Some Assembly Required: Becky Ramotowski

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

Castle Valley

Castle Valley

Becky Ramotowski, Tijeras, NM

Becky Ramotowski builds unusual cameras to record the movements of the sun. The resulting imagery is a surreal form of photography that she has dubbed “solargraphs.” For these long exposure times, some as long as six months, the cameras must be able to endure the elements.

Most of the cameras Ramotowski constructs for solargraphs are made from empty plastic 35mm cans. The black cans with grey lids are naturally light-tight and of a durable plastic material to withstand weather. The pinhole on the front is .009” (which equals and f-stop of roughly f/139) and has an angle of view of almost 90 degrees. This wide angle is a necessity for the wide arc made by the sun as it travels. Traditional black and white photo paper is adhered to the inside of the camera for exposure. The resulting negative image, never chemically developed, is scanned and inverted into a positive.

The photograph above depicts the movement of the Winter Solstice sun for nine days. The sun, low in the sky at that time of year, makes for a shorter arc. 

 

35mm can camera attached to a tree.

35mm can camera attached to a tree.

View more of Ramotowski’s work on her website.

Have you made or modified your own photographic equipment? Let us know at info@donttakepictures.com.

News Recap: November 21, 2014

George Hackney/Ulster Museum

George Hackney/Ulster Museum

Newly Discovered Photographs of World War I
A recent BBC documentary, The Man Who Shot the Great War, tells the story of Lance Corporal George Hackney who illegally documented the war from locations on the Western Front. His photographs offer a new perspective on "The Great War."
Read the full story (BBC)

 
Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

New Whitney Museum Building Will Open in May
Whitney Museum director Adam D. Weinberg announced on Wednesday that the museum’s new building in Manhattan’s meatpacking district is scheduled to open on May 1, 2015. Designed by Renzo Piano, the new building at 99 Ganesvoort Street will have both indoor and outdoor galleries for twice the exhibition space of its previous location. The old Breuer building is slated to become a satellite of The Met for eight years starting in 2016.
Read the full story (New York Times)

 

U.S. Copyright Victory for Haitian Photographer
After a four-year fight over copyright infringement, Haitian photographer Daniel Morel has won his case. The suit involved eight photographs originally sent out over social media, and subsequently distributed to major news outlets. A New York jury found Agence France-Presse and Getty Images responsible for willfully infringing upon Morel’s copyright.
Read the full story (New York Times Lens Blog)

 
Render_Aerial_Day.jpg

The Smithsonian Plans $2 Billion Remodel
At 168 years old, The Smithsonian Institution is in need of an upgrade. For a mere $2 billion, it will upgrade its many museums and gardens. Renovations will take place from 2016-2036 and will include the revitalization of the Castle, the construction of a new green space, and many other restorations.
Read the full story (Hyperallergic)

Crowd-funding Roundup: The Reimagined 4x5 Camera

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 a new and affordable large format camera. 

The Intrepid 4x5 Camera

The large format camera holds an important place in photographic history. From the outset these large, heavy cameras were used to render photographs onto glass plates. Though camera technology has changed substantially since photography’s invention, the large format camera has continued to attract a new following of passionate photographers in search of creative freedom and large, detailed negatives. Despite its popularity, the cameras remain heavy and expensive. The folks at The Intrepid Camera Co. have redesigned the conventional 4x5 camera to create a simple to use, lightweight, and compact new product that may pave the way for new photographers to turn off their sensors and take a peek under the darkcloth.

Made from birch plywood and aluminum supports and hinges, the lightweight camera body rings in around 1.2kg. It remains compatible with standard film holders and tripod mounts, and it uses a 75-300mm lens in Linhof/Technika style and lens boards, but note that lenses are note included. Unlike its bulky predecessors, The Intrepid collapses down to 190mmx190mmx120mm for easy transport. For a bit of pizzazz, the bellows are available in black, blue, red, or green. 

The rewards are great at all levels, offering field notebooks for photographers on location, the camera itself with your choice of bellows colors and complete with a pinhole lens, and personalized engraving options. With more funding, Intrepid will be able to expand their product line to include 8x10 cameras and film holders.

Read more about The Intrepid Camera Co. on their Kickstarter page.

This is the last day to fund this project.

Do you know of a crowd-funding project that benefits the art community? Let us know at info@donttakepictures.com

Rule Breakers: Charles Rozier

“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: Hamidah Glasgow, Executive Director of The Center for Fine Art Photography
Rule Breaker: Charles Rozier

I never want to see another picture of a photographer’s family member staring blankly off into the distance. Yet, I am and have been, mesmerized by Charles Rozier’s image, “George, morning 2008.” This image sits above my desk at the office and on my bedroom wall at home. I can’t seem to get enough of George and his complex, lined, and thoughtful face. The random left over cereal in his bowl on the table in front of him leads the viewer to think that he has been sitting this way for a very long time. His grip on the coffee cup is steady and firm. The stacks of paper on the table in front of George suggest a sustained intellectual pursuit or perhaps a passionate musical affiliation. Either way, he is unaware of us and I suspect is comfortable in a world away from this one. Rozier’s series, House Music, is a prolonged study of a family and the ins and outs of family life. He has documented his family for 20+ years, allows us to experience the passage of time, the aging process, and for George, we experience the good and bad times. This series, which will eventually be a book, is much like being a part of this family and waiting for the reunion so that we can see how everyone is doing.

—Hamidah Glasgow

George, morning (2008)

George, morning (2008)

Anna (2009)

Anna (2009)

Harry, Helena, George (2009)

Harry, Helena, George (2009)

Molly, Anna (2012)

Molly, Anna (2012)

Anna, clips (2004)

Anna, clips (2004)