Monday, December 15, 2008

A Smile For Today



There are days when you just need something, almost anything, to make you smile. For no particular reason this is one of those days and considering the work being done at our house, I'm sure my wife could use one as well. And since my daughter is taking finals for the first time I'm sure she could use a moment of brevity too.

So for them and just in case there is anyone else out there that needs one here it is. For a moment or two smile, laugh and just enjoy yourself.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

M.I.L.K.

For the first time, I’ve entered 5 of my images to a photography competition. It’s called, Fresh M.I.L.K.: Friends, Families, Lovers & Laughter and it’s being held this year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first MILK competition. In 1999 it drew some 40,000 entries representing 164 countries and I expect this years competition will draw more than I can even imagine. Click on the link above and you can get more details, but what drew me to it was that, unlike so many competitions, it doesn’t look to take all of your rights away with the submissions. It’s also ultimately going to be judged by Elliot Erwitt, a photographer I’ve always enjoyed. The theme was also compelling and something near and dear to my heart.

I submitted one of the images above and thought combining the three in a triptych would work but I’m not sure it’s the case. In total I think I will submit 10 images from the last several years of my family collection. It’s time like this I want to document them because I think it’s when we are really thoughtful of what is meaningful it always comes back to family. The images I submitted have personal meaning to me and ones that I hope will resonate with others as well.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Updates

For the last several weeks I’ve been experimenting with Diafine and various film stock. I’ve also been perfecting my developing skills after years of digital and sending out to labs. It’s been a challenging few weeks and I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes. In addition to that I’ve been trying to familiarize myself with the Chamonix and that’s proven to be a lot of fun if not time consuming. I’m not a slow, contemplative guy and that set of traits is most certainly needed in dealing with the learning curve associated with large format.

But I seem to finally have my head wrapped around the process and all of the associated work that goes with the nits and nats of large format photography. I’ve loaded and unloaded film, developed some 4x5 sheets with no real issues, and done so with my little system that allows almost immediate feedback. Thanks to Diafine, and my garage temperatures, I can pretty much soup up film at will and when time permits. This is the first sheet of film I’ve been willing to show.

I wanted to do something for Veteran’s Day this year but I just couldn’t get to a place and do anything special. So I decided to try something at the house. This is the flag from Diane’s brother, a Vietnam Era veteran that’s no longer with us. It sits in Jordan’s room and serves as reminder of the sacrifices attached with military service both past and present. I come from a long line of veterans and proud to say so. This is a little late for the actual holiday but it’s still appropriate given the current world situation.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Boy In The Moon

Photography, as with the written word, has always been an avenue to tell a story. I’ve never been very good at it, and am amazed at the talent of someone that can tell a story, visually or with words. Click on the title to see, hear and read a story that will make you think, question and wonder. It’s the story of a rare disorder and the boy who has it. Told by his father, a journalist for the Globe & Mail, it’s eye opening to what other people go through on a daily basis. You’ll need some time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fairyland Palms

OK, I’ve had enough of the political coverage. Enough of the business coverage and just about had it with all the negative stuff on TV. So I’m watching a DVR recording of Fleetwood Mac (shows my age I know) and enjoying the music and not worried about much else. So I thought I’d post an image and go wherever it may lead.

This is another image from a day out with the Flexbody. I’m still not sure about the camera but it’s unlikely I’ll get rid of it. It’s unique enough - only 2500 made - that I want to keep it and see if I can learn to get along with it a bit better. In the meantime I’ve jumped into the large format arena full force. After a good day with Michael Gordon, large format isn’t so scary. I’ve shot a few sheets, developed them, and found it’s something that I think will fit pretty well with what I want to accomplish with my photography. Time will tell if that is true but I think it’s going to be a good choice and I look forward the experience. I think shots like this will be more aggressive and allow more freedom with LF than I can get today. It’s really a very versatile system.

Palm trees are everywhere in Southern California. There was a huge importing of palms to Southern California in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and a lot of these trees still exist in California today and have actually come to symbolize the state. But there is only one native tree to Southern California and that is the Washington Palm which is rare according to what I’ve read. I’ve not done much more searching beyond that but I’ve always thought the palm trees in Orange County looked too perfect and they have always intrigued me photographically. But as with much of my work it’s never very flushed out. This just happened to be a day when I thought I might be able to capture what I was seeing.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Office Parks

I spend a lot of time in office parks, coming, going, coming, going... in my day job. I spend some of the time just looking as I drive by and wonder what I can see and if I could make an image. A few weeks ago I took out the Flexbody, which I am not getting along with very well, and wanted to try to get a better feel for the camera. Driving home that afternoon I saw images in my head and thought I might be able to actually make an image I liked. This is from the first roll that I developed yesterday.

I thought the Flexbody would allow me to get what I wanted better than a straight focused sharp image. And for the most part it did. These office parks are the factories of my youth. They house workers like me who push out products doing the same thing day to day. I may wear a tie today but it’s not much different than when I flipped metal from one pallet to the next at the aluminum factory. But I do have air conditioning and that’s a major plus.

I’m back to developing my own stuff because I didn’t like the delay, didn’t like the condition my negatives were coming back, scratches, dust, etc. and I wanted to get my stuff developed and worked a little sooner in relation to shooting it. And the reality is I can scratch them, cover them in dust absolutely fine by myself and it’s a lot cheaper. So after a few mistakes here and there I think I’ve got it down again and will get through my backlog of stuff in the coming weeks. I’ve already developed 7 rolls this week but I purposely used rolls I knew didn’t have anything good on them for the most part, you know, just in case.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

BJ

Most of my work lately has been of family -- documenting them, the animals, and just in general -- making a record of what I know it to be. Someday this will matter to a few people. Right now I don’t think so, but since there are only a few readers to this blog we’ll see. But mostly I am doing this for myself because I simply enjoy the act of photographing. And as I’ve written before, there aren’t many in the family that seem to enjoy it as much as I do. Actually, they may like the images as long as they aren’t of them.

But it does get me thinking about photographers like Mark Tucker who seem to be able to get over that and make wonderful images of people close to him as well as those that might not be. I also look to images from Mark Robert Halper for inspiration as well. He just goes about his business and makes striking images of the people in front of his lens. There are other guys like Jay Reilly who I recently came across. I couldn’t shoot his way but his images really resonant with me. It really looks as if he enjoys himself very much doing something he obviously loves. And then there is Michael E. Gordon, a landscape photographer that produces images that I just really like to look at.

So this is an image of BJ, my brothers horse and extraordinary one at that. At least to me he is since I know nothing about horses but any four-legged creature that comes up to me wanting an ear or nose scratch is extraordinary. I’m a sucker for the attention. I hope my brother likes this since he wouldn’t let me get an image of him.

Friday, October 03, 2008

James Nacthwey - TED Project

James Nachtwey won a TED Prize in 2007 which gave him a chance to “change the world.” You can see the award video here.

Today, TED and James Nachtwey launched XDRTB. Check out the images and give it some thought. It’s not the only issue in the world that needs attention, but along with the other issues, it needs action. I’m excited to see this type of imagery being used and more excited for what this might do in bringing about education and knowledge to people that don’t know about this. I’m also excited to see how technology will be used in the future to make lasting and important changes in the world.

It makes my previous post rather irrelevant.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Bummed

Working with camera equipment, as with any type of precision equipment, leads you to think things just won’t wrong. Rationally I know this to not be true, but I simply have it happen so rarely that I think the issues I hear with other cameras won’t happen to me. Inevitably it does, the gremlins find you and make you pay at the most inopportune times.

My Leica has a frozen shutter and it’s being sent in for repair. I am so bummed right now. But I have other cameras so I’ll get by but I had plans for it over the coming weeks and I’ll have postpone or go with something else.

This image is from my backlog of scanning from this year. I can’t believe it’s already October and I still have undeveloped film. It’s a shame really, and since I’m no Garry Winogrand, I don’t really have any excuses.

I do however, need to shoot more stuff like this when I’m back in Kentucky. Documenting my family, and the place where I grew up, just seems natural. Unfortunately my family doesn’t necessarily agree. So I get what I can and occasionally make an image I really like.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mark Tucker's Dottie

We live in interesting times with access to information, ideas, people... that we would have difficulty knowing anything about 20 years ago. Case in point, blogs. It's interesting to me that blogs have connected me to people I don't know and provided insights into their lives I would otherwise have no ability to know.

Mark Tucker is a prime example. Years ago, in a forum now closed, I paid attention to Mark's posts. They always struck me as smart, thoughtful and respectful. I starting paying attention to his photography and love to see his new work and am really glad he starting blogging recently. I actually had a chance encounter with him in New York at Photo Expo several years ago. He has his "plungercam" over his shoulder and I just said hello. As he had shown in his posts, he was kind and respectful and tolerated a total stranger interrupting his journey to wherever that day in the Javitts Center.

Anyway, one of the images I always loved was the one where he is pointing a hose and his dog is jumping into the stream of water with a smile and joy in the eyes. As a dog lover it just seemed the quintessential image of a guy and his dog. If you haven't had a chance to check out his work jump on over to the link and read the story. I'm sorry for your loss Mark.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Jordan's Room

Life in the house has changed, maybe not as drastically as I thought it would but changed nonetheless. Our daughter left for university a few weeks back and we are in the throes of an empty house. The dogs still look for her when we come home knowing someone is missing. And the bedroom is clean and, while it still looks very similar, is very empty.

I had the Yashica out one day documenting the room knowing it would soon be empty. This is the lived in look and one that continually was a source of frustration. Funny how the tides have turned. Images she has sent us from her dorm room are the complete opposite from this image. At least one side is anyway.

Just another mundane image.

Adian and the cat

As with my last post, which seems forever ago, I’m still searching for that elusive reason to photograph. For a variety of reasons, work, travel, desire, I’m just not getting what I want in my images. The last few months have seen dismal failures and that hasn’t changed recently.

I’ve been trying to look more inwardly to see what I can photograph that will resonate with me and possibly with others. So far it’s all been rather boring and more than a little frustrating.

But I recently scanned some images from several months ago. I’m just now getting around to looking through them. This is one of them and it’s from a trip to Kentucky earlier this year.

This is my great nephew playing with the cat that hangs around my nephews house. The kids are allergic and I don’t think it wants to come in anyway but it was a cure scene and I had to try and see what I could do with it. It’s shot with Neopan 1600 because that’s what I had in the camera and the light was lower than I thought so it worked out. I like this one but it could have been so much better had I worked it a bit more.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Out Of Practice

I’m out of practice and it showed this evening.

In and attempt to get out and shoot I watched some of the graphic elements on my way home from the office. I waited for the harsh Southern Californian light to wane a bit, ate some dinner and headed out. I took the Flexbody with me for some practice along with 3 rolls of Delta 100 and a roll of FP4. I forgot my 80mm lens so it was a good thing I had put the 150mm in the bag or it would have been a total bust.

The first issue is that I am wholly unfamiliar with the Flexbody. It takes a sequence too get comfortable with and I am clearly not comfortable. The sequence consists of making sure the lens is cocked and then shut in order to expose the film. You also need to wind the film or you risk a double exposure, or two, or three. I don’t know how many I had but I’m sure it was a few. Maybe it’ll prove to be interesting.

The other tool I left at home was the hex wrench to keep my mounting plate tight on the camera body. It came loose and finally proved to be unusable on the tripod. It worked out OK I suppose because by then I had lost the light. I just wonder how many images will be what I composed because of movement. With the Flexbody I was throwing stuff out of focus and it’s a fine line as it is. So movement will affect composition and then focus.

The other issue, and the one I’m most embarrassed about, is that instead of using spot metering on my meter I was using incident readings. I have no idea how badly exposed these will turn out to be but I have a guess I’m going to be really disappointed with my efforts. I should have known something was wrong when my readings weren’t changing drastically. I shot an entire roll this was before I caught it. Royal PIA and definitely a result of not getting out and shooting. Keith Carter says to just get out and shoot. Artistic blocks won’t work themselves out all on their own. It takes some work and it’s evident I haven’t put any work in to improve my craft.

This was shot with the Flexbody at the San Juan Capistrano Mission. It's one of the almost acceptable images from several rolls of dismal failures.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tracking Down Inspiration

My photography has been lacking recently because my most recent attempts have been dismal failures. I’ve been trying to gain some inspiration, shoot through it a bit and see where I can go. I’m coming up blank at the moment. I think the fact that I can’t focus makes it even more difficult.

So here is an image I found while going through some old stuff. It was taken down in Austin while I was walking downtown one evening. I liked the fact the birds were hanging out watching the people on the street. At least that is what it looked like to me.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Early Inspiration

The Vietnam War was a pivotal event for me. By 1971 my Pop had served 3 tours in Southeast Asia and I had several friends whose fathers were either POW's, MIA or had been killed in action. My Uncle Tommy spent a tour there and I've always wanted to talk to him about it but have never really had the heart to ask. My wife's brother did a tour over there as well and it had a profound effect on the family.

For me the nightly news was a staple and the images that came back from that war made me want to be a photographer. I studied all of the the images, loved looking at “Life” Magazine and couldn't get enough of the photography books that were available at the library. Larry Burrows was a photographer I remember well and I always looked for his byline. For an 11 year old it was amazing for me to see a person doing something I dreamed of with the same name, especially in print.

In April of this year 4 photographers were laid to rest that were lost in Laos. Burrows was one of the four. You can read the story here. Click on the heading of this link to see a video of the images.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Photo OP

I love reading and hearing about photography. I really love being able to hear photographers talk about their work and what it means to them. Over at NPR Alex Chadwick takes a portion of his Day to Day show and gives photographers a few moments to talk about their work. If you have a few moments check out the work of Harry Benson, Allan Tannembaum and Ashley Gilbertson. They were my favorites. The show is called Photo Op and is worth a few moments of your time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

No More Digital?

For the first time in 5 years I am without a digital camera. I sold all of my Canon gear last week because it was simply sitting there doing nothing. I did have one last day with it at Jordan's track meet, but other than that it has sit idle for quite some time. What I do with the cash remains to be seen and I may go back to digital or may opt for a medium format or large format system and explore that for awhile. I may also get another body to go along with my M7 and see where that leads. Not real sure at the moment.

After selling it I got a wave of offers for software I probably no longer need. But in looking back on this I became less of a photographer and more of a computer/software expert than I really liked. It also cost quite a bit of cash to stay up with all the stuff, or at least my perception of staying current, was expensive. Plug-ins for Aperture are almost as expensive as the program itself. Nik has come out with new technology that is suppose to be all the rage in tonal and color control. Drop $250 here, $199 there and it all starts to add up. I always knew what my gear cost. Over years of accumulation I had gathered up a lot of cameras and now I'm down to three and I doubt it will go much higher. But digital has brought what seems like a never ending cost structure.

I know, I could just say NO. But where's the fun in that? Sitting in front of a computer just isn't as compelling as it once was. And before you tell me I have to do so with film images I know that I do. The difference for me at least is that I work on fewer images and ones that aren't as marginal as my digital work. And before I get irate emails, this is just one man's opinion and experience. Read the header. I'm not saying that film is better. Technically it probably isn't. I certainly can't do some of the things I could do before. But for me this just is simply more fun. And since it should be fun that is the name of the game for me.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Airport Chaos

Airports are a chaotic chain of events that can often times leave you in the same place. I was in this airport for 6 hours waiting on a flight that seemed like it would never leave. In those instances I'm glad I have my camera with me. It helps to pass the time and allows me to practice “seeing” which I sorely need to do.

I was sitting in a corner watching the people, observing the tantrums, the nonchalance and the resolved all at once. These carts kept coming to drop people off for planes that were going nowhere. It actually started to get quite comical as the people would jump off the cart, race to the gate agent only to find put their flight had either been canceled or delayed. It didn't take long to predict the reactions. I did finally make it to my destination and went through the same routine the following day. And people say I have no patience.

Taken with Fuji Provia 400X.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Kevin German

No photo on this post. Just a link to Kevin German's blog about his experiences in Vietnam. This particular post, So many in need, made me post. Take a look through his blog to see a guy that has decided to chase his dream and do what it takes to make himself better.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hotel Chairs

Another one from my series on the hotels I visit this year. I'm still not sure how this project will work out and I know it's been done before. But it keeps me occupied and allows me to start thinking in terms of a long-term project. I need to get a feel for the images and take a direction that cohesively ties them together. It's also something I'm fairly certain I'll be able to commit an entire year too.

The issue I'm seeing at the moment is that I'm shooting in color and B&W. It's likely that the cohesiveness I want will be broken by this fact alone. I like to go against conventional wisdom when and where I can and this is an experiment as much as it is a learning experience for me. Between the airport images and the hotel images I'm certain something will emerge. I just don't have the foggiest what it will turn out to be at the moment.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Airport Reality

Travel is increasingly getting more difficult. If you've been in an airport over the last few weeks you know what I mean. On top of the spring break crush there is the little matter of the FAA getting a little too chummy with the airlines. Who needs inspections anyway?

This is an image that mirrors what I feel about traveling these days. It's lonely, long and boring. There really isn't much to say beyond that. I used Fuji Provia 400X. I think I'm starting to get the feel of color film again.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Older Stuff Revisited

I'm going through older stuff as I reorganize my files and redistribute my hard drive space. I picked up Capture One 4 today but have been playing with it for a few weeks as I test it out based on several recommendations. I've found that some images respond well to Aperture, almost all of my images respond well to DPP from Canon, some of my stuff looks OK in Lightroom and a lot of it looks good in Capture One. (Looking good is a relative term)

I've been shooting a lot with film and black and white but the color film hasn't treated me very well. It really never did even before I switched to digital. So for color I am shooting digital and preparing for a portrait shoot next week. It'll be both in digital and film, most likely with the Yashica Mat 124. I may try the Littman but it will depend on the patience of my sitter.

Anyway, this is an old image from a few years ago when I mistakingly thought it would be OK to drive to Kentucky and back in less than 9 days in an RV. As luck would have it we hit a snow storm in Colorado that closed I-25 north and south as well as I-70 east. We spent a day waiting for the roads to open and this was a result of hanging put in the snow. As you might have guessed we weren't prepared for over a foot of snow considering it was spring break.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Airport Parenting

When you are delayed at the airport it's an opportunity to watch people, their actions and how they handle situations. I was sitting at this entry way to the regional airlines in Seattle during a delay. I was sitting there wondering what I was going to do. My flight to Boise was delayed - again - and as a result of the delayed flight to Seattle I was beginning to wonder if I would make it at all. I had to be in Boise that evening for an early morning meeting the next day. If I couldn't make it I was going to stay in a hotel in Seattle and head back home when I could get another flight.

During the time I was waiting for information it was a toss up between the regional terminal and the terminal headed home. So I parked myself in an area where I liked the image through the viewfinder and just decided to wait and see what would transpire in front of the camera. This little girl was trying desperatlely to keep up with her dad. He was so engrossed in his phone conversation I wondered if he had forgotten that he had a little one in tow. As they crossed the area I snapped the image and hoped for the best. There were several images but I think this one worked best.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dogs

"If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life." - Roger Caras

Monday, March 17, 2008

Motel View

These two images are of the same motel room in Seattle from a trip at the end of January. I usually take the camera with me and it's one of the reasons I bought the Leica. My digital is just too big to fit in the briefcase and schlepp through the airports. As a result, I wasn't carrying a camera and making no images for months at a time.

Business trips, despite thoughts to the contrary, are anything but glamorous. They usually involve long days with little time for photography. Throw in the fact that a lot of times I'm in areas I don't know and it considerably complicates the process. But I want to make images so what to do.

It struck me this year, as I spent every week for the first two months on the road, that a lot of the places I go to are very similar. The hotels look the same as do the airports. The strip malls are basically the same with the store fronts being different but the goods very similar. So I started shooting the airports, hotels and motels of the areas I visit. In scanning the images over the last few days I'm noticing a pattern and working to establish more of a theme to what I'm doing. At the end of the year I plan to put this stuff together and start looking for critiques. I'll go to people I trust and then contact photographers I've either met through this blog or other sites where I respect their work. We'll see how it goes. It's the closest thing to a long-term project I've ever done. I'm planning on shooting color an black and white. I'm not sure that's the best idea for consistency but it's an experiment and I want to see if I can pull something off.

Out Of The Ordinary

As I've said in previous posts I've been looking for stuff out of the ordinary, practicing looking for stuff that would be visually interesting. Well at least to me anyway.

We were in Vegas for CES earlier this year and met up with some friends that were also there on business. Believe it or not this is the set up in Caesar's Palace at a bar outside the Sports Book. This was the night of the National Championship and we were watching it on antiquated projectors, not color managed in the least and shown on a bare wall that wasn't even white. Frankly I was flabbergasted and made an image. Turns out it is visually interesting to me.

It's HP5 pushed to 1600.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Admirals Club

I've spent the last couple of weeks recovering from illness. I won't go into details but it was a little scary and it certainly provided much needed rest.

I've gotten a chance to catch up on some scanning and stay out of airports. Most of the scans I did, not surprisingly, were airport and hotel shots. This is one of them.

I'm starting to organize the photos from airports and hotel/motels to see if there is some sort of theme that joins the images together. As I make these images and view them as single images I find myself wondering if they are boring. They may be but I'm starting to see a pattern and since I travel so much images from the travels just seem to present themselves. It also allows me to practice seeing when I get the chance to take a breath on my business travels.

This image is a case in point. In the Admirals Club at the John Wayne Airport I noticed the reflections in the marble table at which I was sitting. I've long tried to make an interesting image of the ceiling. Those curves really appeal to me for some reason but I've never gotten a compelling image. I personally really like this one. I think this is the second roll of transparency film I put through the camera. It's Fuji Provia 400X that I really like but am having trouble scanning it. I still need to experiment more.

One of my new favorite blogs is written by Nick Onken. I really like his work and reading about how he is making it in the industry. Guys like him and Chase Jarvis have such good attitudes about sharing their knowledge and I have a tremendous amount of respect for them both simply because of that. Check out his site.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

LFI

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from LFI telling me they wanted to publish my JJ images. It was a surprise and one I wasn't sure about until I saw the pdf sent to me this week. Considering that last time the image was so small - almost to the point of embarrassment - I decided to keep quiet about this one. I didn't want to jinx myself this time. And yes, that's a little superstitious thing I probably shouldn't worry about, but there you are.

So here it is. My daughter had a huge chuckle upon reading the description. Luckily my wife was with me in Palm Springs when I shot this and can verify that I did not, in fact, drop by the local transvestite club. Something lost in the translation between English and German. But the chuckle, or should say outright laughter, from both of the women in my life was pretty priceless and well worth the crap I'll receive once this comes out and my friends see it. The joys of photography...

But this is the shoot that made me switch back to film simply because of the pure enjoyment the photographic process with JJ brought. The digital is still gathering dust for the most part and film goes with me just about everywhere. I have a backlog of film to scan, spot and work. Once I get more than a few days at home all in a roll I may get that done. It's the one drawback to my process at the moment. Because I have to set up a separate scanning station I get behind and need to find time to work the backlog. Leaving the station on the dining room table doesn't work so well for the family. So, the upcoming travel - could there be anymore - will produce more backlog that I'll eventually get around to scanning and posting.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Family Images

As you might guess, and as with a lot of photographers, family is a known subject and often visited. For me it's much to the delight of some and less so with others. My wife bears it for the most part but views my images of her with the critical eye that I just don't see. Almost all of them are good and if it's messed up it's because of me.

My daughter on the other hand has grown to want very little to do with the camera and it's not pointed her way very often. This is one of my favorites and I post it here putting my life in jeopardy. You live, you learn.

The dogs are also frequent subjects. I choose to believe they delight in being my models. I've written about this before and since they don't talk back they get images made of them on a regular basis. I'll spare you most of the images. I have no idea what any of this has to do with photography except that I am traveling a lot these days and I miss the family. I'm leaving again tomorrow so I post one of them.

I realized as I was writing this post that I didn't include anything but the links to the photographers website yesterday. I was in a hurry and didn't pay attention. Anyway, that image was from a test to see how the lens would handle lens flare. Turns out I like it so I posted it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cosmin Bumbut

Check out the work of Romanian photographer Cosmin Bumbut. I've been a long time admirer of his work and noticed it again today in Issue 17 of Blueeyes Magazine.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Seattle

Last week saw me in Boise and Seattle traveling to meet customers and kick off plans for the new year. As part of my goals this year I plan to just shoot, not be encumbered with particular ideas on what I'll shoot and to see what I can make out of what I end up with. To do that I made a promise to myself that the camera will go with me on my business trips.

So, I took 3 rolls of Fuji 400X and 3 rolls of Ilford HP5. The goal was to use up all 6 rolls of film with no limitations. I failed miserably. I just couldn't do it. No matter what I did during this trip I just couldn't see images and being in work mode while traveling probably didn't help. I did shoot some stuff and I have a couple of images I like that will eventually make their way here, but I'm not wired to shoot that way and I think it added a new set of pressures on me that affected my ability to see.

What I did find was that when I slowed down I was able to see some things that might prove interesting if I just shoot it all the way through. So I did. I got the film back just before I left for this trip and I went through some of it last night and there were a couple of surprises which generated ideas for projects. I'll see where it goes but I think I'll end up with something by December I'll be proud of. As noted in my last post I just need to follow through and shoot.

This is an image from a trip to Seattle several years ago. I don't own the Mamiya 7 it was made with any longer and boy do I miss that camera and the huge negatives. And like the camera this building no longer exists. It's been transformed into a Starbuck's (I think) or it's been torn down. I couldn't really tell. It's located close the to REI I like to go to and provides a way for me to get to the waterfront. It's a shame it's gone but I now have an image of Seattle that no longer exists. Is that cool or sad? Ask me in 50 years.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Mundane II

As I sat in the lobby of a customer today that blew me off, I wrote some thoughts on the United States political process. It's Super Tuesday here in the US and that means that we are closer to finding out who the republican candidate will be, and will not be any closer to knowing who the democratic candidate will be. Its a complicated process.

Anyway, considering my mood from the treatment at the hands of this particular customer, I've reread the comments and decided against posting them. This isn't a political blog and my thoughts are pretty much irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. So I post another mundane image.

This one was made in Cambridge outside the window of the bookstore I frequent when I go there. The light was nice but the scan was a little muddy. It's illustrative of the merged processes in photography these days. I don't think I could have made a good print of this in the darkroom due to my limited printing skills. I don't know if a master printer would have been able to do so. But the print from the scan on rag paper looks incredibly good. I like the image.

As an aside, I have a general question. How are people framing images that are the 3:2 format ratio? This image, as an example, would be cropped in an 8x10 standard mat. Why do mats come in formats that don't reflect that majority of the images made? I don't like to crop and do my best to frame the image in camera both digitally and on film. I want to see the whole image when I frame it. How do others go about this? Do you use custom mats, and if so, what are the dimensions for a 16x20 frame for instance? Any thoughts are welcome.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Mundane

Over the last several months I've made sure that I've had the camera with me a lot more than usual. If I don't have it I certainly cannot make images. When I see interesting light I try to see if I can make an interesting image to match. The stuff can be pretty mundane at times but I've found that the time that I take to get stuff processed provides a little space. In a recent article in PDN, Steve McCurry talks about the fact that he has images from as long as 15 years ago that he hasn't edited. Garry Winogrand said in an interview in the 1980's that he waited a year to process his film to give himself enough space to have forgotten the making of the image. They are both photographers I admire so maybe it's not so bad that I don't get instant gratification. It'll be interesting to see how I view these images in a few years.

Over time I wonder if any of this stuff will amount to much or build up into a body of work. I was recently encouraged when I read about an older gentleman getting a show at 65 years of age. At this point I think it's about sticking to it and making images. Over time I believe a style will emerge and it'll be based on what interests me and little else. I'm not too old to change but I am too old to change simply for the sake of change. If it isn't important it'll be a waste of energy and that is something I don't want to waste at all.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Blue

I'm all over the place these days with my photography. Maybe that's why I never seem to get anywhere.

As an example here is an image taken with a Holga I've had for a number of years. I have a bunch of expired Kodak 100VS laying around and thought what the heck. The lights nice, the sky is really blue and I don't want to work anyway. It was taken one afternoon back in November, but as with all of my projects it was delayed until I got the desire to scan for several days in a row. I'm caught up now on the scans but have several rolls of exposed film sitting on my desk... big surprise!

Anyway I've been given some thought on where I want this photography stuff to go and to see if I can stick with anything for as long as one year - one type of film for instance or one camera - something that will force me to focus a bit. I don't think I'll limit myself beyond B&W or color but I've got an idea. Not that anyone gives a rats behind what I plan to do but some of you may have an idea of what I'm talking about.

I'll probably kick it off in the next two weeks and it's inspired by a photographer I really respect. We'll see what happens.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Taxi

I spend too much time in taxis, and as such, I usually think I can make a decent image. This particular taxi driver engaged in a conversation because I had the camera out on this trip to the office in Cambridge. So I snapped a few. It's really an attempt by myself to get over photographing people I don't know and engaging with them in order to get a good image.

I meet a lot of people during the day, especially on my travels abroad. I'm not the most outgoing person, but my shell is a little less thick these days and I find myself in conversations simply by opening up just a bit. In a taxi cab it beats the silence.

Making images of people, total strangers, is nothing new. A lot of photographers do it today and have done it throughout the history of photography. I personally struggle with pointing a camera towards strangers, especially in the social environment we finds ourselves in today. But I find myself increasingly drawn to my images of people and the enjoyment I get out of it. Landscape isn't for me no matter how much I try. It's solitary, and while that would have worked for me years ago, I don't find the enjoyment in it today. Not to mention that there are so many people so much better.

Environmental images of places I've been holds appeal, but I don't get the time I would like while on the business trips to really engage with a place. So it's people I turn too, or at least, turn to in my head as I make images during the day without the camera. But there's the rub. Asking is hard so I shy away and don't do it.

So, back to this image. It's woefully inadequate in producing an image of a person. But what drew me to get the camera in my hand was the conversation with the driver and the ornaments hanging from the mirror. We'll see what happens in 2008 as I try to get out of the shell a little more and make images of the people I meet along the way.