Monday, January 12, 2015

"They shall not sleep on our soil!"


Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard that the Bicentennial Anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans took place this week, which is a pretty big deal.  It's a classic underdog story, and was truly one of the most important battles in the history of the United States.  A ragtag group of American militia, Indians, pirates, Creoles, free men of color, civilians, women, and people straight off the streets of New Orleans were recruited by Old Hickory to fight...and fight they did.  It was 4,000 scraggly mutts vs. nearly 10,000 British.  It should have been a bloodbath.  Vastly outnumbered by the greatest army in the world, the Americans held strong and defeated the British, sending them back down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.  

People are quick to dismiss this battle as being relatively insignificant because the Treaty of Ghent was already signed by the time the battle took place, but just imagine for one second if the British had been victorious.  The Treaty itself wasn't ratified for another two months, and the British would have never honored it anyway.  It would have literally changed the course of history.  

It's truly amazing to think of what Andrew Jackson did with such a ragtag crew.  Talk about a motivational speaker- presidential stuff for sure.  And forget 1776.  We didn't win independence from Britain until January 8th, 1815.  By beating the British (again), America proved that it was here to stay.  

Rather than action shots, I wanted to get portraits of the men who reenact these battles.  They come from all over the world, spending years and thousands of dollars to represent themselves as authentic as possible.  Some of them never break character, which is especially interesting to watch in the medical tents.  Grown men will play "dead" for the better part of an hour...  Safe to say they take it seriously.  It's actually really fun to watch.  

The look of these images was created with the Helios 40-2, an 85mm f/1.5 old Russian hunk of glass.  Optically speaking, it's horrendous if you're shooting test charts, but its crazy unique boken and old school petzval look is exactly why I love it, and exactly why I brought it out to the battlefield.  It's a heavy hunk of metal and glass, and manually focusing is certainly not the easiest thing in the world with the 5DIII, but I love the way these images came out.  Definitely worth the trouble.  So, here it is, the year 1815...in color!    

Hit play and enjoy.

Ashokan Farewell by Jenny Oaks Baker on Grooveshark











































































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