To our modern eyes, the above image seems a century and a half old. It shows a U.S. Army deserter being punished with the old ‘barrel’ treatment on the parade grounds at Fort Snelling. But while it looks like an antique, the photo is just a few years old. The ‘soldiers’ are modern day re-enactors.
David Rambow of Pipestone, Minn., took the picture with Civil War-era photography equipment, using the same chemicals and camera gear used back then. It’s a process known as ‘tintype’ or ‘wet plate’ photography, a craft Rambow has been practicing for more than 20 years. This photo shows just how adept he’s become at the technique.
This photo is of actress Abigail Spencer, who plays Alice, in this year’s movie Cowboys & Aliens. Rambow’s tintype photo of Spencer was used in the film. He said he photographed a picture of Spencer/Alice sent to him by the filmmakers.
It’s not his first motion picture credit.That would be for the Coen brothers film True Grit. Rambow said they saw his work online, and particularly liked the deserter photo.
“So they incorporated one of my images that they had me take for their new version of ‘True Grit’, he said.
Rambow’s photo for the movie shows actor Josh Brolin as Tom Chaney.
He said his next tintype project might be for a Tim Burton movie. As they say in Hollywood, talks are underway.