I am amazed and amused by the number of events on our local entertainment calendar that revolve around graphic depictions of unreality – the cosplay festivals, the comicons, the Steampunk events, and even some of the medieval fairs. The costuming is sometimes excellent, the theatre entertaining, and the commercial presentation overwhelming. The enthusiasm and the joy of the participants can be infectious. And yet…there is something a little unsatisfying…
I grant that unreal realities can be created and sustained in print, illustration, cyberspace, or merely imagination. Goodness, what would some people do for religion if they could not tell tales to themselves and then believe those tales? But I want a little more bottom to my tales – I want something that really happened depicted in a way that I can really see.
Part of this desire was once satisfied by re-enacting, though what I re-enacted sometimes had more to do with an Osprey Men At Arms book than it did with history. I eventually realised that it was someone else’s history and let it be.
But what a splendid discovery this last weekend to find that the Great War living history group do indeed base their activities on something real. Of course there is an element of reconstructionism about it, and the enthusiasts have to adapt the hobby to their bodies and their age, but the skill with which they do actually fit into a historical scene is amazing – particularly when I can work with PSE14 and the Alien Skin plugins.
I am still not decided as to the exact way to reproduce some of the looks of the period, but I am aware that there were several processes in vogue at the time and the negatives that came out of cameras could eventually be reproduced in quite a number of ways. I am determined to master the fake Autochrome, however, and am trying some pretty exotic ways of printing it.