December 30, 2013

Hollywood Camera

Music | Into You by The Cinematic Orchestra

Between running errands today, I knew I'd be driving by Hollywood Camera, my most favorite camera shop in the city. Ed, the proprietor has been there for decades and knows his cameras. He only deals with analogue photography equipment and has photographic history in and all around the counters of the shop. He sells and processes film, all kinds of film cameras, darkroom equipment and items you might not find anywhere else.

I've been visiting his shop starting about a year after I moved to Portland. Since then, I stop in at least once a month to see what he has. Often, he pulls out something special to show me. I was asking him about a Rollei 35 that I had recently seen. Ed says for me to wait a second... He goes to his back room and pulls out a pristine Rollei 35S. The creme de-la creme of that model. He goes on to tell me about the superior optics of the Sonnar lens that is on that body, pulls out some prints that he had recently shot with that camera and suggests that I have not seen anything sharper or with that superior colour rendition. I agree...

As I initially walked in, 2 younger gents where in talking with Ed about a very nice looking Rolleiflex. He know immediately that even though the camera looked pristine, and was described as hardly used, he knew to be extra careful with it. His knowledge of cameras is amazingly vast and he also knew a hardly used camera might not work hardly used. He goes on and tells the kids that the lubricants of the camera, maybe over 40 years may have dried up and instead of doing its job, would create brittlenss and possibly break some internal parts. Ed's mannerism and hand gestures shows how serious he is about this matter and the kids listen with sincerity.

Later, a gorgeous young woman comes in, looking for a Polaroid Land Camera. As if he knew she was going to come, he has one waiting on the counter. We both learn she is an avid film shooter, of Polaroid, 35mm and 120 film. When she left, I say to Ed, "You get the best customers working in this shop!" He goes onto say that he loves how the younger generation has taken to film and the analogue ways.

If you are ever in town and are looking for some film gear, I highly recommend seeing Ed at Hollywood Camera. If not to buy, just to stop in and see all of the various cameras he has on display. It is quite a journey!

December 20, 2013

The Nude

Music | Red Dust by Zero 7

What is it about the nude human body that people find so disturbing . There's a big gap between a nude body and pornography. But for whatever reason there are people out there that can't make that differentiation. The other day, I knowingly posted a photograoh of a women with her breasts exposed. Yes,I know the rules of facebook, no nudity... I'm not surprised that my image got pulled, but the one thing I said I would never do is complain in facebook about it. I did post a message however, to try and start a dialogue to the person who felt it was necessary to report my image. I'd love to know why they felt so compelled to take the time to do so.

Beyond that, I later found that I was prohibited to post anything for 24 hours... A little slap on the wrist for my dirty deed. I know it makes no difference, but I decided to deactivate my account.

I guess I have a lot of frustration about not only facebook and the many, including myself who have become so dependent on it, but how the annonymity allows people to speak out without having to be responsible for what they say and mean. It is lame and cowardice.


December 09, 2013

Taking Commissions

Music | Solitaire by Uri Caine

From now to the end of the year, I'm discounting portrait sessions in Wet Plate Collodion. Select from 3 different sizes and give the gift that is unusual, one of a kind and everlasting...

Discounted pricing til the end of the year...

My sessions run about an hour to 1.5 hours. I will shoot at least 3 plates and you chose the one that you want to keep. I can shoot a range of sizes from 2.5 inch square plates, 4x5 inch and 8x10 inch plates.

Price of a session includes one framed and matted plate. Additional plates are extra... Prints of plates are also available.
- - -

Price per session by size...

2.5 inch square plate - $85. Additional plate is $60 (Regular price is $125/$75)

4x5 inch plate - $175. Additional plate is $100 ($250 / $175)

8x10 inch plate - $400. Additional plate is $200 ($500 / $250)

If you are interested in booking a date, I will need a payment of the session in advance to hold that particular time frame. There are no refunds.

email for bookings or questions to
subject titled - Facebook Portrait Session

top lf - Anna, top rt - Will, bottom lf - Yuta, bottom rt - Amanda

December 08, 2013

That's a Rap...

Music |

Thru my transition from shooting digital to film, then to wet plate collodion, I always felt the need to to back up the shoot with my digital slr. Maybe it was the comfort level that digital gives all of us, seeing what we have shot in real time. But as I became reacquainted with the large format film and wet plates, I didn't feel the need to have that digital back up. If my intention was to create a great film shot or wet plate, having digital on stand by was a crutch that I could always beckon. How was that making me a better film or plate photographer.

I have to admit it took a good amount of time where I left the digital camera behind. It has gotten to a point now that I have to remember to bring the digital because my client wanted some colour images to go along with the monochromatic wet plates.

There is a sense of arrival being able to tell my subject that we are done with the session after just 4 exposures. I'm reminded of a story from a fellow assistant, way back in the day when he assisted a photographer who shot the Marlboro Cigarette billboards. The jobs would end up taking weeks and weeks, from location scouting, creating the scenes, gathering local cowboys and horses and all of the other elements to making sure the shoot would go according to plan and with everyone as happy and comfortable as possible. On one occasion, one of the photographic images that needed to be captured was having a dozen horses running over a hill, creating a fog of dust in the background, then into a shallow lake. The perfect locations couldn't be found, so they created a lake at the very base of the hill somewhere in Wyoming where the horses were going to run over. Thousands of sheets of plastic had to be brought in, truck loads of water hauled and poured...

Finally, the perfect moment of twilight arrived, the photographer radioed to the cowboys to get the horses to gallantly run over the hill and thru the water. As the reflections of the water started to break up upon the first set of horses creating splashes and waves, the golden light of the sun being trapped in the dust over the hill, manes of the horses dancing upon their necks, the photographer snapped one exposure and said, "Thats a rap..."

Kiley 1 of 4

November 22, 2013

Françoise Weeks

Music | Cult of Personality by Living Colour

It is great enough to have a muse or 2 to have available when inspiration hits. It is also great when a fellow artist spurs on inspiration and you create art together. I think I have worked with Françoise Weeks 4 times now. Each and every time, I know I have something to add to the special box of work that will speak over and over, loudly to an audience over a long period of time.

This last shoot we did was short notice. We usually have weeks and weeks in advance to think, decide and go over what the plan is going to be. Funny thing is, we usually keep to ourselves and allow the thought process to put it all together. At most, we come up with a theme, maybe mention a colour and go with that... Maybe a few pictures to pass on between us, then go! It is what I love most about working with Françoise. We allow each other the freedom because we know in the end, the result will be what it will be... It isn't to say we have no expectations, but we know the effort put into the arrangement will be interesting and sometimes beautiful.


and from Françoise's blog...

A Reprise | Of Beauty and a Rant...

Music | Thighs High by Tom Browne

A thought provoking reply was sent to me which tried to console some of my conflicts of my previous blog entry. Her biggest and obvious point was that there are no answers to some questions... My response...

You've managed to state the obvious, that there are no answers to some questions. Sometimes it is true, you can't see the forest for the trees... I've managed to relieve a lot of stress by not lingering on the things that bother me that I have no control over or merely try to guide. It is amazing how light my shoulders became when I came to that conclusion.

The problem with art, however is that it is so entangled with me that my questions arise everytime I get on the computer, go thru a magazine, look at the side of a bus... or watch tv and even listen to the radio...

Was life as an artist more simple when the world wasn't driven by constant visual media? I always thought how wonderful it would be to live in Paris in the 20's. I think now how great it would be to be in Europe during the Impressionism era, which wasn't too far off when Wet Plate Collodion was discovered!

In the end... we only have the present. I know... "Deal with it, and shut the fuck up!" :-)

November 19, 2013

Of Beauty and a Rant...

Music | Butterflies by Floetry

I'm all about wanting to capture Beauty. The idea of being able to seize in an image, something that pleasures the mind, to steer an emotion is quite powerful to me. I'm hoping to create not the romantic notion of where fads and pop music comes from. What comes easy certainly moves on easy. And with the vast number of photographic images being created on a daily basis, being able to create a lasting image seems to be more, less and less a priority. Our world is so into the now and not at all about history, which in fact is what photography is all about... Capturing a moment in time and keeping it there - holding on to history... In comparison to drawing and painting, photography is still nothing more than a fetus. I wonder what photography will be like 100 years from now?

With all of the photos we are taking now, making the mundane substantial, grabbing a created facial expression to convey... something, making reality more unrealistic, what direction does one go to photograph something of meaning? I know I get lost in snapping away with my camera phone. Taking a photo is now so accessible.

We all have a right to call what we do photography. Are the lines now blurred so much that snapshots and art no longer exist? I know I have my reasons to do what I do, some blurred and some more focused. I guess if I think too hard about it, I'll stop shooting all together. But like everyone else who shoots, I do so because I want to and in many ways, have to. My search for beauty continues on...

Cain with Floral Head Piece, courtesy of Françoise Weeks">

November 08, 2013


Music | Natale's Song by Sia

In a rather bold move, since having gone thru my mistrials with the ever evolving process called Wet Plate Collodion, I decided to shoot on glass, instead of the trophy aluminum that I have been using from the very start. I found it to be more difficult because of the surface tension of the two materials are so different. The glass of course is a much faster. It is also much heavier and more difficult to maneuver. As I was making my pours, I know my focus was more intense, not just because this was all new to me, but also, I could make a big mess by dropping the glass. With all of the detriment involved, I can see the allure of working with this medium over the aluminum.

As I said, I am much more in tune with the process. Fragility is a big influence of becoming more connected with every move you make while the glass is in the hands. As slow as this process is - I shoot maybe 3 plates per hour, the glass makes me feel I need to move even slower. In these days where everything we deal with and expect in daily life is instant, I love going against the grain.

More importantly than any of that, the final image on a glass plate has even more voodoo going on. Being able to see both a negative and positive image in a fraction of a second is magical. The smooth surface of the glass invites us to see the image, but because of the thickness of the glass, the appearance of depth subliminally messes with the mind.

You can't see what I'm talking about viewing these images here on screen, but I invite you to see a real Ambrotype, Wet Plate for yourself and see the magic. A great reason to turn off your screens and view real pieces with your own eyes...

Eyerish | 8x10 ambrotype

Moon | 8x10 ambrotype

November 02, 2013

For the Moment

Music | Many Names by Fred Anderson

I'm alone like I am most nights, but with the TV off and jazz coming thru the speakers, which is a nice change from the many many months past. It has been awhile where distraction is actually in tune with the way I am presently feeling. I felt a convergence between the music and the present me. I end up not feeling so alone in my solitary evening routine.

October 20, 2013

Relief Continues, Confidence Re-emerges...

Music | Angel by Weekend Players

It isn't that I needed inspiration for getting back to my groove. I've been longing to shoot for more than several weeks. After a very good start, my second subject, one of my favorite muses for the past several years has been Cain. I think I called upon her to keep my confidence up. There has not been a session where I have come out not feeling like I've accomplished something of substance.

My plates are looking as vibrant as ever and the tonal range has been fantastic. Being away for so long, with my tail between my legs for such a long time, I just can't express how wonderful it feels to pull the plate from the rinse and into the fixer to watch the emergence of beautiful plate.

2013-10-18 | Cain

October 17, 2013


Music | Goodbye Pork Pie Hat by Charles Mingus

I can't convey the feeling I had when the image came up. There was no build up... As soon as the developed plate hit the fixer, I saw my blacks the way blacks are supposed to be. My over 6 week issue of extreme flat plates is over and again, at least until I have to mix up another batch of collodion, I can shoot plates with a tonal range that I feel comfortable with.

I just met Aster at the beginning of our shoot. She unfortunately did some damage to her ankle and couldn't move around too much, but was a great trooper. After 3 plates and a few digital images in between, we were done.

A huge weight has finally been lifted off my back. I can't believe how satisfying the sigh of relief was for me. It is time to move ahead... again.

2013-10-16 Aster

September 30, 2013

Group Show Entries

Music | Look Down from the Bridge by Mazzy Star

It is good to have curators as friends. Because of possible difficulties of an upcoming and quickly arriving opening this Thursday, I was asked to be a part of a group show of Erotic Arts. This really was last minute as I had to deliver ready to mount artwork yesterday. I had roughly 2 days to select, print and frame 2 pieces. Once I had the confirmation to go ahead with production, everything fell nicely into place. No problems with the digital files, printing or even the framing. I can only hope that all my future endeavors of such nature will be as smooth.

I had an open invitation to show whatever I wanted. Because this is the same venue where my solo show will be in June of next year, I opted not to show any plates. I had a nice run of shooting some great digital images so I picked my favorite 2 and ran with it.

It has been a very long time since I printed 11x14 image size prints and then framing them in a 16x20 inch frame. I was pleasantly pleased with the results. I might have liked to go a bit bigger for the frame, but I have no regrets with the final piece as it will hang...

Framed prints ready for delivery

September 03, 2013

I Dig This...

Music | Missing by Beck

Flying Time...

Music | Bloodstream by Stateless

40 minutes away from the 4th day of September. Where did August go? As we move forward, it is now that I want the days to move quickly towards me getting back to shooting plates. I have since found I have another solo show for June of 2014. I'm starting to shoot content beginning Thursday and am scheduling more thru the 16th. With the 8x10 up and running with that beautiful Petzval lens, I'm really ready to go. I've got fresh collodion, sunned silver and not enough plates, but should be fine getting thru this first batch of shooting.

August 06, 2013

I Love What I Do...

Music | Reach for It by George Duke

I had recently made a sale of 2 images from the Floral Head Pieces series. A new to me collector saw the images and immediately wanted them. It is always a wonderful feeling selling work from what I love to do. It becomes even more special when a letter of appreciation comes after the delivery. I don't usually gush about such things, but I just loved the way this made me feel after reading it...

Welcomed home to a wonderful package!
Even more breathtaking when I hold them in my hands.
Thinking about why I like these two so much.

They are perpetual, in a way timeless in their beauty,
Images I can enjoy endlessly despite various moods I might be in or phases in my life.
The process itself is timeless and harkens to a past.

They are delicately feminine.
I think feminine comes in many forms.
In these images, you have women who are delicate in their frames and features.
They remind me of how delicate I can be in my nature.
Women are delicate, even the strongest ones, even the ones most tossed by the wind.
Delicately feminine.

They are nature asymmetrical.
I have a strong connection with nature, the outdoors, wildlife, living freely.
The flowers have the asymmetry of nature that hints at a field of wild flowers in the wind.
They are also bold and overstated yet seemingly natural in their place.
Nature asymmetrical.

Perpetual, delicately feminine, nature asymmetrical.
oh and mine!

August 02, 2013


Music | Sending Me Forget Me Nots by Patrice Rushen

Today has been a bit of a whirlwind day. I haven't physically seen my daughter in over 7 months. I'm sure our pacing will get figured out, but we did a lot in the 9 hours since the airport pick up. Besides stopping by her old stomping grounds, eating at one of her favorite places, getting on her bicycles and riding the PDX streets which she has missed, we surprised one of her best friends with a visit, where only her Mom knew we were coming. These girls have know each other practically their entire lives. They are only 6 months apart and via walking our dogs and daughters thru the park, I've known her parents probably since Dara was 8 or 9 months old...

As babies, they shared the same laps of all our mutual friends, shared the floors of the cafe we all frequented, and as they got older, made almost all of their birthday parties... Various Holidays from Thanksgiving, Christmas, Cinco De Mayo... they have spent a lot of time together.

As they got older, different friends, schools and interests took their course. But a visit with each other was never neglected, nor ever not wanted...

Lydia too has not seen Dara just as long as I. When opening the door to see who was there, welcoming bright faces were greeted and banter as if they saw each other yesterday ensued... No beat was missed.

Just like the day, looking at these girls together today, and knowing over 12 years have passed since we all met, it feels like another whirlwind has taken me. Despite time, it is wonderful to see some things just don't change...

2013-08-02 Dara and Lydia in the back yard...

July 26, 2013

Being Taken for Granted...

Music | Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Variation) by Rob Dougan

So in this age of images, where everyone is a photographer, it is really sad how photographs are not as important as they once were. Picture taking, as opposed to image making has become so prevalent, there is no room for content and meaning. Without those elements, we have turned our backs on what is important to take pictures for pictures sake.

I've thought about the last week I had where I made some interesting photographs, unusual in that not everyone could just go out and shoot what I did. My collaboration made the process all the better and it showed skill, effort and most of all, some passion. But in this day and age, they are pretty pictures and most of all, accessible for anyone to take them. My love / hate relationship with technology, particularly the internet and how it has changed the way we view things is both a god send and a nightmare.

Unknowingly to myself, people will be making money off my photographs. I will not see a dime... I understand that, don't like it, but realize it is the cost of being able to have some hope that I will be able to do this in the coming future... Bottom line is, the more people who see my photographs, the better... Hopefully they will enlighten, inspire and maybe circle back to me with a commission, job or exhibition...

July 23, 2013

Françoise Weeks

Music | Don't Leave Home by Dido

Almost 2.5 years have gone by since the last time Françoise and I worked together. It was the biggest project collaboration I had for Wet Plates at the time, but I knew that some great things would come of it. Indeed it has as many of those photos have been published in Europe and seen around the world.

A little more than a month ago, Françoise and I had coffee to talk of another project. We knew we wanted to create more botanical couture images, and the themes we came up with was Italian Renaissance and Gothic. Maybe 5 or 6 emails passed thru our mailboxes since then and June 20th rolled around where we created more fantastic images...

Sarah Pardini

Amanda Hathaway

These images were taken with the newly acquired Valantin Petzval lens on the Century 8x10 camera. It was a hallmark occasion for me as it was only the second 8x10 plate I have ever shot and the first plate I shot with my lens / camera combination.

Floral bouquets would be nothing without colour. We also shot with the digital camera and captured just as stunning images...

More of the colour images can be seen here...

I'm pretty sure we won't wait another 2+ years before we collaborate again...

July 12, 2013


Music | Spiritual by John Coltrane

Back in my early assisting days in the mid 1980's, I worked for a photographer that was sharing a space with an older photographer. He was one of the few photographers that was shooting professionally as early as the late 1940's. He was slowly moving into retirement and was getting rid of some of the equipment he wasn't using and taking up space. I saw this beautiful old camera sitting alone in the corner and if anything for me at the time, it would be a great conversation piece. He sold it to me for an amazingly generous price. The Camera, a Century, probably made in the late 1920's, early 1930's also had a very fast portrait lens made with the Kodak name on it. 405 mm f:4.5. I used it several times, shooting some film, but also paper negatives and contact printing them. I loved the size and the look, but for whatever reason, the combo sat on a shelf, being an art piece rather than equipment to take photographs...

I think I've had the camera/lens for over 25 years. With the desire of shooting wet plates, the camera came out of the basement and sat in my room being displayed again. I shot one wet plate with it and the results were fine. The lens however excelled more so with film than wet plates. Difficult as it was, I decided to put it out to the universe and see type of interest there would be for it. I had a few offers ranging a large gamut. I decided to keep it. As I became more involved with Wet Plate Collodion, and a growing desire to shoot larger plates, I set a price for the lens and put it out for sale. Lots of interest, but no follow up and I thought maybe this just wasn't going to happen.

I put an ad out stating my desired price, but also that I was interested in a Petzval design barrel lens, a period lense made in the 1800's. It wasn't til the last few years that these lenses started growing in price. Gems with a nice price became very difficult to find. I did get one email from a gent on the East that had a Petzval who was very interested in my Kodak. I had the feeling that the Vallantin Petzval was going to be significantly more in price than my Kodak. We initially couldn't come up with a deal we both would feel good about, and for me, merely afford.

My view on humanity changed a few days after our initial conversation. The gent, L.P. wrote back to me and said he went to my website and loved what I was doing. He thought that having this lens would enable me to produce more great work. He dropped his asking price significantly, gave me all the time I needed to come up with the difference in price and made a deal. Over a period of roughly one month, I sold a few things, worked on some unexpected gigs and sent out my lens.

3 days later, I got this beast of a lens. I'm looking forward to seeing what it can do.

Century No.4A Studio Camera w/ Kodak Lens 405mm f:4.5

Vallantin Petzval Lens

July 09, 2013


Music | When it Falls by Zero 7

Mitsu, a woman who I've been wanting to shoot for quite a long time was spending an extra day in Portland, so we could do a last minute photo shoot. I was honored and had to make time to make it work.

I decided I wanted to do an outdoor shoot as the weather was going to be nice. I also wanted the open feeling of daylight as I did when I first started shooting Wet Plates. The lighting was directional, but much more subtle than I could create using my strobes. The only issue I had was gauging the exposure. It seems I was a stop off all but 1 of the plates as the sun rose rapidly overhead.

I realized after this shoot I still have a lot to learn. Changing a variable certainly changes things down the chain. You always have to be ready to adjust...

July 05, 2013


Music | #1 Crush by Garbage

The idea of Karma is both intriguing and quite frightening. I must have done some good things recently because in the last few days, I found I would be working with some internationally known folks for what they do and incorporating them with my own photography. The frightening thing is, I know I will fuck up somewhere and I'll get my ass handed to me. But now she has granted me good news, uplifting my spirit and allowing me to move further forward.

In a few weeks, I will be working with the great Françoise Weeks, premiere florist based right here in Portland, OR. This will be our second go around on a theme that came out amazingly, garnering her some very nice press in Europe. I will merely be happy holding on to her coat tails! Look for our collaboration no later than the end of this month.

I found out just today that I will be having my 2nd solo exhibition sometime mid 2014. As the deal gets more set in concrete, I will be passing along more details. For now, I will be working with an amazing leather mask maker from New York. We will have roughly 10 to 14 months to get ready, where as my last solo show, I had 3 weeks... Will be yet another great collaboration for me!

2011 Cain | Floral Arrangement by Françoise Weeks

Work and Courtesy of Le Cordonnier

I love you, Karma...

June 25, 2013

Anotomy of a Shoot w/ The Wee Pixie

Music | Heaven by Lamb

Since moving to Wet Plates as my main passage to photography, my shoot count has plummeted. Even back in the film days, shooting with the Hasselblad, I'd shoot at least 3 rolls, or at least 36 exposures. 35 mm would up that ante to at least 72 exposures for a portrait session. With digital, that count multiplies.

On a recent session I had, which took a little over an hour, we shot 4 exposures - 4 plates... My mind set in the past would have been, We are on a roll, lets keep shooting! But having settled in on my way, I've shot as little as 3 plates for a portrait session, to 6. Granted, the mind set for me on a shoot like this is that I'd like to get at least one killer shot. However, often I find that my collaborators and I bat a 1000 avg.

The Wee Pixie - A woman with many interests and who is a very intersting person.

The Wee Pixie is a woman who I've wanted to photograph recently. I thought she would be a great subject and would have a lot to say. We didn't nearly touch the limit of who she is as a person, but tended to keep things simple, but different for each plate. I love getting to know my subjects during a shoot, because out of context of 2 people getting to know each other, the idea of creating art diffuses some of that tension, at least for me... Under the guise of a photographer, I can be... not me. The funny thing about that is that I tend to communicate much better in that realm than if I were myself, which often, doesn't have a lot to say.

The beauty of seeing what we created shortly after shooting certainly helps in keeping the number of exposures down. With Wee Pixie, we just didn't miss a beat. Four was all it took, and we both knew it...

June 24, 2013

Spreading Out, Spreading Thin?

Music | Kiss the Sky by Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra

I've been pretty focused on working on Wet Plate Collodion, exclusively. I've strayed a bit, recently with getting into Cyanotypes and shooting film for content. My eventual goal is to learn how to print with Platinum Palladium as well. To make things even more diluted, I have been working with the Polaroid Land Camera I just got and Fuji 3000B instant film. I think I can handle being spread out, knowing that the Wet Plates will be the priority.

I had a nice run of having 5 shoots in 4 days last week and was able to shoot exposures thru the Polaroid camera. Besides the nostalgia of using instant film, I do really love how the Fuji film renders a negative. Unlike the contrasty print, the negative brings about nice round edges, excellent contrast range (though I'm finding I like it a tad flat), and a nice natural border.

Ovata, scanned negative with some tone added in PS

Ovata, untouched print rendered by Fuji 3000B

So yes, it is good to explore this new direction, right?

June 23, 2013


Music | She Cries Your Name by Beth Orton

I've been curious about diptych and triptych works and how each of the images relates to the others. Sometimes trying to communicate a message, it takes more than a single image. I didn't have any deep seated meaning in wanting to create a piece with 9 or 16 and maybe eventually a 25 piece structured collage, other than I thought it would be interesting to view the individual images and as a collective whole.

I love Aimée as a muse. I've not had a session with her where I felt we didn't get anything meaningful. I got a last minute opportunity to work with her and made sure she had enough time to work out multiple plates. We actually ended up shooting 12 in all. Even though small, 2.5 inch square final plates, it still a slow process. I didn't realize how draining for me it would be. I will know next time to prepare a bit better to keep my energy level up.

I thought I would try and work a bit faster by prepping one plate after another and shoot 2 plates within a short time period. I'm realizing that when working with Wet Plate Collodion, work with the rules the Photo Gods intended. Turns out 2 of these images are vastly out of focus, something I didn't initially notice as the plates are so small. As soon as I scanned them however, it was apparent.

This was a good exercise and sometime later, I will come up with another idea, maybe another nine or a 16...

June 21, 2013


Music | Galexy of Emptiness by Beth Orton

I was talking with Sarah about how it has been quite sometime since I have done any shooting. I know it is therapy for me because when I go for long periods of time of not creating, it starts to affect my psyche, and not in a good way. It is no wonder why doing this keeps my mind at bay, allowing me some peace.

With the help of my model, we just created something amazingly beautiful. For a period of not more than an hour and a 1/2 together, introductions, selection of wardrobe, some giving some taking, conversation... We shot 4 plates and in between, some instant images and a few digital to get our minds going. One thing leads to another, ideas created out of action.

We didn't shoot a bad plate. This was the last...


I'm feeling much better now...

June 20, 2013

Fuji and Sarah...

Music | Breathe Me by Sia

In between plates, I got to shoot more with the Polaroid and Fuji 3000B Instant film. The camera does tend towards shooting a little dark, but on camera adjustments make it easy to fix. The Fuji film developes a very sharp, contrasty image. I do get taken back to the 70's seeing the beautiful black and white print with the big white border. As nice as the print is, I'm seeing the real beauty in the negative. The scanned results, inverted to a positive renders round edges, subtle tonal range and just something uniquely beautiful.

In my excitement to scan an image, I jumped the gun and accidentally layed a partial wet negative on the scan bed. I didn't realize it until the scan was complete. Too late to totally salvage the original, I worked on the digital file to have the image reproducible.


Needless to say, I'm heading out tomorrow to pick up another pack of film...

June 17, 2013

Under the Bridge...

Music | What I Wouldn't Do by Serena Ryder

So over the weekend, I picked up a late 1960's Polaroid Land Camera 230 for $15!

Polaroid 230 Land Camera

Today, I got some Fuji 3000B instant film and was able to test the camera under the St. Johns Bridge. Lighting conditions were a bit harsh, but I just couldn't wait to try it out. The prints come out with very nice blacks and a bit contrasty, but as I mentioned, the light at midday was severe...

I was talking to another photographer about why I was planning to shoot this way. Why I just didn't shoot digital and make the shot into what I want it to be. I listed off several one word answers and the one that seem to resonate with him was, serendipity. Even without seeing what I was talking about, and as 95% digital shooter himself, all of the sudden, he understood why I wanted to shoot with the polaroids.

I like the idea of relinquishing control to the photo gods and let them do what they do... I love happy accidents. I love the idea that there is a force beyond my control that will do whatever the hell it feels like it to alter what the image might look like. I love the word collaboration. Sometimes it is with people, with nature, object or whatever I happened to be photographing. My love for shooting the analogue process opens that door and gives me something a little different each time I go out.

So today, I shot 4 exposures just to get a feel of what the camera, film combination would serve me. The print is tack sharp, contrasty in a nice way. However, the neg seems to carry a lot more detail and reproduces a bit softer. These are the conclusions that I came up with today, but we'll see what I think on the second go around. Fun, fun stuff!!!

Under the St. Johns Bridge

June 02, 2013

Conflicts... Traditions...

Music | Don't Look Back by Bliss

During the short time I have been trying out Cyanotypes and the eventual desire to start Platinum Palladium printing, I've come to realize the negatives I have to learn and practice the process, they simply do not have the contrast range needed to create a print with proper tonal range and density. What works well for silver gelatin prints don't quite make it...

My obvious action to take is to start to shoot and process my negatives accordingly so that I can create a negative with the necessary contrast and tonal values. The alternative and the issue that this post is about is to use digital means to create my proper negatives. I can simply scan my old negs or plates, throw a profile to it, make some quick and easy adjustments, print out a negative that could render the perfect contact print.

I live thru principles and hold fast to traditions. I like the idea of taking no prisoners and not taking the easy way out. I also want to learn and improve my photography by technique and aesthetics.

Am I over thinking the idea of using modern technology to recreate my negative by a digital means? Going this route enables me to work effeciently and inexpensively. I could start learning now. But in the back of my head, I hate the idea of losing the purity of what I am trying to accomplish.

more as time moves forward...

May 31, 2013


Music | Real Life )Evolution II) by The Cinematic Orchestra

As I've said in my previous post, I've been meeting some very interesting people lately. I don't often go thru a run of shooting men, but at this time, at least within the last 2 months, this will be the third gentleman I've photographed. There are similarities and differences as to why I might want to select a person to photograph, between men and women. I haven't thought about it profoundly, but initially, I found with men, I see characters. Whether from my own past, books or movies, I usually picture a man not only as he really is, but a character from my mind. Sometimes there are who I imagine, sometimes not at all. However, with all of my sittings, I do allow for a collaboration to take place. At least I think so in my head. I guess you would have to ask my subjects how much they feel they have inputted into one of my portraits.


This was the first plate of our session. I honestly knew after seeing it appear thru the fixer that I could stop right then and there. In all, we did 3 plates, one I felt was a bit too contrived, then another I felt was honest and true. But this first image is for me, most certainly the one.

May 28, 2013


Music | The Garden by Zero 7

I've gotten lucky in that I've found a few people who create characters outside of themselves. I love Irish and the things she brings to a shoot. I just met Murakumo a few weeks ago and we managed to get our first session in. She loves all things anime, sci fi and such. She is also a costume designer and seamstress. I've seen some of her creations and hope to be able to photograph her in them.

I thought if I could find 5 different people who could come up with 5 different characters, I could do a series called 5 of 5. Long standing project maybe in the works...

Murakumo in Kimono, in bondage

May 14, 2013

Mode Bulb

Music | Spazz by N.E.R.D

A future exhibition I am a part of is being spot lighted on Mode Bulb. Brush up on your French...

2013 Bound by Circumstance Bound by Choice

May 12, 2013


Music | Things Behind the Sun by Nick Drake

Though Kate had been elusive, we finally got together yesterday after years of talk... As I had known from the beginning, I knew we would work well together. After 3 plates, there was no reason to shoot more...




May 06, 2013

Expanding the Base...

Music | So:Lo by Kate Havenevik

I bought a Cyanotype Kit from Photographers Formulary to learn the process of contact printing in hopes of eventually getting to Platinum Palladium. Years ago, Connie Wellnitz gave me a contact printing frame along with a UV rich light source. I'm finally making use of the printing frame and may eventually get to use the light. For now, I've been using the sun from all the bright days we've been having.

I decided to do this right from the start, so I also get a mortar and pestle, which is required to mix up some of the chemicals. I also purchased a few pipets and a smaller 250 ml glass beaker to mix everything up. I also bought a sheet of Fabriano Artistico paper. Lastly, a hake brush to put the emulsion to paper.

My first go around wasn't a total disaster. I used a type 55 negative of my Dad from way back. I thought it might be a little thin, but I got image. I wasn't sure I liked the texture of the Artistico paper. My friend Brandon Fernandez gave me a sheet of Bergger hot press, which is a much more smooth paper. Having gotten to try an few sheets, various types of neg densities, I think I'm realizing at this point, with the knowledge I have, what is most important is the negative. I'm sure I will figure out how to boost contrast, which seems to be my biggest issue right now.

Today, I had what I felt was a good negative to try again. Though the vibrance on the screen is more than what the matte, textured paper gives, this isn't too far off. I'm feeling progress!

Cain with Flower Hat by Francoise Weeks

May 05, 2013

Sharing with the Past...

Music | Naima by John Coltrane

The other day, I got to spend some time with my past... I'd say close to 25 years ago was when I may have last hung out with Tamara Staples in her old loft space in Bucktown. I remember doing a portrait of her while she was making these extraordinary hats. As she is now, she has a spirit that is free and carries on much in the same way from what I remember. More responsibilities, a different life, sadness for me of the lost southern drawl, she is a woman of Brooklyn, NY. It was refreshing to me that I was able to hang out with her for a few hours, take her portrait again and talk of the past, talk of now and of art.

circa maybe 1987. The Hat Maker

2013. Tamara Staples

April 22, 2013


Music | Little Bird by Imogen Heap

It happens on occasion... Not often enough... It's when stars align and everything just falls into place. Of course, it is not without effort that this can occur. You want all your shoots to turn out this way, but for whatever reason, only once in awhile does it happen. So you imagine in your minds eye what the photo will look like and when the plate is prepared, the exposure ends, the plate is developed and then fixed, as the image appears, the reality of the image is better than your imagined perfect plate...

I officially met Erik a few weeks ago. I had put together an event where a few photographers got together to shoot analogue. A few of us met face to face to show our prints of what we had shot. We knew of each other via a community forum we both are members of. His exterior facade is very intense and I knew I wanted to capture that.

I've said before that most of my sessions are collaborative. I set up a frame and let my subjects work within it. I may suggest a turn here or there, but I don't lean on an idea and try to force an issue. Erik just fell into place.

2012-04-22 Erik

So not only was the perfection carried out with my subject, but technically, I adore the light. The symmetry of highlights and shadows here are perfect to me. I've got detail everywhere! And the Petzval lens I am loving more and more! The fall off from the eyes to everywhere else is as creamy as the light.

This is why I love what I do... It is this particular feeling I get where I have conquered my own world...

April 14, 2013

John Coltrane

Music | John Coltrane

April 08, 2013


Music | Western Eyes by Portishead

It has been a busy end of the week photographing kids. It was a nice change of pace and most certainly has kept me on my toes. I shot a 2 1/2 year old and 8 and 9 year olds. 2 girls and a boy.

Stella was my last subject for this week. I loved how serious she appeared to take the shoot. She was the consummate professional at such a young age. It was nice that she lent her own twist to my direction, which I usually do, as I love collaboration.


April 06, 2013


Music | Days to Come by Bonobo

When Gianni walked in, it was like seeing a manchild. It is just that I have memories of this little kid, really quiet and shy, kind of like a little brother to my daughter from years ago. He is 9 now, and though he didn't talk a lot, one can sense a self condidence and big spirit. When we were working on this shot, I asked him to think of himself as a character and just play it out. All the sudden, he turned into this teenager. He jokingly mumbled something under his breath, and finally said it outloud... "Modern Gangsta!" Though still subdued with strangers and acquaintances, his self confidence, just like in this photo will shine bright.


April 04, 2013


Music | WBGO Jazz 88.3 fm

Sometimes you take what circumstance gives you and sometimes you are rewarded. My shoot with Little Anna went really well, though I had some technical issues in the beginning. I have to also say I didn't shoot a bad plate of Anna. She was a great little subject, challenging, funny and charming. However, she is also 2 1/2... I don't think I need to say more. :-)

I love it when things just work. This was the last plate, even though I was really happy with the image before. I decided to go after just one more and press my luck. When I returned from loading the wet plate, I had a lot of trouble getting Anna's attention. Though she was all over the place, I waited... and waited... to what seemed like much longer than maybe the 10 seconds I did wait. I finally lost my patience and opened the lens, hit my flash and made an exposure. I marginally thought I was close to where I needed to be for focus, but I honestly had no idea... As the plate came up in the fixer, my attention and focus became more and more acute. As the image slowly changed from negative, to nothing, then into a positive, I was kindly treated with this...


and the other plates...


April 01, 2013

Scream... Rant...

Music | Nowhere Warm by Kate Havenevik

I've taken a few breaks from the various social media outlets I am apart of from time to time... Facebook, Twitter, and forums of interests I have. One of the big things that really irritate me is what the sole purpose of what the internet is best at... passing on information. I am not at all opposed to bringing knowledge and sharing it, but when people are looking for so much information as to not do any work for themselves, I have to say, WTF? If they spent half the time doing searches and asking inane questions about what they want to learn and going about trying to figure it out for themselves, they would be so much the wiser.

Start walking the walk and stop talking!!!

March 31, 2013

Music | Hawaii by Meiko

Though I don't get the same satisfaction of seeing my images as a print, they still are impressive. I had to print up a few this weekend. 2) 11x13.75 and 2) 4x5. They are gonna look amazing framed and matted.

March 26, 2013

Anatomy of a Shoot... w/ Irish Heather Collins

Music | Breathe by The Cinematic Orchestra

There are people in the world that you just know you can collaborate with. I knew this the first time I worked with Irish a few months ago. After that session, I came up with an idea of doing a shoot with her in silence. We wouldn't use words to communicate with, just maybe grunts and hand gestures. I think I have way more confidence in her than she does in me, but I still think we would make some amazing images.

Our last 2 sessions, quite similar to each other kind of went like...

I pick her up from her studio in the industrial part of town. She comes out with a huge blue rubbermaid box filled with stuff. She is also dressed in part of her first outfit for the first session. Most of her make up is all ready on as well... You can imagine it is quite a sight to see! On the way to the studio, we talk generally about the shoot, not too much as I think we both understand the process... Surprise is a good thing as well as happy accidents.

In the studio she greets the 2 cats and by this time, they are amazingly in love with her. About 10 miinutes from walking in the door, she is ready for the first plate... With not a lot of words, we go thru a progression of themes, poses... Usually, when I have trouble coming up with a decent looking image, I pull out the digital camera and quickly go thru a mini shoot, that may last 2 minutes at most. We get in a flurry of ideas, poses and go thru what we like. It is a great way of coming up with a starting point. However, with Irish, I shoot digital to have more images to work on later...

It is funny how when we nail our first image we are both pleased with, which so far happened to be the first plate, we go on cruise control. It seems to give both of us freedom to just go with the flow and make more amazing images. It was quite difficult to go thru my progression of which plate I loved most, but for this shoot with Irish, it ended up being the last. I realized we would be there for way too many more hours to be able to surpass what we got...

Irish Heather Collins


Music | Juliet by DJ Cam

Me by Noel

I got the opportunity to teach a student how to do a wet plate, today. She was quite enthusiastic and a quick learner. I got a nice portrait out of it!

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