Beyond original - unique

at the beach with a camera obscura

at the beach with a camera obscura

Changing cubicles on beaches like this were en vogue in the 19th century. Decades before the photographic process was invented. So we nowadays have no real images dating back to that time. Beach life and no photos, hard to believe .

How to get closer to a subject like this? The idea was to create a unique specimen, a one of a kind work of art. In a process as close as possible to the more than limited possibilities of that past.

A sheet of regular black and white photographic paper (RC) was loaded into my Camera obscura. Format size is 8x10 inches. Exposure time 35 minutes. No tripod with me when strolling around for hours at the beach, the Camera obscura with its almost 0.5 mm hole size diameter had to be balanced and sheltered in the dunes.

ASA/ISO of the paper is a sleek 6 and during the long exposure time there was sun and rain and wind and sniffing dogs and everything. You name it.

My goal was the one final print ex Camera. No negative, no lab, no enlarger. Right on site of exposure, close to the promenade, I reverse developed the exposed paper in a Jobo drum using the paper reversal kit of Klaus Wehner. What I got is what you see. A unique positive with no negative. No second print, nowhere.

One annoying obstacle had to be faced to get an image that is again correct when it comes to left and right. A mirror inside the camera solved the problem. Have a closer look on the left wall of the booth: “1812”, all fine.

Due to the mirror, the camera’s picture angle is the same as that of a 35 mm lens for Leica format (or full frame format). Aperture around 500 is fixed and different from any 35 mm lens on this planet, tell you what.

A day at the beach ended with an image of times long gone by.