Entries in Bowie (1)


Making The Case For Carbon

I've been thinking a lot about the connection between my two passions; wet collodion photography/printing and knifemaking.

Before I run down a rabbit hole, I understand that the claim I'm about to make can be applied to any Atomic #6 material. This is a DIRECT connection and I'll try to make my case clearly.

Atomic #6, or carbon is the the basis for the connection. Beryllium (Atomic #4) and Helium (Atomic #2) form Carbon (Atomic #6). I work in both, blade/blacksmiting and wet plate collodion photography. I make negatives and then print those negatives onto a "tissue" of gelatin/ink/carbon and transfer that to a final support as a print. The basis of the image is Carbon. 

The carbon connection is strong: High carbon steel in my blades and carbon in my print. I would like to try the following experiment: Save some iron oxide (forge scale) from a knife build, add it to the gelatin/ink (aka Black Jello) and make a negative/Carbon print of that very knife. 

The ultimate in knife collecting and 19th century photography; the Carbon print (1855, Alphonse Louis Poitevin) and the Bowie knife (Jim Bowie, early-mid 19th century) share some heritage. Again, the connection is strong!!

Here's what you'll see from me: I'll make a knife (this one in progress is a small Bowie) and save some of the fine grinding material from the shaping and add that to the Black Jello mixture. Then, I'll photograph the knife with the Carbon transfer process. Both the print and the knife will be made of Carbon #6!!