period pieces

In lieu of research I have been staring at old-timey photographs.

Here’s a very famous one of John Brown:

The piercing eyes, the flamelike hair, the flat and severe mouth; that ghostly hand reaching through the frame; it’s like he’s <i>trying</i> to be eerie.  This photograph is haunted.

On the other hand, look at this asshole:

Taken at Antietam, shortly after the battle. Will you look at this ugly bastard. You can tell just at a glance that this is a thug and a legbreaker and a nasty, nasty man. And in fact he grew up to be Allan Pinkerton, co-founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

I don’t have a point, here.

I have been reading this:

This is period steampunk, from 1868, from back when it wasn’t a nostalgic affectation or a fantasy of a simpler time or what-have-you, but an actual (possible?) vision of the future. Steam robots! Indians! People saying, without apparent irony, jehosophat! Available for download here, if you’re curious. You couldn’t call it good, exactly, or even adequate, but it certainly feels authentic.

2 comments on “period pieces

  1. Magess says:

    One of the reasons that eyes look like that in old photographs is that you had to hold a pose for a very long time. A couple of minutes as the technology got better. People often tried to blink as little as possible during the photograph, so they ended up with wide, weird eyes. Or eyes that looked glassy from having blinked.

Comments are closed.