Workshop Preparations

Testing various papers in my homemade lumen camera


sonny rosenberg

5/23/20232 min read

In preparation for my upcoming DIY camera workshop I've been fairly assiduously testing a bunch of mostly expired papers on loan to me from the Holland Project, where I'll be teaching the workshop. The Holland Project is a very cool organization that puts on all sorts of events mostly for young people: concerts, art exhibits, workshops, you name it. They do tons of great things and I'm pretty thrilled to be teaching a workshop there.

The papers I've been testing are as follows: Kodak Multi Grade II, Kodake Multi Grade IV and Ilford Multi Grade IV, all in various degrees of expiration. The one I have yet to test is some newer Arista Edu Multi Grade.

I was surprised to get get some good results right off the bat, most notably with the Kodak IV. I normally tweak the color curves a bit or up the contrast as necessary, but the first shot presented here received almost no tweaking other than inverting the image. I very lightly boosted the contrast, but I could have easily gotten away without it and the curved tweaked version looked virtually identical to the untweaked photo.

The camera I'm using for this is probably one of my quirkiest cameras. It's a conventional (?) Cadobo cam, but fitted with a 50mm lens from Jorge Otero of Lumenbox fame. Because I built it with such a wide open aperture it has a very small area of focus in the center and everything even slightly off center is quite blurred.

I've also been soaking the paper in almost boiling water prior to loading in the camera, and it looks like the emulsion (which seems quite soft on these old Kodak papers) may be running a bit.

The papers from top to bottom by row are:

Row 1 Kodak IV:one hour and hour and a half exposures.

Row 2 Ilford IV: one and a half and two hour exposure under cloudy skies.

Rows 3 and 4: Kodak II with exposure times ranging from 35 minutes to an hour an fifty minutes.

Our foster daughter brought us some goodies from the Philippines yesterday, which included a bag of Teresa's "cookies" (surprisingly good little cakes of pressed powder) that come wrapped in colored gelatin. As I consume the cakes I'm washing and hang drying the gelatins to make filters for the Cadobo cams. This in keeping with the mostly recycled materials of the cameras.

Once I get the photo papers a little more sussed out, I'm excited to make and try the filters!