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Status: Collect > Document > Analyse > Improve
827.01 Mobile studios > Roger Fenton: The artist's van
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer
Roger Fenton described his photographic van in Humphrey's Journal (March 1, 1856) which...
"...began its career, in the service of a wine merchant at Canterbury [England]."
"When it entered into the service of Art, a fresh top was made for it, so as to convert it into a dark room; panes of yellow glass, with shutters, were fixed in the sides; a bed was constructed for it, which folded up into a very small space under the bench at the upper end; round the top were cisterns for distilled and for ordinary water, and a shelf for books. On the sides were places for fixing the gutta-percha baths, glassdippers, knives, forks, and spoons. The kettle and cups hung from the roof. On the floor, under the trough for receiving waste water, was a frame with holes, in which were fitted the heavier bottles. This frame had at night to be lifted up and placed on the working bench with the cameras, to make room for the bed, the furniture of which was, during the day, contained in the box under the driving-seat. In the beginning of the autumn of last year, having hired in York a strong horse, we set forth on the road to Rivaulx Abbey in search of the picturesque."
"From the experience obtained in this journey, several modifications were made in the construction of the carriage,and it finally assumed the shape in which it appears in the photograph taken of it on the day on which it traveled down to the ravine called the Valley of the Shadow of Death: a picture due to the precaution of the driver on that day, who suggested that, as there was a possibility of a stop being put in the said valley to the further travels of both the vehicle and its driver, it would be showing a proper consideration for both to take a likeness of them before starting."
827.02 Mobile studios > Photographs of photographic vans
827.03 Mobile studios > Contemporary sources on photographic vans
Railroad photographic cars
827.04 Mobile studios > Railroad photograph cars and studios on trains
827.05 Mobile studios > Backmarks for railroad photograph cars
Studios on barges and boats
827.06 Mobile studios > Studios on boats and barges
827.07 Mobile studios > Studios in tents
827.08 Mobile studios > Carleton Watkins: #925 Spring Valley Water Works
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer
The following comments by Will Dunniway and Robert Szabo, two contemporary wet-plate collodion photographers, explain the significance of this rare yellow-mount stereoview "#925 Spring Valley Water Works" by Carleton E. Watkins:
The items inside the tent:
The items outside the tent:
- The spigot for his water supply. It is not possible to see what the container was made of, but most likely it would have been copper or brass for weight considerations.
- Three of the four visible bottles appear to be leather wrapped. This is to prevent the glass from breaking from a rough wagon ride between shoots.
- There is an open wooden box and it is uncertain what it would have been used for. It was most likely to have been used for transporting chemicals and photographic paraphernalia.
The tent itself:
- As can be seen here Carleton Watkins used a vertical bath to process his mammoth plates. It has been suggested that he used a tray as his bath to sensitize his plates but this is conclusive. There is a further point about this bath tank. He is said to have NOT used a glass liner to contain his bath. Instead it was believed he asphalt painted the inside, or something along this line. In this image, it appears that there is not a glass liner. To seal this bath for traveling, usually the glass tank will extend above the wooden rim.
- A mammoth plate storage box.
- These boxes appear to be the 5x8 inch plate storage boxes for making stereo images. They are about the right size for two rows of plates, with a divider in the middle. They are on top the large mammoth plate boxes not being used at this moment of exposure, thus, these 5x8 plate boxes are sequentially in order.
- A glass plate cleaning vise.
- The lid clamp to a silver bath tank. The metal clamp with thumb screws was used for the sealing off this bath tank when traveling. The wooden lid for this huge mammoth plate silver bath tank appears to be with this clamp.
The dark tent is lined with what I think is yellow, or a very warm colored material. As you know, collodion is a blue sensitive emulsion (it is called 'Ordinary'). This being what this is, the blue will NOT be seen, where as the yellow (red or warm tones) would be seen as dark. The outer material seems to be plain white canvas duck. The white outer shell is so the interior of this dark tent would not heat up in direct sun. This color choice was a must on warm days. After about 90oF outside, the inside of the tent would elevate the silver bath to above 80o F in no time at all. At this temperature, silver bath starts to act up, and will produce flawed plates.
It is not certain that the person on the left is Carleton E. Watkins and this remains to be confirmed.
George N. Barnard (1819-1902) • H.H. Bennett (1843-1908) • Samuel A. Cooley • J.P. Doremus (1827-1890) • Roger Fenton (1819-1869) • Alexander Gardner (1821-1882) • Josiah Johnson Hawes (1808-1901) • F. Jay Haynes (1853-1921) • Johann Baptist Isenring (1796-1860) • William Henry Jackson (1843-1942) • Mathew Brady's Studio • William McFarlane Notman (1858-1913) • Timothy H. O'Sullivan (1840-1882) • C.R. Savage (1832-1909) • Thomas Sutton (check) • Carleton E. Watkins (1829-1916) • Zangaki Brothers
|Home > The business of photography > Mobile studios |
|A. Nott: Photograph Car |
|M. Nowack: Photographer's dark tent is set-up on the boat |
|W.H. Pearce: The Algonquin Bon Ton Tent, W.H. Pearce, Prop. |
|Mobile studios: Railroad photograph cars and studios on trains |
|Mobile studios: Studios on boats and barges |
|Carte de visites: Themes: Mobile photographic studios |
|Stereoviews: Themes: Photographic vans, wagons and cars |
|Tintypes: Themes: Tents || |
Still thinking about these...
|Tents || |
Refreshed: 22 April 2013, 10:14