History and Reenactments

Branding for living history

Branding for Living History

Most of the time, commercial portraits mean one of two things: a headshot, or some sort of environmental portrait. Headshots are simple: Head and shoulders, usually in front of a nondescript background. (Or that bright white that seemed so popular with web designers a couple of years ago.) Environmental portraits are more fun. You’ve seen a thousand of them. That lawyer, leaning on his desk with his arms crossed, legal books in the background. The smiling real estate agent standing in front of the house with the “Sold” sign. Or the barista, receptionist, or machinist, pausing their work long enough […]

2020 Brooksville Raid Reenactment

Brooksville Raid – 2020

Since I’ve started photographing battle reenactments, I have only had the opportunity to shoot Revolutionary War events. A few weeks ago I had a chance to step into the mid-19th century at the 40th anniversary of the Brooksville Raid, a civil war engagement in central Florida. I came home with 3 filled memory cards, some new friendships and some images that made the trip worthwhile! In many ways, there is little difference between photographing a Revolutionary War event and one that depicts the Civil War era. In both cases, the reenactors, their camps, their families, the animals, and, of course, […]

Living History – A different kind of event photography

Event photography normally means weddings, birthday parties or corporate functions. Generally speaking, these are happy occasions where memories are made and the photographer is there, much as a journalist, to capture images that will remind future viewers of the details (and the emotion) of the event. I have shot birthday parties and a variety of functions, but none of them quite like the day that I spent at Historic Brattonsville a few days ago. Each January Brattonsville holds a hog butchering day. No, the goal isn’t simply to make bacon. It’s an educational event that shows the importance that sustainable […]

Top Ten of 2019

Believe it or not, the second decade of the 21st century is about to come to a close. But before I can attack the ’20’s, I need to take a minute to reflect back over the past year. Part of the process, as it has been for a number of years, is to choose my Top Ten Images of the Year. To be clear, this is an exercise that benefits no one other than me. In fact, in past years as I have asked others to participate in the process I came to realize that all of us have our […]

Battle of Camden – 2019

Technically, the event is known as Revolutionary War Field Days. But most people around here simply refer to it as the reenactment of the Battle of Camden. I leave the history of the event to others who are better suited for it, but suffice it to say that the Continental Army received a stinging defeat at the hands of the British. Today, hundreds of reenactors descend on historic Camden, South Carolina every November to set up their encampments, live as their forbears did, and provide a display of 18th century warfare tactics, in which the Continentals lose again. Candidly, as […]

Processing “Historic” Photographs

The first photograph in history was taken in 1826 or 1827. Obviously, there was no “time stamp” embedded into the image to help us be more specific. A dozen years passed before the first photograph to include a person was made, and that was largely an accident. About a year later, in 1839, the first intentional portrait (which happened to be a “selfie”) was made. The first war photo was shot in 1847, during the Mexican-American war. Matthew Brady became famous during America’s civil war for the thousands of images he took during that conflict. Brady followed on the earlier […]

Revolutionary War Reenactment

The Battle of Charlotte – 2019

I have enjoyed shooting the Battle of Huck’s Defeat at Historic Brattonsville for the past two years. So much so, in fact, that I have decided to put some other reenactments on my calendar over the next few months. As luck would have it, my first stop was less than an hour from home, at Historic Latta Plantation in Charlotte. Every year they host the reenactment of the Battle of Charlotte, which occurred a few miles away, in what is now “Uptown Charlotte”, on September 26, 1780. I’ll leave the details and significance of the original battle to those who […]

Battle of Huck's Defeat 2019

The Battle of Huck’s Defeat 2019

Exactly one year has passed since I began taking pictures at Historic Brattonsville, in York County, South Carolina. My first major event was the Battle of Huck’s Defeat in 2018. That happens to be the biggest event of the year at Brattonsville, so I was eager to return this year, especially since I had a better idea of what to expect. So I went with some specific shots in mind. Photographically speaking, there are a variety of genres available at an event like this. Obviously, there is the action of the battle. There are also portrait opportunities, both posed and […]

Historic Brattonsville

Historic Brattonsville – Spring 2019

My photography began many years ago as a hobby, then laid dormant for a couple of decades before I picked up a camera again, intending to shoot for my own enjoyment. I still take pictures for pleasure, but my hobby has begun developing in ways that I would not have expected. A good case in point is the time I have spend at Historic Brattonsville over the past year. To be clear, I’m not out there that often. I started last summer at the Battle of Huck’s Defeat. At this point I show up for special events and the odd […]