Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jay Maisel

I got a chance to hear Jay Maisel speak at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego on Tuesday evening. I've seen him speak once before and he's quite engaging. His photography is something that I gain inspiration from and I would say he is one of my influencers.

Before the presentation started I had a chance to go through the current exhibit. Several things stood out. Most of the prints were either traditional silver gelatin prints or chromogenic prints. There was one print that was a combination of MIS and Lysonic prints on tissue paper in a wax encaustic. It was translucent and I enjoyed seeing that particular print. It was done by Mike and Doug Starn.

There was a couple of prints by Alec Soth. The prints were 20x30 I would say (I didn't make a notation of the size) and were full of detail. I'm sure I've seen a print made from an 8x10 negative at some point in my life but I don't recall. This was just cool to see.

Michael Kenna had 4 prints hanging and his silver gelatin prints were something to see. They were sepia toned and work from the late 1990's. I love his work so it was a real treat to see some images first hand. There was other work there but frankly, even with my notes, none of it really stands out in my mind two days later.

Mr. Maisel spoke about light, color and gesture. He showed a lot of work. It was encouraging to see how much work he showed. Some of it I'm sure wouldn't normally be seen but he used images as examples of particular points he wanted to make. Most of these images were important images to him. I got the feeling that was how he selected what he showed. That was encouraging to me because it seems to be the way I select images.

If you've ever heard him speak, attended a workshop or seen some of the stuff he's done on the net for his sponsors, you've probably heard him talk about “visual pushups.” He talked about this a bit but the essence of his message was to have fun and always carry your camera. As he said, and I'm paraphrasing here; If I have my camera I don't have to go out and shoot.

He also talks about not having preconceived notions about what you want to accomplish when you do go out. He showed several examples of this along with telling stories behind some of the selected images. I'm a sucker for the story behind the image and I usually find them fascinating. Mr. Maisel has a very engaging personality and is very entertaining. It works very well in my opinion and made for a good evening of photography.

This is an image from Palm Springs as I walked back from a day doing something I can't recall. I had seen the image the night before but didn't have a camera with me. I had it with me the next day when we walked past the store front. I think it's Portra 160VC but can't remember. By the way, I heard the other day that this film is being discontinued. Another Kodak film bites the dust.

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