Portraits From the Past

One of Knoxville's loveliest venues for weddings is also one of its most historic: Bleak House, an antebellum mansion that served as the headquarters for Confederate General Longstreet during the Civil War (its tower still features blood stains from the three Confederate sharpshooters who met their demise in it).

This past weekend saw the site open its doors for historical tours and I took advantage of the re-enactors who were present in period clothing.  Not costumes, as I was respectfully corrected, but period clothing.  Which I appreciate because when people adopt the persona of a character, fictional or otherwise, for me to photograph them I want authenticity.  Cosplayers who look like they've hot too many Party City outlets for what they are wearing do not make the cut.  Historical re-enactors often have a different problem with authenticity, when things like hair style or yes, even weight (I am always amused by some hefty guys playing the role of a typical "soldier" - ah, no, that soldier would have been quite lean in the 1860's).  

But these people did, indeed.

Environmental Portraiture

This event also allowed me to do some environmental portraiture.  What I mean by that is to place people in a setting that tells a story about them and who they are - or, in this case, who they are portraying.  So while some images are traditional three-quarter shots or head shots of the individual, the camera will take a step back to show the person in their environment and allow the viewer more context.  This is effective for business portraits and senior portraits, when location is part of who a person is.

In the tower where the aforementioned sharpshooters were killed.