Logan County Arts September show to feature prints by 20th century photographer H.C. Tibbitts
A study in Americana recorded in the early 1900’s on glass negatives

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[September 07, 2018]   LINCOLN - Members of the Logan County Arts, located at 112 S. McLean Street, are pleased to announce they will host the premier opening of an historic photographic exhibition from the early 1900’s.

The event will feature the work of Howard Clinton Tibbitts, a prominent San Francisco based photographer, who traveled extensively throughout the American West, Canada, and Mexico, documenting life and landscape around the turn of the 20th Century.

“Much of his work has been published over the years in books, magazines, and periodicals. However, many of the images which will be on display have never been seen by the general public, as they come from a long-time privately held collection; some of which were Tibbitts’ own personal images.” says Patrick Moore, whose interest in collecting and preserving the Tibbitts glass plate negatives has grown from a “definite interest” to an outright obsession. “Just ask my wife!” he lovingly adds. Tibbitts’ work is in the collections of the California State Railroad Museum, University of California’s Bancroft Library, California Historical Society, and many other museums and institutions.

In order to produce a photograph, each glass plate is digitally scanned and thoroughly scrutinized for signs of deterioration and any damage caused by improper handling over the years. While making sometimes extensive and painstaking restoration corrections to digital versions of the files made from these 100 plus year old images, Moore thinks about how much effort went into making each individual original negative. “Just transporting a sufficient quantity of these heavy glass plates, a camera and tripod, chemicals, distilled water, and other pertinent supplies and equipment alone, required a dedicated pack horse or mule.” comments Moore. “The fact that these plates are still in existence over 100 years later is an absolute miracle.”

While digitally mastering and restoring the images from these plates, Moore is humbled and honored to have the opportunity to preserve these images for current and future generations, and ponders what Tibbitts would say about the amazing leap in technology employed today compared to when he created these images over 100 years ago. “The technology available today really makes successful near–original quality restoration efforts possible, and gives unprecedented life (and audience) to these original images.”

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To further this effort, Moore, along with his wife Sharon, recently founded Historic Shades of Gray; an enterprise dedicated to the preservation, protection, and promotion of the work of pioneering Western photographers, including Tibbitts.

HC Tibbitts photographed Native Americans, Yosemite Valley, Redwood forests, early Missions, agriculture, railroads, and early American life during his travels throughout the west during and prior to the early 1900’s, using large format view-type cameras producing roughly 7 x 9 inch glass plate negatives.

The Moore’s, along with Logan County Arts member Mitch Douglas, will display vintage camera and photographic equipment and memorabilia, as well as other period-specific items relevant to Tibbitts’ work. Additional information about these items will be provided during the opening day festivities.

The premier opening will be at the Lincoln Art Institute, 112 S. McLean Street, Thursday, September 13, between the hours of 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM, and will include a video presentation. Admission is free and photographs and prints will be available for purchase. The Tibbitts exhibit will remain on display at the gallery thru October 10th. Contact the Lincoln Art Institute at 217/651-8355 for additional hours and information.

The Lincoln Art Institute will be open Saturday and Sunday, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, during the entire run of the exhibit.

Refreshments will be provided the night of the opening.

[Text provided by Mitch Douglas, Logan County Arts/Authored by Patrick Moore]


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