Jean-Baptiste Tournassoud employed several camera formats in his work including two stereoscope cameras as well as a large format camera. On one of his cameras, an engraved plate reads:
"offered by M.M LUMIERE to M. LE CAPITAINE TOURNASSOUD in memory of his endless collaboration (1910)"
It is a Gaumont Stereo Spido (leather covered body) for 6x13cm exposures on changing plate magazine, equiped with E.Krauss Protar-Zeiss 6.3/84mm lenses nos. 80111 and 80106. The lens panel slides over to shoot mono panoramic shots. Camera and magazine are engraved: Grand Prix 1900.
Tournassoud primarily used a large format 13x18 camera equipped with various lenses for portraits and especially for his landscapes. The majority of his photographs were obtained using rectilinear lenses opened at F/8. Using a heavy large format camera required long and meticulous preparation including installation on a tripod, recovery of the linear perspective by complicated tilting, adjustment of the diaphragm in order to control the depth of field, choice of filter and calculation of the exposure time etc. After composing the photograph Tournassoud had to hope that the light did not change otherwise it would be necessary to return the following day and repeat all these operations!
He patented in 1911 a portable photographic darkroom allowing, when outside, the setting of the plates in the frame, and which can also be used as a veil (patent n°423 456, 15 years).
Tournassoud obtained astonishing tonality - wide range of the grays - due to both the plates he used and to their processing which he had developed himself. Friend of the Lumière family, he employed mainly the orthochromatic emulsions of the Lyon-Monplaisir factory, perfect for the landscape because they collect blue-green, green and green-yellow radiations in their full totality.
Type of plates employed: glass plates with gelatin silver-bromide, emulsion manufactured by the firm of A. Lumière and Sons: Extreme sensitivity, A Orthochromatic, anti-Halo Orthochromatic S.E, anti-Halo Simplex, A and B Sensitivity Extreme and plates as well as photo papers manufactured by Lumière-Jougla. These types and varieties of emulsions have almost disappeared today, being replaced by "panchromatic" emulsions which, while sensitive to all the colors of the spectrum, do not provide as much detail in the degree of the values of the vegetal world.
Finally Tournassoud used the Lumière Autochrome plates (see details)
Gelatin silver-bromide plates: 9x12, 13x18, 18x24 and stereos 6x13 and 8x16
Autochrome Plates: 13x18 and stereos 6x13 and 8x16(centimeters)