The Portable Tent
In the old days there were iodine crystals and silver plates and hot mercury vapour and a man knew where he was. He was sitting inside a dark canvas tent outside Balaklava poisoning himself, that’s where – and not with vodka either.
Things slowly improved- the poisons got weaker and the emulsions got stronger and eventually none of us had to spend a half hour preparing for one exposure. We could leave that to the factory and just prance about in out flare jeans and body shirts with our motorized cameras slung round our necks. When people saw the photographs we took, they frequently asked us to go back to the dark tent and the mercury vapour.
Nowadays we don’t even need the factory – we’ve got all the picture power we need inside a small plastic card and if we want to “develop” the photos we just plug the card into a laptop computer and downlose the files. They go in there, and like the coloured guy in the horror movies, never come out again. If we go looking for them all we find are a few pixels and a scuttling noise back into the darkness.
This can be avoided by the simple use of the traditional photographer’s darkroom tent. This is set up over the laptop and tucked in so that no natural light enters the top area. In this half-world of dim yellow shapes the photographer can safely retreat from reality. If the images on the memory card are bad, they can be rebadged and sent via internet to a rival’s website (which would explain a great deal of what we see round here...) and if there is anything remotely good it can be improved by a series of proprietary plug-in’s and actions - far in excess of the originator’s skills. If no one sees you do it, the only explanation is genius.
And the big plus is, inside the tent you can drink privately. Very few people know that the iMac Borracho computer has a 2 litre secret compartment. And it comes with an electronic agave worm.