The Light Farm

1. Stuff — Keep or Toss, and what the ...?

Left: A storage box of dyes and materials for making autochromes


My brain on pandemic and politics. What a mess. Like most people, I've just tried to keep my head above the waves, but in the last couple of weeks I've decided I've got to try harder to get back to work. Cleaning and organizing seems like a good first step, and it doesn't take much brain power. This journal is my imposition of order on myself.

I've always been organized and generally tidy. That's probably good in the grand scheme of things, but it also means that I can tuck a lot of stuff into a limited space. Things that are tucked away, out of the way, tend to get forgotten. I've been uncovering a LOT of forgotten stuff. Actually, not so much forgotten, as abandoned "for now."

My autochrome work is case in point. I had everything lined up except a dedicated autochrome workspace. Autochrome is the messiest medium I know. It really does need its own space. However, the space never got built. I pretty much decided to abandon the process, but digging through the box of autochrome stuff is reminding me how much fun I had working the first steps.

Beyond the beauty of the process, and beyond the "holy grail" appeal, is the fact that there are several dozen steps that all need to come together in balance. Each of those steps is another facet of emulsion making and color theory. Autochrome is the perfect testing tool for each of them, separately and as part of an intricate process.

Below Left: Reversal processed ortho film
Below right: Work notes for different reversal protocols

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