Nelson archive at Amherst: A one-of-a-kind trove reveals what rural 19th-century American boyhood was really like.

Nelson archive at Amherst: A one-of-a-kind trove reveals what rural 19th-century American boyhood was really like..


How about a two-fer?

unnamed (1)On Saturday, June 6, PHSNE will be holding a special meeting at EP Levine, on Bear Hill Rd. in Waltham. At the same time, there will be a wonderful exhibit of Allen Dines’ Rock and Roll photographs in the same building. Why not come see the work and listen to a fascinating talk by Mark Elson on Civil War reenactors? Admission is free and the public is welcome. EP Levine will be open for business.  


Mark Elson Presents Civil War Reenactors at PHSNE Meeting

Saturday, June 6, 2015, 1:00 P.M., EP Levine

219 Bear Hill Road, Waltham MA 02451

Some 150 years on, interest in the American Civil War (1861-1865) is at an all-time high, especially among the thousands of people in the United States and Europe who participate in reenactments. Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors is a documentary essay book on the men and women who feel an intense, often personal connection to a monumental period in America’s past.

Mark Elson’s expressive images, done in wet plate and contemporary photographic techniques, evoke the look and style of the nineteenth-century and capture the painstaking detail that goes into such reenactments. His lifelong fascination with the Civil War led to his interest in wet plate collodion photography, which ultimately resulted in the book.

Mark’s presentation to PHSNE on June 6th will include photos from the book, as well as his contemporary work done in the American West. Like many Civil War photographers who migrated west to document the country’s expansion, Mark, too was attracted to the beauty, grandeur and pioneer spirit. Using silver-based film keeps him in touch with photography’s 19thcentury roots and timeless look.

A Boston-based photographer who specializes in the 19th century process wet plate collodion photography, Mark attended the College for Creative Studies in Detroit and the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. He has been a lifelong student of the American Civil War.  Battlefields of Honor (Merrell Publishers) was inspired by the photography of Civil War-era photographers Mathew Brady, Timothy O’Sullivan and Alexander Gardner, among others.  Mark learned the wet plate process, had equipment built and found period lenses. He fell in love with this demanding and beautiful process, with its rich tones, great detail and timeless look. You can view Mark’s work at

In his contemporary work, Mark finds what most people overlook. A fleeting moment becomes a small-scale drama, a vignette that takes on deeper meaning as that moment is isolated and elevated. He uses the camera to strip away the veneer to see the beauty in the everyday, telling stories of misfits, dreamers, romantics and the forgotten.

At the PHSNE presentation, Mark will have on display wet plate collodion equipment including a camera, lens, and field dark box, and he will do a “dry” demonstration of the wet plate process.

 Driving directions to EP Levine can be found at