December 30, 2012


Music | Dusk by Andrew Hill


Almost 2 years have passed since I had an idea of getting this image of Jessica. And only by chance did I find she was back in town for me to ask for her to sit. Short notice and all, everything fell into place.

A more clear depiction of an amazing tattoo

December 14, 2012

Photo Lyceum

Music | This World by Zero 7

Several times a year, Ray Bidegain hosts Photo Lyceum. A gathering of some very talented photographers which on this occasion included, Susan de Witt, Evan Schneider, Jody Ake, Peter Gomena, Clarke Galusha, and Brandon Fernandez. Missing in action was Robert George.

Wednesday night was one of those special occasions. As per tradition, we start the evening with drink and great conversation. Into dinner, single malt scotch, the showing of images (which we all are required to bring), dessert and more images and more drink...

Wine, French Onion Soup, Lamb, potatoes and green beans...

The bottle of the evening...

Great shot by Evan Schneider

I'm realizing the conversation, FOOD and photography are on equal footing for these gatherings.

December 10, 2012

Gel Transfer

Music | Feel Good inc. by Gorillaz

I just recently wrote about the fact that I try and concentrate on one thing while in the learning phase, but I saw some images that Susan DeWitt had posted on Face Book. All ready renowned for her Lith Printing technique, she posted some images via a new technique that was reminiscent of Polaroid Transfer. Dreamy and impressionistic, tactile and a bit raw, I was immediately drawn.

I had asked her if she could give me some tips to get me going and she invited me over as she was giving a demo to another photographer, Philip B. Bowser. It was fantastic that I was able to piggy back on this workshop.

Susan went thru the process by showing how she went about her work flow several times. Both Philip and I got to make are own as well. Susan printed our digital transfer film, but we both made our own prints. As expected, since we had a great teacher, we both made perfect prints to take home...

btw, this image was made into a 7x7 inch print from a file I had on my phone which was 82k in size. There is just a hint of pixalation on the final print.


Music | The Here and After by Jun Miyake

half a century... and as i get older, it appears time moves faster and faster.

some things i feel i know, wisdom of time and such.

i fall in love without knowing if it is true, here i am still a child.

time, time for thought

what i've accomplished, what i haven't and proclivities of desires...

some things appear important and i ask, are they?

wisdom asks the same, so i go on wondering.

often visiting the brain - could have and should have?
left or right, yes or no?

the question becomes tiresome

i need to keep moving, creating, living. no room for fatigue.


50... reflection, lots of reflection.

it has been good, with some serious rough spots.

i learn, i don't learn, i ignore, i act.

i've all ready helped create my most magnificent gift to the world
and i know i have to let go. she is her own now.

so proud am i, i don't need to give more.

on the way down i know. eyes, muscles, joints feel it.

future, past... future, fear.

it is no different from when the child was a child.

but now i have wisdom

but like the child, can i move forward without looking back?

December 09, 2012

Thank You, Epson

Music | Aisha by John Coltrane

As posted before regarding the Freedom Fighter shoot 3 weeks ago, I was invited to be apart of the traveling exhibition. My only stipulation was that I wanted to get the images printed professionally and that they would be matted and framed.

I took the initiative to get the ball rolling for sponsorship and contacted Epson to see if they would supply ink and paper. I decided I would print the images myself to save on labor costs. Mid day Friday, I found out that Epson has accepted my proposal and will be sending me ink and very nice paper to print these images.

Thank you, Epson.

December 06, 2012

~~ Your Very Own Wet Plate Collodion ~~

Music | When Love Calls by Atlantic Starr

2.5 inch square framed Wet Plate Collodion

As Posted on Facebook...

Have an original Wet Plate Collodion Portrait done for yourself or friend as a Holiday gift.

This is your chance to have a portrait created in a historic manner that can't be duplicated digitally. These one of a kind Tin Types are processed just the way it was done over 150 years ago. All plates are 2.5 inches square and will be matted, mounted in a wooden 5x7 inch black frame.

Give a gift to yourself, family or friend in a most unique way. This holiday special goes on until December 21st. Contact me directly thru Facebook to book your date.


2.5 inch Framed Plate (1-2 people) $65.
Additional plates can be purchased at the time of your sitting for an additional $55.

Portrait session for a single image will take approximately 30 minutes.

All images will be delivered the following day of the shoot.

December 05, 2012


Music | Butterfly by Floetry

I've always tried to keep things simple, especially when going thru a learning process. I've been shooting Wet Plates for about three and half years now, and though I know I've gotten better, I still have so much to learn, understand why some things happen sometimes and other not...

A month ago, I thought it would be interesting to make smaller plates, mostly so I could sell my art at a more affordable price. Also, plates that were smaller in stature I thought would be easier to part with.

So now I make things a little more complicated by introducing a smaller format, with other new things to learn and figure out. I still get the same joy out of shooting the plates thru the Rolleiflex. The plates, petite, but still with a lot of presence. I've been happy the more I shoot and figure out a smooth workflow.

What I really love is that the quantity of my materials go a long way! With most people, bigger and bigger their pieces go, I've been happy shooting 4 x 5 and now 2.5 x 2.5. I screwed up 2 plates, for a total of 10 for yesterdays session. Looking at the bottle of collodion, it appeared like the same quantity was in the little bottle.

I just varnished the 8 plates this morning and admiring my little gems. Besides the still lifes I shoot with this smaller format, I'm not sure what I will do with my portraits and nudes.

The only issue now that I have is the desire to shoot both 4 x 5 and the smaller square format. Kind of the same dilemma when I started shooting wet plates in the beginning. I felt the need to shoot both digital and the plates... I've learned of course I don't need to, but I think this one will be a bit harder to commit to...

December 04, 2012

A New Muse | A New Format

Music | Over by Portishead

Aimée and a Rolleiflex with plate back adapter to shoot 2.5 inch wet plate collodions...

If today is an indication, working with Aimée may become a more regular occurence. Besides being stunningly beautiful, our aesthetics of the creative process is similar.

Working with the Rolleiflex and wet plates will be a more difficult task. I am quite pleased however with the results of today.

A great way to start 2 new relationships...

November 30, 2012


Music | Consequence of Sound by Regina Spektor

Several months ago, I decided to update my operating system on my somewhat older computer. In doing so, I wanted a back up drive, so I have to move things around to open up one of my external drives. I ended up with music all over the place. Some on one drive, some on another... My main listening app is iTunes, and as far as I know, it likes having everything in one place.

So months have gone by where I had none of my own music available to me. All of the usb, firewire and power cords was more than I wanted to deal with, so Pandora became my best friend... Well, I've been house sitting the last several days and I thought, what a perfect time to pull all 4 of my external drives and cords and get my music organized.

In getting my music back, I was able to get Dara her ipod filled with some of her favorites. I now have music on my ipod, so I can listen to what I want in the car. I didn't realize how much I've missed some of my favorites!

You'd think this would be a good example for me to get other things organized in my life...

November 25, 2012


Music | Multicolored Blue by Billy Strayhorn

Been feeling not well the last few days. It was worse the morning after Thanksgiving when I could feel dread come over me. Joints faintly starting to ache, body feeling clammy... I went outside in the rain to throw some garbage out and as I came in, I was hit. My body took on a 180º turn downward. I suddenly got the chills so bad, I could hardly move. I managed to get the hot water running for a bath, dropped in some salts and hoped to ease the chills. As it turned out, seems my body worked like ice because the warmth of the water was soon gone. Every movement I took was a struggle. I put on every blanket I had on the bed, crawled in and fortunately fell to sleep. Unlike any other time in my life, I woke up without any idea what time of the day it was. I didn't know if I had slept 3, 10 or 24 hours... I felt a bit disconcerted, but after centering myself, I realized I had slept for maybe 6 hours as it was 4 p.m. After calming down, I again fell to sleep, getting over the chills, but still feeling uneasy. Nothing I wanted to do, so I just slept til around midnight. 2 hours of tv, then back to sleep til the morning. I had felt well enough to go to a meeting for 9:30. I was just weak from nothing to eat, but felt well enough to make it thru.

I was planning to spend the rest of the day with Dara, but could only muster up lunch and a movie. I was happy to be able to keep the food down, as I was a little concerned about that. Unfortunately, I brought back Dara to her Mom's and I knew I was not going to be good company by being a log on the bed...

The other strange thing, when I woke up Saturday morning, my left leg, below my knee was surging like I had got stung, or bit by a spider. I didn't notice any marks of any kind and the pain became stronger through out the day. It is still bothering me, but it is tolerable...

This afternoon, I had the urge to get out. It looked nice out and a bike ride sounded good. I rode to Cathedral Park just to get out and get some fresh air in me. I really enjoyed the ride and being out there in the cool brisk air. Hopefully I'll be getting better, real soon!

November 20, 2012


Music | I Don't Know by Bill Withers

More 2.5 inch plates this afternoon. It has been several weeks since I shot a plate, so I seem to be back at square one figuring things out. I'll say working smaller is not necessarily easier, but I do find I really enjoy making them and seeing the final product. I'm not sure why this is, but my plates have a vast difference from when I process and fix my plates to when they are actually dry. Though that is a common occurance, my plates tend to sometimes gain contrast or lose contrast when they are dry. I have it somewhat easy as I am shooting with strobe, so my work flow is much tighter regarding exposure than if I were shooting under the sky. I'm wondering if my fixer, which is sodium thiosulfate is the culprit. I may try switching to a rapid fixer or even potassium cyanide.

Antique Iron

November 18, 2012

The Modern Freedom Fighter

Music | My Heart Stood Still (Complete Take) by Bill Evans

With the introduction by Emma Colburn to the Roosevelt High School Writing Center, that brings students face to face with local community Freedom Fighters to engage in dialog and interviews, I got the chance to photograph those leaders involved. Though last minute, I was able to photograph 19 portraits of some really great faces.

Propositions like this one are always a surprise. You never know what you are going to walk into. I ended up having an office to shoot in for the make shift studio to create the photos. Though ambiance was lacking, the 5 to 10 exposures of each participant was taken seriously by both of us.

I didn't have any idea when I shot these portraits that they may be apart of an exhibition to be shown on a national scale and a book to be produced. I decided to do some outreach programs to become more involved in the community. This is a great start...

Just a few of the Freedom Fighters series..."

November 14, 2012

When Old is New...

Music | Grandfather's Waltz by Bill Evans

I've gotten to the point where I have enough in my archive of Wet Plates that I don't remember images I have shot in the past. This is a good thing because I can see things with fresh eyes. Apparently, this image was a reject, for which I can see why, but as I see it again, the image speaks to me in a way it did not when I first shot and viewed it.

I love the idea of apparitions. I also love the rawness of the plate, with such of soft and lovely face.

Jen from 2009

November 09, 2012

more Facebook, less...

Music | Freedom Suite Part 4 (Live) by David S Ware

9 days and not even counting since a self imposed hiatus from Facebook. An experiment mostly, I wanted to see if I noticed any nuance of change of my daily routine. One big thing is that I am hardly on the computer as much. Though this week I have mostly been assisting on another photo shoot, even while at home, I'm not in front of the screen going over the mundane aspects of many peoples lives... Nice to know I don't really care or feel like I have to have the facebook time leaching I honestly thought I would have.

I do miss some of the communities I am a part of. My Wet Plate Brethren has probably been the most missed, though I am not too affected as I can keep up with latest projects they are working on from other venues, like their blogss or accounts on Tumbler and such.

Statigram, Twitter and Tumbler have made up for my FacelessBook, but doesn't take up as much time. I'm in and out much faster and getting the feed I feel I need.

... more to come...

October 31, 2012

Faceless Book

Music | Right by Your Side by James Morrison

This article has hit a note with me that I have been thinking of on the outskirts of my own mind...

The Death of Downtime

I've also noticed how people, myself included are hardly ever in abeyance. At the bus stop, the most anyone would be doing would be reading a book while waiting, or listening to music. Now, everyone has their nose stuck in their phones... Do we ever see a bird fly by, or a poetic bag blowing in the wind?

As the article says, which I really highly recommend the short read, our "in between time" is lost. Our minds don't get that space to be filled by our environment or even our own brain wave travel. Like word assosiation, we need to have experience association where we give ourselves time to let our present state of nothingness carry us somewhere not structured by what we read on facebook, text messages, twitter, etc...

I know myself well enough to know I can't go cold turkey and turn everything off... However, I have decided to run an experiment to see if I can notice the subtle differences my life takes if I put my facebook account on deactivate mode for the entire month of November. I'm shutting it down and won't be able to access what has been for the past several years, my lame lifeline to my world. I want my downtime to be mine and see where it takes me. I'm honestly doubtful I will last a month. Here is hoping for a self stimulating, internally intensive time of rebirth...

October 27, 2012

Medium Format Wet Plate Collodion

Music | Alabama by John Coltrane

The close up lens and plate adapter back for the Rolleiflex work out really nice. 2.5 inch square ground glass, getting exactly what you get on plate is fantastic. The tlr design that made Rolleiflex famous really can't touch the accurateness of viewing directly thru the shooting lens. wysiwyg!!!

I'm working out my flow to work with this system. There are a lot of little steps, but each critical to be able to get a nice plate from this camera. Maybe I can show you later, but once all of the steps are followed, the process is very workable.

Because of the nature of Wet Plates, I'm also looking forward to working with a close up filter will enable me to shoot closer, hence smaller objects. I'm positive I won't mind the distortion.

I managed to get off quite a few plates yesterday, 5 of the fan and 4 of the camera. I'll frame one of each up and see what they look like. I think they will made great gift pieces.


Busch Pressman

October 25, 2012

Riding the Gamut...

Music | Lets Get Lost by Tina Dico

So within a peroid of a week, I managed to shoot my usual 4x5 plates, but also 8x10 and 2.5x2.5 inch plates as well. I was going to help out a friend for a test shoot at his studio and I knew he has a large camera stand that would accommodate my Century 4A studio 8x10. I figured out I hadn't shot with that camera in close to 25 years. The problem being I don't have a stand or tripod big enough to carry such a massive camera. Brandon's stand was built for an a 11x14 camera, so there was no problem with holding mine. He was kind enough for me to get off a plate, just for me to know there were no light leaks in the bellows and any other problem that possibly could have cropped up. I can tell I'm going to have a good time shooting with that camera in time.

Dara and I had gone gallery hopping a few weekends ago and at one of them, I saw some small pieces, 2x2 printed objects in nice little frames selling for under $100. They were nice intimate pieces and would go well having several at a time to hang. One of the problems I have with my larger 4x5 and eventual 8x10 plates is that I think they are worth a certain a amount of money, but too much for most people to want to purchase. I really thought having small plates to sell under $100 would be a great idea.

My first go around was to try and use a Holga camera. It was a breeze to set up for 2.5 inch square plates. I did a test run and thought it would be a very good candidate. However, one of the things I didn't like was that the lens is wide angle and focus distance wasn't very good. All of the objects I was thinking of shooting would look too small on the plate. My next thought was the Rolleiflex. This camera has a longer focal length lens and would accommodate close up filters. I asked a friend of mine, Dennis Purdy, a Rolleiflex expert if I could borrow a filter and described my intention. He not only gave me the filter I needed, he also gave me the ultimate solution for me to shoot these objects with the Rolleiflex camera. Back when roll film was relatively new, a lot of photographers weren't confident that the film could be held flat as well as plates. So Rolleiflex made a plate adapter back that also used a ground glass that only utilized the shooting lens of the twin lens reflex design. I would have no parallax issues and would see exactly what I would get on plate. I will be testing this setup tomorrow to see if I can make the wet plates with it. I'm really excited about the possibilities!

Ratio of sizes...

8x10 of Brandon

4x5 of Cain

2.5 inch square of a Fan

October 20, 2012

A Step Up...

Music | Forget Me Nots by Patrice Rushen

Must be close to 25 years since I last used this camera. I remember purchasing it from one of the eminent photographers of the 50's thru the early 80's in NYC and Chicago. Dick Boyer was sharing a space with a photographer I was assisting and he was in his waning years of his profession. He was selling off some old equipment he had used over his career and I happened to get this Century 4A large format camera. I got it more as a vintage piece I could display, but used it to shoot some portraits with film and paper negatives. My biggest problem with the camera was a lack of a stand or tripod big enough to accommodate its large size. So the years stacked up as the camera sat on various shelves, showing off it's gorgeous dark hardwood body.

My friend Brandon I knew had an old camera stand, that would be able to support the Century and I was headed over there to help out. I asked if I could bring the camera by and shoot off a plate and he obliged. I really wanted to get off at least one exposure so as to see the characteristics of the Kodak 405 Portrait Lens and to see if there were any light leaks in the bellows. The stand was a perfect mate for a camera of this magnitude. As a matter of fact, the stand was made to hold even a larger camera than mine.

After taking care of Brandon's test shot, we got the Century mounted and I was able to get a test exposure off. I'm happy to say the camera was a dream to work with and worked flawlessly. All the movements worked smooth, no leaks and best of all, I really like the character of the lens. I'm really wanting to find a stand or tripod to hold the beast so I can start using it.

The 8x10 plate is 4 times the size of what I'm used to shooting. Prepping and holding the final product is an awe inspiring feeling. I'm a little concerned about the expense of shooting so large, but at this point, I know I will have to.

Century 4A w/ Kodak Portrait Lens 405mm f:4.5"

My first shot with the Century in close to 25 years.
8x10 aluminum plate of Brandon"

October 10, 2012


Music | Basique by Little People

Just got back from Chicago. The city becomes even more amazing when you go back and go thru your existence as you did from your memories. The weather is a typical day of coolness, a bit of a bite in the air. Colours of the trees were starting to change. Nothing like Chicago in autumn.

On this great visit, I met up with a gent I haven't seen in close to 30 years, another 2 that I haven't seen in over 15. As time flies by, my relationships with people start to have more meaning, with the time of shared paths of our past. I guess this is what happens when you get older. I can see now where wisdom starts to set in, at least in respect to some things...

I revisited old haunts and discovered new ones. I tasted the ambrosia from when I was a child, teen and thru my time up until I left Chicago over 13 years ago. Eyes of the city thru the CTA was magnified - it's a great way to get to know the neighborhoods and some nuances if you look.

I've had my visits back to Chicago often over the years, but this one, my shortest stay has had a big effect on me. I'm still sorting out why. One thing for sure... I am older and the city has changed, perspectives have changed, but I still think of it as my city.

Skyline from Lincoln Park

Jackson St.

Cermak St. Bridge over the Chicago River

The Loop

September 13, 2012


Music | In the Waiting Line by Zero 7

It has been a difficult 2 weeks to get sitters to come to the North Light Studio, aka the dining room, side yard and now the living room. I got blown off 3 times during that time, but did manage to get 4 portraits in. It is important that I keep working at getting better and figure out the things that will make me a better photographer/wet plate collodionist.

Today was a great afternoon. I got my long time muse, G.G. to come and sit for me. As usual, we had a great shoot, pushing some boundaries. Even though we've known each other and have worked together for close to 10 years, it is great that we haven't stayed stagnant and able to move forward.

Lately, I've limited my shooting to 2 to 4 plates per session. So long as I know I have one piece that I am happy with, I shut it down. Today, we started out with a great shot, but we kept going, working and building to an end result we both wanted to achieve. In order to get there, we knew it was a building process. I ended up shooting a total of 7 plates in 3 1/2 hours. By far, that has also been the longest session I've worked through and it was really satisfying. Of the 7 plates, I am happy with 5.

September 05, 2012

Saddened and Amazed at the Fact Time can Travel so Damned Quickly...

Music | Mad World by Alex Parks

There are some people who are always kids, children in the minds eye. Kids of friends, friends of your kids... Suddenly a decade goes by and in a matter of seconds, you realize you've just gone thru a time warp.

Cole is a prime example of how time travel is possible. I can only remember vague recollections of her playing violin and seeing a 10 year old stopping by her Mom's café with her older brother.

Fast Forward...

September 02, 2012

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling...

Music | Triumphant by Royksopp

North Light Studio has been in full swing since Thursday and will be for the next week. In the last 3 days, I've managed 3 shoots, one commissioned and the plates are looking good. Repetition is a great way to fine tune and learn the process. I can learn from my mistakes and hopefully not make them again in the future.




August 30, 2012

Aesthetics, Respect and Days Gone By...

Music | Porecelain by Moby

Remember as a kid, going thru family photos, either thru albums or boxes of loose prints? Remember going to museums and looking at actual art pieces, sculptures, paintings and photographs? Having seen images thru magazines or books, then seeing the actual work was just so much better! I realize the tides are changing and viewing art electronically has become the default.

In these times, I wonder if the painter is painting with the end result being on the screen as their main intention. I guess if so, they could paint with the computer, lose the feeling of dabbing brush into paint, then onto canvas. Command Z for mistakes and just as easily change colour with the press of a button. Of course I know the answer to my question. Painters are painters and they do what they do because they have to. What true painter would forgo the subtleties of pressure, feathering and all the techniques they have learned over the years?

With photography, I realize the end result is not always the print. Not that tangible object that you can hold in your hand and feel, study, look and think upon as an object of desire in itself. The camera phone, android, iphone has made things where we no longer even think about the photographic print.  I'm just as bad as the next, shooting photos with instagram and posting for the world to see. I get my pats on the back and hope my number of comments and likes increase...

The electronic and digital age we live in has managed to devalue many aspects of our lives. It has also stripped away man's view of aesthetics. Now, we have access to everything, in overt abundance where more people are capable of doing more bad things and compare themselves to those who have worked hard and paid their dues to reach where they are. But since we live in a "Good Enough" society, only those that have been able to keep a smidgen of aesthetics can see a difference.

August 27, 2012


Music | Everloving by Moby

While working with a new model, I got the chance to shoot some Polaroid Type 55 film that Tom Moratto sent me. Of course that film has been gone since 2008, but if you can manage to find it, you can buy a box of 20 sheets for upwards of $200. Tom had sold all of his 4x5 equipment and gave me the sheets he had left.

I loved going thru the motions of loading that film, delicately sliding it into the holder and even more gently, pulling up the cover to enable exposure to the film. Memories of using that film to check composition, lighting ratios and the general look of your scene brought on a great nostolgia. Besides enjoying the moment, I felt history sliding thru the rollers of the holder as it meshed chemicals to film to process the instant photo...

Nej Rose

It is no wonder I love Wet Plate... the closest procedure to get that instant photo again...

August 13, 2012

Out of the Comfort Zone

Music | Shh by Frou Frou

Not a planned for today, but it appears Brandon was as wired to shoot as I was. I had mentioned wanting to shoot at Peninsula Park and he was ready to go. I was thinking it would be nice to have 2 shooters as one watched over gear while the other prepped to shoot.

This was a good exercise for me as I hadn't shot out in the field with wet plates in over a year. I made the mistake of forgetting my dark cloth and loupe. Brandon brought along his dark room tent that we shared. It was nice and refreshing being outside, under a lot of shade which was good. The temps rose close to 90º.

I don't think either of us however became too inspired. I managed to shoot only 3 plates and only one of those was worthy. I went thru 6 plates as my collodion started to thicken. I then realized I should have some alcohol available to cure the issue.

I have come to the realization that I should be much more consistent when working under more controlled circumstances. So many things can go wrong as it is, but on location that becomes ten fold. Working at the studio, in a real darkroom, controlled lighting and temperatures should make the process easy... hmmmmm... what am I doing wrong...

Peninsula Park Rose Garden

July 26, 2012

Don't Be Afraid of Light...

Music | Hear Me Out by Frou Frou

... or the lack of it. It was awhile since I shot in a nice hotel. We were at the Governor's in a gorgeous and large room. The building has to be over 100 years old, but kept up very nicely. Light thru the window was a bit sparse as the view out of it was other windows of other rooms. Between my lights and the room lights, there is no way to get a feel as to how the room looks in its natural state. As we finished up our last shot, I started to turn the lights off and noticed the fabulous light coming thru the window taking over the space. The lone chair sat where it is in the photo and I just kept telling myself not to be afraid of the lack of light. Shadows are a good thing. My client had the perfect garb for the shot and naturally lounged on the chair...

July 24, 2012

Your Way or the Highway...

Music | Minor Seventh Heaven by Oscar Pettiford

Strobed and shot on location at a rental studio of Pam and Nick.

I have to remember that I don't have this beast under control like I do otherwise. Wet Plate Collodion demands respect, or it will spit you out and stomp all over you. It took me several plates to get into the groove and I just have to remember to take deep breathes and relax, just like I ask my subjects.

Shooting several hundred photos during a digital shoot makes the process easy. Time, effort and costs are minimal and with so many to choose from, there is bound to be a few nice selections. This day, we shot 9 exposures during our time together. It wasn't until the 3rd plate that I started to feel comfortable. This was the 4th plate and I think it was the plate of the afternoon.

There is no resting on one's laurels when shooting wet plates. Not for me at least. The only laurels I have is my past work, and only the good stuff I show. I do love that each time I go out and shoot, I have to be in that mode, that groove to be able to produce. It takes effort and thought. It forces me to work! In the end, if I meet my end of the bargain, I'll get nice plate.

July 19, 2012

Studio, aka One Car Garage...

Music | All at Sea by Jamie Cullum

It has been almost a month since I did my last shoot. It's nice to get back into the saddle and make a nice piece of work. G.G. has been a muse for me for years and there hasn't been a time where we didn't come out with something nice.

Today I set up the garage as a studio, background, strobe, reflector and camera. There was plenty of room to work and actually, the surroundings of hanging bicycles, lawn mower, rakes and such sort of disappeared with only the model light illuminating the set. I'm realizing I really don't need a lot of space to work my portraits and still life.

Today was more of a test to make sure all my chemicals were in order. I knew my existing collodion was going to be slow because of age. It was nice to make a comparison with the old and new... about a stop and a 1/2 difference! Having this reference point is comforting and brings on confidence. I hope to shoot a lot in the next few weeks.

I had the results I needed from 3 plates, but we pushed forward and shot a few more. I'm glad we did because this is what came out with the last one...

July 10, 2012

Hang Your Own Work..

Music | Flite by The Cinematic Orchestra

It is nice to know that my printer is actually sustaining itself and putting a little money in my pocket. Actually it is just going to get more materials for me to keep shooting, but that is good too!

One of my clients saw some of my food wet plates I shot late last year and the early part of this year. I was happy that she ordered 2 prints, possibly 3 prints a bit larger than I have sold in the past, and framed. Since putting up the show at Sesso, and also helping a friend hang her show, I was feeling confident in finding the right size frame and style. I often go simple and use black metal with a mat with coverage around the actual image. My client couldn't decide weather a dark brown wood or black frame would be best, so I presented her with both. Of course she went with my standard black frame, which left me with the brown. I printed up an image of a squash to put in it and it turned out looking amazing. Holding it in my hands leaves my perspective of it, limited. However, hanging it on the wall just transformed the piece.

It is kind of sad when a photographer gets this feeling so rarely as I do... My photo suddenly was a work of art. In all my sincerity, I was very proud at what I created and seeing it as art, or a perspective that was a bit foreign to me was astounding.

June 18, 2012


Music | Out of This World by John Coltrane

My stunning God Daughter...

June 09, 2012

The Day After

Music | Time is the Enemy by Quantic

My first solo exhibition opening was a fabulous success. Not only did a fair number of familiar faces show up, there were tons more that came I didn't know. The unofficial count was a bit over 100. The art work was nicely hung, the food was impressively good and the crowd very interesting and interested.

I didn't get to see my work on the walls until mere minutes before the doors opened. Surprisingly, I was fairly calm, though traffic jams delayed my original entrance 45 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised to see all 20 pieces nicely mounted and spaced. Honestly, I wouldn't have changed a thing. As the doors opened at 6, a slow steady stream of people started to enter. I was fortunate enough to have my good friend Sherri with me to be keep me grounded. As the place started to fill up, I was told I should start to mingle. I quickly found it wasn't as bad as I had anticipated. Most of the questions was about the process and what I had planned to do beyond the show. Only with a few folks that I had known did questions come up about philosophies and involved art speak.

Since the setting of the show is actually a night club, it was natural to have the after party right there. The transition went easily as a lot of friends stayed. Only the music changed and the alcohol poured a bit freer.

June 05, 2012

Tic Tic Tic

Music | Chelsea Bridge by Billy Strayhorn

Plates and prints are done. Matting and framing, descriptions, pricing, done. Yesterday at 5:30, I rolled my box of artwork into Sesso, set them up on a lit table for the committee to see. As I pulled images out 2 at a time, under the lights, I was feeling really good about myself. I thought in advance that I needed to be aware of how I felt as I presented the images. It is going to be a good show!

May 30, 2012

Stress Begins... Now!

Music | Passion by Nightmares on Wax

I had my last photo shoot today for the Sesso Exhibition. This was a great transition going into phase 2 of getting my first solo show complete. Having only met once with Sophia over coffee, and the fact that she wanted an escort to come with her for the shoot, I wasn't sure how it would go... Turns out I got some great photos with a subject that wasn't photographed in a professional manner before. I shot 4 plates and frankly, I could use any of them.

I picked up frames today from Ray Bidegain, who is lending me 15) 11 x 14 inch black metal. The cut mats I picked up yesterday look fabulous. Just placing a few plates in for positioning transforms the delicate image covered bare piece of metal into a very nice presentation of a work of art. I'm really happy how it is all coming together.

I just moments ago selected the final 20 images. I just have to decide what will be presented as prints and what will be as plates. I'm thinking 5 and 15 are good numbers. I don't foresee any issues with the final matting and framing. Monday is the big day where I drop my work off...

Music | Fidelity by Regina Spektor

Less than a week to go before I have to turn all the pieces to Sesso. As time thins, my actions will become more acute and I'll see where I stand. I've got one more shoot planned for tomorrow and I've been feeling good at what I've accomplished.

Not only has there been a lot of photography, I managed to get back my, domain, as well as getting I also got some nice little moo cards to hand out during the show. I'll have to work on getting that website up, which will consist of a simple gallery of pertinent images, ready to sell as well.

Upon picking up some mats for the plates, I asked the gallery owner where the frames shop was, what I would need to do to submit work for a possible show. Turns out she had all ready thought about it and offered me a solo show next year, but also a shared show with another photographer in July... I'm not sure if I can get together more frames and mats for July, but that is something I'll be looking into in the next few days.

More updates forthcoming...

May 11, 2012


Music | Lets Go by Frou Frou

As the music title states, Lets Go! Through a variety of happenstance, luck, good people looking out for me, I got the opportunity to have my first solo exhibition. Club Sesso, a unique nightclub here in Portland follows the 1st Thursday tradition of hosting an opening of new art work in their lavish space. Apparently, the original artists had some difficulty and wouldn't be able to show his work. With only 1 month notice, my name came up coinciding with the sudden new opportunity. Julie, a model who came thru the studio in February to be photographed had been showing off some of my work that we created together. Along with my website, key members of the gallery committee at Club Sesso, I was offered the month of June to show my work...

To make things even more difficult, I decided to shoot all new work within the month of May, with all of the work based on Wet Plate Collodion. Though I have a vast archive of digital erotic photography, I didn't want to waste this opportunity to show what I am now passionate about. I need to come up with 20 pieces by the end of the month. I'm happy to say I've gotten off to a good start with 3 images in the box. Both plates and prints will be shown.

The hardest part I can all ready tell is keeping the new images under wraps until the exhibition opens. Only a few number of people will be getting peaks at the work, and no one will see them in their entirety until the show is hanging.

April 30, 2012

Virtuous Patience

Music | On the Radio by Regina Spektor

It never has been easy for me to ask someone to sit for a portrait session. I don't know why that is. It was even more so a problem in the past. I know for the longest time, I seemed to rush thru my sittings, as if my subject matter had better things to do during my scurrying around trying to figure out what it was I was trying to do.

Over the years, I've come to realize that people who sit when asked and they are there in front of my camera are there because they want to be. I'm not so tense as I used to be, but I do still have issues asking.

I've known Ann for over 10 years I think. She once came to my rescue back, early in the decade when she had a café named, Madrona Hill. She let me set up shop there for 2 days and allowed me photograph her customers. Some of them I knew, most I did not. During the deep rut I was in, I forced myself thru this project which sort of jump started my re evaluation as to where I wanted to go with photography. Ironically, for some reason, I don't think I photographed Ann at that time. I don't know why...

Ann sold the business shortly after that and moved on with her life. It was infrequent when we saw each other, but on occasions, thru gatherings, we are able to spend a few hours catching up, always great times with friends, wearing sarongs, dancing, making pasta... We are and can be a strange group...

So, over 10 years in the making, I finally got my opportunity to formally photograph Ann.

April 24, 2012

Sad News...

Music | Dry by Carley Baer Fuji Film Price Increase is surely another big notice that film photography days are numbered. It is times like this where I wish I had a stash of cash to buy out a few cases of film...

April 04, 2012

Ian Ruhter

One of the most inspiring pieces involving Wet Plate Collodion. To see what Ian is doing with Wet Plates puts to shame any possible reason I come up with not to shoot a Wet Plate everyday, under any circumstance.

March 29, 2012

Portraits of March

Music | Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap

Click HERE for Gallery

The fruit of my beloved labor during a 2 week span in March...

The little North Light Studio, aka the dining room and the bathroom which conveniently converts into a makeshift darkroom works quite well.

With the exception of Dara, I wanted to make sure I photographed only new people for this series. No one had sat in a formal setting for me before, though these subjects are mostly all my friends. I have my favorites, my muses, but I wanted to step out of a comfort zone. And though I know these people, very interesting and people I have respect for, I wanted to see what I could get away with, what I could do to manipulate the person, the image.

I think because I know these subjects, I wasn't pushing as much as I thought I would. I was able to get exactly what I wanted with some, but for the most part, my usual way, my philosophic idea of taking a portrait took over. I am more a voyeur, giving instructions, but allowing the subject to have room to open up an be themselves. For whatever reason, I felt like I couldn't push with some and with others, only minutely.

I'll have this experience in the back of my mind for the next few sessions I'm sure. I won't think too much about it as long as I keep coming up with what I deem as strong work.

March 22, 2012

The Payoff

Music | Lay Your Head Down by Keren Ann

Fingers black stained of silver...

Black Stained Fingers

mixing more batches of developer than I thought I would, actually varnishing plates shortly after washing, scanning, correcting, printing, then back to my fingers again, using them to put the final stamp on the back of the prints for delivering.


It isn't over yet. I've got 2 more days and at least that many more sessions to shoot. It has been a great 2 weeks. Every time I go through this process, I gain just a little more knowledge and confidence.

Nothing but portraits this time around.

a few of the portraits...

March 21, 2012


Music | Name Taken by Massive Attack

For this series, I was fortunate enough to photograph 2 photographers whom I hold esteem to in high regards. Both are older than I, have much more experience in the world of photography, and put out amazing work.

Dennis Purdy, I've known for maybe the last 4 years through introductions from a large format group that used to meet once a month in Portland. His artistic vision is far beyond my own, but within the grasp of my own imagination - Meaning, his work, though on a higher plateau than I am accustomed to, I still get it. There is sincerity and honestly in what he tries to accomplish that makes it accessible.

I've known of Jamie Bosworth for almost as long as I have been living here in Portland. After being introduced to the photography community, Jamie's name was always passed around as being one of the finest journalistic photographers in the city. Paying great attention to detail of her weddings, she captures truth and beauty on a consistent basis with the sensitivity only a journalist has.



Both Dennis and Jamie will die with cameras in hand. Always shooting and creating is what I hope to emulate from these 2, as great examples to follow.

March 18, 2012


Music | Travel in Time by Kate Havnevik

I had posted on my Facebook account that I had hit for the cycle yesterday, meaning I went 4 for 4 with my portrait session with Shannon - each shot progressively better than the last. I wasn't sure what to expect from this session, as it was mentioned to me that she doesn't like being in front of the camera. So I put undo pressure on myself when she agreed...

After the 1st photo was shot and processed, and it looked beautiful, I had a great sigh of relief, especially after sensing that Shannon too liked the photo. If we managed not to shoot anything else, I was all ready happy. The culmination of the hour we spent came to this fabulous portrait...

March 13, 2012


Music | Can't Take it In by Imogen Heap

I've begun my push within my time constraints to get as much work as I can get done. Just under 2 weeks where the dining room of the house turns into a studio and the bathroom turns into a darkroom. I ended up creating a few epic pieces that I really liked the last time I did this, so I'm hoping to just keep that flow going this time around.

We're almost all ready in the middle of March and I'm hoping that we have a real spring and summer this year. Though I do enjoy shooting indoors with the strobes, I'm again looking forward to getting back to the outdoor studio along with getting some location shoots in as well.

Today, the second day into my project, I knew I needed to get some plates shot to decipher whether or not my chemicals were usable or not. It was nice to nail the 2nd plate for exposure and get 3 out of 4 usable plates. Tomorrow I continue and shoot another portrait.

I've got tomorrow lined up for another portrait, and a few days next week as well. As with one of my early wet plate projects, the shoot with the floral head pieces and Cain, I'm feeling good about this project. Though it is much less structured, so long as I keep shooting and pushing myself, I'm feeling good.

March 06, 2012

Exhibition at the Artist Repertory Theatre

Music | Star Eyes by Bill Evans

I had roughly a week to put together images for submission to a group show that would accompany a David Mamet written play, Race. The venue would be at the Artist Repertory Theatre, brought together by the Open Door Gallery. This would be one of the biggest shows I would be a part of, so I was quite excited to try and be a part of it.

Though I didn't have all the necessary incidentals for presentation, I had determined I'd get it done no matter what. Fortunately, my photo gods fell into place and I picked up a few commissions to purchase frames, glass, mattes and boards. With an hour to spare, I promptly dropped off my work. Unfortunately, I didn't write a bio or description of my work and how it pertained to the show itself. That evening, I wrote the following...

Ted Mishima - Photographer. Studied at University of Illinois at Chicago. Lives in Portland, Oregon. Divorced. From Chicago, Illinois. Born on December 10

Since taking up photography seriously in the early 80's, photographs of people have always interested me. Being able to capture a moment in the life of someone and have it tell a story thru time - minutes, hours, days, months, years just seemed magical to me.

Having grown up in a diverse and unique area of Hyde Park, in Chicago, IL., I didn't have to deal with racism until I left to go away to college. Everyone I knew lived no more than a few blocks from people of different ethnicity's Conflicts never arouse because of the colour of skin.

But as Dr. Seuss puts it, “Adults are just obsolete children...” The simplicity of life became more complicated and the issues of black and white and my relationships with people of "colour," black, white, and other ethnicity's became more sensitive.

In a profound aesthetic, I imagine all my photographs of people I may have been trying to decipher the differences of people. In the end, I don't think it is the differences that matter, but the similarities.

I just found out today, all 5 of my submissions made it into the show... The play opens this Friday, opening to the artwork will be determined...

February 12, 2012

Finishing Strong...

Music | Last of Days by A Fine Frenzy

With a rough start to my week of shooting, I'm very happy to have ended on a good note. As stated earlier, I wasn't too happy with the beginning of the weeks work. A strong finish however is what is important. Today, I had Will stop by for a sitting. Because my materials are becoming limited, I had decided on only 3 plates and some 4x5 film. All 3 shots of Will however were really nice.

Having the "studio" set up for the week and being able to shoot every day, I was able to get into a mode where I was learning, from both mistakes and accomplishments. Having this level of being able to learn has been a huge tool to work off the positives and work on the negatives.

February 10, 2012


Music | Kiss Them for Me by Siouxsie and the Banchees

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