WOOD COUNTY (KYTX) - The American Civil War is considered the first major conflict to be extensively photographed.
An East Texas man was so intrigued by the images that he now builds the cameras.
"It was a real feat to transport all of this through the Civil War, through the West, taking the pictures we see." said Ty Guillory who uncapped an art of photography, that most believed faded away."
"I wanted to create the tin type images like you see at the antique store, the little pictures on a metal plate."
Ty spent months studying Civil War camera design.
"I wound up learning how, built my first camera and made my own homemade lens."
From the cherry wood he orders from New York……everything on his cameras is custom-made, with the same type of materials used in the
"Nothing is off the shelf, I can't go into a hardware store and buy anything I can use."
Ty spends hundreds of hours crafting each camera…Limiting himself to hand tools.
"I build three at a time, takes about three months to get a camera from wood to set it on a tripod."
Most Civil War photographs were posed because of the difficulty of setting up the shot.
"To make an exposure, a picture, take lens cap off, count 2-5 seconds and put it back on, and hope you didn't overexpose or underexpose. Don't adjust your tv set, I'm actually upside down, this is the way you look through Ty's cameras, this is also the way the photographer saw it during the Civil War."
"People who are not into photography want to know what's inside the box – absolutely nothing, besides the lens, the plate holder the camera is an empty lightbox. All these lens are original brass lenses that the guys used for tin type photography. This lens was made in 1858 it's a pre-civil war lens"
So, piece-by-piece, one camera at a time, Ty is preserving an art form long forgotten – now forever captured in time.
"To see it with your own eyes, even in a faint little photograph is so dramatic."
For CBS 19, I'm J.B.Smith … And that's my story.
Photographers and Civil War collectors from all over the world order of one of Ty's cameras, including a photographer from National Geographic magazine.
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