Sunday, January 22, 2012

t-shirt as relic

I saw something recently that made me think of the relevance of certain clothing items and thought that I might share something of my own.

This is the SUNN t-shirt that I wore while photographing the entire "Earth Magic" series.  I bought it at their concert in 2005 in Seattle (with Boris and Earth).  I wanted a black shirt originally, but there weren't any.  I got this instead and ended up loving it.  It's very soft.  The next night I saw Sunn again in Olympia (with Boris and Thrones).  They had black shirts then.  I didn't get one.

I wore this shirt regularly over the following years, until the print started to fade.  In 2010 I was taking my second wet plate collodion workshop, which would eventually lead toward "Earth Magic."  I'd somehow avoided ruining any clothes up until this point, but when I started using the 8x10 camera (and officially beginning the new series) I somehow got some silver nitrate on my clothes.  Silver nitrate is what makes the coated glass plate sensitive to light - consequently it stains all organic matter black.  At this point I decided to make this my official wet plate uniform.

I wore this shirt every time I took photographs for the series.  I rolled around in dirt and mixed chemicals such as ether and alcohol in this shirt.  It has a very particular smell that I don't expect will ever disappear.  It's kind of gross, really.  It's still amazingly comfortable, and maybe I feel that it's lucky in some way. 

The bottom edge of the shirt is full of small holes, as at some point I decided against bringing rags with me into the forest, opting to polish the plates with my shirt.

The back is bleached out, though I'm not sure if it's from the sun or from something else.  I'm not sure how that stain got there.

Here is a snapshot of me from last August, before a majority of the shirt abuse took place.  This was taken to demonstrate the ridiculous way that I ended up setting up my camera to get a specific photograph. 

And to be nice, the photograph in question, previously unreleased.