Monday, April 21, 2014

Out of the Darkness - Rescuing Old Tintypes

For some, an old photograph loses its charm when "restored" to modern day clarity with all the age spots removed. Some photographs however, benefit greatly from just a nudge of enhancement. An improved contrast or the reversal of the yellowing brings out details that otherwise would have been missed and lost forever.

To please both camps of those who rescue old photographs, here are both the originals and the enhanced of just a few of the latest additions to Lost Gallery.

The old tintypes need a little boost sometimes. Instead of fading, the light parts of the photograph darken. By nature, a tintype is a bit dark to begin with.

Eventually, over time, depending on the care given them, they are lost in the dark shadows of obscurity. Here are a few that were brought back by adjusting the contrast a bit.

They are enlarged slightly for this page too. It's for the details.

And here are some other BACK PAGES featuring the TINTYPE photograph:
Out of the Darkness - Feb., 2011
Out of the Darkness - April, 2011
Out of the Darkness - August, 2011

And here are some really interesting examples:

Tintype portrait
Tintype  portrait

Tintype baby
Tintype baby
Tintype two ladies
Tintype two ladies

Tintype couple
Tintype couple

Can't get enough? Watch this space. More will be added to this page until there are at least 20 examples then a new page will be started.

The most popular photographs most popular, Family Group, An album of the most requested photographs in the Lost Gallery.

Area 51 and a Half Area 51 and a Half You are probably not authorized to see these.

Don't take my picture! Oh! You DID didn't you! completely unaware of the photographer This is a collection of photographs that disappear on the way home from the photo processing shop.

And don't miss
Cabinet Card Gallery
One Man's Treasure
Penny Tales
Square America
Tattered and Lost
Vernacular Photography
The best
sites on the web.

And for postcards try

All images are the property of Lost Gallery and the author. Permission must be granted for their use. All rights reserved.

THE KIDS Lesson one. It is always a mystery how a photograph of any of these precious children could end up lost or abandoned. Here are a few. You will probably say "Ooh..." at least once.

Dee and the Business School Dee and the Business School
The beautiful Dee. A curious story; What do you see?

Neiffel and Helvetica Typehigh

"What are they doing?"


  1. Nicely done, and great photos to have remained attached to their paper folders. I find that the image clarity of this early photo process, even with the dark black tone, is often better than the salt prints that came later. However it's frustrating that there is rarely any way discover the history about a individual tintype, since they get separated from the paper folder and there are no clues written on the metal. Recently I bought a tintype that is in a folder and though there is no annotation, it does have an orange 2 cent tax stamp which dates it to the Civil War years.

    1. Thanks Mike Brubaker. The clarity is yes, astounding sometimes. That might be due in part, by the elimination of one of the steps in the photo-process: No negative, just an image direct from the camera. But they did have some fantastic lenses too.

      Yes, the unmounted tintypes rarely have any accompanying information because of the black surface. Your find with the orange 2 cent stamp is a welcome exception.

      These with the paper holders were a lucky find. They were mixed in with some CDVs and priced very reasonably. Sometimes the seller realizes their value and sometimes not. I once examined a small stack of tintypes that the seller had scratched his prices into the emulsion on the FRONT of the plate.



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