Vans (vehicles) converted for photographic use

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by dhosten, May 1, 2011.

  1. dhosten

    dhosten Member

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    In the old days Ansel Adams and others outfitted vans and trucks for photographic use, some going to far as turning vehicles into machines that could even function as darkrooms.

    Since then panel vans, step vans, and mini vans were invented, and some photogs customized their vehicles for photo travel, etc. I'm thinking of purchasing something like a Grumman Step Van and converting it for travel, film storage and portable dark room use (processing only).

    Has anyone tried this and documented it? I know the Aussies are quite ingenious in vehicle mods, as are Americans, so I figured this would be a great place to ask.
     
  2. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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  3. dhosten

    dhosten Member

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    I did find someone on Flickr, Grumman RV, who converted one to RV use with a sink and shower, so I got the idea of a van conversion for darkroom/travel use.

    [​IMG]

    If anyone has any ideas, or knows of anyone who has converted a van for photographic use and travel, I would be grateful for the information.
     
  4. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I just hope you'll use a tad different color scheme....
     
  5. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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  6. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    In the documentary on Sally Mann, "What Remains, the Life and work of Sally Mann" there are a few shots of her work truck/van she uses for her work, which the viewer sees and she speaks briefly about. There is as well a large number of shots of her home dark room.
     
  7. dhosten

    dhosten Member

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    That Schwab piece was useful. I'll have to track down the Sally Mann doc.... maybe they have it at the library.
     
  8. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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  9. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    I once read an article about a guy who converted a step-van into a giant-format pinhole camera! That's what I thought you were asking when I saw this thread title :smile:

    Duncan
     
  10. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    I have a 25' Winnebago I would be willing to part with for about $5,000 USD if you are interested. It runs great but I don't use it enough to justify owning it any longer.
     
  11. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    That gives some ideas!

    Jeff
     
  12. rorye

    rorye Subscriber

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  13. mjs

    mjs Member

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    Wet plate photographer Joe Smigiel converted an older Class C motorhome into a wet plate darkroom several years ago. Some of us took to calling it the Magic Bus but I haven't seen Joe for a couple of years. At one point I thought I saw a website with photos of the conversion, but I can't find it now and it may have just been a figment of my imagination...

    Mike
     
  14. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    Sally Mann was using a late 1990's vintage Jeep Grand Cherokee for her wet plate coating/developing. In addition to my teaching and fine art work, I am doing a lot more commercial work. I have been considering getting a Ford Transit since it can accommodate racks and shelving in the back.
     
  15. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    I thought the Transit would be a great vehicle for travel with cameras as well. It's economical and lots of room, but I need 4WD.
     
  16. puptent

    puptent Member

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    I think the major modification Ansel always made was to build a platform on top of the vehicle where he could set up his tripod. As for darkroom, a changing bag and a developing tank will take care of negatives, and then when you get home print 'em.
     
  17. kwall

    kwall Member

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    Ouch my eyes! That's just hideous