posted Friday, December 16, 2016 at 11:30 AM EDT


There is something special about looking at historical portraits, including those from the American Civil War. You can look at a wide range of Civil War-era portraits at the Library of Congress, in fact. The Atlantic has compiled a list of the 50 most powerful images from the Civil War, including some portraits. Photographer Willis Bretz is a history buff and has always been drawn to Civil War photography. He set upon a project to create portraits using modern equipment that captured the spirit of the classic Civil War portraits.

Naturally, the equipment 150 years ago was simplistic and limited compared to the equipment of today. To help capture the spirit of the old photos Bretz utilized only a single light to ensure a basic lighting setup which would help replicate the look of the 19th century portraits he admires.

Bretz created two behind the scenes videos of his project, which you can see below. It's neat to see not only period-accurate props, but also see Bretz at work.

To see more of Willis Bretz's work, visit his website and follow him on Instagram.

(Seen via Fstoppers. Index image.)