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Ghostly art form revisited at spirit photography evening

Christopher Grauwiler and Danny Agnew have a spirit photo taken at the Penumbra TintyJolene Lupo, Penumbra Tintype Studio

The dead come back to life at the Penumbra Tintype Studio this Thursday evening… sort of.

Those looking to connect with a creepy lost art form can take part in “An Evening of Spirit Photography” at the photography studio.The Tintype Studio is part of the Penumbra Foundation, a non-profit that offers classes on photography from its inception to the present day.

Spirit photography, emerged in Boston and New York, with the rise of the Spiritualist Movement and the end of the Civil War, more than 150 years ago, while the country was dealing with the aftermath of the more than 600,000 people killed in the war. The belief was that the photos could capture the spirits of dead loved ones with a camera.

“I love the history of spirit photography because I feel like I’m looking through a connection into the spirit world and between the living and dead through photography,” said Jolene Lupo, photographer, at the Penumbra Tintype Studio.

The Studio is the only one that offers spirit photography and hosts a workshop on the subject. Earlier in October, Penumbra hosted a workshop called "Hocus Pocus ," teaching others how to take spirit photos.

"I think spirit photographs are possibly more relevant today than they ever were, as we continue to examine the credibility of manipulated images," Lupo said.

Lupo, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, will lead the spirit photography event that takes place from 5 to 11 p.m. on Thursday, using a 19th century camera, with period authentic lens and methods of creating tintype portraiture.

Those who attend will be invited to choose from among haunted props that will manifest into the photos. Lupo will pose the subjects and props, take a photo, preparing the plate with chemicals and let the visitors watch as the haunted object comes to life.

“That’s really the most fun part for people,” Lupo said. “I feel like that’s the magic moment when the image starts coming through, especially when you don’t know what to expect and the ghost adds to that. That’s always a bit of a shock and surprise to people. Even if you think there’s going to be a spirit there.”

To find out more about attending the spirit photography event visit penumbrafoundation.org.

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