Liberty Trudges Through Injustice

A Wet Plate Collodion Collaboration in Bismarck, North Dakota

July 21st, 2018



"Liberty Trudges Through Injustice", a Tableaux Vivant, a wet plate collaboration, July 21st, 2018. This collaboration was inspired by the painting at the Louvre "Liberty Leading the People" by Eugène Delacroix.  This wet plate shoot could not have come at a more poignant time in this nation's history. 

Fifty-three collaborators came together for no other reason than to create this image together. This wet plate could not come at a more poignant time in our nation's history. Lady Liberty and all that she stands for and represents is in peril. We must come together and overcome all challenges to our freedom and the principles that this country was founded on. I want to thank each and every person that contributed to this fabulous adventure. I am so blessed to be on this creative path with all of you.

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

Carl Zeiss Tessar 300mm lens, Alessandro Gibellini studio camera, f11, 2 seconds of exposure, 8x10" black glass ambrotype in the historic wet plate process of pure silver on glass.



Just as our Lady Liberty left the dressing room, on her walk to the set.  Sabrina Hornung has always supported my work and has been my muse many times over the years.  This felt different, this felt important and it certainly felt symbolic.  No role is more important that the role of liberty, justice, kindess and tolerance.  I was giving her a hug before she went to war against the evils of the world.


Shane Balkowitsch, Resident Ambrotypist 

PS: I also want to thank Doug Hanson and James Kyle for traveling hundreds of miles from out of state to be a part of this collaboration.  Having Doug by wet plate brother and fellow large format photographer James Kyle by my side was very rewarding. 


Synopsis from Wikipedia:

Liberty Leading the People (French: La Liberté guidant le peuple [la libɛʁte ɡidɑ̃ lə pœpl]) is a painting by Eugène Delacroix commemorating the July Revolution of 1830, which toppled King Charles X of France. A woman personifying the concept and the Goddess of Liberty leads the people forward over a barricade and the bodies of the fallen, holding the flag of the French Revolution – the tricolour flag, which remains France's national flag – in one hand and brandishing a bayonetted musket with the other. The figure of Liberty is also viewed as a symbol of France and the French Republic known as Marianne.

By the time Delacroix painted Liberty Leading the People, he was already the acknowledged leader of the Romantic school in French painting.[2] Delacroix, who was born as the Age of Enlightenment was giving way to the ideas and style of romanticism, rejected the emphasis on precise drawing that characterised the academic art of his time, and instead gave a new prominence to freely brushed colour.

Delacroix painted his work in the autumn of 1830. In a letter to his brother dated 21 October, he wrote: "My bad mood is vanishing thanks to hard work. I’ve embarked on a modern subject—a barricade. And if I haven’t fought for my country at least I’ll paint for her." The painting was first exhibited at the official Salon of 1831.

ND Artist Creates Lourve-Inspired Piece,  KFYR, July 21st, 2018

The Unveiling of Liberty Trudges Through Injustice, Large Art Installation,  KXNET, May 3rd, 2019

Liberty Leads the Way Recreation in Bismarck, KFYR, May 5th, 2019

Colorized Scan from Original Wet Plate Scan of "Liberty Trudges Through Injustice" by ColouriseSG





Liberty Trudges Through Injustice via the digital lens of Chad Nodland

Liberty Trudges Through Injustice Installation at Night - The Capital Gallery, Bismarck
















BELOW DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHS by Jenna Botner of Glasser Images


Other Wet Plates from our time Together with Lady Liberty

"The Guardians of Lady Liberty"

"Call to Arms"

"The Divided Nation"



A Wet Plate Collaboration

July 21st, 2018

Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio

Bismarck, North Dakota


Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio, Shane Balkowitsch, Ambrotypist



Cast:                        Support Staff:

Sabrina Hornung (Liberty)                Marek Dojs, Director

Easton Freidt (Patriotic Boy)            Michele Oster Renner, Wardrobe

Greyson Balkowitsch (Body)               Tom Wirtz, Assistant w/ Camera

Rachel Praus (Woman Bowing)              Moira McNichols, Liberty Styling

Andrea Andie Haman                       Doug Hanson, Ambrotype Consultant

Rissa Williams                           Jason Lueder, Master Carpenter

Richard Loewen (Man w/ Sword)            Nolan Johnson, Videographer

Lance Loken                              Andrea Heidrich, Hair       

Eden Jackson (Soldier)                   Jenna Botner, Set Assistant                

Kevin Tengesdal (Face Down)              Chad Nodland, Photography 

John LaLonde                             Paul Noot, Backdrop Artist

Derek Harper (Downed Officer)            Marcus Johnson, Photography

Josh Knudsen Aleson                      Louis Ronald Zurn, Photography

Rob Sandness                             Pat Toepke, Prop Master

Adam Steen                               Dustin White, Writer & Poet

Laura Barker                             Melanie Kuntz Malsam, Make-up

Jessica Gustafson                        Nika Ostby, Wet Plate Apprentice

Steve Schirber (Blunderbuss)             Kyla Meadows, Make-up

James Kyle (Weapons Master)              Emily Brandt, Backdrop Manager   

Abby Balkowitsch                         Angie Pember Brockey, Flag Design

Mitchell Cottew                          Joe Gartner, Smoke Special Effects

Lacy Perkins                             Kevin Kirkey, Historic Props

Kithe Malsam                             Ivy Brown Jacobson, Hair

Jacek Dojs                  

Maja Dojs                   

Tony Fladeland (Flute Player)                                                                                 


Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, Props, Kevin Kirkey

Bismarck Historical Society, Mike LaLonde

State Historical Society of ND, Emily Ergen & Lindsay Schott

Bismarck Downtown Artist Cooperative (BDAC), Paul Noot


"Liberty Trudges Through Injustice"

June 11th, 2018

A beacon enlightening the world,
A torch revealing injustice,
A word oft upon our lips,
Yet ignored for those most in need.

The concept of liberty,
In which we hold so dear,
An inalienable right,
For those born just precise.

We strive to be kind,
We strive for peace,
But our times are trying,
As the hate continues to rise.

Thus we make an attempt,
Coming together as one,
To be the change we need,
Defining our own generation.

So crafting a statement,
For the world to see,
A hope begins to build,
That a difference is made.

With silver upon glass,
An image comes to life,
Inspired by masters,
Whom it will someday join.

And so the torch will burn,
Passed down through time,
Spreading the love,
Keeping it alive.


Contact Information:
Shane Balkowitsch, Ambrotypist
Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio
2703 Big Sky Circle
Bismarck, ND 58503
(701)426-7630 Phone

Copyright Note: All referenced photographs, images and logos provided above are for informational purposes only and they are the property of their respective owners.  Chad Nodland, Tom Wirtz, Jenna Botner, Mitchell Cottew, Marcus Johnson and Louis Zurn were photographers kind enough to bring their cameras to Liberty Trudges Through Injustice and provide images as part of the collaboration.