Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln (attributed to at least) Even if being in lockdown doesn’t enable too much creative photography it allows for some axe sharpening ready for when we are free again. Today I took a picture of…Read More How big can you print?
Are you bored during lockdown? Are you speaking to neighbours more than you did before? Would you like to be part of an art project capturing a little piece of this unique time? In January my very special 8×10 inch Intrepid view camera arrived. It is new but of a kind that has been used…Read More Marchmont from 2 metres
The Argyrotype print process is a “modern” nineteeth century way of making silver prints on paper. It was created by Mike Ware in the early 1990’s [British Journal of Photography, 139, (6824), 17-19 (13 June 1991)]. Back in 1842, right at the start of photography, Sir John Herschel created a process based on iron and silver…Read More Argyrotype: First tests
Stills Gallery and photography centre in Edinburgh was planning to run a project called Elementary Blueprint where they sent out cyanotype papers for people to expose to the elements around Edinburgh and sent them back to make a single exhibit – like a blueprint of the city I guess. Then Covid-19 happened which put a…Read More Elementary Blueprint
During the Covid-19 lock down I’m messing with cyanotypes and want to have a go at Argyrotypes. These processes use contact negatives the same size as the finished print. The negatives need to have a long tonal range – be very contrasty. Many people produce such negatives using an inkjet printer and transparency film. This…Read More Negatives for alternative processes
With the family at home for the Covid-19 lock down there is no space to set up the darkroom and so little hope of analogue photography beyond developing film in the bath – but fortunately we still have cyanotype printing! Coating papers can be done on the kitchen table and developing in plain water in…Read More Cyanotype: A lockdown friendly print process.
Working with the wet plate collodion technique is something of a “lifestyle choice” in that it isn’t an activity you can just choose to do when you fancy it. For starters acquiring the equipment and minimal skills to get the process going can take months. Once you are up and running the chemistry starts to…Read More Virus Stops Play
I turned 55 on 28th February and we used that as an excuse to invite friends around on Sunday 1st March for an open house. This is something we only do once every five years or so. This time I set up what is basically a Victorian photo booth. I really wanted to practice making…Read More Wet Plate Party 2020
The winter months have been tough in terms of colds and flu-like illness that have kept me from walking all the days I’d wanted. Nothing particularly bad but enough that I’ve had to take care of my body and get the bus one way or the other across town. I continue to walk in the…Read More Marathon Monk: To 23rd March 2020 – 441 days & 2,646 mindful miles & into Covid-19 Lockdown
I attempted to make it to Braemar today to photograph the pinewoods – possibly in the snow. It was forecast to rain later but the rain came sooner and as snow. After two attempts I had to turn back. Ho hum. Try again another time.Read More Snow Stops Play
Very inspiring. Shintoism/animism is important to me but so lost in our Scottish culture where gods of nature seem to have been shrunk to faery folk. Somewhat disappointed by Nobuyuki’s desire for posterity. For me the power of the analogue image today is that it is potentially ephemeral. Also the fact that he has a…Read More Inspiration: Nobuyuki Kobayashi – Myriads of Gods
This is a really quick post about the new Stearman SP-810 developing tank because someone asked me my opinion. I must be one of the first to own it. I’m not going to talk through the tank as you can see what it is and what it does in this video. I’ve been using the…Read More Stearman SP-810: First Impressions
My first Salt Print (a la Fox Talbot). As usually I took the “bull at a gate” approach to something new. Google some Watch some YouTube Book from library and only read relevant bits Substitute what comes to hand for what is required. Go for it. Because I already do wet plate collodion I had…Read More First Salt Print
It’s been a patching three months. Been on a work trip for a week, a retreat and been ill but when I can I’ve still be doing the walk. Craving solitude just now. Not feeling like writing.Read More Marathon Monk: September-November 2019 – 399 days & 2,394 mindful miles
I went to a lecture on The Walking Dead (a TV series about zombie apocalypse living) and photography at Stills by David Grinly last week. It was heavy post modern, French philosopher type stuff but also entertaining. David expounded in a semi random fashion. When I left after two hours the discussion was still going…Read More From Zombies to Tattoos
Three little questions everyone can answer How many flights have you taken in the last year? How many days in the last week have you travelled by car? How many days in the last week have you eaten meat? Add the three numbers together. What was your total score? What will it be tomorrow? The…Read More How to be more radical and effective than XR.
Not much to say this month. Very crowded with the festival. Such a relief when the posters come down.Read More Marathon Monk: August 2019 – 358 days & 2,148 mindful miles
I made a disappointing ambrotype by pointing my half-plate, wet-plate camera out of the window. I was just doing a test shot to see how the collodion behaved. After two exposures it was still way over exposed/developed. But then this evening I held it up to the light and realised I’d made quite a nice…Read More Accidental Collodion Negative
When you’re shopping for a large format lens one of the first things you want to know is what the coverage is. Will it cover the format I’m working with and by how much? Having salvaged the Schneider Kreuznach Vintage Lens Data I found myself with a piece of A4 paper and a compass trying…Read More Vintage Lens Coverage Graphic
If, like me, you spend too much time and money on old large format lenses you may be frustrated that the data that used to be hosted on the Schneider Optics site has disappeared. The URL now redirects to https://schneiderkreuznach.com/ I’ve looked around but can only find the data on the Internet Archives Wayback Machine…Read More Schneider Kreuznach Vintage Lens Data
Breaking the 2,000 mile barrier. Lots of energy this month. First week on holiday in the Lake district.Read More Marathon Monk: July 2019 – 340 days & 2,040 mindful miles
From 1913 to 1935 the German company Voigtländer manufactured a midrange plate camera called the Avus. This was before the standardisation of sheet film holders that came after WWII (I think). These cameras took 9x12cm film which was common in Europe and used by several other manufactures. The Avus was really well made. I remember…Read More Voigtländer Avus Upgrade
There is no doubt that making wet plate collodion photographs is a faff. I can make an image with my phone in just a few seconds. Setting up the darkroom, making a wet plate photo then packing everything away again is measured in hours. When we principally consume images on small screens the whole wet…Read More Wet plate collodion: Why bother?
Another two months down. I lost more than ten days to a retreat and a little illness in May. In June I was in Germany for a week and had a couple of offsite meetings. I passed the two year mark on the solstice. I’m way off two hundred days per year but close to…Read More Marathon Monk: May & June 2019 – 323 days & 1,938 mindful miles
“Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution.” Susan Sontag 1977 It is worth dwelling on the date of the Susan Sontag quote. This was long before…Read More An aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted
April was more like a ‘normal’ month. I’ve started to feel like I’m in the swing of it again and slowly sinking the well of my practice. May is going to be a busy month. I’m running my regular workshops at the botanics as well as helping out on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in George…Read More Marathon Monk: April 2019 – 301 days & 1,806 mindful miles
It was nice to have my photos used in the Food Forever exhibition that has just opened at the botanics.Read More Food Forever
Three months to do one months worth of walking. What a start to the year! January walking didn’t start till 7th because of the way the New Year holiday fell. I walked normally for a week and a half but then came down with a horrible cold. I think it was the one that many…Read More Marathon Monk: January to March 2019 – 281 days & 1,686 mindful miles
We don’t have a TV licence. We have Amazon Prime and Netflix and YouTube and hundreds of DVDs so just don’t watch BBC TV programming enough to justify £150 a year. To be clear you need a TV licence to watch live broadcast programmes in the UK from any channel and you need it to…Read More Scots rejecting BBC up 49% since 2014
Oh great joy – I’ve spent ages researching this and at last I’ve made my first wet plate collodion image! I tried to do a course last year which was unfortunately cancelled but as I was fantasy shopping for wet plate kit I came across someone selling “everything” on eBay. It included a silver tank,…Read More First Plate Euphoria