Monday, March 12, 2012

The Hayseed brothers reunite

posted by Todd

This past week I had the chance to travel to Madison, Indiana to take part in the Midwest Open-Air Museum conference. A conference for historians can take some interesting turns. While we have educational sessions, trade shows and networking there are also special classes offered relating to some historic aspect or trade. For this conference, I chose to learn the art of making a tin type photograph. In the 1850s this was the most common way of capturing an image. As part of the class, we prepared the tin by pouring on a liquid that was the consistency of syrup. Once this was "set", it was dipped in a silver solution for two minutes. Then the slide was ready to be placed in a frame that could be inserted into the box camera. The photographer, Robert, made some adjustments and took off the lens cover for about 15 seconds. In that amount of time the expose on the metal slide left an image of Evan (Evan is the historic farm manager at Volkening Heritage Farm) and I. One of the interesting things, in looking through the camera, we were upside down and backwards. If you have ever seen a Civil War image and the buckles or other writing seem to be backwards there is a reason for this. Once the exposure is taken then it goes through a series of chemical developers and washes. The whole process took about 20 minutes per image. It reminded me of a Polaroid as we watched the developer reveal the ghostly image. Here is one more example of how we are so spoiled to live in the 21st century!