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  1. #1
    Greg Heath's Avatar
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    Civil War Photos and more

    I wasn't sure where to put this.

    Last night was one of those evenings where I was sitting in front of the TV watching the History Channel in HD, and should have probably been in the darkroom getting something done, but they had an interesting 4 hour or so show on President Lincoln and his assassination and entombment.

    http://www.history.com/video.do?name=lincoln

    As I watched the show the narrative used the original photos of the time (1860's) to tell the story, and I found an interesting site covering the Civil War's photos. Down on the left side of the page are the Photos from that era.

    http://www.civil-war.net/searchlinks...chlinks=Photos

    I suppose most of the photos that were made were from Large format cameras, something that I myself I am being drawn to.

    Those old photos to me show so much life. The quality of the photos just really impresses me. The towns, the people, the age, and yet we have these mementos that until I started getting into film, I just didn't ever really appreciate them. Now I just love em. I can't get enough.

    I just thought I would pass along the links..

    Greg

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    The Library of Congress is a great source of photographs of the Civil War, and any other period actually...

    http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/cwphtml/

    Safe to say that there were only large format cameras at that time...wet plate out in the field.

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  3. #3
    tac
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    I'm fortunate enough to have two original prints of my Great-Great Grandfather, one in his military uniform, with his saber, Capt. from the 1st W.Va. Cavalry, circa 1864. I believe it's an albumen print, and it's in great shape, 140 -odd years on.

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    RobertP's Avatar
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    There were smaller sizes than many realize during this period. The sizes went as follows: whole plate: 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 / Half plate: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 / quarter plate: 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 / sixth plate: 2 3/4 x 3 1/4 / eighth plate: 2 1/8 x 3 1/4 / ninth plate: 2 x 2 1/2. Anything larger than 11x14 was considered mammoth plate but most typically it was 18x22 or 20x24.
    Last edited by RobertP; 02-22-2009 at 06:08 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5
    RobertP's Avatar
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    I almost forgot, there was sixteenth plate also 1 3/8 x 1 5/8

  6. #6
    Dan Henderson's Avatar
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    I caught a talk by Ken Burns late last night on C Span. He commented how the lack of photographs from the time before photography made it very difficult for him to make his style of documentaries of things such as the American Revolution and the War of 1812. He said that many of the paintings and drawings from that era were "cartoonish." I thought that was an odd comment given some of the great portraits of Washington, Jefferson, etc. But perhaps those are the exception, and his comment underscores one of the important contributions that photography has made.


    web site: Dan Henderson, Photographer.com

    blog: https://danhendersonphotographer.wordpress.com/

    I am not anti-digital. I am pro-film.

  7. #7
    RobertP's Avatar
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    Dan, I saw that too. I think the audience was from the Mass. Historical Society. Their questions seemed to be directed to more of their local history than Burn's entire body of work. But he gave an excellent lecture.

  8. #8
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertP View Post
    There were smaller sizes than many realize during this period. The sizes went as follows: whole plate: 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 / Half plate: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 / quarter plate: 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 / sixth plate: 2 3/4 x 3 1/4 / eighth plate: 2 1/8 x 3 1/4 / ninth plate: 2 x 2 1/2. Anything larger than 11x14 was considered mammoth plate but most typically it was 18x22 or 20x24.
    To follow on with this - the vast majority of photos of that period were done on quarter-plate or smaller. I've got a small but growing collection of antique images - I have ONE half-plate tintype, ONE quarter-plate Daguerreotype, and the vast majority of the rest are 1/6 plate images. Another medium that was popular in that day and age was the carte-de-visite - an albumen print pasted on to a piece of card stock with the photographer's information printed on it, and rarely identification of the subject. Most cartes-de-visite are about 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" or thereabouts. This was the normal size image from Brady's studio (one of the cdv's I have is a Brady, from his New York operation). Some of the illusion of size we have of these images comes from seeing the images reproduced in modern books and on tv.

  9. #9
    Greg Heath's Avatar
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    thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    The Library of Congress is a great source of photographs of the Civil War, and any other period actually...

    http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/cwphtml/

    Safe to say that there were only large format cameras at that time...wet plate out in the field.

    Vaughn

    thanks for the link..

  10. #10
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    While the size of many of the prints were smaller than 4x5, in essence they were still "large" format, if one was to use camera type as the main criteria and the second criteria being individual negatives (as opposed to rolls which did not exist at the time.). I believe many of the small images were made in rather large cameras that had multiple lenses...and that the film was also large with multiple images on each that were then cut down after processing.

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

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