Pop in to the Alexander Ramsey House on April 26th for a cocktail and an artsy history lesson as the MN Historical Society presents its first in a series of History Happy Hours. The smart soiree invites attendees to learn about the unusual and fascinating process of Victorian-era photography from talented girl-about-town and Minneapolis Photo Center instructor, Lacey Prpic Hedtke. She’ll do live demonstrations of the dry-plate tintype process (an old-timey version of “instant” photography) and answer any questions you may have on photo methods of days of yore–and if you’re nice, she may even let you check out her antique large format camera. Peer through vintage stereoscopes to look at old photos or snap up your own Ramsey House “carte-de-visite” (Victorian photo calling card) as a keepsake. All this plus cool cocktails and tasty treats? Sounds like our kind of history lesson.
We caught up with Ms. Prpic Hedtke to ask a few pressing questions about her work and the upcoming happy hour…
What can people expect to learn at the History Happy Hour on the 26th? How did you get involved?
They’ll watch how a 19th century tintype is made, see what a large format camera looks like to the photographer, and get their own carte-de-visites of historic photos of the Ramsey House. All while drinking drinks and eating snacks in a gorgeous Victorian mansion. I’m thrilled to be helping to kick off their History Happy Hours. While I was working on historical photo processes for the photography art cart at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, they gave my name to the the Ramsey House.
You have been working with old timey photography processes for awhile now. What inspired you to do this and why do you love the victorian era?
Oh, I think I’m a transplant from the past. I’ve been working with antiquated processes for 12 years. I love the process and labor involved in this type of photography, and that I get to mix concoctions. I love not having to spend tons of money on new digital equipment to stay current. I like having a direct connection to the beginnings of photography, and making photos that are one of a kind and magical. I love the Victorian era because everything looked so much nicer. I like the cameras because I can fix them with a hammer.
What art projects do you have up your sleeve this year?
I just finished the photographs for the photography art cart at the MIA, so I’m in full19th century photo mode. I’m going to finish my darkroom (not an art project, but a project to make more art), go tinier with tintypes and perhaps go mobile. I want to work on perfecting making glass negatives.
I’m also organizing Constellation and the Twin Cities Zinefest again this year.
What are some of your favorite historic spots in St. Paul?
Ohhhhhh. The West Side houses. The Original Coney Island. Irvine Park. The theater in the Czech Hall. The Spot Bar. The Schmidt Brewery, All the buildings that weren’t knocked down. Wabasha Street Caves. That weird old power plant thing on Randolph near the river. I could keep going. I love St. Paul.
This month’s History Happy Hour happens on Thursday, April 26th from 5:30-7:30pm at the Alexander Ramsey House.
Tickets are $20 or $16 for MNHS members (snacks and two drink tickets are included with admission). Pre-purchase tickets are required.
For more info and to purchase tickets click HERE.