This Is What It’s Like Making Tintypes with Civil War Cameras
For a really authentic tintype, why not go back to the original hardware used?
In recent years, there’s been something a resurgence in tintype photography, resurrecting one of the oldest methods of taking a photo. But if you want to get really authentic, why stop at using just the old methods? Why not use the old gear too? Rob Gibson is a studio photographer in Gettysburg, PA who does exactly that: he takes tintype photographs using Civil War era cameras and lenses.
In the video below, you can watch him go through the entire process, from preparing the plates, through the rudimentary exposure and aperture controls, and then into a small darkroom for developing and fixing — along with a healthy dose of the history of the process as he goes.
Gibson’s work is historically accurate enough that he’s popped up in films, and has appeared on the History Channel, PBS, and more. And looking at his work, it’s impressive just how period appropriate these old techniques still turn out.