Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New things are happening

This picture may not look like much to you, but what it represents to me is overwhelming.

Several months ago I was taught how to make wet plates. This is a process that was used mainly in the 1850s and 60s. It's basically creating your own film on a surface, like glass for example (what I've used so far), and making it light sensitive to make a photograph. In the end it can be a negative or a positive.

When I learned the process I made a couple alright plates. Enough to get the idea. Over the next few months I gradually collected what I would need to do this on my own with a lot of help from xmas and a tax return. When everything came together and I started making photos they didn't come out quite great. I had a strange looking fog on every one. It's a tricky process and every little thing can cause issues or just variations. I spent several days troubleshooting all different aspects of the process to come up with a clean plate. For the most part I remained positive and still excited to be learning more about it. Eventually however, as my options began to dwindle I felt more discouraged and generally bummed out. I took a break and tried again. Things started to turn around and I had some success. I'm not sure I can express how that felt. Relief is probably the best word but it doesn't seem to capture the immensity. Sadness gave way to hopefulness and I could feel the bad juju fall away from me.

This photo is the first one I've made on my own with my darkroom and the chemicals that I mixed myself that turned out OK. It's by no means great, but it's not bad. It's a starting point for things to come.