Some Assembly Required: Ed Low

This series focuses on those who take the making of pictures a step or two further, creating their own photographic tools.

Martin, wet plate collidion, made with gazebo camera

Martin, wet plate collidion, made with gazebo camera

Ed Low, Bath, England

Enchanted by large, room-sized obscuras, Ed Low wanted to add portability to his original room obscura, and be able to fix permanent images. Using a garden gazebo frame for its collapsibility, Low began to construct a room obscura-sized wet plate collodion camera. The walls are formed by hydroponic grow tent plastic sheeting, a material that is commonly used to grow tropical plants and is lightproof. Using a strong polymer tape, Low attached several panels of the sheeting to the gazebo frame.

Darkroom inside of the camera.

Darkroom inside of the camera.

The lens is a 480mm Apo Nikkor, mounted onto a tripod and taped into the tent itself. When wide open, the lens allows for an image size over six feet tall through at present, 20 x 24” ambrotypes are the largest plates that Low has successfully made. The entire exposure process takes place inside the camera. Low has sewn in a zipper with a light-trap to move in and out of the camera without disrupting the exposures. Darkroom trays are used to sensitize the plates while still inside of the camera, and the plates are exposed while resting on a modified artist’s easel.

Recently, Low has used the camera to photograph portraits of the Brothers at a British Monastery.

Gazebo tent camera on location.

Gazebo tent camera on location.

View more of Low’s work on his website.

Have you made or modified your own photographic equipment? Let us know at

News Recap: September 19, 2014

Fortnightly recap of art world news.

©Newsha Tavakolia

©Newsha Tavakolia

Prix Carmignac Winner Returns $64,600 in Prize Money
“When [Newsha Tavakolian]  won a 50,000-euro photojournalism prize from a French foundation started by the investment banker Edouard Carmignac, she thought she had the money, time and freedom to explore the lives of this so-called Burnt Generation. She passed up assignments and embarked on this personal project, spending the first part of this year making scores of portraits, landscapes and documentary images about these young adults, which she eagerly looked forward to exhibiting and publishing in a book. Not anymore. She has instead walked away from the prestigious prize after what she considered repeated interference from Mr. Carmignac…” —David Gonzalez
Read the full story (New York Times Lens Blog)

East Wing, Dubai

East Wing, Dubai

Dubai Opens New Exhibition Space for Photography
“East Wing,is a unique center for photography, originally founded in Doha, Qatar in 2012.  The organization launched a new gallery space in Dubai, UAE this past March. Working both within the region and internationally, the aim of East Wing is to open new dialogues through photography, with a programme focused on curating and commissioning contemporary photographic projects of global importance.” —L’Oeil de Photographie
Read the full story (The Eye of Photography)

Photoville Is Here, Free, and Open to the Public
“Housed inside (and out) of repurposed shipping containers, Photoville 2014 will present more than 50 photo exhibitions & outdoor installations in partnership with a carefully selected group of programming partners from around the globe. Addressing a wide range of issues, Photoville is a unique venue for photographers and audiences to connect through the power of visual storytelling.”
Read the full list of events (Photoville)

Crowd-funding Roundup: Newscape Center for Photography

Crowd funding is becoming increasingly popular among creatives. With more sites springing up and more artists asking for funds, Don’t Take Pictures presents a monthly roundup of some projects we find exciting. 

This month’s crowd-funding roundup presents exciting expansion plans for a community photo center.

Newspace Curatorial Program 

Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, Oregon is an educational and cultural nonprofit. Founded in 2002, Newspace has produced many exhibitions, lectures, classes, and opened its photo facilities to the public. In 2011 the center completed an expansion that doubled their space. Now, they are looking for your help to expand not just their footprint, but also their programming.

Newspace is looking to raise $25,000 to cover associated costs of finding a full time exhibition and lecture curator for a two-year contract, including interview travel, and also to compensate guest speakers in the program. This is not a salary, rather it is a “kick-start” to a long-term curatorial program that will, hopefully, encourage membership and class attendance to sustain the position.  The best rewards start at the $50 donation range and include a free submission to a juried show, memberships, and some fabulous prints by outstanding photographers.

Until recently, the Founding and Executive Directors have handled the center’s programming. With the upcoming departure of Founding Director Chris Bennett coinciding with the larger space to manage, the time is right for a full time curator.

Read more about the position on their Kickstarter page.

There are 22 days remaining to fund this project.


Do you know of a crowd-funding project that benefits the art community? Let us know at

Rule Breakers: William Farges

“I never want to see another picture of ________.” Industry veterans share their pet peeves on themes in contemporary photography. In this series they present their “rule” along with five photographs that break the rule in an effort to show that great work is the exception to the rule.

Rule Setter: W.G. Beecher, DTP Editor
Rule Breaker: William Farges

I never want to see another photo-shopped mirroring effect. I have nothing against the clever use of mirrors themselves, but rather the post-production effect that reflects half the image onto itself. Mirroring presents a fun way to make strange faces and disorient otherwise recognizable objects, but it often fails to be taken seriously. Aside from the naturally striking qualities of perfect symmetry, mirrored images often present little more than simple abstractions. Symmetry of lines and color are not enough to sustain my interest.

William Farges presents something more in his series White Line. Farges uses the mirror technique with segments of the human bodies to form bizarre fleshy forms. The human body is essentially symmetrical, and Farges plays on that idea, yet the work succeeds because he transforms the human body without obliterating it. It’s flesh, sure, but it’s also sculptural, with soft curves and unity of form.

Where most images that use mirroring destroy the sense of space in the image, White Line places these forms on a pedestal before a bare wall, inviting us to investigate the distorted body as an object rather than an abstraction. This allows the disorientation to arise strictly from the semi-human form created by the diptych. Farges goes beyond the effect itself in another way as well: some of the diptychs are not true mirrors. Combining two separate photographs into the same image, demarcated by the white line, Farges challenges the idea of true symmetry and its role in nature. By making a new form from the posed human body, Farges invites us to examine its curves, folds, and hair as recognizable parts of an alien something else, and not as the human form itself.

—W.G. Beecher