Between an intense work contract and a lingering cold I caught soon after, I haven’t updated here in weeks. Sadly, I missed some interesting events, as well as the 150th anniversary of Antietam, early this month. Here’s a cool feature by NPR, showing a modern wetplate photographer’s retracing of Alexander Gardner’s steps on the battlefield. Make sure to click through for the before/after shots!
The image you see below was shot in 2012 by wet plate photographer Todd Harrington. He retraced Gardners steps at Antietam, using the same type of equipment: a stereo wet plate camera and glass plates. If you toggle using the “now” and “then” buttons, another image fades in and out: Thats what Gardner captured in 1862.
Whats striking is how, actually, not much has changed. Trees have gotten bigger and roads have been paved. If you look closely at the Dunker Church image, youll see portable toilets in the background; telephone poles along Hagerstown Pike; construction cones sitting on Burnside Bridge. But whats haunting is that the major difference between now and then is a lack of bodies.