Using 19th Century Processes Tim Layton is Traveling to the Last 4 Historic Covered Bridges in Missouri to Photograph Them.
My name is Tim Layton Sr. and I am a fine art photographer specializing in 19th century black and white chemical-based photographic processes using natural light and mediums such as glass, metal, and watercolor paper. This is my first Kickstarter Project so I appreciate your time and support. You can email me directly at email@example.com at any time if you have questions or comments about the Covered Bridges Project.
Using 19th century photographic equipment like I am standing next to in the photo above, I will be traveling to Missouri's last four covered bridges dating back to 1858 and photographing them in a way and style that reflects their original date of origin. My primary goal is to create unique hand-made 19th century Van Dyke prints of the historic covered bridges and share them with my Kickstarter supporters and hopefully exhibit the work in a public forum. If this project goes well I would like to travel to additional destinations around the country and photograph the remaining covered bridges.
There are only about 400 covered bridges listed in the historic database from the 19th century and there is no better time to pursue the Covered Bridges Project. Many of the bridges are in regions that are prone to natural disasters like flooding and tornadoes so the number of bridges will continue to diminish over time until they are eventually all gone. Historically we lose about 7 to 9 covered bridges per year.
Covered bridges represent older, simpler times when people and everything moved a little slower. This is one reason why I enjoy 19th century large format photography and making hand-made chemical-based artwork with natural light. There are few symbols in America that are as popular as covered bridges because they evoke a sense of nostalgia with many people and they are unique by today's standards. As with many things that were built in the 19th century, they are still going strong after 150 years. In comparison the typical lifespan of a modern bridge is only about 50 years.
I will be using the support I receive from this project to travel to the covered bridge destinations, purchase the supplies, chemicals and materials to make the photographs and prints, and fund the rewards for the project.
Follow Along Online
In addition to the exclusive updates that I provide to my project sponsors online at Kickstarter I also provide on the spot updates via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and via my Gallery site. I use the hashtag #coveredbridgesproject across all social media platforms so it is easy to follow the project via any of the networks.
Missouri's Last 4 Covered Bridges
Burfordville Covered Bridge, built in 1858, is located at the Bollinger Mill State Historic Site in Burfordville, Missouri. The covered bridge is literally next to the historic Bollinger Mill that was operational and served the locals during the American Civil War. This historic site represents simpler days when business in Missouri was about the rushing of a stream over a dam and bridges were covered. Visitors to Bollinger Mill State Historic Site can watch corn being ground into meal at the massive four-story mill that dates to the Civil War era. You can still take a stroll through the Burfordville Covered Bridge and enjoy the site’s rustic setting which also offers picnicking and exploration opportunities along the Whitewater River.
Sandy Creek Covered Bridge, was one of six bridges built in 1872 to allow passage from the Jefferson County seat of Hillsboro to St. Louis and now it is the only one left. John H. Morse built Sandy Creek Covered Bridge using the Howe-truss design, named for William Howe. Howe patented his design in 1840, which featured the use of vertical rods to draw wooden members tight against the top and bottom of the bridge.
Union Covered Bridge, built in 1871 and is located in Monroe County in Paris, Missouri. Union Covered Bridge is the only one of the four remaining covered bridges that represents the Burr-arch truss design. It served travelers in Monroe County for 99 years and is a peaceful spot to visit or stop and relax. The bridge is located in picturesque northern Missouri.
Locust Creek Covered Bridge, built in 1868, once housed the nation's first transcontinental road, Route 8. Today, it is the longest of Missouri's four remaining bridges measuring 151 feet. The bridge was built out of white pine using the Howe-truss system, named for William Howe, who patented the design in 1840. The essential features of the design were its use of vertical iron rods to draw the diagonal wooden members tight against the top and bottom of the bridge. The bridge features arched entrances with ramps sloping away from both ends.
Van Dyke Printing Process
I've included a photo of one of my Van Dyke prints below from my Missouri Wildflower Study that will give you an idea of what a Van Dyke print looks like. You can look at my hand-made print gallery or on my Flickr stream for more examples.
Technically, the Van Dyke printing process was invented in the 1890′s but was based on the mid-19th century iron-silver process, Argentotype. Both the Van Dyke and Argentotype processes use ultra-violet light with ferric salts to form the image with the help of silver nitrate. After coating the paper in subdued light you simply place the negative (paper, glass, sheet film) over the paper and expose it to sunlight until the print is completed.
The sensitizer (Ferric Ammonium Citrate) is mixed with Silver Nitrate and when exposed to sun light the ferric compound becomes ferrous and produces a visible image in iron of the negative laying on top of the sensitized paper giving the Van Dyke a stunning and unique aesthetic not possible with digital technology.
The process is known as a printing out process (POP) because the image prints out during the exposure process as opposed to being chemically developed (DOP). The Van Dyke as well as the Cyanotype and Palladium processes reduce the ferric ions as opposed to the silver ions in the majority of the other printing processes. The modern day Van Dyke that we make today is not that much different from the original brownprint/sepia print. The name Van Dyke was not the original name for the process (brownprint/sepia print). No one is completely sure, but at some point in the early 1900′s linked the color and tone of the brownprint to the characteristics of the painter, Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641).
If you have more interest in the details of Van Dyke prints then you may want to review a recent article I wrote about How to Make Van Dyke Prints.
Thank you for your time and support for this important project. I look forward to sharing in the fun and rewards with each of my supporters.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $4,000 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on August 16, 2012.
Jul 26, 2012 - Aug 16, 2012 (21 days)
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As a supporter of this project you will receive my heart felt thanks and gratitude via my Facebook page in addition to exclusive updates throughout the project until completion.Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
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5 backers Limited (195 of 200 left)
A limited edition of 200 postcard with a popular image from the project signed by Tim Layton + a thank you note on my Facebook page + exclusive updates.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
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A brand new project T-shirt (S/M/L/XL) + limited edition postcard + a thank you note + exclusive updates.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
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A 4x5 black and white inkjet fine print from any of the 4 bridges signed by Tim Layton + project T-shirt (S/M/L/XL) + limited edition postcard + a thank you note + exclusive updates.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
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A set of 4 4x5 black and white inkjet fine prints of all 4 bridges signed by Tim Layton + project T-shirt (S/M/L/XL) + limited edition postcard + a thank you note + exclusive updates.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
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1 8x10 hand-made vintage limited edition of 20 Van Dyke print on watercolor paper of any of the four bridges + set of 4 4x5 black and white inkjet fine prints + project T-shirt (S/M/L/XL) + limited edition postcard + a thank you note + exclusive updates.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
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A set of 4 8x10 hand-made vintage limited edition of 5 Van Dyke print on watercolor paper of any of the four bridges + set of 4 4x5 black and white inkjet fine prints + project T-shirt (S/M/L/XL) + limited edition postcard + a thank you note + exclusive updates.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
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Custom 14x17 limited edition of 1 museum mounting of all 4 prints + set of 4 8x10 hand-made vintage limited edition Van Dyke prints + set of 4 4x5 black and white inkjet fine prints + project T-shirt (S/M/L/XL) + limited edition postcard + a thank you note + exclusive updates.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012