[Union Soldier Holding Rifle, with Photographer's Posing Stand]
Visible: 8.7 x 6.5 cm (3 7/16 x 2 9/16 in.), oval
Passe-partout: 10.7 x 8.2 cm (4 3/16 x 3 1/4 in.)
Frame: 16.5 x 14 cm (6 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.)
The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Fund, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2011
Not on view
The purpose of the odd pronged apparatus seen in this portrait of a typical Union recruit was to keep the sitter’s head rigid during the exposure of the wet-plate glass negative—between a fraction of a second and several seconds, depending on the time of year and the atmospheric conditions. The device was not meant to be seen by the camera and is generally invisible in the era’s portraits. This ruby glass ambrotype in a thermoplastic wall frame is an exception to the rule.
[Greg French Early Photography, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, ?–2011]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photography and the American Civil War," April 2, 2013–September 2, 2013.
Gibbes Museum of Art. "Photography and the American Civil War," September 27, 2013–January 5, 2014.
New Orleans Museum of Art. "Photography and the American Civil War," January 31, 2014–May 4, 2014.