and, although I have most of the songs digitally remastered on compact disc, they sound so much more...authentic? original? hmmm...well, they just sound right on the 1940's phonograph that I have.
I look at these photographs in the same way. Even though they're not original to the mid-19th century, the equipment used was, and that makes all the difference in the world!"
Even better, when I play my original 78's on my 1940s phonograph, that's the best sound ever!
I suppose that's as good an analogy as I can give on this subject.
I cannot afford an original 19th century camera and all of the accessories needed to complete the image-making task, nor am I very interested in taking up that hobby at this time. But I absolutely love the way the photographs look when taken with original period equipment.
And I don't know about my fellow reenactors, but I have to admit, seeing my likeness in this way is almost kind of eerie. 

Mr. Giorlando - taken by Robert Beech
I am honored that so many of my reenactor friends - some who I have never met in person - have obliged me by allowing me to post their wonderful tintypes in this third installment for my Passion for the Past blog.
I do have links at the bottom of this page for a few related postings I've written, including the other two "Reenactors in Tin Types."
So, without further ado,  I hope you enjoy the results of this 19th century craft still being kept alive by modern artists as well as the folks willing to help by accurately dressing the part.
To everyone who contributed, I give my heartfelt thanks.

Mrs. Martin - taken by Greg Schultz

Mr. and Mrs.Jacobs - by Todd Harrington

Cady & Caytlyn - taken by Todd Harrington

Members of the 21st Michigan civilians - taken by Robert Beech

Mrs. Aldridge - taken by Todd Harrington

Mrs. Paladino & Mrs. Gillett - taken by Robert Beech

Mrs. Topping and Mrs. Koon - photographer unknown

102nd Michigan - taken by Robert Beech

Miss Stabile - taken by Robert Beech

Mr. D.R. Gooden - photographer unknown

Miss Adams - taken by Robert Beech

Mr. Fish and Miss Gill - taken in Woodbury Conn.

Mrs. Mitchell and son - taken at Gettysburg

Child of Mrs. Mitchell - taken at Gettysburg

Miss Drapala - taken by Robert Beech

Mr. and Mrs. Masciale - taken by Robert Szabo

Mr. and Mrs. Masciale - taken by Christopher North

Mr. and Mrs. Masciale and daughter- taken by Dave Rambo

Mrs. Fleishman and son - taken by Greg Schultz

Mr. & Mrs. Giorlando - taken by Marty Butera

Mr. & Mrs. Paul - photographer unknown

Members of the 21st Michigan civilians - taken by Robert Beech

Miss Klein - taken by Whalen and Shimmin

Miss McNamee - taken by the Victorian Wet Plate Photography Studios of Gettysburg

Mr. and Mrs. Monarch - taken by Robert Beech

Mr. Assenmacher and Miss Lamkin - take by Robert Beech

Mrs. Tart - taken by Todd Harrington

Mr. Jankowski - taken by Greg Schultz

Mr. Gooden - photographer unknown

The next two images are probably my favorite of this collection, for I have not seen a modern tintype-ist depicting this unusual manner in which to photograph babies too young to sit still on their own during longer exposure periods.  
During the mid-19th century, exposure times could be as short as 10 seconds or as long as a half a minute, and Victorian mothers wanting a portrait of their children had to disguise themselves as chairs, couches and curtains to hold them still during the duration.
As The Guardian on-line news source wrote a while back: "Getting an adult to sit completely still for half a minute is a challenge, but getting a wakeful baby to do so is near-impossible. The photographer could position anyone old enough to sit on a chair by placing a head clamp behind them, but the only way of photographing a baby was for the mother to hold it.
Though there are plenty of Victorian studio portraits of family groups, there are also many in which the mothers are concealed: they're holding babies in place while impersonating chairs, couches or studio backdrops. They wanted a picture of just the baby, and this was the best way to achieve it. Sometimes, the figures are obvious, standing by the side of a chair and waiting to be cropped out later; sometimes, they really do appear as a pair of curtains or as disembodied hands. To a 21st-century viewer, the images look bizarre – all these unsmiling children strangled by smocking and framed by what appears to be a black-draped Grim Reaper."

Everett Jankowski - taken by Greg Schultz

Julian Jankowski - taken by Greg Schultz
Wow---a true piece of historical photography 'reenacted' in such a way as I've not seen before.
This really gives me the time-travel chills.
By the way, that is Mrs. Jankowski 'hidden' from view.

And with that we'll call it an end to part three of my "Reenactors in Tintypes" post.
I do plan a part four sometime in the future, as I acquire more of these perfect reenacting souvenirs, because, for those of us who enjoy dressing in period clothing I can think of no better a memento of a time travel excursion to the mid-19th century than an actual tintype to mark the occasion.
What a fine way for living historians to share their 'hobby' with the world.

For more postings in my "pictures" series, please click the links below:

Reenactors in TinTypes

More Reenactors in Tintypes

A Visit to the Photographer (or, Having Our Likeness Taken)


1 comment:

Ruth Torrijos said...

Wow I am impressed! I love the baby pictures! So cool :) Thanks, Ken for putting these up!