History Hero: Bruce Morton

Bruce Morton is plying a modern craft, but using the tools of the 19th century. He does photography the way it worked in the 1850’s and 60’s — freezing history on glass or metal plates — using large view cameras, and processing the image right there in the field. The process first developed in 1851, is called Tintype. It was this very process that brought the Civil War right into people’s homes. Photographers like Mathew Brady and others would travel from battle to battle capturing the war in sobering detail. But perhaps most powerfully, many soldiers would pay for a portrait.  Sadly, in too many cases, that’s all the old families have to remember the sons, brothers and fathers lost in the war.

Bruce runs Sonoma Tintype in Petaluma, California and demonstrates his craft at Civil War reenactments and antique faires, where many people want one of these unique photographs.  He points out you should sign the back, because many of these could last 500 years before the image will fade.  

We first met Bruce at Civil War Days, in Duncan Mills, California.



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“History Heroes” are profiles of people young and old we meet along the way sharing their love of the past.

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