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...
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