Passage d'Argent will make one of a kind wet plate photographs on the playa, using a mobile darkroom, to give out at Burning Man 2011.
Passage d'Argent (aka: Silver Passage) is a collaborative photography project that will make art works to give to the people of the playa. We will make one of a kind wet plate photographs of burning man participants using a mobile darkroom and give the plates to the subjects immediately after shooting, developing, and lacquering them on the playa… All this within about 10 minutes of shooting the image.
With your support, this Kickstarter is aimed to raise the necessary funds to cover the project build and photographic supplies. The cost of the project is expected to be over $4000 which will allow us to decorate the ATV that will pull the darkroom around the playa, build the set we will shoot the subjects in, and purchase the photographic materials (emulsions, plates, and chemicals) to develop and lacquer with. If we receive more than $4000 in donations, the rest of the money will go towards making more plates on the playa to give away.
Want some more details about the process we are using? Here are some links:
Wet plate collodion photography is all but unknown to most people. Many are familiar with the aesthetic feel of Civil War photographs but are unaware of the time intensive and temperamental process required to create wet plate images. This process is old and elemental. Developed in the 1850’s, it was only used as the predominant photographic process for about a quarter of a century before easier, faster methods were created and advancements were made in stabilizing silver in dry formats. Still, it lingers in both our hearts and imaginations. Mostly because it lasts. Early wet plate collodion photographs still exist to this day. Images of the great and the mundane on glass and on metal. You would easily recognize them. The qualities they exhibit are warm and accessible. Basic silver exposed to light and fixed to a durable substrate of stature. They last. They linger.
Making an image with wet plate collodion is difficult and cumbersome. It takes exposures that are usually in the seconds as opposed to fractions thereof and each piece of film is made especially for one photograph. Add to that the fact that the silver on the plate is only light sensitive while wet and you get a persnickety process that requires taking the wet plate out of a bath of silver nitrate, putting it into a film holder in a darkroom, taking it to the camera, exposing your image, and then returning it to the darkroom and processing it while it remains wet to make a final plate,. Given the extreme nature of the playa, one can imagine how heat and dust will make the process even more difficult. To account for this, we have devised a system where the plate will never have to leave the actual darkroom, reducing its exposure to the elements and heat. To do this, we will build a camera into the wall of our mobile darkroom, allowing us to shoot from inside the camera, wherever it is. We will also build a 4x8' diorama set that will be a fixed distance from the camera and allow us to shoot the participants of Burning Man 2011 with a unique circus-like frame surrounding the subject, while still allowing the playa to be seen.
The people of Passage d'Argent have developed a profound respect for the simple fact that things that are hard to make, that are tangible and long lived, are incredibly valuable. In both heart and in hand. This, along with the desire to share a unique form of photography with playa goers, has fueled the flame of this project.
We need your help to make this project a reality. Thanks for reading!
Your donation will be used to buy aluminum plate material, chemicals for the process, components for the camera and diorama set, and for things related to the actual artwork given out on-playa.
The 4x8" plates that are kept by the project will be displayed at Decompression in SF in October and may be used for additional installations.
They have to be fabulous. We will not shoot lurkers or just anyone, they have to be in full playa attire and be visually interesting. And for their fabulousness they will be rewarded with a one of a kind gift plate! As for where we will be shooting; it will change daily and it will always be moving. So, keep an eye out for the ringmaster head!
There are some long time burners with the Suburbanoya camp as well as some virgin burners. It is a diverse crew of about 25-30 people from around the country with most being from the bay area.
Because so very few people do wet plate photography as it is and also because the project founder believes in the archival nature of the process, as well as having the aesthetic desire to push images into the world that are unique and rich and gorgeous. The world needs more interesting images, that is for sure.
How much is the whole thing gonna cost? Yes, that is a good question, thank you for asking. Well, the entire build, materials, and vehicles will cost about $12,000 total with the most of it being funded by Brian Sullivan. The project is using Kickstarter to fund the actual materials and related costs for the plates given away on playa, which will be about $4k total. Any monies funded above that amount will be used to buy more materials and to give even more plates away on playa. So give freely is what I am saying!
We plan to go out 2-3 times a day for a few hours each time. Each day will yield about 30-40 plates. So for the whole week we will give out at least 150-200 plates. The crew shooting will be rotating from our camp.
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Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
Vinyl cut decal of Passage d'Argent's logo, and our profound thanks
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
Special Playa cup with Passage d'Argent's logo, and our profound thanks
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
Vinyl cut decal of Passage d'Argent's logo, our profound thanks, AND an American Apparel t-shirt with the graphic version of the photographic frame that will be used in each wet plate photo
Pledge $200 or moreYou selected
Vinyl cut decal of Passage d'Argent's logo, our profound thanks, an American Apparel t-shirt with the graphic version of the photographic frame that will be used in each wet plate photo, AND you will get a custom shoot wet plate image taken of you on the Playa that you get to keep
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
Vinyl cut decal of the Passage d'Argent's logo, our profound thanks, an American Apparel t-shirt with the graphic version of the photographic frame that will be used in each wet plate, AND a custom shoot taken off playa, in San Francisco, which will yield 2 unique wet plate images for you to keep!!!
- (60 days)