March 30, 2014

The Connection to Being Passionate about Your Art.

Music | On the Low by Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions

Upon recently shooting film, then processing it to make my negs, the very thing I used to do on a regular basis back in the day, I've come to realize that I not only love that process because of nostalgia, but the fact that senses are involved. Everything about processing film is about technique, some set skills, hand eye coordination. I hate to compare brush and paint to canvas, but there are skills involved that the dilettante will just not pick up. I guess this is why I am also passionate about Wet Plate Collodion.

It is important to me to be physical with my art. Not only the creation of the actual piece, but the tools to make those pieces. Often, I have built them with my own hands, with much time and sweat used up in the process. The connection between creation and final piece is all the more profound. Aroma, touch become the subtle nuances that are just as important to the visuals. I am in constant motion, agitating the film as it develops and fixes, pouring the collodion onto my plate with somewhat precision, best of all the placing the plate into the fix to watch negative abstract turn into a positive of my intentions... Motion and creation become hand and hand...

Ultimately, what makes me passionate about what I do is that if I don't do it, my sense of being centered moves to an extreme, more so in a negative and volatile direction. The beauty of what I do is that I pretty much know that if I become lost in my world, the sense of zen returns. I do what I do, because I love what I do and have no choice...

I am a lucky man...

March 24, 2014

Mitsu | 8x10 Ambrotype

Music | Summer Haze by Shapeshifter

Mitsu in Rope | 8x10 Ambrotype

No matter how many times I tell you what this image is, how you see it on the screen, you will never know how amazing it is unless you see the real thing. This was the image I was holding in my hand in the rinse water and knowing I didn't need to shoot anymore. It was the 1st plate of our session and I could have just ended it...

Though I do strive for perfection, my perfection is not yours. I didn't intend the flaws, and yet I love them here. I know I have issues with my developer pour, but I see nothing that bothers me here regarding the pour. What gets me is how this image just falls into the place where I just feel it could not get better, at least within the time frame and situation we were in. I don't get this feeling often, but when I do, I want it to last forever...

Fuji 3000B Black and White Instant Film...

Music | Silent Spring by Massive Attack

This is the 3rd time shooting with the converted Polaroid Camera with the Fuji 3000B film. I love working with this combination as my results are so malleable. The rendered print itself is quite nice as is, but with the negative available, so long as it doesn't solarize, gives even more options during and after the scan process.

I am so disappointed that this film is being discontinued by Fuji. It seems I know of so many people using it, it is hard to believe that sales are not able to keep the production going...

As it is, I will be using it until I can no longer afford the film or until it is totally gone...


Mitsu in Kimono and Rope

March 23, 2014


Music | Everybody Here Wants You by Matthew Herbert & Dani Siciliano

One of the best of the best... Mitsu is a stellar model with a unique look and I am only too lucky to be able to work with her for a 2nd time. Today, without much forethought, we took a total of maybe 25 exposures. That includes 2 ambrotypes, 2 Fuji 3000B exposures (one shot did not expose) and maybe 20 digital images of which I picked 10 to process.

I honestly knew after the first photo, the first plate, I could have called it a day. I'll be posting that image later. I never had that feeling before... one exposure and be able to say, "we're done...", "That's a rap..."

I wanted to give Mitsu more to select from, even though I got what I needed. The Fuji Film, for the second pic was wonderful. I even got the negative to come out nice without solarization. I pulled the digital out because I wanted to shoot the shot below. We continued with Mitsu doing a 180. Any of those frames would look great here or anywhere else!

Mitsu's Back with Rope

March 22, 2014

Samantha and Aimeelisa

Music | Message in a Bottle by The Police

So time is running and I have two solo shows to prepare for. One opens at the beginning of June and the other in September. I'm no where near what my expectations where when I received noticed that I had procured the exhibitions. However, yesterday was a good one in that, not only did I figure out my newly created Polaroid camera was going to work out, in fine fashion, I also was able to add to the archive, 2 more ambrotypes for the show in June.

Samantha and Aimee came to the studio to sit for me. The 8x10 glass plates are still a huge challenge, but I'm slowly figuring out some of my problems. I just have to make sure to stay busy to make sure I can learn from my mistakes, instead of making them over and over again. Seems to me that I need to have repetition work for me, to keep my skills honed and to adapt from the problems I have.



March 21, 2014

Polaroid 250 Land Camera with Converted Lens

Music | Distractions by Zero 7

Great things can come out of shitty situations. I found what I thought was a very nice Polaroid 250 Land Camera, the one with a Zeiss view finder. I was pretty much guaranteed that the camera only needed a battery and I'd be good to go. Well, after getting it powered up, the shutter wasn't working properly. The issue was on the circuit board and well out of my reach to fix it. I did a little research and found I could convert the automatic camera into a fully manual one. I didn't have a lot of money for the project, but being patient on ebay, I found the combination lens and shutter I needed.

It was nice to see how another person was able to convert his 250 and go thru some trial and tribulations for me to follow. It certainly made the project go much quicker. Dremel tool, some grinders and sand paper, screw drivers and some patience was all that I needed. I probably spent a total of maybe 3 hours from start to finish.

I love this camera! The lens I got only had a max 125th shutter, but I can work with that. It opens up to f:4.7, much faster than the f:8.8 of the original lens. Seeing fall off on the Fuji 3000B prints is wonderful!!!

Polaroid 250 Land Camera with Tominon 127 mm f:4.7 lens conversion

Very first image captured by the converted Polaroid. Detail of Cain


Having manual controls for this camera is fantastic. Since Fuji 3000B is the film of choice at this point (Fuji will stop making this film all together in the near future...), I can pretty much shoot in almost any lighting condition with the faster lens and various shutter speeds. I got a 39 - 49 step up ring for the lens and a polarizer which cuts light down -2 stops for sunny days.

March 10, 2014

Françoise Weeks from her blog on the Botanical Couture Photo Shoot...

Music | All Blues by Miles Davis

More photos from Françoise Weeks' blog...

March 02, 2014


Music | The Man with the Movie Camera by The Cinematic Orchestra

On the heels of yesterdays shoot with Françoise Weeks, I got Amanda to come back to the studio to shoot a few Ambrotypes. As I know, be prepared before the shoot, or the process that is Wet Plate Collodion will bite you in the ass. I was thinking I was running a bit low on developer just before Amanda got here. Instead of making more, I decided I had enough, if used sparingly... Well, the first plate was a wash because I didn't pour enough. It happened again when I decided to stop the shooting until I made more. Why didn't I listen to myself and just spend the time to make more before the shoot even started...

In any case, working with Amanda always yields great images. We completed 3 plates even with the distractions...

My Favorite of the afternoon...

Françoise Weeks

Music | Know Your Chicken by Cibo Matto

On the coat tails again with Françoise Weeks. Our latest shoot of her latest Master Piece was documented by OPB, Art Beat. Françoise is being featured on one of the upcoming shows to aire sometime in May.

Surprisingly, the distractions of having a film crew on set wasn't at all bad. We were told to be ourselves as if they weren't there... It actually got pretty simple to do as time went on. I'm sure I made an ass of myself on several occasions, but you only live once, right?

But I'm writing here to talk about the greatness that is Françoise. She put together an entire ensemble, which included a head piece, scarf, bracelets, rings, a necklace and a pair of shoes, all floral appointed.

Entire Ensemble




Rings and Bracelet


March 01, 2014

The Black and White Portrait...

Music | Take a Chance with Me by Roxy Music

Before the hair and make up, before wardrobe, before planning our shoot for Françoise Weeks, Amanda and I stepped on the set of the stage and we took a few grab shots. No pre-planned ideas, just collaboration on the spur of the moment... Hand gestures, nods, no words...

The simplicity of everything about this image is what brought me to love black and white portrait photography. This is perfection to me...

Amanda in Black

Diffused light coming thru the gigantic southern exposure windows with a touch of hard light coming the the drapes.
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