5 frames with...

5 Frames With a Calumet C1 – BY Erik Henderson

January 25, 2018

I’ve always been a bit of a fan of alternative processes. For better or worse, the connection one has to the finished product is like no other form of photography. When I decided to get into dry plate, the first steep was finding a good camera for the process.

After a bit of looking I found a Calumet C1, and matched it with a Kodak Etkar 12” lens. This is the most expensive film camera I’ve ever bought, but I don’t regret it for a second. The C1 isn’t exactly beautiful, utilitarian is the best way to describe, but I love working with its standards, and the huge bellows it has is supper helpful. The history it has is an added bonus, I love the fact that it’s nearly the same setup Yousuf Karsh used, as well as how the local government used to own it.

So far, I’ve just been trying to figure out the process so I can head out to the field. As expected, it hasn’t exactly been completely smooth. I’ve ended up with more blank sheets of glass than I want to admit, but I’m getting there. My end goal is to document Detroiters out in their landscape, but for now I’m having fun using it in the studio.

Thanks Hamish for this series and all you do with 35mmc.


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  • Reply
    Mike B
    January 25, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    More power to your elbow sir! So good to see those boundaries being pushed again.

  • Reply
    Dan James
    January 25, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Wow, not sure how this qualifies as a compact camera in any way but I love the results!

    • Reply
      Erik Henderson
      January 29, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      hahaha! Not supper compact, but more so than my 20×24.

  • Reply
    Dab Castelli
    January 26, 2018 at 4:52 am

    Hey Erik,
    Keep at it, you’re creating an interesting body of work. Thanks for sharing.

    Dan [flickr.com/photos/dcastelli9574/

  • Reply
    January 26, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Excellent stuff! I took a course in making tintypes a while back which was both amazing fun and really nerve wracking. I bought myself a Calumet CC401 to play with but it arrived in such nice, clean condition I can’t bring myself to use it with collodion 😬.

    • Reply
      Erik Henderson
      January 29, 2018 at 8:32 pm

      Go for it! An ambrotype looks a lot better off a shelf than a clean camera.

  • Reply
    Peter Boorman
    March 16, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    I love those images!

    The camera reminds me a bit of my first LF camera, which was a Kodak Master III, I think – similar look to it and a similar range of movement. That old Kodak that taught me how to use the movements, and convinced me that that way of working suited me well enough for me to get my first Arca-Swiss. I do want to try my hand at collodion: I have a spare back (or two, or three) I was going to eBay, but maybe dedicating one to collodion would be a better idea.

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