Sun Firing Camera
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On 14th June 2019 we successfully raised £255 with 9 supporters in 28 days

I've discovered that it is possible to make an image of an actual object onto clay using the Sun's rays but I need to build a better camera

by Thomas Wilkinson in London, England, United Kingdom

I have been invited to show at this year's British Ceramic Biennial. This is a great honour for someone who has never worked with clay. The Arts Council has twice turned me down so I need financial support to realise the project. The first step is to build the new camera.

The rudimentary camera you see here captures the image of the Sun, not onto film or a silicon chip, but 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. To see please go here http://www.tomwilkinson.com/current

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. 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 all has to be very well engineered and the whole set-up has to be under shelter as any moisture will turn the clay to mud, so not an easy task at all. I want to make a better camera with more better optics and better engineering.  Any donation very gratefully received! Thanks

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