Friday 18 August 2023

August Fashion Friday

A question I am often asked is what colours are there in the photos? 

So for this month's Fashion Friday we present two images and a video to keep in mind when looking at historic photographs from our period.

Clothing, buildings, uniforms etc are all shades of grey of course.  However, unlike modern Black and White photos (using a system known as Panchromatic) the original photographic systems did not react to all colours the same way!

These two images give you a good idea of what colours look like in the original photos.
Note the comparison with normal Black and White in the center of the top image and the right of the bottom.

Also keep in mind that most early tintype and glass plate photos are mirror images so they are backwards from what one would expect.

A good example of how the colours don't always match up with what you would expect is this famous shot from the American Civil War of George Armstrong Custer and his friend who was a Confederate soldier.


Custer, on the right, has the typical dark jacket easily assumed to be Union Blue but, what colour are his uniform trousers?  

We know from colour lithographs of the time, and surviving examples, that they were fairly light blue. If we didn't already know that though it could easily be assumed to be grey like the Confederate's trousers.





Here is a video from VPS_Gettysburg found on Instagram, that shows some great examples.
There is a thriving Tintype photo scene for re-enactors in the States so lots of examples of the outfits in colour to compare with their tintype versions.

The Victorian Society of Alberta.


No comments:

Post a Comment