Kristian Thacker

Portrait | Last Updated: December 1, 2020

I grew up in rural West Virginia, and wanted to be a photographer from a young age. My first cameras were a Kodak Instamatic and the family Polaroid 600. When I studied photography in college, we all shot film, but digital was becoming more readily accessible.

Over the years, I have used many different combinations of cameras, film, chemicals, and software to achieve different effects, but the urge to experiment has subsided, and I now prefer to shoot with my Century 8×10″ and a small digital kit. The 8×10″ allows me to indulge a little more in the craft of making an image. Since the process is so deliberate, I spend more time visualizing the images that I want to create.

These days, in addition to developing my own work, I shoot commissioned portraits for a wedding collective called Readyluck and assist a few commercial photographers. When creating images for any of these purposes, I tend to keep things simple, and I think my gear reflects that.

Here is a list of the gear:

Camera, etc

• Century 8×10″ Field Camera, c.1904-1912
• 12″ Wollensak Velostigmat Series II Lens on a Betax No. 5 Shutter c. 1909-1945
• Homemade darkcloth
• 40 8×10″ Film Holders (Mix of Fidelity and Lisco Holders)
• Currenty using Ilford HP5 Plus 8×10 Film
• Gitzo G1504 Tele Studex Tripod with Gitzo R No 4 Tilt Pan Head
• Linhof Cable Release

Impossible Project 8×10″ Gear

• Polaroid Model 8101 Processor
• Polaroid Model 81-09 Loading Tray
• 2 x Polaroid Model 81-12 8×10″ Film Holder
• Impossible Project Silver Shade 8×10″ Film ( I think PQ is pictured above and it is the previous iteration of the film. Currently the Impossible Project sells the Silver Shade variety of the film. )

Cases and Misc.

• 2 x Pelican 1650 Cases with Foam Inserts, one for camera and holders and other for Polaroid 8×10″ gear
• Pelican 1620 Case with Padded Dividers for 8×10 Film Holders, Unloaded Film, and Shot Film. (Not pictured here.)
• Minolta Autometer IIIF
• Minolta Flash Meter VI (not pictured

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  1. kristian thacker on June 30, 2014 at 10:05 am

    @Deirdre I miss printing too. I’ve seen an 8×10″ enlarger or two but never had the opportunity to use one.

    @Mark I haven’t had the best luck with the IP 8×10″ honestly. It seems that managing its temperature is a key factor. Also, the first time I used it my processor had a capacitor that blew. Luckily, the nice folks at Samy’s replaced it for me since I had it in my possession for less than twenty-four hours. HP5 is the go to for the commissioned portraits when on location. I’d have to have two assistants if I was going to use the IP 8×10″. I guess I can always hope! ; )

  2. Mark Sperry on June 28, 2014 at 7:40 am

    LOVE this. Fellow 8×10 shooter here. Do you trust the IP 8×10 film on a job? I’ve found it finicky in certain lighting conditions. A fast paced wedding would be a scary situation for me personally. Or are you shooting the HP5 more in those situations?


  3. Deirdre A Ryan on June 27, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Looks like we have a similar background! In art college, it was all film and digital was literally in it’s infancy. I miss the smells of the darkroom and working with fiber based papers. I never had a chance to work with anything bigger than 4×5 but I did get to use an 8×10 enlarger. I loved that thing!

  4. kristian thacker on June 27, 2014 at 12:20 am

    Thanks Mark! So happy to see this online!

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