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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Bob Bolton BS: Civil war photo question (50) RE: BS: Civil war photo question 18 Jun 13

G'day CET,

As a working photo archivist ( History, works, structures, procedures / techniques / people, training &c ... ) for electricity supply industry in Sydney (capital city of New South Wales, Australia ... ) from inception in 1905 ... and latterly for surviving photo archives of Newcastle (major city / industrial works ... some 160 kilometres north of Sydney ... I work with a lot of relatively old film and print resources.

Holdings ( and 'scan sources' ... ) mostly start with large negatives on glass or sheet film ... up to "whole plate" - 8.5" x 6.5" ... down through later ... or, at least, smaller half plate, 5" X 4" plate or sheet film and on down to 'quarter plate' - around the time that roll film becomes more common ( ... and a lot less trouble!).

My immediate reaction to the linked photo was the very fake appearance of DARK hair and dust faults. These could be dark in a single-stage positive image (such as a daguerrotype or tintype ... but only if the photographer was monumentally careless ... even for 19th century wartime conditions ... and allowed such rubbish to be on the sensitised material at the time of exposure! Such intrusions in a negative - positive process would have shown up as white (negative ...) flaws. Also, the (apparently 'photoshopped' ...) creases would only have been appropriate to a paper print from a negative / positive printing procedure ... glass or film negative contact printed onto photo paper ... or else a very bad copy job ... much later in the image's history.

The observations of gun emplacement / clothing and drill are more the province of archivists of early military photography - or much more careful re-enactors ... not my main concern!


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