Feature Friday: Victorian Photography Studio

After all the hard work of creating a costume, whether historic or cosplay, documenting it can feel like just one more thing to tackle. But what if rather than an afterthought the photography was the point? And what if that photography was taken in a fascinating and unusual way? Enter this month’s feature, Victorian Photography Studio!

Located in historic downtown Gettysburg, Victorian Photography Studio (or VPS for short) specializes in in Victorian and Civil War style photography using wet-plate photography techniques. The process uses collodion and silver nitrate on glass or thin sheets of metal to create an image. The name comes from the fact that the plate must remain wet prior to being sensitized and exposed in order to develop the image.

According to owner and photographer Dave, he “stumbled into wet plate photography after years of doing historical reenactment. Despite not having any photography background or schooling, I plugged away, through trial and error, to create modern tintypes and ambrotypes that closely resembled their historical counterparts.”

VPS uses reproduction large-format box cameras with original lenses and historic emulsion techniques to create their beautiful and haunting photographs. They work with customers in costume or modern clothing, are pet-friendly, and can even do Victorian “ghost” photos!

The wet plate format also makes for some incredible portraits. Just check out these amazing shots!

If all these gorgeous images are inspiring you to learn more about period photography, and maybe experiment with your own tintypes, VPS also offers a variety of hands-on workshops. In these you can learn the history of large-format cameras and work with the instructor to learn how to create your own plates from start to finish. Workshops are held both in their Gettysburg studio and in locations around the country. Check out their social media for the latest dates and details!

You can visit the studio crew, Kim & Brandon, at their Gettysburg location, or catch Dave on the road as he travels the US shooting plates. You can also find out more about Victorian Photography Studio on their website, www.victorianphotostudio.com, and you can see all of their latest work and get updates on workshops and travel their social media: Instagram, @vps_gettysburg, and Facebook.

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