Friday, July 31, 2009

Captive Werewolf - Karri A. Dieken

Tonight I'll be changing over the current exhibit at Captive Werewolf. Thanks to Steven Hight for letting us show his photographs. Next up is Karri A. Dieken. Karri is heading toward an MFA from Washington State University doing a lot of installation work. She was on the standby list for the Littlest Print Exchange in case any of the participants dropped out. Looking through her portfolio, I was excited by the photographic documentation of her installation, Calling All Dancers. I wasn't sure if there would be enough drop-outs from the exchange to secure Karri a spot, so I invited her to instead put together a show for Captive Werewolf. I'm glad she accepted. In the end, a spot opened up and she'll be participating in the exchange as well. Her exhibit at Captive Werewolf will be up through August 15th, after which it will likely be replaced by an exhibit from printmaker, Brad Widness.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thanks for Coming

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thunderbird is the Word

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Capital Steppin'

So that Small Works show in Washington DC opens tomorrow. The Washington Printmakers Gallery's press release claims that 740 prints were entered and that the juror selected only 42. If you are some kind of a mathematician and can show me how to plug those two numbers into a formula that will help me figure out my self-worth, I'd love to have your assistance. The actual reception isn't until the 7th and then there is a presentation by the juror on the 9th. If I were you, and if I were in the nation's capital, I'd go check that business out. As it is, I'll just be going about my regular life here in the midwest. When the reception is in full swing, I'll probably be sitting here at this very computer, either removing tiny particles of dust from some scanned negatives, or obsessively checking my flickr account to see if anyone has left me any comments. You, on the other hand, could be eating cheese, drinking wine, and rubbing your chin knowingly.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Junk vs Broken Junk

I'm having trouble embracing the imperfections of these old cameras. In my heart, I love the soft focus and lack of precision. But intellectually, I want perfect crisp representations of the subject I initially shot. It is a battle in my brain that isn't over yet. Just when I was thinking I had decided to drop these junk cameras from my repertoire, my Bronica, which produces perfect, crystal clear pictures (like the one posted yesterday,) locked up. I don't know if it was something that I did or if old age just finally caught up with the camera and its notoriously over complicated winding mechanism. Luckily, I had a second camera body so I can keep using the lens and film back, but maybe I should take that break-down as an omen that I shouldn't give up on my Duaflex or Anscoflex just yet. Those cameras are unprecise, but their simplicity makes the likleyhood of them breaking down very, very small.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Be Nice or Go Away

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mano a Mano

Here's a quick side by side comparison of the same negative scanned on two different scanners. On the left is the Epson Perfection 4490 which lists for about $150 dollars. I have access to a bunch of these every day of the week. On the right is the Epson Perfection V700, a $600 scanner. The V700 is the obvious winner. The colors are richer and more accurate. It also scans at a much higher resolution, allowing for large, decent quality prints. The difference in speed is ridiculous. A scan that takes 15 minutes on the 4490 can be finished in less than 2 on the better scanner. It even handled the light leak on the lower left much better than the 4490. The problem is that I have access to it for only the next few weeks and I'm not about to spend $600 on a scanner for my own amusement. It seems like I'm going to be scanning like crazy until they pry this thing out of my hands.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Circle of Confusion

Most images produced by cheap cameras have a high level of sharpness in the center which gradually blurs toward the edges of the film. I'm sure you've seen the effect in pictures made with the popular Holga Camera. This old timey Duaflex that I've been using seems to have something else going on. The center of the image is out of focus. Then the blur dissipates for a while leaving a ring of focussiness. Then it gets blurry again on the edges. I've illustrated the area of focus in the animated gif above. I guess it is possible that the subject in the center is just too close to the lens, inside the camera's limited depth of field. But I see similar focus rings in other pictures taken on this same roll of film where the centered object is much further away. I don't know what's going on, but if I think about it when I'm out shooting, I might be able to use it to my advantage. Any optics experts are welcome to jump in here and suggestsanswers to my question.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Color Film - Black and White Chemicals

The other thing I did yesterday was process color film using regular black and white chemicals. I researched around the internet to see if this was possible and received conflicting information. Some websites say go for it, it works great. Others say it doesn't work at all, ever. Still others say is works but you'll end up with black and orange negatives which will only be good for scanning, never for traditional, photographic printing. In my experience, the last piece of information is pretty much the truest. Color film is composed of multiple layers of emulsion, each sensitive to a different color range. Black and white chemicals successfully develop the black layer of emulsion, but only that layer. The other color layers rely on different chemistry. The film base that the emulsions are layered onto is a clear, yellowy-orangish brown plastic. So, in the end, you get a black and white negative on a clear brown background. Traditional photography is done under safe-light conditions in a darkroom because photo paper is not sensitive to the particular color of the safe-light. The brown film base, is pretty much that color too, so the negative should be just about useless for printing onto photo paper. However, since this is the future, we can just scan the negative and then invert it digitally, and then suck all the color out to make a nice looking black and white picture. If you are a technical person and want to know the specifics here's what I did. Other film, chemistry, temperatures and times would probably work just as well.

Kodak Portra 400VC film
Kodak HC-110 developer, at 68 degrees, using dilution B (1:31)

Pre-soak the film for five minutes
Develop for 4.5 minutes agitating 5 seconds out of every 30
Rinse with water
Rapid-fix for 7 minutes
Rinse with water
Hypo-clear 3 minutes
Rinse with water

I'm not sure what benefit doing this has over just using regular black and white film. I can imagine a situation where I only have color film and I really need the film developed immediately and can't wait for color processing. But that situation seems unlikely in my life. Like everything I do, I just wanted to see if it could be done, and I needed to do it myself to be sure. I also wanted the 620 film spools out of one of my cameras and this seemed like a fast way to run through 8 exposures.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Paper Nagatives

Today, I finally cut down some photographic printing paper and put it into my Anniverary Speed Graphic 4x5 press camera. I've had this camera for years. I have even taken it outside to look at images through its ground glass a few times but I never wanted to spend the money on 4x5 film. About two years ago I bought some Ilford RC paper with the intention of making some cheap paper negatives. The guy at Central Camera thought I was a moron when I told him what I was intending to do. It isn't a very crazy idea. Paper negatives were the norm for decades and are not uncommon, even now, among pinhole camera users. Anyway, the internet told me that my paper has an ISO speed of about 6, so I set the camera up, did a meter reading, and exposed the paper for 4 seconds. Processing the paper in the darkroom is a breeze and then I just scanned and inverted the image digitally. The image is just a test, nothing spectacular, but I think it came out surprisingly good for a first attempt. I might lengthen the exposure a bit if I was doing it again. I probably won't be using this technique much though, because I only have one 4x5 film holder, allowing for only two shots at a time between darkroom visits. Plus the camera is huge and all the extra stuff I'd need to carry around makes it too cumbersome. I don't know how the old-timey guys did it. I'm happy to know that it works though, and maybe I'll figure out a project for it in the future. If I can devise a portable darkroom, maybe someday I'll become a street peddler, selling while-you-wait portraits to passersby.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Captive Werewolf

Steven Hight FogI've decided to turn Captive Werewolf into an online art gallery with rotating exhibits, changing every couple of weeks. I'm hoping to do a tiny little bit to promote artists creating work that I admire and to hopefully create a community of goodwill surrounding the gallery. The current exhibit is a selection of photographs by Steven Hight. Steven uses of a "through the viewfinder" technique with its inherent filter of scratches, dust and haze to view subjects, already obscured by the famous fogs of San Francisco. These multiple layers of obviscation lend an ethereal aura of calm eeriness to otherwise commonplace scenes of city life. I originally saw these images in Steven's Flickr stream more than a year ago and have been drawn back to look at them again and again.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Camel Unit

The Kodak Six-20 Brownie is a beautiful old box camera with some really nice art deco style. The shutter on the thing is really slow, 1/60 of a second or slower, which makes it pretty much useless for any subject in motion. Of the eight shots on this particular roll of film, only one came out unblurry. Luckily it was one of the good ones. The camera produces a great, large negative though, so maybe I'll just save it for studio shots and use a faster camera for running around with.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rip Your Face Off

Is it a demon from hell or a crazy monkey? Ha. It's neither. It's a baby squirrel that my brother found and raised on Planters peanuts and fresh raspberries. I shot this on my old Duaflex in the rain.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Contact Sheeets

If anyone has a really good quality negative scanner that they want to get rid of, please give it to me. I heard the Epson 700s or 750s are nice. While you're looking at the pictures above (click for a large version,) you can listen to this song: Chilling Sorcerer by Bottom of the Hudson.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Verichrome Pan and the Case of the Mysterious Photographs

For the first time, I took advantage of the darkroom. I've been a bit nervous to do any traditional photography work since I haven't had any legitimate reason to be in there and its been so long since I did any film processing. Well now I'm officially sanctioned and I remembered how easy developing is.

I started off my new darkroom experience by processing this roll of super old film that was in my Anscoflex when I got it. I'm guess these pictures were shot about 50 years ago. I think they came out pretty good considering their age and the probable mishandling they've experience over the years. I just googled verichrom pan and followed the suggested developing times found at and the images magically appeared. In the unlikely circumstance that you know who this woman is or the location, please let me know. I think it is her first day at some old-timey girl's college. The rest of the roll is on Flickr, so take a look at those too.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Small Works

So last week I sent my print off to D.C. for the 12th Annual National Small Works Exhibition at Washington Printmakers Gallery. I guess it should be there by now. I hope it went alright. It is a bit nerve racking to trust UPS (or whoever) with taking care of my stuff. Even though I generally place little financial value on my own work, I still want the thing to get there in one piece. I know from experience that that doesn't always happen. Strangely, a screw up by a shipping company makes me feel less than professional and that isn't a good feeling to have when dealing with galleries and curators.

Artists featured in the exhibition include:
Diane Alire, David Avery, Tom Baker, Joshua Bindewald, John Bergmeier, Carolyn Brookhart, Ann Chernow, Christopher Clark, Margaret-Ann Clemente, Kathy Daywait, Andrew Decaen, Jessica Dunne, Gloria Fischer, Amy Foltz, Eric Goldberg, Karla Hackenmiller, Alfred Haywood, Yuji Hiratsuka, Mirka Hokkanen, Stan Kaplan, Berry Klingman, Brian Kreydatus, Richie Lasansky, Jane Lincoln, Evan Lindquist, Jake Muirhead, R.Bruce Muirhead, Agnes Murray, Thomas Norulak, Akemi Ohira, Tomomi Ono, Mark Pagano, Kevin Schroeder, Meredith Setser, Carolyn Sheehan, Timothy Smith, Keith Taylor, Dean Thompson, Caroline Thorington, Marie Weaver, Brad Widness and Clare Winslow.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dirty Bird

Zooey Deschanel's TitsYesterday I opened up that Tourist camera and, using compressed air, blew all the dust out of it. I wasn't satisfied with that so I used a moist paper towel to work away at the metal parts of the camera. Then I stuck packing tape to the inside of the bellows, hopefully taking the dust away when I peeled off the tape. All this was in an effort to avoid getting any more shots covered with specks like the one above. Although, in this case, I kind of like the dirtiness and even kind of want to add some more.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I posted some photos a few days ago that I shot with my Anscoflex II. You might recall that the processing lab claimed that I was using "old or damaged film." I scanned the prints the lab sent me and they looked like the first image above. Today I scanned directly from the negative and, even without digital color correction, ended up with a much more vibrant image, as you can clearly see from the middle image. That color is much too vibrant for my taste so I did some correction to get the color a little bit closer to natural. You might notice that the image scanned from the lab's print is cropped pretty drastically from the whole negative. In this instance, I think their cropping is more successfull than my in-camera framing, but that likely won't always be the case. Its a lesson for me to always scan from the negative and never trust the results that come from the lab.Swimming Suit Bikini Megan Fox