Friday, April 18, 2014

Website Thoughts

I have been simplifying my webpage in this latest rebuild. Instead of having many many NEXT page links I am just putting everything on one page, the more photos I want to show the longer the page. I am doing 5 photos across and as many down as are needed, the viewer will just have to scroll down. The whole thing works like one big long contact sheet. This way I can have many photos on one page (100?) as I want and make it an easier surfing experience for the viewer. They will just have to scroll, point and click to see a larger pic, then to go back to the previous page click again.

One of my pet peeves when visiting photographer-photography sites is how damn difficult it can be to see the actual photographs. Your always waiting for this fancy page thingy to load and that difficult to see and surf photograph gallery page to open, its can be really frustrating. Its a real pain in the ass sometimes just to look at the photographers photographs. The goal of this page is to, show as many photos as possible, as easily as possible. I want a page that anyone can visit and straight away see a ton of images, if they like them they stay if they don't they can quickly leave. I want an easy to use user friendly page that just so photographs in a simple straight forward manner.

I also need to page to be easy to update and change off, something I have not done any of over the last several years. I need something I can go into in an hour and upload 10 or 15 new photos easily and efficiently all by myself! If I can do that, then my page will never get hopelessly out of date, after every trip I can simply update it.

Heres hoping things work out, after 20 or 30 hours of work I am about 10% into the page, hopefully it will go a bit faster from here on in. My one worry is getting all the photos scanned and up to a certain standard, that will take forever. I just need to keep trudging away, day by day doing a little here and a little there, eventually it will be done.

If I can get this done properly it will help with future submissions, future workshops and future picture use requests like the one I got from the Texas University student a few days ago. Showing the work properly online is a win all the way around.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Another B&H Film Order

I just ordered another 6-100 foot rolls of bulk 35mm Tri-x. I will not use this newest purchase of film for 5-10 years (maybe longer) but I needed to reinvest this weeks darkroom workshop profits into new film. I will make $220 CAD in my 2 workshops, the film cost $466.43 USD so I will have to add quite a bit of security money to pay it off. I am saving a bit on shipping/customs clearance by getting a few extra rolls so decided to go for it. I probably have more than a 10 year supply of Tri-x 35mm film now. The film will be safely frozen and should be fine when I pull out to use it later. The current 35mm bulk Tri-x I am using was outdated 6 years ago in 2008 and it works great with no noticeable fogging.

I am not sure how much more of this bulk Tri-x I should buy, I might go to 4x5 or 8x10 Tri-x next purchase or start buying some more Ilford warm tone 16x20 fibre paper (my favourite printing paper and size). If I get a show somewhere sometime I will need lots of this paper. I think I only have 1 or maybe 2-50 sheet boxes of the stuff hanging around. To print a major solo show I would probably need at least another 200 sheets, maybe 300.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Working On Webpage Again! And Thoughts On Dad

Gosh I sat down today and spent 3 hours or so trying to put together a slightly better webpage. I do not have the skills to do a high end page or the money to pay someone to do that for me. I think thou this coming version will be much nicer and simpler than the what is currently online at I am going to keep the basic html code and try to spice things up as well as simplify. In this current version I will have 12 galleries on the gallery page and plan to have 12 photos per gallery. I wanted to cut down the photo numbers but I do not seem to able to do that. I might have to have 24 photos for some of the more extensively photographed series like, "Sex Workers", "Families of the Dump", "Klong Toey Slum" etc. This is going to take a long while to complete but its something I need to do.

Over the last few months I have been working on a funeral slideshow and video presentation for dad as well as the eulogy I will give. Doing these projects just breaks me down, by the end of a few hours I am pretty well worn out and spent. I needed something to distract me from the sad thoughts about dad, the webpage is easier and needs less concentration than the darkroom so I have chosen it for now.

Speaking of dad today I ate some Ukrainian kobasa (sausage) with him as well as some watermelon, we talked and shared some stories, it was a good day. When he is gone I am going to miss him so much, I am not sure how I will be able to take it, it will be even harder on mom. Poor dad he is doing everything he can to stay with us but it's all beyond our control, there is nothing anyone can do. Now every moment I have with him is precious, I wish I could stop time, I wish I could give him some of my years, I wish I could do anything to keep him alive.

Update* I was just thinking some more about what I wrote about loss and my questioning how I was going to live without dad. I am a 50 year old man who is losing his father, imagine what a 5 year old or a 15 year old feels like. Imagine a child in a slum with no one to look out for them, no one to protect them or earn money to feed them. I am so lucky to have what I had for as long as dad was with me. I am protected by my life in Canada, a privledged life my parents gave me through their hard work. I think back to some of the young faces I photographed in Klong Toey slum, or in the Mae Sot dump, many of those children are no doubt without fathers, what pain must they be going through? Now that is true heartache, that is real suffering, so, so much more than anything I am going through.

The Work Is Making A Difference

I got this short email today, its nice to know that the work is having an impact, that it is creating/helping positive discussion. When I made the sex worker photographs I wanted to open eyes, to tell important stories, to educate and start discussion. This email today shows that the discussion is happening as well as hopefully a bit of education. I told this University student to go ahead and use any photos she wanted and thanked her. Here is the email:

Hello Gerry Yaum.

I'm a student at The University of Texas at Austin, and for one of my classes (rhetoric of tourism) I am doing a project arguing against sex tourism in Thailand. Could I please get your permission to use the photography in your galleries in my presentation? I would certainly give you credit if I used your images.

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Conforming, Doing What's Expected To Fit In

Ever notice how people expect you to conform to the norms of society? If you have children your expected to do this and that, if your married or in a relationship your expected to act this way and not that way. I am not sure if the pressure to conform is placed on you by the people who have followed those unwritten rules because they do not like your independence and are envious or jealous of your perceived freedom (is anyone real free?) or because people have trouble thinking in new ways outside the box.

The people putting the pressure on others to act the same way as they do might have a point, they might be on the right path. If everyone did whatever they wanted to (within the laws of society) then the greater good our society might fall apart, everything might cease to function or at least function at a lower level. One thing I do know is that if you study the lives of great artists, independent thinkers and ground breaker type folks, they most often do not follow the norm, they do not fall to the pressure of their peers, they usually choose a unique path of their own design.

A nurse gave my father some great advice a few days back, my father told her he would refuse chemotherapy because it would not really help him and it would cause unnecessary pain, she said "It's your body and your choice, do what you think is right." We cannot allow peer pressure to conform and act a certain way to influence us, we all need to make our own judgements based on our own beliefs, it's our body, or lives, the person we need to make happy first is ourselves. That sounds very selfish and maybe it is but being happy in our own skins allows us to be a better person to all of those around us as well, happiness breeds more happiness. If you conform to fit in, if you follow the rules not because you agree with them but instead because your expected to, then that will ultimately eat you up and destroy something important. When your unhappy, when you lose that special spark that makes you who you are it's like a virus that destroys not only you but also everything around you. So by being selfish sometimes and finding your own personal happiness I believe your also benefiting those you love, your becoming a better person, a better lover, a better father, a better friend and a better husband.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Kaasa Gallery Artist Submission Link

The Kaasa Gallery at the Northern Jubilee Auditorium has their 2014 call for artists out. I had a wonderful solo show in this gallery last year, it is a beautiful space with great people to work with. The Kaasa only pays $200 CAD but provides you with a first class arts facility (upstairs in the Jubilee Auditorium is where the ballet and operas of Edmonton are shown).  For my show I had 37 large prints, portraits from Klong Toey slum, it's a huge space. I have been there done that so am not submitting or looking for another show at Kaasa but for those of you looking for a first class Edmonton venue please give it a try.

Here is the link:

Note* I got in with a quick and easy email submission , so you can to. There is no need to pad things with a conveluted everything but the kitchen sink package.

Here is a vid of my Kaasa show, so you can see the space.

Location, Location, Location

I have been thinking a lot lately about what separates photographers, what makes some great and some good and some non factors? Outside of characteristics that I have discussed earlier, study, extremely hard work, dedication in all areas, commitment to photography over other concerns etc. One of the things I think of more and more after photographing extensively in the dump is LOCATION. If you put yourself into situations ripe with photographs your simply going to have more opportunities to do good work. So much of photography is opportunity, there are lots of talented folks out there, lots of hard working photogs, lots of knowledgeable tech artists who know the art of photography.

But if you get to the right location, if your standing in the right place at the right time, now your talking! A huge factor that  plays a part in making great work is simple, put your ass into worlds, into situations where photos are everywhere. If you take the combo of extremely hard work, tech knowledge and a abundant photo opportunity environment, how can you miss? Of course getting into those vibrant photo situations can be very difficult, it can be dangerous, it can be expensive, it is usually physically demanding but those are the things you must overcome as an artist. No excuses, just get there and do the work.

In the coming years I need to throw myself into more and more locations, situations and opportunities that are filled with photos, everywhere I look, everywhere I turn I want to see compositions, moments and stories worth telling.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Beauty Of Chasing Your Dreams

I watched this tonight and it brought tears to my eyes. This documentary is all about the wonderful power of dreams and the behind the scenes real life story that was made into the 1993 movie "Rudy". This short doc includes a wonderful interview with the inspirational real life Rudy Ruettiger. Do not not let your dreams die, chase them down with a unmatched desire and ferocity. Your dreams are what make life worth living, they make life beautiful.

November Trip Scans 22

Here are another 15 from the November trip photos.

"Families of the Dump" Series, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
"Families of the Dump" Series, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
"Families of the Dump" Series, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
"Families of the Dump" Series, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
"Families of the Dump" Series, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
"Families of the Dump" Series, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
"Families of the Dump" Series, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
"Families of the Dump" Series, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
"Families of the Dump" Series, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
"Families of the Dump" Series, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
"Families of the Dump" Series, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
"Families of the Dump" Series, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
"Families of the Dump" Series, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
"Families of the Dump" Series, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
"Families of the Dump" Series, Mae Sot Thailand 2013

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Another Darkroom Workshop Coming And A New Second Darkroom?

There will be another workshop happening this week, this one is a darkroom workshop with one of my recent view camera students. I am unsure how to spend the $100 fee, possibly I can put it towards 3 more boxes of Tri-x 100foot bulk or I might get some replacement 8x10 sheets for the film I used when I photographed dad. Either way as with all my blog advertising money and workshop money it will get reinvested in the photography.

I am thinking of setting up a second darkroom, if I can find the space. The darkroom would be used for workshops and rental purposes. I have enough equipment to easily stock a new darkroom space so the costs should be minimul. I would have to pay for a plumber to come in and hook a sink(s) up but that would be about it, I might have to install some kind of ventilation system as well. I have extra enlargers, sinks, trays, safe lights, developing tanks etc in storage so there would be no extra cost to purchase equipment. If I could continue to do workshops at the current pace and maybe rent out the darkroom occasionaly at $20 ($25) an hour I would be able to make a profit that I could use to buy more film and photo paper.

Update* It looks like I might have 2 darkroom workshops this week, one on Tuesday and one on Sunday. I can use the $220 (charging a bit more for 8x10 enlarger use) towards film, probably 35mm bulk Tri-x as mentioned earlier. I can buy 5 or 6 boxes, and pay for the extra costs out of my security money. Having a large stock of Tri-x in the freezers is soothing to me, it means I am covered no matter what kind of crazy sh-t Kodak does.

Update** Just did a B&H Photo price check, to get 5 boxes of 35mm bulk Tri-x to Edmonton would cost $390.97 USD (thats for everything, customs, shipping, GST), 6 boxes cost $466.43 USD.

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