A year ago, I wouldn’t have imagined writing a post like this…
I’m now very close to making wet plates under my own steam and very excited about it too. It’s taken months of planning, research and patient gathering of the necessary paraphernalia.
I’ve got a beautiful camera lined up — a mahogany, brass-bound Thornton & Pickard half plate camera made around 1905 — as well as a plethora of knick knacks, largely sourced by trawling the web, not least eBay.
I mentioned in my last post that my mind is often whirring so, for years now, I’ve kept a detailed notebook for ideas and manifestation.
It’s a great way for me to release my mind of the burden of so much thinking — if you don’t keep a notebook yourself, I thoroughly recommend it!
If nothing else, it’s really satisfying to flick back through it and see the birth of new ideas that have since come to fruition.
Now, to make wet plates in the field, I’m going to need some kind of mobile darkroom facility. A bit like this but not quite like this:
Over time, I expect to create many incarnations of varying sizes ranging from boxes to vehicles. However, for now, I need something that’s suitable for half plate (4.75 x 6.5″).
Towards the start of the year, after seeing a Bastard Box in the superb Facebook Group, Collodion Bastards, I started thinking about ideas for my own darkbox.
Finally, this week, construction of the prototype is underway. I’ve never been too good at drawing, but I’ll share one of my sketches with you anyway so you can see how(ish) it will look…
Here are some basic specifications:
- 75 x 41 x 45cm;
- Plywood construction;
- White interior;
- Rubylith windows on three sides and in the lid;
- Dark sleeves in one of the long sides (adapted from an old changing bag);
- Polyethylene catch-all drip tray in the base;
- Interior LED strips behind Rubylith for added illumination when required.
Next up, photographs of the finished item. If you like what you see, I’m sure we’ll be happy to take commissions..!