Sunday, February 1, 2015

Photo Story: Winter Landscape

I am not really into the traditional landscape type photography but I thought I would include this 5x7 shot for fun. I find most landscape photography beautiful but also oh so trite and commonplace. Everyone one and their sister that has a view camera does black and white landscape, boring! 

The best part about landscape photography for me is the getting out and making the pictures. Its a great feeling to be outdoors, walking and creating in that world. Its so relaxing, so calming etc. The problem is later on in the darkroom when you try to print the photographs you fall asleep out of sheer boredom of the imagery. 

I am going to take my 5x7 camera and a load of Tri-x film with me next trip. I want to try to do documentary style landscapes. I will call them slumscapes or dumpscapes or whatever. I feel I can make the photos more interesting for myself and hopefully others if I include a human documentary element to the story. It would not be just pretty pictures of  trees, mountain, flowing streams but would have a human connection to it all. That extra element should allow me to keep my interest in the negative through the darkroom printing process.

I want to make more than pretty pictures, I want to make pictures that of a social context, a deeper underlying message. Beauty is all fine and good and a worthy thing, but in my work I want to try to do more than that. I do not want people to simply say "That is beautiful" I want them to think in a larger human context way. Photography can be so so so much more than just a conveyor of beauty.

Some tech details on this photo. I went out shooting with a friend, we stopped on the road and did some frost on trees and grass photos. I made this I with my 5x7 Linhof, Tri-x and I believe my wider angle lens my 120mm. I only use 2 lens with this camera, it simplifies and focuses the creative process. I learned that from Jock Sturges who told me to only use one lens. He told me to get rid of all my other gear and focus on one camera, one lens, one film. I have not been able to do that, thou through the years I have simplified bit by bit. I am closer to the ideal now of simple tools leading to better photographs.

One thing I really like about 5x7 negs is that they have the same longer horizontal dimension of 35mm. I think I will be able to use that longer horizontal (or vertical) in a positive compositional way.

Winter landscape, 2010? Canada

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Links: "Woodstock" Documentary Songs

I love this documentary, this music is before my time but I enjoy it so much. There is so much heart, so much feeling, so much raw energy in it. Here are my 4 favourite song moments in the documentary "Woodstock". If you have never seen these check them out. You should also consider watching the entire movie, it really gets into what the 60s were about. As a side note, the Richie Havens song "Freedom" was ad libbed and made up on the spot on the Woodstock stage. He was inventing the lyrics in the long guitar intro.

This period in world history would have been a great fricking time to be a documentary photographer. Wow, I wish I could go back in time and create photos in that era.

Dad Dream

Had another dad dream. In this one like some in the past dad was happy and walking again. He even jumped down off the back of a car and maintained his balance. I do not remember much else, except that I hugged and told him he was a great example for me.

I will probably continue to have dreams of dad for the rest of my life. Today is better than dream stuff, I get to talk to the real man, am going to go visit him before work. Yesterday before work I told him I would have 8 photos of him in his part of the show (1 more than before). That we were expecting 100 or more guests and that there might be a CBC radio interview. He was happy to hear all of that stuff.

Mom is going to rent him a hospital style bed for the house, which will make life a bit easier and more pleasant for my father. It should come sometime next week, I need to clear a space for it across from the TV. Tuesday when the exhibition is completely hung and waiting for the guests, I can finally relax and spend more time with dad, am looking forward to that.

One interesting thing I have noticed with all my visits to dad this year. When I arrive I usually meet mom first, I can tell by the tone of her voice immediately if dad has had a good or bad day. Moms mood tells me everything before I meet dad. If she is down, if her voice sad, unsure then dad had a bad day, if she smiles and speaks with some joy in her tone, dad had a good day. I guess that's what happens when you have a happy 57 year marriage,  most everything is connected to that other persons well being.

Friday, January 30, 2015

CBC Radio Interview?

Not sure what the deal is on this but there might be a CBC radio interview related to the opening. Larry is probably handling this, not sure I will be needed. Still its nice to be noticed by the media, no doubt Larry and Joanna's professionalism is bringing this together.

Update* It is a radio interview and the reporter wants to talk to both Larry and myself.

Big Turn Out Expected For "Living on the Margins" Opening Reception, 100 Plus?

As with everything Larry and his wife Joanna put together this opening reception is going to be a first class event with an overflowing amount people attending. They do everything to the highest level, all the time, it's great to be a part of this. To be included in the flow of this thing is sort of dream like for me. When your a B type person seeing what a couple of A+ types can do, what they can create together, is rather amazing.

We are expecting a BIG turnout. On Larry's end there are 80 confirmed, possibly more attending. Luckily on my end not so much. I invited quite a few people but most will not attend. I probably invited 25 photography club people alone, but most of those folks do not attend photo shows or support photography in Edmonton (not sure why). I also invited some work colleagues plus a few relatives and general friends. I tried inviting some local art folks from the Alberta Gallery of Art, The Alberta Foundation for the Arts. The Edmonton Art Council, Visual Arts Alberta etc but doubt many of those folks will attend. Even with all those invites my confirmed attending end will probably be  30-35 folks. Still counting everyone along with the the open event call that's in the "Exposure Photography Festival" magazine we are talking upwards of 100 confirmed guests, with possibly another 20-40 maybes.

Next Saturday night the gallery should be rocking!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Final 3 Exhibition Photographs Framed

Here are the final 3 images for the Exposure Photography Festival, "Living on the Margins" exhibition. These 3 will make a total of 8 dad photographs, I might only be able to show 7 but thought having 8 was a good idea. The exhibition will be 7 or 8 "Dads Last Days" photos and 15 "Families of the Dump" photos (one an enlarged contact sheet). A total of 23 prints completed! Many challenges, lots of work, plenty of rewards, glad it's done, now I can rest a bit.

I will complete hanging the shows on Tuesday, 2 days ahead of the NAIT talk and 4 days ahead of the opening reception. Nicely timed!

Note* The center (print #7) square format portrait of dad is in the photo style I was thinking of using for the "Lost Innocence" brothel worker series. That pic was made with a blad, 80mm lens, extension tube and dedicated ringflash, with Tri-x.

Prints #6, #7 and #8 of "Dads Last Days" Series

Link: CNN Iconic Images

A nice selection of iconic images, a bit too America orientated, a few weaker photos but overall a solid selection.

Quote: Anthony de Mello

"Pleasant experiences make life delightful. Painful experiences lead to growth."

Portrait: "Baldassare Castiglione" By Raphael 1519

This portrait by Raphael was made in 1519 one year before Raphaels death at 37 years old. I love the eyes in this portrait, you really feel you understand this man, there is a calmness, depth, it's simply wonderful. Below that picture is a copy by Peter Paul Rubens, I like the inclusion of the hands but the expression is somehow more haunted, more menacing, less humanizing.

By Raphael 1519
By Peter Paul Rubens 1620

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Photo Idea: "Go Go Dancer"

I had a photo idea while I was walking my rounds. I keep thinking what I can show at the Toot Yung gallery in Bangkok. I came up with this "Go Go Dancer". This is how I see it, digital colour vertical portraits of go go dancers from the bars of Asia. Each picture would be of an individual dancer, in her bikini (no nudity) and wearing her number, just as she does on the stage for her customers. I would probably have to shoot it in a studio set up, maybe we a ring flash, or some kind of soft box setup. I am unsure of backgrounds, I am thinking something gaudy, silvery, goldish, shiny backdrops. The portraits need to be detailed, garish, sexual in a sad way and very honest.

If I did 10 different dancers, and then printed them very large, bright glossy colours with the incredible detail of digi (learned of that from Larry's work). I would do all the printing and framing in Bkk. I could have something here, a bit of documentary style work, a bit of high art. I could tell the story of the worker in a documentary way and yet still make higher end looking fine art (Larry Clark meets Helmut Newton). Doing a project like this is very achievable for me, I would be working in areas and with people that I have worked with extensively. If I could do it with the ring flash and carry the whole studio and all my camera gear in a backpack, that would be great. I could then set up in almost any room and make pictures anytime. I might even consider shooting the project in the Philippines, not Thailand.

An alternative series title might be "Go Go Girl". I could include some background info or just go with the persons nickname and age. Possible background info might be, how long they have worked the bar life, what part of the country they come, how big a family etc.That sort of infomation would help personalize and humanize the worker and lead to more empathy from the viewer.

As always more thought needed on this.

Note* This is the 100th blog of the month, a record! That's a lot of blogs. I never written 100 in one month, not in the 8 or so years I've been doing this.