John Henry video from Hogslop String Band

Hogslop String BandWe all know that bluegrass people can be compulsive, but when it comes to recreating things the traditional way, nothing beats old time musicians for their enthusiastic obsessions.

Witness The Hogslop String Band, who had their current promotional photos created using tintype, where the subject is exposed onto to a thin piece of metal coated in lacquer, and then processed to create a negative image. It was popular during the Civil War era but had gone out of fashion as more convenient photographic processes were developed.

And in keeping with the vibe, they chose as a setting A.P. Carter’s old cabin in Hiltons, VA.

Lisa Elmaleh's late 19th century tintype camera - photo by Josh TrivettUse of this type of ferrotype photo is being revived by a number of dedicated hobbyists and fans. In this case, the photos were taken by Lisa Elmaleh using a camera built around 1885 which had in its earlier life been used to create official presidential portraits. This is the process you may have read about that requires subjects to remain motionless for an extended period of time since the emulsion reacts more slowly to exposure.

The band also brought Lisa in to shoot their latest music video, captured on 16mm film as was the norm in the 1930s.


Now that’s old timey!

Hogslop String Band holds a lengthy pose for tintype photographer Lisa Elmaleh - photo by Josh TrivettLisa is currently taking a series of photos of old time musicians in West Virginia for a project she calls American Folk. For this course of images, Elmaleh has built a makeshift tintype photo lab in the back of her truck, since the metal plates must be both exposed and processed while they are still wet.

In addition to the new video, the band is excited about their participation in the Guinness World’s Record attempt for the World’s Largest Square Dance during Uncle Dave Macon Days in July. The festival, held in Murfreesboro, TN, will feature performances from top bluegrass and Americana artists, plus competition each of three days for musicians, dancers, and both bluegrass and old time bands.

The record attempt will be held on July 7, and everyone in attendance will be invited to join in as The Hogslop String Band lays down the groove.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.