Spirit Photography

from Chronicles Of The Photographs Of Spiritual Beings

Spirit photographs from Chronicles Of The Photographs Of Spiritual Beings

In her preface to Chronicles Of The Photographs Of Spiritual Beings, Georgiana Houghton refers to the photographs she collected thusly, “I send them forth in full assurance that they carry a weight of evidence as to the substantiality of spirit beings far transcending any other form of mediumship.” The year was 1881, and Spiritualism was reaching its peak. Continue reading

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The Yellowstone National Park and Detroit Connection, Part I

While in grad school, I spent a summer working at the Yellowstone Research Library  in Yellowstone National Park. As the library intern, I provided reference service to patrons, led visitor tours of the rare book room, operated the Yellowstone Bookmobile, and cataloged until I could catalog no more. One day, while taking a break from cataloging, I decided to search the library’s holdings for “Detroit”, my hometown. To my surprise, I got a hit. Continue reading

Photography and how we see

“You don’t see with your eyes, you perceive with your mind” – Gorillaz

Last year I visited the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and spent my entire time with the photography exhibits. One of the exhibits was, in part, about perception. How we view photography, the assumptions we make, and how what we see is not necessarily what is there. Photography is not fact. This is a topic I nerd out on big time. It can be a mind-bending wormhole, reminiscent of the logic 101 class I took in college. Break down a photograph and strip away your preconceived notions of what a photograph is, what exactly it is you are looking at. Continue reading

The Tintype

“No other form of photography does as much to convey the social and economic upheavals of the late 19th century.” – Karen Rosenberg

Unidentified soldier in uniform, circa 1861-1865. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The tintype, a form of wet-plate photography, gets very little love from photo historians. Read just about any general history of photography, and you might find them wedged under the ambrotype section. They could be described as the poor man’s daguerreotype, and that may explain their typical relegation to mere mention. However, tintypes were unique from daguerreotypes and ambrotypes in a few key ways and as such they had an important impact on Americans and the future of photography. Continue reading

Finding Motivation

michiganbuilding

Michigan Building. Photo by Stefanie Caloia, Photo 101

I’ve been meaning to start this blog for a while, but whenever I sat down to do it, I got writer’s block. I’d think about it all day, then finally have time to work on it, and suddenly all motivation and interest escaped me. Things changed today. My mom gave me a framed photograph, which I once had given to my grandpa (my dad’s dad). He passed away a few years ago, and now his old house is no longer owned by all his children and what is left of my grandpa’s possessions have been cleared out. My mom saved the photograph to return to me. Continue reading