A Dynamic Asperger Arts Project by David Seagrave
I have written the texts of 2 pamphlets HANDLING ELEMENTARY CAMERAS and TROSSACHS PHOTOHIKES These require illustrations I can provide MONOCHROME enlargements taken with different types of elementary cameras for the first booklet and also monochrome enlargements to illustrate most of the Hikes in “Trossachs Photohikes “
Somewhere in my document mines I have factsheets explaining monochrome development , enlarging photographic optics the effects of filters operation of roll film cameras semi adjustable cameras fully adjustable German all metal cameras and the Zenith single lens reflex cameras
I also have a factsheet explaining the operation of auxiliary lenses on both fixed lens and SLR cameras to be accompanied by VERY IMPRESSIVE monochrome enlargements illustrating both techniques I have written accounts of the C41 Colour Negative Process, the E6 Colour Slide Process and the RA4 Colour Print Process I am worried about the cost of pamphlets with illustrations in colour. In some flyers I describe the general harassment of photographers and Christian obstruction of people who want to teach scientific hobbies Some of my pamphlets need revision because of the demise of high street shops selling film based photographic materials It is now no longer possible even to buy the negative album pages
I now possess a very considerable number of display panels showing both monochrome and colour enlargements as well as some fifty monochrome enlargements mounted on hardboard or plywood of the same size Remembering school day stamp collecting I propose that if suitable white surfaces are available as display panels I would show sets of photographs attached by oversize “stamp hinges “ and underneath would be captions with technical details in neat handwriting I would endeavour to display sets of photographs at frequent intervals
My first truly successful colour enlargements are views of Moscow produced from SLIDES by the very expensive Cibachrome process 4 times as costly as the RA4 process though there is LESS WASTAGE after the enlarger has been calibrated and set for a fixed magnification. I selectively enlarged 1/6th of slides showing the Kremlin cathedral domes and I was amazed at the results ALL MY CIBACHROME and AGFASPEED prints are UTTERLY IRREPLACEABLE Agfaspeed was an ephemeral process whereby the exposed sheet of plastic material was immersed in a caustic potash solution to activate colour developers in the emulsion then neutralised in glacial acetic acid I remember producing satisfactory Agfaspeed prints from slides exposed in Poland .
I now have more unprinted negatives than I can possibly enlarge in my lifetime ! I have 2 rolls of colour paper sufficient for about 1,500 prints size 150 cm2 and others pro rata I bought up colour print film in 30m lengths and I have the equivalent of 40 x 36 exp films to expose – ALLOTTED FOR OVERSEAS USE My stocks of monochrome materials are steadily diminishing and will probably run out by this time next year
I found a shop in Edinburgh which sells semi-adjustable fixed focus 35 mm cameras brand new for about £15 each As far as I can tell they have f8 wide angle lenses and 2 or perhaps 3 f-stop settings When loaded with 400 Iso film they will yield satisfactory results in conditions varying from all over mid grey overcast to bright sunlight but NOT in the gloomy weather Scotland has experienced in recent weeks I have seen second hand 35 mm cameras at Cameratiks in Morningside Rd Edinburgh which also sells Ilford /Harman monochrome chemicals and occasionally other film based materials “as seen “I only rarely find any useable cameras nowadays in the Glasgow “Barras” ANY buyer of second hand cameras must always be aware that when such cameras malfunction they are effectively irrepairable but amateurs CAN make them work by ad-hoc replacement of broken parts AUTOMATIC CAMERAS MUST BE AVOIDED I was given one and it jammed after 5 films though the results were truly exemplary Cameratiks sometimes have second hand enlargers on offer with dishes and thermometers Merchant City Cameras of Parnie St Glasgow offer developing tanks at £30 and also dishes and thermometers They sometimes have useable 35 mm cameras on sale but most of their cameras are antiques for collectors which use films no longer available
I have offered to operate SUNDAY Photohikes since I moved back to Scotland in 1991 I was to have taken small parties to beauty spots as far distant as the Ardsheal peninsula ,and also much further on weekend expeditions where participants would stay in backpackers or youth hostels I elicited hostility from Christians in charge of organisations purportedly for the benefit of “the disabled “ indeed told to my face that my conduct is unseemly whilst all my efforts foundered around the matter of who pays for it all Nor can I ever drive a light omnibus .I had tried to teach my Shoestring Photography to people with mental problems but soon found out that they were sadly incapable of even simple matters like loading a 35 mm camera On several Sundays I have been stopped by the police and threatened with charges preferred for BREACH OF DECORUM ON THE LORD S DAY ! I am not alone in my plight since I have met strangers who told me very harrowing stories about police harassment and enforcement of moribund Sunday Observance laws Some people ,myself included have been indelibly besmirched by religious fanatics who have spread lies about ourselves which have got onto Government records The seat-mile fuel cost of a trip to the Trossachs is the price of a “pint “ of beer , of an excursion to Crianlarich, two “pints “ and a hike in Ardsheal, three “pints “ The outcome of a day’s exercise – and a visit to a beauty spot – would be photographs that would grace family archives for ever more and the honing of useful skills like map reading. Our masters oppose edifying pursuits and tacitly encourage self-stupefying activities which shorten people s lives I for one seek to challenge our masters head on by taking parties as often as possible on Sundays to so many exciting places whether they be lofty mountains or wild shores or quiet glens where the loudest noise is the winds melody
WATER COLOUR AND ACRYLIC PAINTINGS DONE FROM PHOTOGRAPHS
I can bring to meetings on separate occasions 3 model railway backcloth paintings done by interpretation of monochrome enlargements I can demonstrate how an image on a very poor photograph can be recovered to form the basis of a nice landscape My techniques require acrylic paint which is first applied as thin washes like water colour and when dry the acrylic paint is used undiluted ,impasto for foreground features I have also produced cut out mountain shapes to be attached between an overcast sky backcloth and the scenery behind model railway tracks When at university I produced a number of water colours including one remarkable one of the QE2 s maiden voyage if it had happened when scheduled I had gone to Helensburgh to witness the event but it was cancelled so I painted the view as IF IT HAD HAPPENED on a bright day with the ship silhouetted against the sunlit waters
Some artists are famous for their imaginary and preposterous landscapes I have taken artistic licence and I can demonstrate how a mundane view can be transformed by additions of extra features which make striking compositions
CAN MY MODEL RAILWAYS BE CONSIDERED AS ART ? Can I teach people how to build almost everything except the motorized chassis ? I fear that I will founder on the rocks of railwayese and metrication. As I explain in other flyers Railwayese is derived from a telegraphic language invented at the dawn of Morse Code telegraphy and immediately adopted by the Great Western Railway around the accession of Queen Victoria It consists of core words to which affixes are attached fore and aft as in LATIN and WELSH to denote parts of speech By this means a whole paragraph is condensed into just a sentence It has to be learned by rote like the International Meteorological Language which operates in a similar manner I cannot describe my model trains precisely in a way which can make sense to anybody who knows nothing about railways .
For A THOUSAND POUNDS OR MORE anybody can buy from good TOY shops everything to replicate a train spotting scene within living memory The current Hornby magazine has on its cover what appears to be a print from an original Kodachrome taken around 1960 at 1/200th at f2.8 A steam locomotive is sharp enough but the scenery behind is out of focus ON VERY CLOSE SCRUTINY odd things are found which betray it as a model but that photograph would deceive a non-enthusiast There are similar photographs accompanying an article Evidently a series of digital photographs were manipulated to form a seamless backcloth behind the model train When I have seen similar layouts there are NO backcloths Such a work might take somebody a year or maybe less-a smaller layout could be built during school holidays These layouts get shown about a dozen times the £100 model engines wear out and the LOT IS DUMPED !
For A HUNDRED POUNDS OR LESS someone can emulate me and by means of my technologies build a model railway less detailed than is the practice nowadays but it will last DECADES indeed be fit to be handed on to a future generation MY MODEL TRAINS are 50 % bigger in cross section than Hornby though running on the same track For that reason they are quite incompatible with nearly every other kind of models
I have built a model railway called OTTADALE to demonstrate my techniques It measures 2.40 x 1.20m and has an oval track running into an offstage remarshhalling area behind bas relief model mountains made from foam polystyrene Notable features include a model viaduct built of betting shop pens and car number plate pieces ,a representation of a stormy sea with waves breaking against the viaduct piers and models of gorgeously eccentric lineside buildings I had 15 model engines running on it before 2 serious accidents with electrical appliances stopped all running One was caused when my false foot caught in a cable and over I went, there was a flash a smell and NO MORE ELECTRICITY ! The ONLY way I can get model trains to run is by means of a Hand Crank Dynamo which is a large permanent magnet motor rotated fast enough by muscle power OTTADALE requires a van to move it and also 2 burly men to lift it baseboard by baseboard to wherever it is to be erected It has shrunk to about half the size it had been when in my garden and cannot be shrunk any smaller
I have been asked to set up a model railway at the Adult Learning Project at Tollcross Community Centre, Fountainbridge, Edinburgh I have measured up a site offered and I am proposing to assemble a layout from elements already to hand This is to run from a 1.050 long storage tray through about 3.5 m to another 1.050 storage tray I am examining how I can replicate features near the foot of Quinag mountain where the new bridge vaults the Kylesku Narrows I have to hand a model viaduct from Ottadale, 1m long and 215 mm high I also possess 7 of the 8 girderworks of a model of the Oich Viaduct I enjoy the challenges of building model viaducts !so every layout I build incorporates at least one These models are beautiful marriages of art and science
I would be delighted to provide a model railway to demonstrate my technologies
But insist that my models are excruciatingly fragile and they are to be PASSED ON to a deserving Aspie after my death
AN ASPERGER WRITING GROUP ?
I would be delighted to teach Aspies my way of writing We could collaborate to write dramatizable stories set in my necessary parallel universe and indeed go much further by producing a soap opera like my original intention in “The Librarian Of Charford”(1974) which was to be a TV instructional serial to teach the public how to deal with all the embarrassing and hurtful situations everybody has to face I have a formula which enables anybody to write about supremely hurtful experiences in a way that NOBODY CAN GUESS who are the real people who underwent these experiences
I have written political plays and video scripts set in my parallel universe which are intended to raise public awareness of a wide range of controversial topics
I trust that till I drop dead I will be allowed to give all of myself and set up a dynamic Aspergers Arts Project
David Seagrave, Dunfermline Library 13-7-2012