Blip.018: Really Large Format
And you thought 8X10 was big.
For the last several years, I’ve been wanting to try my hand at wet plate photography. I’ve always found it fascinating but I think my interest in it was piqued with the Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings show at the National Gallery, which I went through more than a half-dozen times. As much as I love all of her work, her wet plate photos resonate with me in a different and maybe even deeper way than the work in Immediate Family, for example. Not only do I love the aesthetic of wet plate, I think I would love the process. My grandfather introduced me to a chemical photographic darkroom just before my freshman year in high school and the experience of those initial sessions are still as magical in my memory now as they were in the summer of 1980.
In doing research around cameras and lenses, I happened across an article about Bill Hao, a photographer in Vancouver who spent two years designing and building a massive 32″×48″ wet plate camera. If that wasn’t enough, he also spent eight months converting a Prevost bus (like the ones rock stars use on tour) into his mobile darkroom. Seeing Bill’s work at this scale is stunning and definitely worth a follow on Instagram if you enjoy this type of photography as much as I do.
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