i have decided to quit all of my creative pursuits and just write a blog about the ever-evolving state of my desk. er, as opposed to what i seem to be currently engaged in.

i had to reconfigure the desk. the books were walling me in. they're very clingy, needy things sometimes. they make it hard to concentrate. so i turned my tv into a dictionary stand (you've probably not seen my 1893 Funk & Wagnall's dictionary ~ it's kind of immense), and moved all the books over to the table it used to occupy. this had made the dictionary crabby, but i will find it a place of honor elsewhere (just not right now).

anyway, this has alleviated the crush and made the source material easier to get a hold of (that teetering pile was just ridiculous after a week). i also put Hartranft's Letterbook into a binder (dunno what took me so long!). of course this meant punching it full of holes (that's okay, it's a lousy copy), but worse, i wound up whiling away an hour trying to read Hancock's letters. i'm getting better at it. it only takes me a few minutes to remember how to follow the stroke of the pen. bad as his handwriting is, it's consistently the same kind of bad throughout, so once you know how he writes "to the" as a one-word one blobby mess with no crossed t's, you can pretty much identify it across the board.

so yeah, that's been my morning. and just to share, i have this photo, which sold on eBay last year and which i never even bothered bidding for (as i knew it would sell for way more than i could ever hope to afford). from looking at his pictures (pretty much all of them), it's easy to see why people were scared of this guy. if all accounts didn't say what a marshmallowy underside he had, i prolly wouldn't believe it.

Hartranft in uniform seems a pretty
rare commodity. this one and another from the
same photographer of him sitting,
sold for $550 each.

all right, i'm going back to work as soon as read my flist. hope everyone is having a happy weekend!

: D

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yesterday [livejournal.com profile] gwyn_hwyfar asked me if my old photos were real and so i thought i would share one of my "realest" photos with you. this one is from 1859, given to "Rose" by her brother "Will". although the image itself (an ambrotype) has a fracture (which was how i managed to get this cheap once upon a time), the rest of the case is in pretty sweet condition. the case is gutta percha (a very early form of plastic), which didn't tend to hold up well. the note behind the picture is written in pencil in the tiniest print imaginable (the case itself is 2 x 2 inches ~ very small!). the lock of hair is light brown, baby-fine, and tied with a piece of brown thread (which is exceptionally well preserved).

closeups under the cut and a transcription of the note (though it's pretty legible, i think): i wanna see the pixtures! )

i wonder what happened to Will. he's a young fella. did he go to war? was he a yankee or a reb? who is the mysterious "S" he refers to? a girlfriend? a pal? always fun to speculate.
so a while back, [livejournal.com profile] gwyn_hwyfar posted a book meme, which is pretty cool. so i took a few pictures of a couple of shelves to share. these are pretty random: the top two shelves of my barrister bookcase. the stuff i keep in that bookcase is usually old/special or has just lived in there for so long i don't knew where else i would ever keep it.

i tried to point out some of the fun stuff. among other books on the top shelf there that i didn't point out and which may not be legible are Joanna Higgin's A Soldier's Book, a copy of Alice in Wonderland (natch), Ferdinand, and some really old travel books on London and Paris (both from the 1880s).

the second shelf is mostly photos (three of my nicer albums, which are mostly full), and a pile of random daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes. i squirreled away my Doster books here because i didn't have anyplace else to put them, which is why they are laying on the top of the other books (bad book-keeper me). i am thinking of selling my "reading copy" to help finance a purchase of the Peterson Brother's trial transcript (which costs more money than any human being in their right might ought to ever pay for a book), so i haven't decided yet.

and a close up from another angle so you can see some other junk:

and yes, i do own a Southern Cross of Honor, which i came by weirdly a long while ago. i have never known quite what to do with it. i actually object to the selling of such things (the cross of Coronado belongs in a museum and all, you know). but i acquired it in a youthful fit long ago when i was rich and careless. i will eventually donate it to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, i think, since they will see to it that it goes to a good and honorable home.

i just haven't quite been able to part with it thus far.

: o p

next time i will take pictures of some of my more "regular" reading shelves.
and as we drift along
i never fail to be astounded by
the things we'll do for promises
and a song....

the bad news is my home internet is still being a butt. i can get online, but doing anything is pretty much a test of patience. the good news is, without the distraction of the internet, i am getting a lot of other work done (ha!).

decided that regardless of my pitching and rolling about writing vs. drawing, etc., i am pushing forward with Reconstruction in its sorta adapted sequential form (oh why not?). though i feel that my limited drawing skills and impatience with the progress make for alarmingly irregular panels, there are some things that just seem to me more starkly obvious in the comic-version as opposed to the written one. for instance, the fact of Lewis being so dang small, which i don't think gets emphasized enough in the book-as-written thus far (i will be see what i can do to remedy that).

See, Lewis is small. really really small. not only small because he's just sixteen, but small for sixteen, even. he could easily pass for 13 or 14 (leastways that's how i have always imagined him: downright runty at the outset). He's small enough that Morse develops a habit of resting an elbow on his shoulder as though he were a podium when they are lollygagging around camp.

unfinished inked sketch (with a quick tint thrown over it)
of Lewis in the Richmond arcade with brokers O.B. and Payton.

in a drawing, it's hard to miss the fact or allow yourself to forget how small he is.

in other project news: i've been thinking about In Pursuance of Said Conspiracy. i've been rather hard on it and myself (pawing through the last three drafts i see it's not nearly as awful as i thought it was). i don't like reading historical fiction about real people and i don't like writing it about real people. but i think i could do this without disrespecting the history if i stick mostly to the facts. i don't mind presenting the story in a context that has an agenda, but i would like to make sure it's an agenda supported by facts. dunno when i will go back to work on this. maybe in the spring when i can count off another 82 days.

sometimes images become so iconic that you
stop thinking of the people in them as real people.
these very rare images of Booth remind me that he was
a human being, whatever his (rather serious) faults.
quoth GAT: "None of the printed pictures that I have seen
do justice to Booth. Some of the cartes de visite
get him very nearly"

i don't think i would ever write a story about Booth specifically (as a living person). there are often days when i think the whole cast and crew ~ from the man in the funny hat to the least witness at the trial ~ has been abused quite enough down throughout the age.
the caption on these mugshots reads: "In 1904 Claude Hankins , aged 14, was convicted of murder and paroled after serving four years." it's always shocking to me, how little 14 really is. this boy is clearly still a child and you can't help wonder at who he killed and why ~ and the circumstances in which he lived that made it possible for someone so young to commit such a serious crime. of course, this is new york, where they start down a bad path pretty young in the slums and life expectancy is pretty low ~ so on the other hand, i guess it shouldn't surprise me. but it still does.

child murderers especially disturb me for some reason. maybe because when i was a child i knew what the impulse to kill was like. maybe because all that really separated me from them is social class and a paper and pencil with which to vent my frustrations. that might be too telling ~ hahahahahaha.

meanwhile, i'm working. very slowly it appears. trying to get my brain wrapped around where to go after the Prologue with the capital P. i feel the need to post something as evidence that i am actually working and not just dwibbling in the myre. so here's a lamp. you know you love it. i made it especially for you.

most of my friends who are innerested in this sort of thing have prolly seen it already, but it being thanksgiving and monday being the anniversary of the gettysburg address, i thought i would share this article (brought to my attention by the fabulous [livejournal.com profile] christastrophe).

for those of you who feel skeptical about the fidelity of these images, the 19th century photographic process has the sharpest resolution of any, ever. even today's technology cannot beat it. you can make a billboard from a 19th century image and it will retain its crispness. also, one point they make in the article is to note how rare pictures of lincoln are. comparatively speaking, that's not entirely true. yes, they are rare, but having 130 images of anybody in that era was pretty rare. certain famous (and/or vain) people were enormously photographed (gen. custer, edwin booth). lincoln was the first president who was really widely photographed. so 130 isn't a bad number, considering.

so check out these new exciting possible lincoln finds right here and judge for yourself (go to the link where they show the images) whether you think it might truly be the man in the funny hat amidst the crowd at gettysburg on that hallowed day. i think there's a pretty dang good chance that it is. and even if it isn't, there's a ton of wonderful little details throughout the image ~ like a young boy holding a rifle closer in the foreground, soldiers hanging out chatting, mounted officials on horseback with fancy sashes, etc. just really cool stuff.

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,
but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here
to the unfinished work which they who fought here
have thus far so nobly advanced.

lincoln at gettysburg?
november 19, 1863

the original photo ~ very poor contrast here
he's way, way in the back on the horizon.

otherwise happy thanksgiving to my american flisters! (and thankgiving in general to all!) i am shutting down for the holiday and i leave you with washington's original thanksgiving proclamation ~ because i love it so: click me and read me!

see you next week!

: D
lookingland: (civil peace)
( Sep. 11th, 2007 09:10 am)
this morning i woke up to a cold breeze knocking all the paper off of my desk. then i made my first cup of hot tea for the season (yay!).

i was sort of feh feh on the whole drawing thing as i puttered around picking up the scattered papers, but managed to combat it by forcing myself to sit down and draw. i had for a long time imagined isaac's cdv to show him holding a carbine and was a bit unsure how i felt when i finally got his picture without one. but having drawn him, it seems refreshingly apropos that he's not holding a weapon. like morse, it should seem contrary to his character to carry a gun, and really, i think that's the source of lewis's initial trust with morse ~ that he reminds him of his cousin.

anyway, so i made some minor changes (like adding a bit of length to his hair and lengthening his face. this is just a pencil rough, so i have some further adjustments and refining to do.

the original picture sure shows a handsome fella (love the typical placement of the feet in his pose). the picture was taken in philadelphia, but other than that i have no information about it. whoever he was, i hope he had a good life and didn't die too young.

well it's come to this:

i found Preston day before yesterday (insert long explanation of how i'd somehow lost him in the move). as i set him on the shelf with isaac and hollis, the last two peeps to come into the fold, it struck me like a wet trout between the eyes: the gang's all here. i've managed to get the full cast assembled. finally. after 18 years.

and having, just last week, at long last answered the age-old question of "who's hollis?", i feel that i am plumb out of excuses to put off finishing this project and getting it off my table. narrative pov is no longer an issue. i'll mishmash if need be. or just write it straight. who cares ~ it'll come out as it comes out.

so the absolutely final question is how to write this bugger in terms of scope. and i'm gonna let you decide (way to take the pressure of responsibility off my shoulders ~ wooo!).

: D

[Poll #928167]

from Gallery Tokyo.com
lookingland: (doggy)
( Oct. 11th, 2006 02:02 pm)
i just spoke to barry banks over at Civil War Outpost.

Hollis is coming home to live with me. he should arrive by saturday.

: D
tomorrow is pay day and i have a long-standing tradition of blowing my first paycheck. unfortunately i have so many bills that this is not going to be feasible this time around.

however ~ my contract paycheck will be coming by next week and though i can't afford to blow most of that either, i have judiciously decided that i can at least uphold a promise i made over a year ago, and set forth to adopt Hollis into my fold.

he'll cost me all my mad money and i will feel guilty for doing it, but i can't not have him (this is my compulsion, see?)

more about Hollis than you ever wanted to know ~ and a picture )

anyway, i sent the site who's got him an email saying i wanted him. let's see if he's still available.

(crosses fingers)
check this out ~ it's way cool (yes, cooler than the truss wars, i promise)

[livejournal.com profile] cannibol bought me a clue and helped me make my first ever animated .gif ~ and it's 3D ~ !

i have put it behind a cut because it's kinda nauseating to look at after a while and even i'm pretty sensitive to stuff that moves on screen. i'm working on the queasy blurring phases still. hopefully i'll get the hang of it.

check out the queasy goodness )

for my first try ever, it's a little clunky, but it works! i was working from a questionable image to begin with. tomorrow i'll scan something cleaner.

this is way too much fun! i could conceivably waste the rest of my week on this nonsense.

: D
~ i've been goofing off (naturally) ~ and i just had to post this because it's so adorable.

i'd forgotten how cute they look together. i did a wee bit of touching, but it really didn't need much.

: D
lookingland: (Default)
( Jun. 21st, 2005 12:09 am)

this is still a work in progress (and may be for a while), but after tinkering with it tonight, i'm finding that it's being a good photo and lending itself to lots of possibilities.

ideally i would want to squeeze one or two other people into this picture (might try, but that could be pushing it ~ even for photoshop).

i think morse (standing in the back) came out okay ~ it's hard to create a photo-replica of someone who's simply not in the picture ~ hahahaha ~ but with the basic eyes and nose and mouth and a body to work with, you can make a whole lot of something out of nothing. i'm not sure he's as well blended into the picture as he could be, but for a quickie first-run, it's better than i thought i would do.

i might play with their faces a little more. i took the pipes off, but may replace them with cigars. if i get much more radical with the image, it will start to deteriorate fast, so i'm trying to just make small changes that will trick the eye a little.

: D
somehow i knew if i just sat still, had some fried cheese, and stopped being a spaz, it would come to me: the one "special" nook i might have tucked the photos into.

~ and sure enough, there they were in the secretary, all neatly piled and waiting to be put away proper (begging the question: why didn't i put them away proper to begin with?) ~ hahahahaha.

anyway, i ran a quick scan of the very very very important tintype and managed to get a better image (not perfect, but you can see the beers on the table better, and that they are holding cards, etc.) ~ i love the tinted pink cheeks in this image. they all look so rosy for being a bunch of pipe-smokin' thugs.

expect to see this picture in a redux when i get done making "adjustments" to it for the story. mwhahahaahaha ~

: D

tintype circa 1860s
(horrendous scan ~ they're playing cards
and it's very clear in the image,
but you can't even seen it here.)

when i took down my bulletin board a month or so ago, i put some of the things on it in a "safe" place ~ yup ~ so safe i can't even find them.

i can't believe this.

among other precious non-essentials, i've lost payton, anselm, and a very very very important tintype. not just any tintype, mind you ~ but a very very very important one.

i have this crummy scan (which is extremely crummy ~ i don't even have a good scan!). but i've lost the silly thing! it's here somewhere.

and it's very very very safe.

alternate title: "how to completely lose an evening as you tear your office apart."

i can't believe i could actually lose these three pictures in particular. it's just brain-blowing.

so frustrated.

and they're pictures! they could be anywhere. they could be slipped between the pages of a book, at the bottom of a drawer, tucked into a shelf. i've checked all the albums and checked all the boxes of scraps and other nonsense doodads (packrat me) ~ but they're gone!

what i really can't figure out is that i put casey, adams, and katrina on my other board. why did i move those and not the others? it just doesn't even make sense.

what an inane post. this is how a person loses their marbles.

: o p
~ let me count the ways.

i've had this image laying around the house forever. it's a tintype circa 1860s (definitely wartime, since the subject is in uniform). like most images of this era, it's dark, discolored, and i don't expose it to light and the elements very often (keep it in a case, put away). i'd been wanting to scan it forever, but have been wary of taking it out of its case, etc.

today i got bold and scanned it, casing at all. the scan came out okay, but very dark. i took it into PhotoShop and brightened it up. the color tinting on the original image is incredible (complete with gold flecks on the buttons, etc.) ~ much of that, i desaturated out, however since i didn't want it in this particular scan. i saved a copy of the actual image (on the right, reduced), and this is the PhotoShopped version which is not only distinguished by the toning down of the color and lightening the image, but, most notably, i removed the subject's hat.

now, this is not an easy thing to do. But I have a carte de visite of this particular man and his wife, likely taken in the late 60s or early 70s, so i was able to reconstruct his head and hairline, etc.

it's pretty flippin' amazing what you can do with a Wacom in PhotoShop.

the constrast isn't perfect on this, i'm still tinkering, but i just wanted to squeal a little since it's taken me so long to do this and the results have me very pleased.

: D