Uniforms Comparing colors of images as seen by the wet plate process, modern grayscale, and actual color.

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Aug 25, 2012
Many of us know that wet plate photographs often show the color yellow as dark gray or even black. In the Winter 2021 issue of Military Images magazine this effect is discussed by Elizabeth A. Topping in her When Yellow is Black and Blue Is White. Certain shades of light blue and light purple at times in wet plate photographs appear to e white or light gray. This is an interesting article which helps one decide what color uniform and trim actually are.
 

lupaglupa

2nd Lieutenant
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Apr 18, 2019
I've not heard this before, though it makes sense that the different techniques would alter the colors in different ways.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Aug 25, 2012
I have photos of a color wheel that shows the color wheel in photos taken using wet plate process and modern photo process. This helps me determine colors. And yes yellow often appears to be almost black and light blue can be almost white.
 

James N.

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I have photos of a color wheel that shows the color wheel in photos taken using wet plate process and modern photo process. This helps me determine colors. And yes yellow often appears to be almost black and light blue can be almost white.
I don't remember where I copied this one from or how much faith I have in what it proports to demonstrate. I've seen too many period photo reproductions of cavalrymen to believe that yellow infallibly shows up dark or black.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Aug 25, 2012
Klaudly in post #3 shows the problem. The yellow trim looks black in the wet plate image. the image and uniform are well known, but how about lesser known uniforms? Say someone spends the time and money to make a reenacting uniform based on a Civil War photograph from their home state and and ends up thinking the photo shows black trim when in fact it shows yellow trim?
 

Klaudly

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Nov 11, 2013
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Italy
I have had this problem, not reenacting, but drawing (for years) uniforms of civil war, if there is no description of their uniform from the soldiers, it becomes difficult to be sure of the color.
 
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