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Whole Plate Portfolio Book

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Whole Plate Portfolio Book

Post  Whole Plate on 2009-07-23, 15:38

NEW BOOK PROPOSAL: "Contemporary Whole Plate Photography"

5th July 2008

Perhaps this is an ambitious and idealistic venture, however I thought I'd bring this idea up to ascertain if there is any interest in this proposal.

Would any whole plate photographers be interested in doing a world-wide collaboration on a book of whole plate images?

Returning to the whole plate format, I realise that the only whole plate images I know and love, are classic images from the last century. Unable to find any books on contemporary whole plate images, I wondered if the idea of a collection of whole plate contact prints from across the world would be either something, other whole plate photographers are interested in, or willing to contribute to?

My initial thoughts are, that this would be a voluntary self-publishing project for whole plate photographers, in order to disseminate and increase awareness of the whole plate format. Therefore it shares more in common with a vanity project with no expectation of rumuneration, with the cost of the book to be borne individually with a self-publisher.

I thought a book of at least 50 whole plate images from around the world would be appealing as a coffee book project or perhaps, closer to 100. The number of images per photographer would depend on how many photographers are interested. As with self-publishing, all photographers will need to authorise reproduction implicitly in agreeing to submit to the project with once off copyright reproduction permitted solely for the purpose of the publication. the alternative option, if a sufficient collective consensus from all the participants is present, would be to consider going for formal publication with a publishing house.

If any whole plate photographer is interested, please leave your details on the board or via email with a header entitled identically to the name of this page. There is no deadline since this is a project borne out of love for the whole plate format, however if an image quota makes a book project take off faster, it may be something that we proceed with the hope of finalising the set for publication for a completed draft pubication by the start of October 2008.

There would be some conditions/restrictions. I'm not sure if wet plates would be reproduced effectively in contrast to printed silver gelatins. In any case, the advent of the digital age has probably meant that scanning will be a part of the final workflow for the publisher. Therefore scanned wet plates might be possible and a whole plate project based on either contacts or scanned reproductions would be plausible?

Proposed Guidlines:

1. The photographer must shoot whole plate format.

Whole plate format is characterised by a native format of 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch film area.. Therefore section crops from 8x10 , 20x24
inch negatives, or other formats; internegatives from other formats and digital expansion to fit an image size of 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches are not

2. Include brief bio/statement & details of the camera/lens/emulsion type/process required.

A few details on the images (construction, intent, ethos, or technical details are welcome).
I envisaged an introduction for whole plate photography to be included in the book, with a
short introduction to each participant/participant work.

3. Medium: Either contact prints from film; dry plate or wet plate:or scanned files of the complete 6
1/2 x 8 1/2 inch emulsion area.

4.Print/ScanSize: Corresponding to a whole plate/full size of 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch negative area [with
or without rebate]; whole plate - dry or wet, or contact print on photographic paper (not digital!).

5.Scanning workflow: 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch at 600 dpi as 16 bit Greyscale [Grayscale] images c/w named sRGB
/CMYK profile as TIFF files on a cd. If the scan quality is significantly deviant from the
rest of the contributors images, please don't take offence if further scan work is
requested on the native material. Since this is a collaboration, standardisation of
the images for the final publication as a collection of images will be required for
consistency of print.

Don't worry if you are a whole plate photographer without access to a decent scanner. I
If you are willing to entrust the contact prints for scanning/print preparation, get in
contact and we'll see what we can do. The WP Column is a small group of
photographers who are more than happy to share workflow/methodology.

6.Details: Portrait format prints only. Sorry for the restriction, however it is impossible to edit
and print horizontal landscape and portrait images in one book without causing
frustration for the reader. If there is sufficient interest, perhaps Volume II could be for
horizontal landscape format?

7.Content: Diversity of contemporary whole plate practice is one of the goals for this project - this is
more a project about 'form' than 'content' and any subject matter is welcome.
Pornographic or socially/culturally offensive material won't be included.


If you are interested and undecided, please let me know so that the logistics of the project can be factored into a timescale.

Kind regards,


*UPDATE* July 18th 2009

Viewcamera Magazine has published a brief portfolio of "Between Water & Land" - the first whole plate portfolio in 50 years Smile

Cover of magazine below.

PDF files of the Whole Plate Portfolio available on request.
Whole Plate

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Join date : 2009-07-22

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