Two Days of School days with 33 different stations total, and nearly 4,000 students – Then on Saturday and Sunday I was either taking pictures or we answering questions. On everything from how long it would have taken to make a camera to detailed information about the chemical process. As a result we where basically chained to our camp, and where not able to really capture a selection of digital photo’s as I did the previous time we attended the Kearney Park event.
Doing a school day presentations is strictly volunteer, This year each presenter is given a lunch as well as provided a little leeway to do things, like ask for donations or sell products that we’ve made – these monies are used to pay for things like transportation, chemicals and powder – We do school days presentations because we like too and are only really rewarded based upon seeing the spark of imagine that’s been created from what students have heard or seen, and hopefully learned, with questions to actually research the information further. We are often asked if we’ll travel to a school or museum to give a presentation. Unless, I can obtain grants and crowd funding, this is financially not feasible, as often times there’s a healthy Per Diem involved that schools and musuems often can not afford, I sometimes do not think, That powder burners comprehend the cost and art involved with taking a photograph, let alone a wet-plate photo -I know I didn’t when I demonstrated at schools and was paid a nominal fee for burning powder myself, with the schools only being a short drive.
Then, as a creative person I strive to create and prefect I have to, it’s part of who I am. if I do not create I end up dealing with depression. It’s my own therapy. Please note, that I do not charge very much for a tintype image, and have created a price list based upon the product, we do give discounts to reenactors, people who purchase bulk images and or images that we’ve taken simply because we’ve wanted to.. Please do not complain about those prices – We did have a couple of people walk away because they felt the prices were too high, It also created a couple of awkward situations for those involved, effectively forcing me to give extremely deep discounts, simply to pay for the chemicals.
To help offset our cost, I’ve created a gofundme crowdfunding campaign https://www.gofundme.com/BBHPhoto, you may also directly donate to our paypal on our main page.
As each day at the event flew by keeping me focused on the moment. It was still a long weekend that was dominated a by a dark cloud. The weekend didn’t start or even end on the best note, with me having spent several days trying to repair, organize and pack everything, I invariably completely forgot a couple of things. This only created tension between Sharon and I while creating a downward spiral into depression. Leaving dark feelings as if I had completely failed throughout the weekend. Some of that also shown in my work, causing me to offer some retakes on photo’s for free as I wasn’t happy with original photo’s, or effectively settling on giving a deep discount on photo, through buying an incorrect confederate battle flag to be used in one photo. I wasn’t clearly thinking on how to resolve some of the issues such as using a different lens, or putting my foot down about the flag. Those issues combined with being inundated by answering questions about the process or history also made it difficult for us to leave the camp and to force myself to focus on capturing more images using any format. The final result is that we are reevaluating how we will work in the future along with either eliminating our discounts and or increasing our prices.
leading into the weekend, Friday afternoon, the Confederate commander asked if I would be willing to take photo at/of the flag raising ceremony.. so, Saturday morning, at about 9:30 am I carried my camera over to where they would be raising the flag, moved my camera around until at a location that I felt would be best situated, focused, then flowed a plate, and captured the image
It wasn’t the best flow, and in my opinion, it was actually also a little under exposed, this was judged based upon how long it took to develop. however the image served it’s purpose, allowing me to understand how much of area I could capture, as well allowing me to choose the best plate size, being a whole plate, or rather 6.5 x 8.5 and exposure time.
My daughter, Hannah, being helpful while I flowed the next plate, paraded the photo around to everyone which helped getting them posed, showing them how much area I could capture using the wide angle lens. (she’s cross-dressed, in red as a confederate artillery man, I believe there’s also a star trek reference there too) She is also the only confederate in family. eventually, I would like to capture a modern military flag raising ceremony with a wet-plate photo, and yes I have permission, but I feel this was good practice. If you’ve never seen one, the ceremony instills a feeling of honor and reverence.
What I envisioned was capturing a photo with the flag being raised, however by the time I got back, with the fresh plate, it had been raised and people posed. unfortunately I believe that I shaded my lens too much due the movement of light, causing a section to be underexposed – as a result I’m offering copies of both a direct scanned image with the under exposed edge, and a cropped and slightly digitally enhanced version.
This image is of me and my daughter taking the group image, as I was getting ready to return the dark slide, the image(s) were stripped from Bruce Doan’s film
Aside from some of the doom and gloom and financial loss for operation cost alone, at least from a business prospective, we did manage to sell some images, and I believe inspire some people to learn more about photography and the history, based upon students coming back, having images taken or asking more about different aspects of photographic processes we were using as this included one art student, who may eventually look at alternative photographic processes.
What we learned from this event, is causing us to reevaluate how we function at events, driving us to build/purchase a cart that we can utilize, allowing us to be more mobile taking more photo’s of people at their camps or even of the battle field, then schedule photo’s at our camp with our backdrop etc. on Sunday’s – we are also considering a different tent. The goal is to function more as a 19th century photographer, making the wet-plate camera my primary camera.
What this means is that on Saturday at an event we’ll have our main camp with educational board setup, possibly something for people to schedule, but will be out in the field shooting and working on what we want to do.
as far as school days, goes it’s our goal to increase and improve our presentation, as a professional presentation.
within a day or two I’ll be adding a link to the gallery of digital photo’s