May 31, 2016


Music | The Phonograph by Her Space Holiday

Our Big Pictures Portland project has only been up for a little less than 2 months. All ready, some of the posters where coming down in a bad way. I had anticipated this as we were putting them up as there was no doubt I had mixed the paste incorrectly. I saw some pealing at the upper edges only after 3 weeks. As the weeks went by, more pealing and I could see them coming down quickly.

Sunday was a nice overcast cool day to put in a few hours to mend the images. I was thinking I wouldn't be able to save 2, but the others were basic. Armed with fresh and correctly mixed paste, a couple buckets of water, roller, various brushes and ladder, the late morning early afternoon session was cathartic. Seeing the images again as intended put new spirit in both themselves and myself. I probably would have let them finish the their disintegration, but I knew they didn't get a fair shake. The bad paste we originally used cut short their life span, so I wanted to see what I could do. It was an excellent learning experience for future hangings...

May 10, 2016

More Hands On...

Music | Clair De Lune by Michael Dulin

A print doesn't seem complete when it isn't mounted and matted. I've always preferred the follow through of execution when displaying or even just showing prints. The least thing we can do when showing prints is to have a good amount of space around the image to remove as much distraction as possible.

Now that I am printing more, the vocabulary of mats, beveled edges, razors are back in the fold. I just went to the art store to buy some linen tape. I m starting to prepare to mount and mat some of the images I've recently printed. All of the things that was since a pain in the ass to do back in the day, I am actually looking forward to doing. Time will actually be used to physically create or change my world, as opposed to working in the virtual world.

Pats on Your Back You don't Really Feel...

Music | Thinking About Tomorrow by Beth Orton

There are relationships in the photography realm I have that are person to person, internet related, and modern versions of pen pals. Of course nothing beats meeting face to face and having real conversations, in a café, over drinks or dinner. I have 2 relationships over the internet where we converse mostly over texts or type written message services. And on occasion, we sometimes talk on the phone. Our communications are often focused and on topic of mostly photography. The internet relationships are via facebook and other interest communities. This, ironically is where most of my time is spent, where more bandwidth is used up and so much interactions occur, nothing really has any meaning.

I cannot deny Facebook is an outlet for a lot of my work. I get those likes and occasional comment, but the lasting power for any meaning is not there. Yet, I go on...

Today, one of my pen pal relationship friends who lives in NYC called. Janusz was aware of my work and it so happened we photographed the same model. He reached out over the Internet, we started a dialogue and mutual respect formed. He has since been a great supporter of mine through words and donations of film, Polaroid and other photographic materials that I use to this day. Maybe 2 to 4 times a year, we actually talk. We both have this understanding that smiley faces and thumbs up don't mean a whole lot and it is better left to say nothing than to emoticon our way to express ourselves.

The interesting thing that stuck with me with what he said today was that it is so much more meaningful to meet face to face and show our latest work, prints, than to watch the screen and see the numerous images fly by. The power of words and expression is unmatched and to try and add an emoticon to express what we feel is almost an insult. He said this because sometimes we do get lost and forget how important face to face is. It certainly doesn't happen as much as it used to... We have been so immediately connected that we no longer see the forest for the trees.

May 07, 2016

The Process of Passion

Music | Manhatta by Cinematic Orchestra

I haven't been on a more pointed and direct path in a long time. I think it means more to me now as I am aware of where I am and how the fact that I am moving. It has been about 7 years since I started to learn the process of Wet Plate Collodion. Besides the occasional traipsing of shooting film, which at that time seemed more like a novelty, it was the first time I was learning something of substance in photography in decades. I don't mean to discount the digital process, but for me, there is very little substance to walk on as far as the process went. The sublities are measured in numbers, not touch, not intuition, not emotion.

I was talking to a fellow photographer, Ray Bidegain, a Platinum Palladium printer years ago. It was a time I wanted to start shooting large format film as an antithesis to the digital process, which I worked in heavy since 1999. He had started printing Platinum Palladium around 1999 and never made the transition to digital. I remember a conversation I had with him and he told me, everyday, he makes at least one print a day. As an artist, it was important and his job to do so. That thought has always stuck with me that he took his work so seriously. It was a part of his life and as an artist. Since my turn away from digital as a main resource, at a time where I think I started to develope as an artist myself, that concept has held strong in my mind.

I've been wanting to initially have an image of mine printed in the Platinum Palladium process for over 30 years. Ever since I went and saw my first Irving Penn exhibition at the Art Institute in Chicago. I was in college at the time and ate up everything photography. Of course there is no comparison in seeing an actual print, but more often than not, book reproductions had to suffice. Over time, the general feel and look and spirit of a Platinum Palladium print by osmosis embedded my brain. I know that in the back of my mind, everything I did in black and white was affected. The hold was strong and I felt no reason to deny it. I think it is funny that as digital took the stronghold in the industry, it never to this day has created its own. Digital is all about mimicking.

Back in the day, I wanted a motorcycle. So before I got a motorcycle, I bought a helmet. Having that object in front of me kept the idea of one day getting a motorcycle very strong and always in front of me. A few short months later, I had my motorcycle. About a year ago, after having done some research, I spent $40 on a paint brush. It was no ordinary brush, it was dubbed the Magic Brush, The Richeson 9010. This was the object that would keep Platinum Palladium printing in front of my face and remind me to keep striving to get to the point where I would one day print my own. A few short months later, I was able to purchase my set of chemicals and paper and start my journey.

During that time, I had my light source remade/reinforced. Changed out the electrics of 12 tubes, stained the exterior and made something to be proud to work with. I moved my workspace around with a workflow in mind where I could make my prints. I managed to do everything, except to start printing...

Around 6 months ago, I had Susan de Witt go thru the motions for me and show me her work flow. During the process, we made a print of one of my images. As much as I was hooked, I was more afraid the screw up and waste the pricey chemicals and paper. I did nothing to move forward...

3 weeks ago, I went to Susan's place again and we went thru the process. Another print made, but this time, something clicked. The thought that in order to learn, one has to fuck up. Once I accepted that, with blowing my investment of chems and paper, I could move forward. My big test was not at Susan's where I made my own print, but solo, with my light source, in my workspace.

3 weeks have gone by since making that last Platinum Palldium print at Susan's. I went from an initial high to dropping down to ground zero and a little below that. This last week has rendered me with 3 really nice images. I don't have a lock on this process, but I am feeling really good about it. I have gotten to the point where I want to print something new everyday.

The feeling of having one of my own images as a Platinum Palldium print is so amazing to me. And even more amazing is that I can do it myself now...

May 05, 2016

A Finished Print

Music | Crescent by John Coltrane

I've worked a consistent 3 weeks learning the Platinum Palladium process using digital negatives. It wasn't so much the Pt/Pd process that I was having difficulty with, but the making of a digital neg. Between setting up my print preferences and having ink clogging issues, I was set back a good week. I knew this wasn't going to be easy. These set backs were initially very frustrating, but after realizing it is part of the process that I finally just went with the flow. I made 3 good negatives and made 3 very nice prints.

Earlier, I cut a mat, placed one of the prints behind it... With full realization, as the mat and print came together, the small adjustments I made to center the print, this moment was the ultimate reason I wanted to learn the process. I knew that this moment was special.

May 04, 2016

Break Through!

Music | Earthquake Weather by Beck

I may have turned a corner today. Even with more printer issues for the digital negatives, I am for the second time getting consistent results with the digital negatives and a consistent time for exposures over 3 different images. Now I know it is a matter of repetition for me to have this information and process ingrained in my head. Either that or I need to take really good notes!

First outdoor nude in the woods. Thanks Anna S."
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