1st Edition

Primitive Photography A Guide to Making Cameras, Lenses, and Calotypes

By Alan Greene Copyright 2002
    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    248 Pages
    by Routledge

    Primitive Photography considers the hand-made photographic process in its entirety, showing the reader how to make box-cameras, lenses, paper negatives and salt prints, using inexpensive tools and materials found in most hardware and art-supply stores. Step-by-step procedures are presented alongside theoretical explanations and historical background. Streamlined calotype procedures are demonstrated, featuring different paper negative processes and overlooked, developing-out printing methods.

    Primitive Photography combines the simplicity of pinhole photography, the handmade quality of alternative processes, and the precision of large-format. For those seeking alternatives to commercially prepared material as well as digital photography, it provides the instructions for creating the entire photographic process from the ground up. Given its scope and treatment of the photographic process as a whole, this may be the first book of its kind to appear in over a century.

    Introduction: Technological Innovation and Planned Obsolescence; The Structure and Use of this Book; Safety Considerations

    1 The Film Holder and Focusing Screen: Tools and Materials Needed; Historical and Customized Formats; Format Sizes and Focal Lengths; The Film Holder; The Focusing Screen; Suggested Reading

    2 The Camera Body: Tools and Materials Needed; Surveying Mid-Nineteenth Century Models; Camera Movements; The Box-Camera; The Platform Base and Tripod; Suggested Reading

    3 The Lens: Tools and Materials Needed; Lens Types; Focal Lengths, Stops, and Transmittance Factors; Simple Lenses; Combined Lenses; Compound Lenses; Lens Problems Suggested Reading

    4 The Calotype Paper Negative Process: Tools, Materials, and Chemicals Needed; Selection of Paper; Sizing and Sensitizing Considerations; Original Paper Processes; Wet-Paper and Portrait Processes; Waxing Negatives; The Waxed-Paper Process; Suggested Reading

    5 The Calotype Salt Print Positive: Tools, Materials, and Chemicals Needed; Selection of Paper; Sizing and Sensitizing Considerations; Printing-Out Processes; Developing-Out Processes; Fixing and Toning; Suggested Reading

    Appendices: Adapting Equipment for Contemporary Cameras, Films, and Papers; Designing a Guillotine Shutter for Fast Film

    Sources of Supplies



    Alan Greene

    "for those who want a break from today's high-tech photography by returning to the most basic methods of photography using inexpensive materials and methods." - Photo District News