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A year or so ago I considered a little project concept that would force me to push myself expanding my skills and experience as a wet plate photographer, while providing examples of modern wet-plate photo’s of local area’s students may recognize, if they didn’t I could then easily explain the history.
After research, I came upon the Civil War photographer named Timothy H. O’Sullivan and the work he had done during the war as well what he did after the war. all the while learning that he had the opportunity to work as the principal photographer for 2 official government-sponsored surveys, leading to The Great Surveys and the expansion of the west.
The King Survey of the 40th parallel, was the first of four, with Timothy O’Sullivan being the principle photographer, this was great news in that I happen to live in town, originally named Ragtown. The survey passed through, pausing to photograph, the twin Soda Lakes, near Ragtown.
Curiously this same Survey also lead to the formation of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) with Clarence King having been appointed as the 1st director.
after mentioning the idea, to different people, the idea grew exponentially, to research and re-photographing the works of O’Sullivan during the 40th Parallel survey utilizing similar equipment and methods, while trying to match the original photo’s as close as possible, all eventually to be set up in an exhibition, as well as published in a book.
With this idea alone having grown larger than myself, and crazy ride that we were being taken on with this photographic expression called wet-plate photography, Battle Born Historical photography was born along with project
Chasing O’Sullivan and the King Survey of the 40th parallel
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Chasing O’Sullivan Blog