Sepia Photography – Featured Art Prints

My featured Art Print this week is actually four of them from my Sepia Photography Gallery. They are: “ Logging Tools” – “Mine Cart” – “Wagon Wheel Hub” and “Cedar Rapids Barn”. I’m featuring four prints to illustrate some examples of the type of shots I think make good sepia tone photographs.

Dating back to the 1880’s, sepia toning was a chemical change used on black and white photographs to give them a warmer look and to enhance the archival qualities. Today, we associate the look with old historic photographs. With the advent of digital photo manipulation, it is very easy to recreate that look on any photograph. I use it to support a look that I associate with the tone as being old, historic and rustic. The type of subject matter that I convert to a sepia tone fits into that category and is what comprises my Sepia Photography Gallery.

My first example is from the Issaquah, Washington Railroad Depot Museum, which was built in 1889. This particular train station was an important stop between the mountain towns in the Cascades and Seattle. Issaquah became a point of export for timber, thus the example of tools used to handle the transportation of timber. By it’s very nature, this shot depicts elements dating back to the time of sepia, so it seems pretty natural to show it with those tones.

The next photograph is from the same museum, but depicts a different industry that the area was well-known for; mining. This is another obvious use of the sepia tone to create that old rustic look.

The third shot is an old west wagon wheel I found as part of the ambience for shops set up like an old west town in Cave Creek, Arizona. Again, this seems obvious due to the historic factor of the subject matter.

The last shot is an old barn I found by accident in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In an area on the outskirts where large homes with multiple acres of land have taken over, I saw this barn out of the corner of my eye off the main road behind some trees. Doing my usual, I processed what I think I saw in a short flash, found a place to turn around and drove back to where I had spotted it. It was a short hike through the trees, but I got some great shots. The barn isn’t as old as the use of sepia tones, but due to the condition of the building, I liked the look that this tone gave it.

Maybe these shots seemed like obvious subject matter, but not everything that is “obvious” really looks good in a sepia tone. I think the tone enhanced the look of these subjects and made the final print more interesting. Sepia, just like black and white photography has to have elements of contrast and lines to make a photograph “pop”. The other interesting aspect of this type of art print is how it has been used in interior decor. I have been surprised to see a number of these “old rustic” shots used in more contemporary interior design where warm earth tones are important elements to the overall look. So much of the final look depends on the matting and framing. Thoughts?


I invite you to come into the gallery to view the addition of new art prints to the collection in Sepia Photography Gallery

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17 thoughts on “Sepia Photography – Featured Art Prints

      1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

        Sorry about the fat fingers hitting the “c” key instead of the “v” key on “very” …I saw that as I sent it into iPhone cyberspace 🙂 too late……

  1. Sue Slaght

    As always I really appreciate you describing why you use different types of processing. The ‘stop the car and turn around method’ i am quite familiar with. 🙂
    Mt top pick out of these gorgeous three is the wheel photo. Perhaps having more of a contrast makes them pop out at me? I have never finished a photo in Sepia but have played with it. As you say it definitely needs to be a historic photo or something old. I am thinking back to the photos of Batoche this past summer and I bet some of those would have worked. Food for thought. Thank you!

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      I agree,I think some of them would have looked great as Sepia! As a side note, I turn up the contrast when I am doing the sepia tone to make sure it does “pop”! Thanks for your kind words….

  2. Jet Eliot

    I enjoyed your sepia photos, Kirt, and appreciated hearing and seeing why they qualify in your gallery for sepia. That other process, of quick turning around on a back road to catch something, sounds like our birding and photo adventures. It’s fun. 😀


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