My View of the Battlefield

Cannon pointed towards the battlefield.
Cannon pointed towards the battlefield.

The Battle of New Orleans. January 8, 1815. The last battle of the War of 1812.

This is where it happened. The big battle. I showed you one picture yesterday. Somewhere along the line, my touring buddy posted a few pictures of the battlefield on his blog. He wrote something like he’s interested in how I saw the same scene.


This is how I saw it.


There is a reason for this. Most art is driven by some kind of technology. Even painting. Painting? Huh? Really?


The availability of certain kinds of brushes affect the technique which affects the final painting. Paint formulas and color certainly change the look of the work. Think about the color blue. It was the last color to be invented. How were skies painted before that?

More than any genre of art, photography has been affected by technology from the time the oldest surviving permanent photograph was made in 1826, by Niecephore Niepce, until a second ago, when somebody took a picture of something. Probably a selfie. Or, a bad food picture. With their smart phone.

Think about that.

Unless the selfie is printed on paper, it does not exist anywhere except in the form of ones and zeros. That’s how it is today. Unless I print these two images that’s how they exist too. Very fragile ones and zeros. People who leave all their pictures on their phone or a cloud will be very unhappy one day. You’ll see. Look what happened to Delta Airlines the other day. One power failure and the entire system crashed.

Some people say that unless the image is printed somewhere it isn’t a photograph. I think that too. That’s why I make big Blurb Books. It’s a very good way of printing a year’s worth of work. A portfolio. Sort of inexpensively. It also forces me to edit (cull) ruthlessly.


I let extreme technology help create these two pictures. Remember, yesterday I wrote that I had to work at the worst time of day and light? Bright sun at about high noon. I messed with a color picture. I wasn’t all that happy with it. So today, I decided to take a different direction. I think this is a better solution. Sepia with a bunch of extra photo manipulation technique. I tried to make the pictures look like they could have been taken in 1815. And, left to rot on the battlefield.

My imagination. Sheesh. Scary isn’t it?

Malus-Beauregard House.
Malus-Beauregard House.


      1. I saw what he did. There a bunch of charts in the back of the book. One details troop losses by unit. He managed to use a unit loss for total number in one place… Everybody needs an editor. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. The editing techniques you shared in this post are so interesting. And I appreciate your thoughts about unprinted photographs. I’ve recently been thinking about this from the simple perspective of hundreds (1,000’s?) of my own photos of grandchildren and general family life. What good are they stored on the memory cards or computer? The idea that without printing they don’t really exist kind of pushes me forward to do something about that. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Debra, Thousands of family pictures might be way too much to print at any size. I’m pretty old school so I call culling and curating by its original term. Picture editing. If it were me, I’d edit 1000s down to a more realistic number or else you’d probably have to take out a second mortgage. That said, there are other reasons to make prints. Digital technology changes every few years which means you have to re-backup your work probably every three to five years. Consider this. Once we used floppy disks, then we used 3 inch disks, then CDs, then DVDs, then portable HDs and the cloud. New computers don’t even have disk drives. Aside from that, digital technology is fragile. Machines crash. Hard drives break. I have 45 year old negatives that need nothing in order to print. They are stored in my archives. But, I back up my digital work at least three times and once more of the best of it. I expect something to fail. — Ray


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