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Civil War Tin Type Photography

Michigan-based photographer Robert Shimmin demonstrates tin type photography, a technique popular during the American Civil War. Watch the video below to find out more about the antiquated method which Shimmin calls "a little bit like cooking and a little bit like alchemy."

As PopPhoto writes:

Hastings, MI based photographer Robert Shimmin, specializes in tin type photography, a nearly extinct process that’s technically referred to as “wet plate collodion.”

Invented in the 1850s, the process requires glass or tin plates that are developed on location. Shimmin uses his own homemade large format cameras and a portable darkroom.

The slow process that he calls “a little bit like cooking and a little bit like alchemy” was most commonly used during the Civil War by soldiers who wanted photographs of loved ones to hold on to during the battle.

Bob Shimmin talks with us about his story and how he got involved in tintype photography. via Kalamazoo Valley Museum on Vimeo

Watch as Bob Shimmin walks us through the process of creating a tintype photograph. via Kalamazoo Valley Museum on Vimeo

Shimmin is part of the museum’s ongoing exhibit, “Remember Me: Civil War Portraits,” which marks the Sesquicentennial (150th year) of the American Civil War. On display until June 17, 2012 are more than 30 photographs of southwest Michigan men who fought in the war.

Visit Kalamazoo Valley Museum for more information.

written by denisesanjose


  1. carlota_nonnumquam


    This is amazing!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. djramsay



    over 2 years ago · report as spam