Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kodak Tourist

beautiful vaginaThe Kodak Tourist makes rather large, 6mm x 9mm negatives. It is also really dusty inside. Strangely, I never even considered that there might be dust inside a camera that is more than sixty years old, not to mention that some of that dust might stick to the film. The shot pictured at left is relatively dust free, but the same cannot be said for others from the same roll of film.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Oh No, Too Many Babies in the King Cake!

I've been working on this for the last couple of months. I'm not convinced it is finished, but it has been taking up too much space in the middle of the floor and I'm ready to put it away.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Best of College Photography

So I got this book in the mail yesterday. I try really hard to remain positive about everything, but at heart, I'm a cynic. When I entered this Photographer's Forum contest I suspected it was probably a ploy to sell books rather than a true "contest," but I thought it would be better to enter and remain hopeful. It seemed likely to me that virtually everyone that entered the contest would be published in the book, thus increasing the number of potential book purchasers. Let's face it, is there really an audience for a book like this beyond the included photographers, their schools (which I know they solicited,) or their friends and family. When I received notification that I was a finalist, I had the same nagging feeling but in the interest of optimism, I pre-ordered a copy of the book anyway.

So, as I said, I got the book yesterday and it sucks to be proven right. This thing is crammed full of images. I'm not counting them all individually, but the book has about 280 pages. The first 16 pages are advertisements. The next 8 include the winning photos, one photo per page. 28 pages of honorable mentions follow, with three to four images on each page. Every page after that has 9 photos on it. A quick calculation comes up with an approximate number of 2086 total photographs. Multiply that by proud parents and school libraries and you've got a respectable number of books sold.

Still, I don't know, maybe 100,000 people entered this contest and they picked out the best 2000. There really are a lot of great shots in it. However, when looking through the book, I got to page 97 and noticed a picture with a date stamp on it. The kind of stamp that a consumer camera automatically puts in the corner of a picture so you can remember the date of your vacation or whatever. My apologies to Julie Wurgler if she reads this, but that photo has no business being in a book purported to represent the best photography of the year. Its a snapshot. The inclusion of that single picture negates everything this book and contest are supposed to be about and strongly suggests that I was correct in assuming that every entrant was included in the book.

I won't go into the quality of the winning photographs. I'll just say this: Since its completion in 2006, Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate, the so-called "bean" of Millenium Park, is almost definitely the most photographed object in Chicago, and very possibly, the entire United States. At present, there are more than 40,000 pictures on Flickr tagged with "cloud gate," and who knows how many tagged with variations of the "bean" nickname. A photographer would have to do something very special to make a picture of the bean a work of art in its own right, rather than just a cliche touristy photo or a document of another artist's work. So far I haven't seen it happen.

On the optimistic side, this contest's entry fee was low, they sent me two issues of their magazine, which I was able to use for cutting up and adding to colleges, and I added a line under the bibliography section on my resume.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Costanza - Wholly Sheeets

If you're looking for something to do tomorrow, my friend Michael is having an opening reception for his graduate art exhibition, Wholly Sheeets, starting at 5:00. It ought to be totally informal so bring some beers or whatever and hang out for a while.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


A few more pinhole scans today. I think these will be the last for a while since I'm shooting medium format film in vintage cameras for the next few weeks. Anscoflex, Kodak Duaflex, Tourist & Brownie, all using 120 film respooled onto 620 spools. I might do something with my Bronica as well. Its probably my best camera and its just been sitting here for over a year without ever getting used. Also, it should be faster and easier to use than the 620s since it uses 120 film directly without the need to respool.

Since I'm here anyway, I might as well post these scans from a roll of film that I found. I can't remember where it came from or how long I've had it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Here I'm fooling around with direct 4-color process, translation of a straight photograph. In this case, the photo was taken through the viewfinder of my Duaflex IV. I'm trying to get my custom CMYK colors right (which I haven't) and pushing how far I can go with halftone size. I've read that 55 lines-per-inch is the limit of the 280 mesh I'm using. I've also heard 80 lines. Here I've used 70 without a problem. You have to look pretty closely to notice the dot pattern. Maybe next time I'll try 80 for a higher level of detail.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

National Small Works

Slow and Steady, a print of mine, has been selected for exhibition in the National Small Works show at Washington Printmakers Gallery in Washington DC. Slow and Steady is a print about Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, two men who, independently of one another, developed similar theories of natural selection to explain the diversity of species. I had just been reading a book about the history of the study of evolution and was struck by the friendship these two men developed when they might otherwise have considered one another rivals. I'm working this weekend on getting the print framed and ready for hanging. Monday, I'll try to get it shipped out to the gallery. The exhibition runs from July 28 to August 23, with a reception the evening of Friday, August 7, and a talk by the juror, Jane Haslem the following Sunday afternoon. If you happen to be in the DC area, you should check it out and let me know how it goes.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Anscoflex II

A couple of weeks ago my first test roll of Walmart-developed 120 film came back blank. I'm assuming it was my fault since I was using a vintage Kodak Brownie box camera with expired slide film. Modern negative film is pretty forgiving and is able to capture some kind of image no matter how far off your exposure is. Slide film, on the other hand, has an extremely tight exposure range. Using slide film in a camera with absolutely no exposure controls was probably a bad idea. Still, I was a bit worried that Walmart might not be the best choice for getting medium format film processed. Today, however, I picked up a roll of 120 film and eleven 3" x 3" prints that came out good enough for me. They're all up on Flickr right now. Included with the prints was a tiny little note that says,

The pictures enclosed are off color because the film used was old or affected by heat or humidity, or left in the camera too long after exposure. X-rays, chemicals, moth balls, or finger nail polish vapors can damage film during storage.

They're right, the prints look a little washed out, but with modern technology, its nothing to fix the images and make them a little more contrasty. I found this particular film frozen within a solid block of ice when defrosting the freezer in my "office." Who knows how it got there or how long ago. Or, the negatives could have just been overexposed. They were taken again with no exposure controls using an Anscoflex II, a camera that deserves recognition, if not for its image making, then for its ingeniously, beautiful design. (I stole the image of the Anscoflex II at right from Friendly Joe, one of my favorite TTV photographers. I highly recommend you check out his flickr stream, especially the Work-A-Day Project.) The point is this: I'm happy with Walmart's film processing. The turnaround, at two weeks, could be a little faster, but the price, $1.56, cannot be beat. Plus, I asked for the film spool to be returned and they actually did return it. If you want to get 120 film developed at Walmart, here's what you do: Ask for some "send out only envelopes." Fill in the top portion with your name as usual. Cross off all the stuff about prints. At the bottom, check the "special instructions" box. Write something like "120 size color negative film. C41 process and print 3" x 3" or whatever size prints you want." If you have slide film write "E6 color slide film." I'm sure they'll do traditional black & white film too. They won't, however, do any cross processing of slide film in regular negative chemicals, so don't even bother to ask. You'll just waste two weeks. Thanks to kennmon at the skateperception forums, where I found out about Walmart's inexpensive 120 processing.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I scanned a bunch more of these Gakken pinhole negatives today. I needed to rewind the film to fix my camera and then I reloaded that same film again. I'm not sure if that's where the light leak came from or not.
Hopefully I'll have some 120 film to scan this weekend.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Birth of a Nation

Sunday, June 14, 2009

World TTV Day

Yesterday was World TTV Day so I got out my good old contraption (which I haven't used since February) and took it around with me throughout the day. I was planning to take a single shot every 15 minutes of whatever happened to be in front of me at the time. In actuality, I just kept forgetting, and I couldn't figure out how to get my cell phone's alarm to go off regularly as a reminder. So, I ended up with just a few pictures, most of them taken from a moving vehicle as I drove to the print studio to do some work on my prints for the Littlest Print Exchange. They'll probably be finished Monday.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Digital Bev

Sometime this weekend I'll be heading to the Beverly Art Center to drop off some stuff for a photography exhibit. I received word that they wanted to show two of my through the viewfinder shots. Then, later in the day, they let me know that they also wanted a couple of my other, larger pictures. If you wanted to, you could cruise through my flickr account and see everything there. Or you could actually come check out the show in person. Its going to be there from June 12-July 12, 2009, and there will be a big opening reception on Friday, June 12, 7-9pm.

Photographers exhibited include:
Alonso Balderas, Jo Beaudreau, Elizabeth Blackburn, Samantha Blackburn, Jamie Callahan, Christopher Clark, Matthew Coglianese, Megan Crosby, Emily Dosch, Takiyah Harris, Becky Healy, Melissa Heenan, Rachel Hewitt, Analiese Jacobs, Angie Johnson, Laura Kleinhenz, Sarah Legow, John Magruder, Chris Matusek, Bethany Angelina Mojoski, Angela Mistina, Daniel Neimeier, Chris Radek, Mark Randazzo, Laura Rogers and Karen Stone.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009