East Street, 1974

Dig these pages from Henry Wilhelm’s thorough and information-packed pamphlet from the early 1970s.

Pinhole Day Is Coming

We’ve demonstrated a number of times how quick and how easy it can be to make a pinhole camera; we’ve also seen examples of how specialized a camera can be designed. Now is the time to do it for World Wide Pinhole Photography Day.




There are endless links to resources, from Kodak to artists to enthusiast groups to youtube tutorials. Dig in! Here are a few examples from the Huge School.







Processing a go-go!

No darkroom? No problem!

“I had pretty much given up on shooting black & white real Infrared film some years ago when the local photo lab stopped hand processing… but this first test batch with the Ilford USA lab and the related scans are suburb [sic] and free of any debris or dust. It makes me wish I had a darkroom still to go hand-print & enlarge them myself…”


The Lisbon Negatives

We visited the great city of Lisbon last year. Whilst meandering we met a cohort of gentlemen in a park, fixin’ to spark a doob or two. I worked the crowd (neither for a hit, nor was one offered) and we all got along very well. Maybe you’ve seen the group shot, with minha mulher, in the header rotation. (Keep refreshing and you’ll see it. Eventually.)

When we returned we moved on to other pressing issues–like, oh, preparing to retire. I developed the film in April. The first roll looked a tad dense so I made scientific and intuitive adjustments as I worked. Hmm, they looked more than a tad contrasty as well. I realized that I had been using a poorly labeled (by moi) bottle of print developer, rather than developer for film. Talk about your teachable moments: I laid out my technical incompetency for all the students to experience as a destabilizing dose of schadenfreude. These dense, grainy, contrasty negatives are destined for the Sabatier-style printing; stay tuned.

By Request: A Home Darkroom

Somebody asked if they could visit/tour the home darkroom. There isn’t room for a visitor, much less the class, but it’s important to know that it’s entirely possible to set up at home. This one is neither a custom cave nor a hellhole; economize wherever you can, and spend for quality where it counts.


Here’s everything: books, chemicals, scale, bulbs, film holders, tape.


I process from right to left (not that it matters). Developer, stop, fix, holding bath, all propped up on boxes in order better to see what’s… developing.




Some storage, including a tripod case, developer heating pad (and a helmet).


A Beseler 23C. At top height with an 80mm lens, a 35mm negative generates an 8×12″ enlargement.


The enlarger base is an old television cabinet.



Behold: thousands upon thousands of negatives.


One of several print storage archives.


The print washer, propped upon a milk carton, and a drawer of miscellaneous tools.

Daily Rituals

“Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.” –Chuck Close

In Mason Currey’s wonderful new book “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” I looked for people whose day started as early as mine (I have found a way to arise reliably at 3:30). None’s quite did, but some came close.

Before 6:00 (as early as 4:00):

Anthony Trollope–5:30 at desk

Ernest Hemingway–5:30 (first light)

Haruki Murakami–4:00


Margaret Mead–5:00

Jonathan Edwards–4:00 or 5:00

Immanuel Kant–5:00

John Cheever–5:00


George Balanchine–before 6:00

Edith Sitwell–5:30-6:00


John Milton–4:00 (5:00 in winter)

Franz Liszt–4:00


N. C. Wyeth–5:00

Oliver Sacks–5:00

My own strategy has been this, from time to time: I doze off at 8:30 or so, then resurrect at 11:30 with an espresso. I can print with mental clarity from midnight to 2:00, accompanied by the all-night jazz radio show. The prints wash on a trickle until I re-resurrect (by 4:00) for the school day. When there’s a believable deadline, it works. For me.

UPDATE: Ms. Markoe has discovered on her own the benefits of the early hours: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/18/how-i-stopped-procrastinating/

Pinhole Work From The Digital Newbs











Boxes, Sperry and maduro, converted to cameras in twenty minutes; darkroom paper negatives shopped/inverted: the entire spectrum of the history of photography.

No kidding.


This is from Pring’s Photographer’s Miscellany: Stories, Techniques, Tips & Trivia (page… um… 88).



Dermal Aspects Of Emulsion

“We spend billons on skin care each year and know much about it. Why not consider film the same way?”


Legacy Gear


“Ralph Gibson uses Andreas Feininger’s tray, Abe Frajndlich uses Minor White’s, and John Coplans’ tray is used by Amanda Means. The tradition of darkroom printing carries on, regardless of the arguments surrounding it and its supposed demise.”


I inherited an armload of items from Mrs. D.’s uncle, and I have a precious one-of-a-kind film drying…device… from Eileen Weber. On occasion, when donations to the Huge School darkroom arrive, we see fit to bequeath sundry pieces to diehard devotos who’ll give ’em a good home.

Richard Learoyd used a 19th century lens loaned to him from a portrait camera in Thomas Joshua Cooper’s office at the Glasgow School of Art.


Garry Winogrand’s Leica. http://www.cameraquest.com/LeicaM4G.htm

Somebody has Joel Peter Witkin’s enlarger. http://www.photoeye.com/auctions/citation.cfm?id=1