The eleven by fourteens

February 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is the home of Helen Davis in Pass Christian, Mississippi. It is Gayle’s gulf coast home away from home. Her gulf coast darkroom is on the ground level. That is where the photographic extravaganzas begin.

Helen Davis is not only a green-thumb gardener; she allows the floral mix to reseed from the prior year’s botanical bonanza.  I had no clue that the flowers would pop out the way they did in the images.

Our partner in all things creative, and anything that requires a tall person, is Barney Adams.  He’s a problem-solver, offers valued artistic advice, delivers beer, and keeps the prosecco cold.  He is a local celebrity for his works of art in clay, and is a damn fine teacher for newbies who have never ever thrown a pot on a wheel.

We chose Helen’s house as our subject simply because we wanted to stay close to the darkroom.  We didn’t know how long it would take to expose the plate or how many plates it would take to get a proper image, or if we would at all.

I’d built the 11×14 camera to accommodate a cut-film holder.  It wasn’t a very good companion for aluminum plates coated with a collodion emulsion.  We pretty much cobbled together a back / plate-holder mechanism with gaffer’s tape, shock cord, pine, glue, and black spray paint.

It took a few tries to get things right.  The wind was an issue so we had to put a brick on top of the camera.  We under-exposed.  We over-exposed.

And then we nailed it.

Oh yea, and Barney’s also really good at deciphering things when we’re jumping up and down and hi-fiving and hollering, “get the prosecco outta the freezer!!”


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