I would like to announce that I will have a piece in the upcoming “Black|White” show hosted by Camera Arts Creative and The Alliance for Contemporary Photographic Learning. It will run March 21st – April 20th at Studio 3702 : 3702 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA. The opening reception will be on Friday 3/21 from 6p to 9p, so come on out and check out all the great work. See you there!
Announcing that I will be teaching another round of my “On Assignment” class at the Hoyt Center for the Arts this coming Spring session. Great for beginner and intermediate photo students, I guarantee you will learn a lot! Classes are every Tuesday evening from 6p-8p at the Hoyt, 4/1-5/20.
I also will be having a one-shot class on Saturday 5/3 for advanced students who’re interested in color management and setting up a calibrated workflow. Time will be 10a-12:30p.
Sign-up for both is currently in progress, so contact the Hoyt to reserve your spot!
Thought I would post a few photos from a roll I developed recently shot in my Voigtlander Vito B. In and of themselves, they’re reasonably typical photos from an outing to Fellows Riverside Gardens in Mill Creek State Park, Youngstown, Ohio and not much else. What makes them somewhat more interesting than their content is that I used them to see what it would look like if I developed Ilford’s XP2 Super chromogenic B&W film in standard B&W chemistry.
If this means nothing to you or it’s not clear as to why this is a significant thing, then let me explain. Currently, there are two types of B&W film on the market that you can purchase. One is the traditional silver-based B&W film that’s been around for ages and is the most prevalent type, and the other is one that is based on color film chemistry and has been around for maybe 20-30 years (don’t quote me on this; in comparison it’s fairly recent). Each has their pros and cons, but the most significant benefit comes with the chromogenic B&W films as they are normally developed in standard C41 color chemicals and thus can be developed easily at your local Walmart, Walgreen’s, etc. Because of this, they don’t require any special treatment and thus are very convenient to use in today’s climate of limited processing options.
For myself, this has been a very useful option and so up until just recently I shot these films for all of my B&W work, dropping them off at the local Walgreen’s and then scanning the negatives that I got back. It costs about $5 a roll to have done, which isn’t too pricey, and the results are excellent. If you want to try these films, then your choice is going to be either Ilford’s XP2 Super or Kodak’s BW400cn. I prefer XP2 myself, but either gives good results.
Having said that, however, from about September of last year I started shooting standard B&W film instead due to a class with darkroom access, and then from the beginning of this year I’ve been developing my film at home after buying what I needed for wet processing. Unfortunately, during the switchover I still had a camera or two with XP2 in it so instead of paying the $5 I decided to see if I could process it myself like I do with my other film. And I’m happy to tell you, I can – and so can you if you’re inclined to give it a shot.
To get an idea of the feasibility of trying this and also some further guidance if it was possible, I hopped on the net, did some Google magic, and found that there really isn’t anything special to it other than coming up with the right development time per your favored developer. Everything else is the same as always. To get the time I needed, I used my favorite app, the Massive Dev Chart app for the iPhone and iPad. If you develop your own film, this is really a handy app to have and worth every penny it cost. Here’s a few screenshots:
As you can see, the app works both as a massive database of developing info (hence the name Massive Dev Chart) and also a handy timer and processing guide for when you’re actually getting down and dirty. Unfortunately, it’s only for iOS currently, so Android peeps are out of luck. If you’re just interested in the database however, you can access it for free at the Massive Dev website (http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php). It’s truly handy, so worth a look either way.
Using the chart app, I was able to find a listing that was for XP2 with Ilford’s Ilfosol developer, which is similar to the TMax Developer I’ve been using. Pulling the data for that, I developed the XP2 for 26:15 minutes @ 68 degrees and the results are what I’m posting here. From all indications, the negatives came out excellently with a good tonal range and grain maybe even finer than if it had been developed normally. Anyway, for those times when you’re in a pinch and can’t drop off your XP2 at a normal processor this is a great option to have. ‘Never say never!’ is the phrase of the day it seems.
One fun thing about shooting film is that, occasionally, it can act as a time capsule of sorts due to the fact that you can set rolls aside and never touch them again until years later, only to reveal whatever snippets of history you might have stuffed in them at the time you shot the frames. Another way of looking at it also, is that it’s easy to get lazy and never process your rolls in a timely fashion, thus ending up with a backlog of laziness that will eventually be dealt with in another lifetime. Luckily for me, I’m still around and finally have caught up to the photos that I’m sharing today.
These are from the 2010 Steeltown Shakedown show that I attended back in, well, 2010. At the time I had decided to shoot it on film and as such I took my Canon Canonet QL17-GIII, plus a newly acquired and CLA’d 1957 Kodak Brownie Holiday Flash camera that I wanted to try in addition. The photos from the Canonet you can see in the original post from back in 2010. The ones I’m sharing today, however, are from the Holiday Flash.
If you want to know why there was such a lapse between the two sets of images, the simple answer is that I wasn’t able to develop the Kodak shots until just recently. The Canon shots were shot on Kodak BW400cn B&W film which is a non-traditional C-41 film and thus can be processed easily at any Walgreen’s, Costco, etc. just like color film. That’s what I did since I had just started to get back into film again and had no scanner or darkroom options yet to work with. The results are not bad, but typical retail scanning is somewhat harsh and low-quality, so the images are not quite as authentic as I would have liked.
The Holiday Flash shots though, were shot on Efke 100R B&W film, which uses a very traditional vintage formula and likewise has a very vintage look and feel about them. I had to use the Efke because the Holiday Flash uses 127 roll film, which is fairly uncommon these days and not something you find at your local discount shop. Unfortunately, I didn’t start doing my own home B&W processing until just recently, so these photos sat tucked away in my film locker until their time to shine came a week or so back when I started clearing out my B&W backlog. Personally, I think it was worth the wait.
First thing to notice is the overall tone of the images. They have a very authentic tonality to them that is relatively low-contrast, and with a slight warmth and smokiness to them that is very reminiscent of vintage B&W photos from the 40′s and on. Of course, the camera helps with the effect as well since it’s the real deal and authentically sort of wonky in the image quality it produces. If you were to see the photos in a larger size, you’d see that the lens has an interesting field of focus where the center is sharp and clean, but then fades out into softness as you get closer to the edges. I’m sure the idea was to have your snapshot subject centered and sharp, with other considerations of lesser value based on how the camera was expected to be used. That said, the photos it produces have a very interesting and authentic feel to them that, given an absence of period clues to tip you off, one could easily mistake for true period shots like you’d find in most family albums from the day. To me, I love that, and that’s why I took the camera along when I went to shoot the show.
As for the photos, this is the first roll of two that I’m posting. I still have to clean up the dust and boogers from the second set, but as soon as I do I’ll post them here as well. Enjoy!
Thought I’d share just a few photos I took from about a month ago when I went to see the Vivian Maier exhibit at the Cleveland Print Room in Cleveland, Ohio. Always one for an enjoyable day out, I also took my family and we met up there with some other member of the Ag Works collective that I am a member of.
Despite being ridiculously frigid outside, the day turned out sunny and beautiful, making for an easy drive to Cleveland, which is about 1.5-2 hours away. Before checking out the show, we stopped for a bite to eat at an excellent Lebanese restaurant downtown (Taza). Afterwards, we headed straight for the show, which was being held at the Cleveland Print Room just a short ways away.
The Cleveland Print Room is a public darkroom and exhibition space that is relatively new and a real boon to the photography community that it serves. This having been my first time there, I checked out the darkroom facilities and they are well equipped and seem to be actively enjoyed based on the few patrons there that were to work in the facility that day. The exhibition side is also very well done, with good lighting, a decent amount of wall space, and a clean gallery aesthetic that doesn’t overpower the display pieces in any way.
As for the show itself, there were a large number of prints, all excellently mounted and displayed, and mostly from when she was photographing the Chicago area during the 50′s-60′s. Unfortunately, there was no way I could afford to purchase one, but I did pick up an excellent book there of her work, “Vivian Maier, Out of the Shadows”, that had many of the photos from the show in it, plus a plethora of others as well to enjoy. And I will say I enjoyed the show. Partly because the work is excellent, and also partly due to the fact that I grew up in Chicago and am familiar with many of the locations that she included in her work. I won’t lie and deny the fact that when the whole Vivian Maier phenomena came to light that I was a bit skeptical due to the sheer hype that surrounded her and her work, but after seeing more of it in person and in print I do think the hub-bub is reasonable and warranted. Still, it’s a shame that in true form, the artist never received any recognition or profit from her work while she was alive.
Adding a few more frames to share from my “Patrol” Project. These are probably the last batch I suspect as I’m feeling that it’s more or less complete aside from organizing it and putting it into an exhibitable order.
In keeping with tonight’s update theme, here’s the photos from the second test roll I put through my Spartus Press Flash box camera. You can learn more about this camera via this link to the original post from a short while back. These photos are straight from the camera with no adjustments whatsoever. Film is Foma 400 developed in Kodak TMax developer and scanned via an Epson V500 scanner.
Overall, while it’s hard to tell from these small images, the camera has a fairly rough character to it that could be useful depending on what your subject is. Images are soft, with an odd haphazard quality to the depth-of-field that is sort of Lomo in nature, but thoroughly authentic for the period I guess. It also has its fair share of light leaks as well, though to be fair it was a really sunny day out and we were in it for quite some time, so I’m not totally surprised about this. I could seal it up with gaffer’s tape, but then it looks a bit naff and is kind of cheating if you’re really trying to be true to the camera’s nature. Lastly, the viewfinder framing seems a bit off as well, though I’ll have to play with it a while longer to get a better feel for this.
Despite all its shortcomings, it’s quite interesting and also not a Holga, so that’s a good thing in my book.
Time for an update to a project that’s been slowly brewing in the background over the last few years while I was working on other things. The original post carries the details about the project, called “Patrol“, and its photos, so have a look at it if you want to know more about these photos. Otherwise, here’s a batch that brings the project up to date for the moment, though it’s still a work-in-progress, so there’s bound to more in the future. Enjoy!
It’s cold outside. Really cold outside (-11F). In fact, it’s hit record lows over the past day or two in my region, so sitting inside now working on photos and my blog is not such a bad thing right. Ironically, just shortly before on this past Sunday it was mid-fourties and fairly comfy, and the week before that it was the same, though a bit dreary. I mention all of this because what better thing to do on a dreary, rainy day than spend it in a place that makes you feel warm and happy like on a sunny day, which is exactly what we did back on the last Sunday of 2013 by going to the Winter display at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh.
As you can see from the lead photo, the weather sucked to say the least, but once we got inside that was extremely easy to forget as we got lost in the atmosphere of the various displays that were presented. Naturally, I took a camera with me to help document the day, and as a result I came back with a fair stash of photos worth sharing. I should note, that I’m not particularly an enthusiastic flower photographer because it’s such an over-saturated subject, but if they’re available I will shoot them – if anything for the practice at least, and additionally because pretty photos are never a bad thing in the end.
Phipps, in particular, is a location ripe for florals, so being able to get decent subjects in front of my lens is never a problem. I suppose I should feel a bit guilty because it’s almost too easy to get decent shots, but there’s still skill involved and you have to be observant of the surroundings in order to find opportunities that others may miss. Other than that though, it’s a relaxed shooting environment and very soothing to be a part of, so yeah, no reason not to enjoy the day snapping simply for fun.
With that, here are some of my favorites from the day. You can see more over on my Flickr stream along with some older shots from a few years back too, so have a look, enjoy the colors and greenery, and chillaaaaaaaaax.
Hi everybody! Today, I thought that in keeping with the Holiday spirit, and the spirit of sharing in general, I’d give you all a gift.
As you may already know, back in 2011 I had an exhibition of photos that I took while I was living and working in Japan. At the time, the idea behind the show was to provide a glimpse into the everyday lives of the people of Japan in a way that was very personal, and also very non-mainstream compared to the typical photos many Westerners see of the country. Happily, the show did very well and I got good responses back from people who attended it while it was up. Afterwards, one of the remaining notions that I had about the show was that due to space limitations, there were a number of photos that got edited out of the show that still warranted being seen and that, ideally, I’d like to share with people if at all possible. Towards that end, I created a photo book entitled “毎日 : Every Day” that was an extended version of my show which included the missing photos and which I put up for sale around the summer of last year. It was a fun project and one that has been a great experience in lots of ways.
The time has come though, that I want to give something back to the many people who read this blog, to those who attended the show, to those who have supported my photography over the years, and in general have shared time with me at some point in my life. If that sounds like I mean everyone, well . . . yup, that’s pretty much it as I have so many people who make my life wonderful day in and day out, it seems very selfish not to acknowledge my gratitude for them, despite the meagreness of my offering.
With all that out of the way, please take a moment and download a copy of my book on me. It’s my present to you and I hope that it brings you a bit of enjoyment as you thumb through the photos it contains. The format is a straight .pdf of the book as printed, so pardon the blank pages between images. You’re also more than welcome to share the link with anyone that’s interested. It’s more important to me that people get a chance to see the photos, enjoy them, and learn something about Japan than sitting on it like a miser and counting cash.
And that’s that!