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Period style sample frames...
Posted by: Yaquina ()
Date: February 04, 2011 04:41AM

I was curious how many of you use a hanging frame of samples at your reenactment set ups?

If you examine original photos of photographers tents, wagons, etc, you often see one or more hanging frames filled with tintypes of different sizes. These were samples to entice customers and presumably give them examples of different sizes available for purchase.

I was curious if you use such a sample frame and have you found it to be of benifit? Do you have any good online references for original sample frames?

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Re: Period style sample frames...
Posted by: Ray Morgenweck ()
Date: February 04, 2011 05:17PM

You already seem to have the general idea.

The cardinal rule for any of these things we make to do '19th century' is to use common sense and common materials. You cant go too far wrong doing that.

People like to pick up and look at things in hand though, I just put mine out on the front of my work table.

Not quite Civil War...but in Buster Keatons "The Cameraman" at the start of the movie we see Buster doing his thing as a street tintypist, and he does indeed have a sample frame.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/04/2011 10:03PM by Ray Morgenweck.

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Re: Period style sample frames...
Posted by: RobertSzabo ()
Date: February 05, 2011 04:31PM

I agree with Ray, I dont think anyone is going to complain about your frame not being correct. I just use a simple wood frame that is not period. I have a couple 19th century shadow box frames that are 20x24 but there is no way I would haul them to reenactments. I also put loose plates out on my table.

The important things is to show them lots of GOOD work. Leave the bad ones and test plates at home. You want to impress them so they will want to have there picture taken.

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Re: Period style sample frames...
Posted by: Ray Morgenweck ()
Date: February 05, 2011 11:15PM

I know youre well on your way here, and hope what I say will be taken in good tenor. On occasion I worked from a bare bones setup pretty much about what you have there...and learned one thing. It was far better to do small tintypes than deal with anything on glass or larger plates. The size I done the most of was CDV size, 2 1/4 X 4. This is just right for a standing portrait, or one standing and one sitting. Its a nice size layout and the most authentic size you can do. Clip the bottom corners. If you havent already done this, you should have a nice photograph folder made up, with a window and a fold over leaf with your name on it. If you simplify to what you offer to that, especially at events which promise to be VERY busy, you will make more money and make a better image. Youll work a hell of lot quicker too. I had a line of 21 people one time at Antietam...and done them all.. you do the images in stages, ...maybe one in the fix, one in wash, oe waiting to be varnished...and now someone before the backdrop, and you making that image...it all moves along.

Yes I envy you for getting into this...I had my years and miss a lot of the best aspects of it all.
But man alive I fought heat...even here in the mid atlantic...youre gonna need to hone your craft and chemistry...there are ways to make it work in the hot without resorting to artificial cooling. The more constant you keep your stuff the better your results will be.

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Re: Period style sample frames...
Posted by: Yaquina ()
Date: February 06, 2011 03:29AM

I appreciate your input, Ray.

What appears to be a "bare bones" setup is paradise to me, compared to what I was working with in WWII living history; and I don't have the added distraction of being "shot" at by Germans, a huge plus. smiling smiley

The sizes I am currently offering at the wagon, taken with two different cameras, are 1/2 plate, 4x6, 4x5, 1/4 plate, 1/6th, 1/8th and 1/9th plates. I only shoot on glass at certain events, mostly western history related, etc and will not really be offering it at CW events too much. I don't really enjoy shooting on glass that much and try to reserve that for work at my studio, mostly for my boudoir work.

In WWII reenacting, especially at public events, it was not uncommon to have a LOT of people waiting for their photo to be taken and I learned early the advantage of working with a pace. Although I now offer a lot of different sizes of image (unlike in WWII), I know that perhaps two of them will be the most popular. But there is a lot to be said about offering the customer variety. Either way, I have all the sizes pre-cut and ready to go so no time in lost in preparation.

WP, as many have said, is all a matter of practice; something that I am able to do with some amount of frequency which thankfully speeds up the learning curve a bit. In exhibit work you have to be a very quick study and it is something that evolved from years of building exhibits about subjects I was not familiar with but had to learn every single thing about within a matter of weeks in order to properly design the display.

Currently my chems seem pretty well balanced and have spent the last two days producing some nice plates for the sample board, etc. I am concerned a bit about cooling but the wagon was designed with a cooling system in mind. I will have to wait until the heat hits before I can test it. It should in theory work though, it is a simple design based on period examples for chemical cooling.

The pace/procedure I will be working at is not unlike the one I did in WWII LH with the film loading, labeling, field developing and careful monitoring of temps and chems taking the same kinds of procedures and time (actually a little more) that dealing with WP does. Yet I also had to deal with contact printing and enlarging in the field with original equipment. I fought not only chems, but also equipment that was constantly breaking down and is far more elaborate then any WP equipment and far less open to field modification/repair. By comparison a WP camera is a remarkably simple device, especially when compared with a damaged folding US Army field enlarger or misaligned Kalart photographic range finder. I don't miss working with some of that gear.

My website has had a recent redesign and now features some of my WWII work, feel free to take a look. The sample images on the site are not my public/customer based images but were all taken in the field at tactical combat events. Running around loaded down with Army issued photography gear as well as full combat gear and a carbine while trying to take pictures during simulated combat conditions is something I recommend anyone who enjoys photography and history try at least once. It is a lot of fun, but exhausting!

I'm looking forward to a great season and hopefully the opportunity to capture some nice images. It will be a lot of fun to work in a different historical setting.

Dana
www.YaquinaPhotography.com



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2011 04:59AM by Yaquina.

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Re: Period style sample frames...
Posted by: sean ()
Date: February 06, 2011 11:59AM

You should do well, a beautiful impression and great equipment.

Good luck with the heat, not a problem here in the UK!

Seán

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Re: Period style sample frames...
Posted by: fly ()
Date: February 06, 2011 12:43PM

Your website looks great. I love ww2 stuff , I just sold my Luffwaffel leica,
(USSR clone)would have been good for your impression. Patton carried a Leica too.
It all looks good, have fun.
Do you have a website for your Museum stuff, displays etc.?

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Re: Period style sample frames...
Posted by: Yaquina ()
Date: February 06, 2011 03:35PM

Yes. It's www.yaquinaexhibits.com. It really needs to be updated though.

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Re: Period style sample frames...
Posted by: minieball ()
Date: February 08, 2011 07:32PM

I agree with Ray and Bob, Dana. Keep it simple. We picked up two cheap thin, hinged shadow boxes at Michaels and changed the glass out to plexi. One has prices and plate size examples that we hang up outside the tent and the other has sample images that stay on the table with Vivian. She also usually keeps a sample of our jappaned tin and ruby glass plates to show to potential customers

Todd Harrington
Winchester, VA

www.collodianartistry.com

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Re: Period style sample frames...
Posted by: Yaquina ()
Date: February 09, 2011 02:17AM

I am treating the design of my set up like any other exhibit I would work on. When it comes to Itinerant Photographers there were not two encampments or setups alike. All of the research I have done to date has made one fact very clear; photographers of this nature utilized all kinds of materials to create their mobile place of business. From small hand carts to whole railroad box cars and in a couple of examples, two or three box cars and the steam engine to pull them around.

Needless to say, I am working on former rather then the latter of those examples.

When I design an historical exhibit based on something like this, with no set rules or uniform format in which it was done, I use many examples and build a composite from that. For instance, a few years ago my shop put together a covered wagon, which was supposed to look right at home travelling along the Oregon Trail. Since there were no set rules regarding provisions, how their were stowed or carried, we simply took references and examples listed in diaries, manifests and the like and put together a realistic and accurate wagon.

This photography set up of mine is no different really, with the exception of having far less reference and research material on which to draw on.

I have redesigned my awning to be more accurate and have completed canvas banner signs which hang on each side of the awning. These were painted in the same manner as the originals, in an period accurate font, and I am now in the process of giving them just a little bit of age, so they don't look so fresh.

The sample frame will eventually be part of the encampment, but for now has been put on the back burner because my time is getting short for the first event of this season.

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Re: Period style sample frames...
Posted by: RobertSzabo ()
Date: February 09, 2011 10:55PM

Good for you for wanting to be as authentic as possible. Hopefully you will be still wanting to do that years from now.

I started out like that and sometimes still do worry about it but I don't worry about it at all events.

Living history events or demonstrations where I may be set up in a federal camp, yes. **

When they set me up on sutlers row next to a funnel cake stand, no. smiling smiley


**(I say federal because I don't know of any documented CS itinerant photographers who set up to sell portraits to soldiers.)

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Re: Period style sample frames...
Posted by: fly ()
Date: February 10, 2011 02:09AM

Thats a good point, Where did a southerner get his tintypes? In town before he
left?

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Re: Period style sample frames...
Posted by: Yaquina ()
Date: February 10, 2011 02:25AM

RobertSzabo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Good for you for wanting to be as authentic as
> possible. Hopefully you will be still wanting to
> do that years from now.


No reason to think otherwise. Started when I was about 13 or so and now creepying up on my 44th summer and I am still a stitch nazi. I think the reason has a lot to do with my work; with that I have to be thinking about accuracy all the time or I could lose a contract or client. So when it comes to reenacting that drive translates over and keeps me honest.

I know what you mean though about being set up on traders row, not a lot of people calling you out on things when you are sitting next to a person selling plastic toy cap&ball pistols.

Have been doing a lot of F&I War and Colonial reenacting/trekking for the last couple of years, as well as Lewis & Clark related living history, but not a lot of call for period photography at those events, not unless I build a time machine to sit next to my tent!

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Re: Period style sample frames...
Posted by: RobertSzabo ()
Date: February 10, 2011 09:54PM

Nothing wrong with a time machine. Steampunk events are rather interesting. Been thinking about a Dr Who style phone booth darkroom for those events.

Good luck out there! Maybe Ill be out this year and come see you at an event, Im not sure yet though. Been talking to someone about filming some Carleton Watkins stuff at Yosemite.

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Re: Period style sample frames...
Posted by: RobertSzabo ()
Date: February 10, 2011 09:56PM

I would say yes to that fly. Mostly being taken before leaving home or early in the war when they were near large towns where there were studios.

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