The rudimentary camera you see here captures the image of the Sun, not onto film or a silicon chip, but onto a clay plate. As the Earth and Sun perform their celestial dance, a trace in recorded onto its surface. The temperature of the Sun’s disc is about 500°C, which is hot enough to actually fire the clay. This year I achieved what I didn't know was possible - to actually capture an actual image, the outline of the branch of a tree. The plate is made from 100% London clay, which I dug up near my home in Kensal Green. When fired it transforms form the muddy ochre into a beautiful salmon pink.
It really is primal photography. I want to make a better camera that will allow me larger images and photograph the entire tree. It will be technically challenging - let me explain: The image is formed as the sun passes behind the tree creating a silhouette fired into the clay. (see at http://www.tomwilkinson.com/current) It will take three - four weeks to make an image consisting of about thirty traces, so the equipment has to be very precise. The camera has to be left without being moved for this total period. So the camera and tripod have to be very well engineered. The clay, which content of mud in the rain the whole thing has to be under shelter so not an easy. task at all. So I want to make a better camera with more better optics and better engineering. I have been accepted to show the camera and talk about the process at this year's British Ceramic Biennial. This is a great vindication of the project for someone who has never worked with clay. The Arts Council has twice turned me down so I need financial support to reaslise the project. The first step is to build the new camera. Any donation gratefully received! Thank you