I Not Only Think Big - I Do Big, My New Journey Starting in 2021

December 18, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

I Not Only Think Big - I Do Big, My New Journey Starting in 2021 by Tim LaytonI Not Only Think Big - I Do Big, My New Journey Starting in 2021 by Tim Layton As a large and ultra large format photographer, I think big and I do big. 

What do I really mean by that?

I started in large format photography using a 4x5 large format field camera during a time when there was no Internet or social media.  When I started in photography, if you wanted to learn something, you needed to read an actual book or connect with an experienced photographer and have them help you. 

After I dabbled in the darkroom using roll film for a few years as a young boy, I was introduced to the work of Ansel Adams.  It wasn't that Ansel used large format that moved me so deeply, it was his work and later the realization that he used large format motivated me to move in that direction.  I thought to myself, if I ever want to be able to create prints like Ansel, then I need to learn large format.  Many years after using large format and by all rights, an accomplished photographer, I discovered the work of Clyde Butcher.  His large scale silver gelatin prints moved me deeply.  I felt another surge of inspiration like I had earlier with Ansel and I continued to move forward. 

Coming from 35mm and 120 roll film cameras, I remember how big my first 4x5 film camera seemed to me.  Now, I view a 4x5 camera in the same way I viewed those small roll film cameras, small and oftentimes tiny.  Perspective is a funny thing I suppose. 

I offer Free Art Consultations to help you figure out the best size and details for any piece of artwork that I create.

You can contact me and share a couple of dates, times, and your best phone number and then I will confirm a date and time for our meeting. I can do Facetime video or Zoom meetings, if you would like to share your space with me as we work through designing your new artwork together.

In this article, I share my thoughts about why I use large and ultra large format view cameras along with handmade emulsions and how this is going to help me realize my latest creative vision. 

Free Analog Photography Journal by Tim LaytonFree Analog Photography Journal by Tim Layton In 2015, I wrote a detailed article sharing many of the technical and underlying reasons why I use large format view cameras in modern digital times. This article isn't a repeat of that article from 2015. 

For the vast majority of my career, I have been using large format cameras, commercial film, and manufacturer created paper to make my fine art prints. 

I have created everything from a wide variety of contact prints to very large scale silver gelatin enlargements. 

As my primary negative medium, I have been using films like Ilford HP5 and Kodak Tri-X in my large format cameras ranging from 4x5 to 11x14 and a wide variety of commercially produced silver gelatin and platinum papers.

Tim Layton With Silver Gelatin Large Format PrintTim Layton With Silver Gelatin Large Format Print For the last two decades, I have been focused on creating a body of work.  Using commercial film and paper was simply what most analog photographers use and it certainly made sense for me during this period.  

While I learned and taught workshops on a variety of historic processes, I never used them in my portfolio work.  All of that is about to change in 2021. 

In the summer of 2020, I made a bold decision to stop creating and put on the breaks so I could reflect and think about the future.  

After months of hiking, travel, and thinking, I realized that I wanted to slow things down even more than the already slow process of working with film and making prints by hand in the darkroom.  Even though by contemporary standards, I produced a low volume of work, I feel that it is still too much.  

I have a deep desire to create less and work even slower so that I can create more impactful and meaning work that is fueled by emotion and is stood up by a greater purpose. 

I don't actually know the full vision at this point because it can only be realized by taking one step at a time.  The steps right now are leading me to make my own custom handmade silver gelatin negative emulsions so I can pour 8x10 and 11x14 dry plate glass negatives.  

DIY Handmade Dry Plate Analog Photography by Tim LaytonDIY Handmade Dry Plate Analog Photography by Tim Layton The process of making the emulsions from raw materials, cutting and preparing the glass, and pouring the plates by hand spans the course of many days in order to just have a negative medium suitable for exposure and development.  This is in stark contrast to loading a sheet of commercial film taking only a few seconds.

But it isn't just about the ultra slow and contemplative workflow, it is about using a medium that helps me realize the vision that I have in my minds eye. 

Being able to control the spectral sensitivity of the emulsion along with direct control over my developing formula, I have a new level of control that wasn't available to me when using commercial panchromatic films and developers. 

But it doesn't stop here.  I don't plan on using my typical lenses that are known for their incredible detail, resolution, and contrast. I will be exploring a variety of vintage lenses that will help me fully realize my vision.

At this point, I honestly don't know the combination of mediums, methods, and gear that I want to use for my latest work and portfolio, but I am going to push forward and see where the path takes me. 

Tim Layton Holding "New Life" Wild Horses of Missouri B&W Silver Gelatin PrintTim Layton Holding "New Life" Wild Horses of Missouri B&W Silver Gelatin Print If you have been following me in the last few years, then you already know that I have been following and photographing wild horses. 

These majestic symbols of American freedom have completely captured my creative spirit and soul.  No subject in my entire career has ever moved me so deeply.

I have a problem.  I want to ultimately create handmade fine art of the wild horses using large and ultra large format dry plates and vintage lenses, but on a technical level, it is effectively impossible to capture wild horses using this medium and gear.  

I am evaluating my options, and I think one path that I will explore is to continue capturing on 35mm roll film because I need the mobility, speed, and agility that 35mm and long glass affords me. 

 

Tim Layton Washing Wild Horse Large Format Silver Gelatin Print
Then I can make enlarged negatives onto the large and ultra large format dry plates using a two step process where I make an enlarged interpositive from the 35mm roll film onto Ortho film the same size as the final dry plate.  I can contact print the ortho film to make the new dry plate negative so I can make contact prints on my handmade paper.  This means I will be making my own contact printing paper using an emulsion that I design and ultimately hand coat on my paper of choice.  

All of this is a step in the right direction and will help me explore my vision, but there is one important piece missing.  Based on my vision, I feel that I want to use vintage glass to create more of an ethereal and emotional image.  The ultra sharp and detailed images that I capture with my Nikon F6 and modern glass doesn't represent what I feel or see in my mind when I think about the wild horses. 

One way that I can explore this vision is to use my large and ultra large format cameras loaded with my handmade dry plates and vintage glass to create a copy negative from an interpositive.  By using my 8x10 or 11x14 camera and vintage glass to create the copy negative, I may be able to achieve the feeling and emotion that I am pursuing.

I won't know the answer to these questions until I get into the process and explore my options.  All I know at this point is that I will need to capture the original image using 35mm film because of the speed and agility of the wild horses and I need to somehow transform that image into something that aligns with my vision.  

Free Wild Horse Behind The Scenes Art Updates by Tim LaytonFree Wild Horse Behind The Scenes Art Updates by Tim Layton
I promised at the top of the article that I would share why I continue to use large and ultra large format cameras.  Once I saw a large format contact print, something magical happened inside of me.  I have contact printed for over three decades now and I still feel that same sense of awe as I did in the beginning.  As someone that has made very large prints, I could never fully shake that emotional connection and sense of awe that I had with large format contact prints.  When I moved from making 4x5 to 5x7 and 8x10 contact prints, it felt like another level was unlocked.  When I eventually made my first 11x14 contact print and mounted it in a 20x24 mat and frame, my world changed. 

In my mind, I didn't think that 11x14 was that much bigger than 8x10, but when I saw and felt the difference, everything changed.  I have been exploring the possibility of getting a 14x17 camera, but I haven't made that decision just yet, so I continue to use my 11x14 for now.  

The presence and overall feeling of the 11x14 contact print mounted on 17x24 or 20x24 versus an 8x10 mounted on 11x14 can only be understood by experiencing it in person with images that have meaning to you.

Tim Layton Holding "New Life" Wild Horses of Missouri B&W Silver Gelatin PrintTim Layton Holding "New Life" Wild Horses of Missouri B&W Silver Gelatin Print If you love horses, join my Free Wild Horse Journal where I bring you behind the scenes in my darkroom and studio and provide my latest updates and special offers.  Current members are automatically entered for a chance to win one of my wild horse fine art gallery prints every month.  

Join me and other horse lovers from around the world in my Wild Horses of North America Facebook Group.  I share behind the scenes photos and videos in the group that you won't see anywhere else.

I am starting to do Live Video Broadcasts from my new studio and darkroom while I am working and making prints and even doing live art shows too.  I will be making my big 30x40 and 40x50 silver gelatin wild horse prints and also platinum and palladium too.  You can connect with me live on my new YouTube Channel, and in the Darkroom Underground Facebook Group, and the Wild Horses of North America Facebook Group.

Free Wild Horse Behind The Scenes Art Updates by Tim LaytonFree Wild Horse Behind The Scenes Art Updates by Tim Layton

Wild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.comWild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.com Wild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.comWild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.com Wild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.comWild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.com Wild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.comWild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.com Troublemaker - Wild Horse Fine Art by Tim LaytonTroublemaker - Wild Horse Fine Art by Tim Layton Princess Warrior - Wild Horse Fine Art by Tim LaytonPrincess Warrior - Wild Horse Fine Art by Tim Layton

HISTORY OF THE WILD HORSES OF SHANNON COUNTY MISSOURI

8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton Shannon County is home to an extraordinary herd of wild horses that very few people know about. Hidden away in Southeast Missouri in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways on public land about 130 miles from Springfield and 150 miles from St. Louis, 4 herds of wild horses roam the beautiful and rugged landscape. 

Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the first national park area to protect a river system and the only place in the state where wild horses still roam free.

It hasn't been an easy path for the wild horses over the last 100 years and it would be foolish to think current conditions couldn't change and put the horses back in danger again. 

During the 1980s the National Park Service announced a plan to remove the wild horses, and people were outraged. 

In 1993 the U.S. Supreme Court denied a final appeal to protect the horses and gave the National Park Service the right to remove the horses from federal land at their discretion.  

The national park service started the process of removing the wild horses in a way that was profoundly upsetting to local residents and horse lovers around the country.  The people of Shannon County and horse lovers around the country rallied together and the Wild Horse League of Missouri was formed.

Wild Horses of Shannon County Missouri by Tim LaytonWild Horses of Shannon County Missouri by Tim Layton Luckily, by 1996 the Wild Horse League of Missouri, which formed in 1992 to save the wild horses, received help from the people of Shannon County, Congressman Bill Emerson, and Senators Kit Bond and John Ashcroft.

Their tireless efforts paid off, and President Clinton signed a bill into law on October 3, 1996, to make the wild horses of Shannon County a permanent part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.  

Now, people from around the world visit Shannon County Missouri in hopes of seeing these majestic wild horses.

The Missouri Wild Horse League works with the National Park Service to capture some of the horses when the herd exceeds the maximum agreed upon limit of 50 horses.  The captured horses are taken into care and evaluated before being adopted by loving families for permanent homes.

It is important to remember that these horses are wild. When looking for them, be sure not to approach them or attempt to feed them. It is essential to keep these animals wild and free, and for you to be safe. The horses are big, strong, and unpredictable and for your own safety as well as theirs, keep a safe distance of 100 yards or more between you and the horses. 

 

Free Wild Horse Behind The Scenes Art Updates by Tim LaytonFree Wild Horse Behind The Scenes Art Updates by Tim Layton


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