The Stillness of Old Photos

Ian sent this link to an article about the 19c photographs of the Old West taken by  Timothy O’Sullivan.

Considered one of the forerunners to Ansel Adams, Timothy O’Sullivan used a primitive wet plate box camera which he would have to spend several minutes setting up every time he wanted to take a photograph. He died in 1882 just years after this photo project was completed.

These remarkable 19th century sepia-tinted pictures show the American West as you have never seen it before – as it was charted for the first time.

One thing that strikes you is the inherent stillness in these images, even those of the native americans, which is so difficult to replicate in our photography today.


Thanks to Ian for this link.

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One response to “The Stillness of Old Photos

  1. The ‘stillness’ is quite fun to replicate though. A few years ago, before digital arrived, I did a project capturing a few friends. We did everything indoors with tungsten lighting and no flash. The resultant long exposures automatically created an ‘old’ feel and with everyone needing to be immobile for around 10 or 20 seconds their expressions were almost Victorian! Throw in a few period props and you’ll achieve some antique shots without resorting to Photoshop!

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