Tuesday, 03 September 2013 01:00
by Amanda Bedgood
One man finds innovation in an art more than a century old. by Amanda Bedgood
Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2013
Bruce Schultz brings the magic of steampunk to life in this portrait of Rick Rowan and Andre Guillory at the Steampunk Festival in Lafayette.
Bruce Schultz hasn’t used film in more than six years. The photographer, however, hasn’t been using digital either.
“I had kind of gotten bored with film, and digital was becoming predominate, and I was looking for something different,” says the man who’s been behind the lens for more than three decades.
What he found was wet-plate photography.
“I was hooked,” Schultz says.
Since taking a workshop in 2007 covering the age old method, his photography has become a unique kind of art in that both the result and the process are each an art form. Wet-plate photography uses a gelatinous substance to coat a plate before chemicals are mixed; the plate is then dipped into a bath of silver nitrate and the surface becomes light sensitive. The plate is removed from the silver bath and is placed wet into a film holder. The photograph is taken in a brief window of minutes while the plate remains wet, and it’s developed on site.
It’s a method created in the mid 1800s that soon became the way soldiers of the Civil War could send images of themselves home to loved ones. By the late 1880s, tintype was replaced by dry plates.
It sounds like a lot of trouble, but that’s art. It’s not at all about convenience — it’s about process and results.
“I just wanted something that would give an image that was different than what everyone else is doing, and that was my main motivation,” Schultz says.
And while Schultz didn’t expect to find himself immersed in this unique method, in some ways it’s not a surprising path for a man who’s long had an appreciation for history and experience in photography.
“As a kid we lived all over the country, and if we moved somewhere and there was a historic landmark I would want to read the roadside signs of the nearby events,” Schultz says. “I’ve always, always had an interest in anything connected to history.”
Perhaps it’s why he appreciates this method. Why he so loves the handmade process of it all: “Everything that I do from mixing chemicals to cleaning the glass ... everything is handmade, and it’s one of a kind.”
He now frequents Civil War reenactments and can be found at local festivals like the Black Pot Festival; he also does demos for historical societies and libraries. And he recently found himself on the set of the cult favorite American Horror Story.
A portrait of Tom Pierce taken during the 2012 Blackpot Festival.
They wanted both a photo from Schultz and film of him performing the process. And he only got one chance to make it happen.
“I only got one shot because they had to put the film on a plane to go to the lab for the dailies the next day. There was pressure to get it right, and it was a rush to do all that in just a few minutes and a big film crew around watching me do it. I managed to pull it off and got the images and the footage needed. That was fun.”
Next on his list is a vintage baseball tournament in Ohio. The boy who loved history is now the man capturing the now for the next generation.
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SEP 2 North Carolina's film tax incentive is about to expire, and Louisiana is getting the first benefit, this story on the Wilmington NC newspaper's website tells us. 'Banshee,' a Cinemax series from the same guy who created 'True Blood,' is moving production to New Orleans, the story says.
SEP 2 The Washington Post calls Bobby Jindal on his latest effort to get his name in the national media. In this editorial, the newspaper says Jindal's Common Core lawsuits are just aimed at "burnishing his conservative credentials for a presidential run." The paper, of course, reminds its readers that Jindal was a staunch supporter of the curriculum back when he first brought it to Louisiana.
SEP 2 Huff Post takes a look at a project by a California university which mapped hate speech on Twitter. The project counted derogatory words for homosexuals, people of different races and people with disabilities, then used colors to show where the tweets using these words originated. Spoiler alert: We don't look too good.
SEP 2 Blogger Lamar White Jr. offers this commentary on Bobby Jindal's recent comments about the current US policy toward ISIS. Jindal's sudden, shrill interest in the subject can only be attributed to his desperate desire to be president, Lamar opines. All this begs the question: Do we really want someone in the White House who is willing to say anything to get what he wants?
SEP 2 St. Mary Parish homegirl Julie Hébert lets us in on the next step in her career in this blog post. The writer/director, who has worked on shows like ER, West Wing, Numb3rs and Third Watch, has teamed up with John Ridley, the Academy Award winning screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave, for a new ABC series that will be filmed in Austin.
SEP 2 Here's another round of crazy on the Scott Rogers shooting from the Advocate. The Baton Rouge television personality was killed last week by his son-in-law (and alleged sexual abuse victim) who then turned the gun on himself. The story gets worse and worse.
SEP 2 This post on Deadline Hollywood outlines the massive tax incentive package passed by the California legislature last week. As one California solon put it, the move is a response to years of seeing movie and TV work "cannibalized by states and other countries poaching tens of thousands of good California jobs." Hey -- is he talking about us?
SEP 2 This photo essay on the NOLA Femmes blog examines homelessness in New Orleans. There are pictures of familiar intersections which look very different during tourist events than they do no a normal day in the city, and an account of the issue since Katrina. The post makes a good point: When the city rousts homeless people the day before a tourist event but calls it a "health issue," the claim rings false, doesn't it?
AUG 29 Everyone who cares about Louisiana should take time to peruse this story about coastal loss from Bob Marshall of The Lens. It's not enough to call it a story; it's an interactive experience packed with data and amazing graphics, timelines, history, photos and excellent writing. Set aside some time, because you can't go through this one in a few minutes.
AUG 29 Huffington Post has a blog called Love Letters, which is grandly described as "an anthology of reflections on places the world over." This entry is from LSU Football Coach Les Miles, who, it appears, loves Baton Rouge. (Of course he does; he's a rich straight white man.) And certainly Baton Rouge loves him - unless he loses (ask Curley "Golden Flake" Hallman about that) or leaves (ask Nick Saban).
AUG 29 This story by WVLA tells us about a guy who got busted for speeding in Baton Rouge. Who cares? This guy took that infraction to new heights by going 129 miles per hour on Nicholson Drive. Poor fella - he probably has spent so much time sitting in Baton Rouge traffic he just had to cut lose.
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