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
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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]