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.