The Photograph Explained: Waratah 2 by Lynette Zeeng
Coming from a commercial background I tend to set up still life images in the studio, so preplanning is most important to my images. Using large format cameras is part of that, as it requires pre-visualisation of the image.
In a lot of previous work I have used my 8 x 10 camera with a +2 or +3 close up filter on the f64 lens as it involved getting “up close and personal” with my images. For this I have added an extra rod to my Arca so that I can extend the bellows sufficiently. I have done many images with Polaroid 8 x 10 for Transfers and Lift off using this technique. With the demise of Polaroid I am moving on to other areas using large format.
At present, I am working on my PhD that is about one-off processes through photographic history, such as Daguerreotype, Tintype, Cyanotype and continuing my work with Polaroid and the Impossible film stocks. My research involves learning the processes in order to understand them, how they were done originally and how we might adapt them by employing modern technology but most importantly, maintaining the preciousness of one-off.
As most of these processes involved the use of large format cameras then it is an obvious step in preserving the original aim of the inventor and user of the processes to keep to these cameras. At the moment I am working on a series of Tintype using the 4 x 5. I haven’t mastered the technique sufficiently to commit to 8 x 10 but I hope to attempt this very soon. I am in the middle of a series entitled “pattern remnants” which involves combining flora with knitting and sewing artefacts. I have, This series has been a very enjoyable, going through my “left overs” from knitting and sewing, bits of scrap, building ideas in my head then putting them in the toolbox for later, thinking of ways to combine them with things like gumnuts, grevillea’s and bird of paradise plants.
I have always loved waratahs and crotchet cotton seemed to combine with this image nicely. I needed something to show of the texture of the Waratah but not as heavy so the cotton balls seemed perfect mix. I have hand coloured some tintypes in this series but preferred the original result in this one. The edging caused by the way I have poured the chemicals is what I love about this process although in the printed form you miss seeing the quality of the original tintype.
I enjoy the large format because it makes me really consider the image. It takes more time and effort than a quick digital “click.” I tend to consider what is in front of the camera more, creating something more unique.