Photographer Giles Clement decided to spend an afternoon building his own 16x20-inch field camera from wood and plastic and make his own ambrotypes on large sheets of glass. This very short video reveals the magic of homemade, large format photography.
As Clement notes, “What started as a doodle on a napkin at 1 p.m. became a creation of wood, plastic, and yes, duct tape at about 2 a.m.” and the results are quite remarkable. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that anyone can try at home as you’ll need some very specific tools and materials to get yourself started, such as a sander to smooth the edges of your glass sheets and some collodion and silver nitrate. And you'll also need a studio large enough to host this beast of a field camera that is producing what seems to be a 1:1 macro image of its subject.
What's particularly remarkable is the range of tones that Clement is able to create through this historic process and from the quality of the images, it's no wonder that Clement has established himself as a portrait photographer who teaches a number of workshops on how to create tintypes.