Instagram and Twitter and Facebook Oh my

I was recently advised to follow the proverbial yellow brick road and actively post on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook oh my.

using Instagram more as a sales site, rather than say eBay or even Etsy, both driving direct sales as well as more traffic to my website eliminates the associated fees from eBay or Etsy, and or even gallery fee’s which is often %40 – %50 of the asking price. sadly this then causes the seller to increase their prices. it’s actually very simple math.

For example, this photo, that I took using film, I developed the film, then printed in my darkroom using high-quality fiber based silver gelatin paper, which I then mounted and matted and framed.   for the final image, I’m likely underselling myself, asking only $500.00 for.

however remember this, if I sell the final product in a gallery, I have to mark it up based upon their percentage that they charge, sadly this same basic math applies to sites like eBay.


This print looks very different in person, I use a combo of effects from the paper, developer, toner and yes even the glass from the frame to give the print depth and feeling. it is not a digital photo.

however as part of that suggestion and a question about where to purchase my reproduction frames I’ve created an Etsy store as well as an eBay store.

They are as follows:



As to social media, part of the reason I’m writing this blog posting, is the share some info about the main social media sites everyone seems to love and know about. but let us not forget that blogging is also considered social media. And as much as I would prefer to be locked quality away in my darkroom or off in a secluded field taking a photograph, as an artist I have to boast about and show of my work. Creating a strange mix, allowing not just the small handful people who are fortunate to see or own some of my work, but also the contemporary digital natives and immigrants, who prefer socializing through their tablets and phones, rather than in person. The funny thing, we talk about how many digital natives will be sitting, at a restaurant looking at their phones. most engineers and artist tend to be introverts, thinking and working on their own projects, even in physically social settings. the main difference is that using a phone is just more obvious, than thinking or scratching ideas on napkins, and worse yet, those endless post on social media are much more open than say me working in my darkroom.

As to calling me a digital native or immigrant, I don’t really fit either of those. in that in many respects helped create the tools for social media while pioneering on the internet.

Back to using social media, remember the end-user, is the product of social media, that product, those people are also the audience to ads that are customized to the user’s preferences by click-bate and cookies. So, as a small business or artist or for that matter anyone trying to sell anything, how do you get the largest audience without paying for ads. The same way you do with direct marketing, such as Amway, you invite your friends, you tell them about how great your product is, and why they should buy from you verse a local store. Only now, it has to be done within the same playing field, using the current social media. rather than telling you neighbors and co-workers. when using social media as such you are now changing, becoming a producer rather than a blind consumer. the next part why someone should buy from you, that’s easy as an artist your art is unique. it’s not something that can be found in a store.

some of this, I already knew, but as I said before I would rather be working on my own projects rather than selling it, unfortunately, I can not afford a marketing manager, project manager or any of the other managers needed to allow me to simply work on my art, and have people simply hand me money, I do however feel lucky to have help from Sharon, and suggestions as well as offers to help promote my work from Charlie, of the Charlie B Gallery

so please check out Battle Born Historical Photography on the following social media sites:





















The Assistant Photographer

Oftentimes 19th-century photographers would have assistants, after all, there’s a lot of gear to move around and steps to take to do one photo. Bill the Cat, has at times been one of my assistants, here he helped hold our 4×5 Ansco down while distracting small children at the Reno 2016 Mini Maker Fair.


The Bastard assistant. whole plate ambrotype 2016

however, he also likes his beer..This Tintype was taken to be used for blackmail at a future date.

Agfa-Ansco Tri-pod

please note this tripod is available for sale at our Ebay Store 


The Agfa/Ansco name was used on cameras and associated gear such as tripods from 1928 to 1943.

with that, it’s easy to state that cameras, tripods along with any other hardware used with cameras in specific are from the 1930’s

What I’m offering is a large format fully adjustable Agfa/Ansco tripod, that is in reasonable condition for its age. all of its parts in place, however, the spring that holds the crank to raise or lower the head is weak and should be replaced, or re-tensioned.  the platform is also missing a piece of wood, this doesn’t physically affect anything.

This tripod will comfortably support a heavy Agfa/Ansco 8 x 10 Universal, View Camera.

this tripod with its legs fully extended raises up to 52.5″ tall,  with it’s lowest possible height as 29″

The Tripod folds 35′ long and about 9″ diameter.

The platform on the head is 9.5″ x 6.75″ covered with its original felt, that’s in excellent condition.




Museum quality frames

The frames, that I’m producing are cast from molds of original frames out of resin and are as close as practical to the original thermal set plastic frames.  Please do not confuse these frames as cheap imitations. I’m using modern materials to make molds of original 19th-century frames. The original frames are often quite expensive and difficult to obtain. Occasionally I do sell original frames; however, they are sold at a premium based on current market values.

The original frames were handcrafted and designed, a metal mold was then made from that design. The frames were cast from a thermal set resin, that’s often incorrectly called gutta-percha. Gutta-percha is not plastic by the common definition but rather a form of natural latex, most of it, during the 19th century was used to insulate underwater telegraph lines or was mixed with other materials to create a more hard plastic like substance. As far as it’s known Union Cases and frames were not made from or used gutta-percha in their construction. Then, depending on the age of the case or frame, they are made from a mixture of natural resin, sawdust, and celluloid. the older cases and frames have a different look to them, they look like they are made from beaverboard or wood rather than resin. The newer union cases and frames use a resin called Parkesine. Parkesine was introduced in 1862, as the 1st man-made plastic, it is made using our favorite chemical compound, Nitrocellulose aka Collodion, mixed with some different resins to create, a pliable substance that when heated can be molded. Modern resins are considered exothermic when the two parts of the resin are mixed together, there is a chemical reaction that heats the material hardening it. Unfortunately, the word gutta-percha became a common household name for all plastics in the late 19th-century and is still used today in much the same fashion.

The Frames, and eventually cases that I’m making, are molded in silicone and cast using modern resins that, are possibly stronger than the original frames. so please do not think of them as the same cheap plastic injection molded frame. they are all hand made, one at a time using high-quality materials.

please note, that the frames and cases are molded from original frames therefor they are not designed for modern image sizes, such as 4×5, 4×6 5×7 and 8 x 10. historic sizes are referenced by the plate sizes such as whole-plate, half-plate, quarter-plate.. and so on, for those measurement’s please see my prices

There are a number of different styles of frames, as well as materials that they are made from. I’ll do my best to explain the styles as well as provide a basic example.

Wood Frames:
These frames are typically reserved for the larger whole-plate or larger images. They are very often ornate with gold-leaf accents. Many of them are very deep, much like a picture box, they are basically typical wood frames of the era, with many different variations, the images are protected with glass and separated from the glass via a mat, that’s chosen to accent and frame the subject in the photo. and finally, the Frame is backed with wood or paper and wire attached to hang the photo.


This particular frame measures 12” x  14” and is 2” deep. It’s a fine example of a 19th-century wood frame, with a hand painted, whole-plate sized tintype. Circa 1850’s

European frames:
These frames are typically made from wood and are finished with plaster filigrees and coated with a varnish.  They are designed to accept a separate cassette, that’s often an ambrotype that’s been sealed and matted with a plaster & paper mat. like their wood counterparts, the frame & cassette are backed with paper, there is typically a small ring that’s been attached via a small grommet to hand the photo.


This particular frame measures 7.5”  x  8” the visible image area 2.5” x  3” – it’s a tinted ambrotype, on the back of the cassette, it states: Taken at Canterbury, June 19th 1856
aged 69

These frames are sort of rare, in that they typically do not survive the ages, I believe they are cast in a similar fashion as some of the resin frames, only with a few layers of Papier-mâché, which is then painted and varnished.

they were designed primarily to be hung from the wall, via a small ring that’s bonded to the Papier-mâché. The image is permanently mounted and backed with some paper in the frame  – they, I believe will be easy to create modern molds from and cast in resin, or possibly even Papier-mâché, as a less expensive alternative.


resion frames (so-called Gutta-percha): 

at present time, I have a limited number of frames to work with, as originals tend to be quite costly as do the materials to produce them, there are within this group are 3 different sub-categories that I know of which are based more upon how they are mounted in the frame. they can loosely be called: the case-frame, the paper-backed and metal-backed.

  • The case-frame:
    This traditionally is, I believe one of the more difficult styles to produce in that it was traditionally cast from a two-part mold, with picture being mounted into the front of the frame, in the same fashion as a case, traditionally using a piece of glass, that has been set into the preserver, then the mat is placed on the glass, which is then followed by the image, facing the glass. the preserver is then folded in the back. this cassette is then inserted into the front of the case:
  • consistently these have been one of my challenging to make, as I’m not sure of the best location for injecting the resin – additionally, I have to redo the mold as I had some issue with it releasing correctly, at this point my goal is to obtain perfect cast, then  remake the mold from that cast. so far this cast is the best cast I’ve gotten from the mold, I’ve mounted a quarter plate ambrotype of my daughter in the cast. – this frame is not for sale.



  • The Paper-backed
    I do not have examples with the supporting wires, however I believe the frames used a simple wire to allow the frame the ability to stand up, with another ring and grommet fixture to allow the frame to be hung. the backing of this frame is thin cardboard, that’s locked into the frame using the same style of hooks found on a conventional wood and paper case


  • Metal-backed
    These frames are cast from a single piece mold are backed with japanned tin, they have a support which allows them to freely stand, as well as small ring, that allows them to be hung. the back is locked in place with a small piece of tin at the bottom or to either side, it’s attached via a single screw at the top of the frame allowing it swing open, allowing the picture to be mounted.

    I’m presently working reproducing the stand, however, the following photo’s are of one of my cast resin frames with its current back. presently it’s painted tin, with a small ring at the top, attached the same way as the originals. making them very difficult to tell the difference between an original.


the majority of these look very similar in design to the Resin frames, only they are often cast in iron or bronze instead. I do not have any examples and have no near future plans on making any.


This is an example of a metal frame found on ebay, I believe that it’s early 20th century








The Necrocameracon


We recently acquired a strange camera, it’s warm to the touch, almost as if it’s alive. but at the same time, it feels as if it’s unholy in nature.

we are not exactly sure what it’s covered with or how it works, but it’s said to have belonged to H.P. Lovecraft, and that it was bestowed upon him by  Abdul Alhazred, who crafted this camera using human skin to cover body.

In H.P. Lovecraft’s own personal notes, he indicates that the camera allow the user to photograph the old ones, however, there apparently is a very complex ritual found in the necronomicon involving elemental iron and silver to process the film.