THE LIGHT AT LACOCK, Sun Sketches at the Twilight of Photography
You're invited to our Exhibit Closing Reception & Lecture
this Saturday, October 30, 2010 - 2-4 pm
at Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts, Binghamton, NY
In August, Mark and I made paper negatives at Lacock Abbey (England) using small wooden cameras which Mark made. They are identical in design to those used by Talbot for his first experiments. A small hole in the front of each camera allowed viewing and focusing the projected image directly upon the sensitive paper within. Like viewing celestial scenes with a reflection telescope, the technique involved aiming the camera over the shoulder to reveal the subject behind.
We sensitized small sheets of paper with silver nitrate and table salt and fitted them into eight small cameras. Then, as a trapper sets a trap line, we nestled our little cameras into nooks and crannies, inside, outside and all over the abbey grounds. If we had strong sun and an architectural scene, the paper required about two hourís exposure to form a strong negative image. Natural subjects such as trees and distant landscapes typically needed much more. An entire day of exposure was necessary to form images of anything on cloudy or rainy days.
At the end of the day, we retraced our steps and gathered up the cameras hoping none had been disturbed. Then, back at the barn we opened up our cameras. Like cleaving geodes we were amazed by the gift of the fully formed negatives within; like water colors sketched by the sun.