Mark Tucker : Journal

WetPlate: Two Steps Forward; One Back

Posted in WetPlate by marktucker on August 30, 2012

We’ve had a few exciting and disappointing days this week. The upside: a radically new, well-built version of the Large Plate Camera, and we’re getting very close to a finished DarkBox in the Van, for shooting on location, and we have a new, freshly-painted studio in the basement for the 8×10 Sinar. The downside: I had this dream of coating, painting, and varnishing found objects, and then coating them with collodion, but today, we got only frustration and disappointment. But tomorrow is a new day.

[Update: Tonight received a note from S Gayle Stevens recommending use of Asphaltum, instead of paint. I met Gayle in New Orleans last fall at PhotoNOLA; an excellent artist, teacher, and photographer. So there is hope! Also tonight at dinner, I realized that I have to be grateful for days even like today. In the end, we did learn a lot.]

“Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.” – John Cage

Also, I take consolation that I’m not making daguerreotypes, since that seems to be much more challenging than collodion. Here’s a new video of master Jerry Spagnoli, preparing a daguerreotype.

A test with Derrick Hood, Master Builder and Designer, this week, in the new basement studio. This with the old Petzval lens on 8×10 black metal.

This is the image we were trying to rephotograph onto the Magnolia leaves, and the painted metal objects. But we got nothing. This image is straight collodion, onto black metal 8×10, the traditional approach.

One of the painted magnolia leaves, from Sevier Park. Painted black, and then polyurethaned, to seal it, and then coated with collodion, and an image projected onto this leaf. You can see the collodion and the silver, but no image.

I spent Wednesday in junk stores and Hailey Salvage, buying any metal pieces I could find, to coat with collodion. This is a serving tray, painted black by us, and then coated with collodion. Image projected onto the tray, but no image ever came up. You can see where the collodion reacted with the black paint. Frustrating.

Some of the painted and sealed objects, that we hoped to project images onto. They are in the wings now, waiting for their chance.

Painting table in the back yard. Everything painted black and sealed.

Radically upgraded Large Plate Camera, in my basement, ready to take on some new large plates, once I work up the courage.

Funny picture of Hailey Salvage, on Dickerson Road. This is the Mecca of Junk. Anything you want — rusty and funky — just go there. Above is their Toilet Department.

Current status of the DarkBox in the rear of my Van. It’s coming along slowly. Finally to be able to shoot on location.

Newly painted floor in shooting area, for the Sinar camera and the collodion. (No more leaving the black silver trail, as we go up the steps to shoot).

4 Responses

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  1. Ted Mishima said, on August 30, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    The darkroom box for the van is looking good!

  2. Julie said, on August 30, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    It’s a shame all that work trying to transfer images didn’t work out, but I sure like that magnolia leaf as is.

  3. [...] but today, we got only frustration and disappointment. But tomorrow is a new day. – Mark Tucker continues his fascinating exploration of wet plate photography. I’m so thrilled he’s sharing all these [...]

  4. Virgile said, on September 1, 2012 at 3:59 am

    Impressive experiments – love the energy and enthusiasm that you put in all things.


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