H.C. Tibbitts (1863-1937) was a glass plate photographer who focused his work around the raw beauty of the American West. Born in California, he spent the majority of his time photographing and traveling from a home base in San Francisco. Included in his works are photographs of iconic landmarks such as Yosemite National Park and other landscapes discovered throughout his travels. He had a keen eye to that of agriculture and railroads. He also had a sense to document the native Americans in their lives and culture.
Tibbitts was meticulous in his labeling formula for his photos. Each has a number, each number has a short description and background of his shot. These are dated and stored, after being processed, in a "mostly" light proof fashion.
What are Glass Plate Negatives?
One of the oldest forms of photography, glass plate negatives reserve one of the most incredible forms of photographic medium. If the plate is exposed well, the resolution of the image nears infinity with respect to our digital scanners and eyes. These plates are old and fragile and inevitably were replaced by film shortly after Tibbitts began his photography career.
Unlike new forms of photography, this complete science experiment held quirks that only a professional can fully grasp. Exposing a picture with a filtered glass plate would be similar to image stacking today, but doing such a feat with success merely proves H.C. Tibbitts' sheer expertise. Below is a camera of the same vintage as the glass plates you see on this site.