8″ x 10″ Ambrotype


Why this composition:

Originally I have been thinking about composition from the military environment, but when the mask arrived I changed my mind and refused to create a plate with a laying soldier in a still position somewhere in the field. This final plate tells me as follows:

  • The Czech flag should represent my country and background connection of the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czechoslovakia) as the M10 gas mask producer. The flag was same for the Czechoslovakia (since 1920) and now belongs to the Czech Republic.
  • The noose around my neck means my uninterruptible connection to this gas mask M10 which I used in my two year military service. We were using the gas mask in our guard troop very often. Especially the first year of our military service was very demanding and I can remember that one guy from our group executed a suicide attempt (he survived) before using this mask in our regularly training – believe me or not. Really, end of the eighties is still in my mind.



Key for the iPhone shot image above:
1/ Air bulb shutter release
2/ Remote trigger for the studio light

Details about the preparation and composition:

The preparation of the light setup and composition took roughly about 4 hours (2 test plates included).
The red color of the Czech flag has to be on the right side; therefore the original composition with the flag was prepared vice versa. The problem was with the darkness in my attic and temperature – it was quite cold – about 3°C (37 Fahrenheit). The biggest challenge was for me to manage all plate preparation and exposure by myself. Please look at technical detail below.
 Technical details about the camera and exposure:
Full self portrait without assistance Camera: Kodak 2D, 8×10” Lens: Schneider Kreuznach, 300mm f 5.6 with the air rubber mechanical cable release (manually pressed with my right foot and held during the exposure) Lightning: 1x 600 W studio light with the remote trigger (manually pressed 12 times in my left hand during the exposure) Exposure time: 12 times flash with the studio light at 600W. This means that I was standing for about 30 seconds.