Monday, July 30, 2007

Koin Center plaza from parking garage across the street. I like this particular angle for a kind of "cubist" composition. The top one was taken with a 6x7 camera using infrared film, the bottom one 35mm using Agfa 25 and my perspective control lens.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Lotus Hotel.
I walk by this mural everyday on my way to work and never grow tired of it. I really like the greasy guy with the cigarette checking out the flapper at the bar. I wonder what he is thinking?

The Tram in South Waterfront. A few days ago I decided to use my lunch hour for a quick expedition to the glorious new city within the city, South Waterfront. A quick streetcar ride and I was there. I could only stay a few minutes, take a few pics and then I had to take off. I'll return though and take some more time, photos and ride that wacky tram.

Invasion of the Condo Snatchers "Im a cyclist, runner, psychologist, father and husband. My wife and I met a mile from South Waterfront fell in love with each other and the land so close to downtown. A world class gym, public transportation and by the river beautiful homes all done in a shade of green: roofs, heating, and air and a green isle to view. It seems to come together in this new community by the river." from the Urban Pioneer Journal a very strange promotional for South Waterfront. (You don't fool me for a minute Kudos. )


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Philip K. Dick.

For the last year I have devoted most of my leisure reading to the novels of Philip K. Dick. I was first exposed to Dick in 1975 (snigger,snigger,snort) in a college course in Contemporary Science Fiction at PSU. The class introduced me to many new writers including; Ursula LeGuinn, Stanislaw Lem, and Philip K. Dick. Dick was my least favorite of all the writers we read in the class. I thought his ideas sounded interesting, but for me his books were difficult to read. I preferred in my naive youth writers I considered more serious and visionary like Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clark. To me Philip K. Dicks weird stories about time running backwards, dystopian futures where companies build artificial animals for people who cannot afford real ones, alternate universes where America loses WWII didn't connect with me at the time. In the 1970's his books written in the 1960's seemed dated to me and in the publishing world he was fading in to obscurity with few of his books still in print. Fortunately his work endured until I was ready for him. It's possible that the release of 'Blade Runner' in 1982 rescued PKD from obscurity. Though a great film it didn't quite capture the true feel of the Phildickian universe portrayed in the source novel, 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep'. The film will be celebrating it's 25th anniversary with a new DVD release and possibly a theatrical release of a new cut. 32 years ago I tried to read 'Do Androids Dream...' and couldn't get past the first few chapters, but now it is one of my favorite books. 'Do Androids Dream...' written in 1968 is set in the near future after a final nuclear war has been fought and the world is crumbling in to dust or 'Kipple" and animals are so rare that to own one is the ultimate status symbol which only the very rich can afford . Ersatz animals are manufactured for sale to people who cannot afford the real thing so they can pretend that they do. Human Androids called 'andys' are also manufactured for slave labor on colony planets where humanity is trying to start over again. This need to manufacture more realistic animals and humans is a highly competitive business andthe powerful Rosen Corporation creates the Nexus 6 an android difficult or perhaps impossible to identify using the standard Voiggt-Kampff scale, a psychological test that in theory separates androids from humans but can mistake the "mentally disturbed" for robots and sophisticated robots for humans. Philip K. Dicks androids are a necessary but annoying aspect of the Phildickian universe. In 'We can build You', historical figures are designed and sold and an authentic model of Abraham Lincoln rebels at being "sold". This conflict between Creator and Created comes from the ancient Gnostic principal of the creator god or Demiurge . Though Dick wrote in the SF genre his work is in a category all it's own and is more theological and philisophical in content. Space Travel, Time Travel, Aliens, Androids are plot devices used to explore more classical themes about the nature of reality, what it is to be human, and what is God. I'm a sucker for old pulp novel paperback versions of his work printed back in the 60's. The cover art on the newer editions is pretty lame.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Another Goldtone variation. I cropped the print a bit as well so the flowers would be a little more dominant in the composition.

Prehistoric Gardens Gold Beach, Oregon 1967. I found the negative to this picture yesterday and decided to try and print it on my Omega enlarger. The print in the corner is my original print made back in 1967 on this Argus printer that my Mom had used back in the 40's when she was an amateur photographer. When I first became interested in Photography she still had a box of all her old gear, An Argus Printer, safelight, and these old bakelite trays.I used our only bathroom as a darkroom. I bought a Kodak Tri-Chem pack with Dektol, Stop, and Fix. The Argus Printer was about the size of a toaster with a slot on the side you would run your roll of 35mm (or in this case 126)negatives through. The image would be projected slightly enlarged on to a piece of frosted glass about 2 x 3 inches. You would lay down a piece of photographic paper on to the glass and then close a lid which would press the paper flat and turn on the light and project the image on to the printing paper. I had the negative in backwards. At citizens Photo back where they do processing on the shelves they have some "Museum" pieces on display and they have one of those old Argus printers sitting there on the top shelf. I had to explain to one of the young girls working in the photo finishing department what it was.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Hollwood Camera Haul. Once a month after I get my haircut at Hollywood Hair I stroll next door to check out Hollywood Camera. A Camera Shop that has been in that location on Sandy Blvd. since 1953. I check out his current inventory to see if anything piques my interest. Yesterday I came home with a 35mm stainless steel film development tank, and a very cool pneumatic shutter release with a 10' cord. I had hoped to use this on my View Camera but it didn't fit it, it does work though on all my 35mm cameras and my Koni Omega. He threw in the bottle of photoflo for free. He tried to interest me in this 1959 Viscount Aries a 35mm rangefinder that he was selling for around 60.00. It was a very solid feeling camera but has no light meter built in. Still it sported a 6 element 1.9 45mm lens, and the shutter was extremely quiet. The viewfinder was very bright and easy to focus. I was tempted but I already have a nice rangefinder.

My Calumet 4x5.
According to Cherie Hiser using a view camera is like having to make the bed before you make love. Using a view camera is labor intensive. My 'tiny' 4x5 Calumet w/ tripod probably weighs over 50lbs. I bought a studio rather then field model. The old Calumet model is made of steel. There are a lot more of these old heavy metal cameras available though if you don't want to invest a lot just to experiment. Field models are built of wood and weigh about half. Once you learn how to load sheet film correctly in to the film holders you are set to go. Composition is done by viewing an upside down and backwards image at the back of the camera usually under a cover to keep out light and using a magnifying eye piece for critical focusing. The front lens panel and the rear viewing panel can be adjusted up and down, tilted and manipulated to correct or distort the image. Once everything is set you place the film holder in to place in front of the frosted glass viewing screen. Take light readings, set the lens apeture, make sure to close the shutter so you don't expose the film before you take the picture. You then pull out the dark slide which covers the film and keeps it light tight now that it's ready for exposure, cock the shutter and take ONE picture. You then replace the dark slide in reverse so you know that sheet of film has been exposed pull out the film carrier turn it around and repeat the process for the other sheet of film and you now have made two exposures. I have 6 film holders so I can take twelve pictures at a time. I develop the film in my darkroom using stainless steel frames that hold the film in place and dip the film in to tanks that look like miniture car battery casings. After processing you turn on the lights and see if 'the magic worked'. Provided that you didn't load the film in backwards and properly exposed it you should have an image. If you handled the film carefully hopefully it isn't scratched or covered in finger prints. The image quality though is something to behold when you make your first print from a really large negative and get to pretend your Ansel Adams or Edward Weston.

My Nikon F Photomic FTN.
I bought this camera in 1972 from a G.I. who bought it in Vietnam.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Still life with TV, Lamps, and Rubber Plant 1966. Taken when I was 13 with my Kodak Instamatic during my very brief Post-Modernist phase.

At the end of Linden Lane in Oak Grove 1957. This was a picture taken from a house I lived in as a child in Oak Grove from around 1957 to 1962. The house is still there. In the bottom part of the photograph you can see an old mill wheel.

Jurrasic Park circa 1967.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Nikkor PC (perspective control) lens 35mm f2.8. I found one of these on e-bay two years ago and I've been using it the last few weeks on my nikkormat for my lunch hour photo excursions in downtown. The PC Nikkor allowed the front lens elements to shift in one of twelve directions by turning a shift knob. Primary use was for architectural photography to compensate for perspective distortion but it could also be used for panoramic work. It was the first and in its day only 35mm lens that allowed such shifting giving an SLR some of the capabilities of a large format view camera. Over the viewfinder I have a flip up magnifying viewfinder that helps me with critical focusing.

Yesterday I devoted most of my darkroom time to goldtoning some prints I made last weekend. The goldtoning takes about an hour to complete one print. So it took most of the day to complete toning for around 8 prints. Soaking it in the heated toner (100-110 F) for 10-30 minutes depending on the type of paper . I find warmtone papers take a much shorter time then coldtone papers. A short wash, a few minutes in fixer and then more washing.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Gold toned print of Lone Fir Cemetery

Monday, July 09, 2007

Another Blues Festival picture. I like the way the screens obscure, some of the background and create a series of shapes and patterns utilizing shadows, overlapping screens, and bits of the sky. I like the large bright screen in the right that prints out pure white. I normally try to keep every area of a print a zone above paper base but the pure white shape looks very surreal.
Coldtone, warmtone.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Dogwood flowers. The top print was made using my cold light to eliminate certain scratches and "stuff" (another technical term) that I can't seem to clean from the negative and leaves these ugly light spots on the print. I also printed without a distinct border but allowing the reflections off the negative carrier to become part of the image. Gives it kind of an antique look.

Fireworks, 7/4/o7

I took this picture last week using my Mamiya C-220 with a large Metz flash attached. I found this flash at Hollywood Camera last May and it requires a seperate power pack you wear around your shoulder with one of these rather large rechargable batteries so the whole outfit is pretty cumbersome but very cool looking as you can see. I had hoped to use this to shoot pictures like those wonderful Weegee images from the 1940's or Diane Arbus. My first time trying this out "in the field" was a failure. I managed to get the whole setup to fire just once. Seems as I was moving around I would accidentally turn off the power pack so the flash wouldn't fire, or something would go wrong with the sync cord. The next day I hooked it all up and tested it without film in the camera it worked perfect. Glad I wasn't doing a wedding.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Rosefestival fun center being set up along the waterfront last month. Taken from the Morrison Bridge with my Mamiya C-220 using Agfa 100, printed out on cold toned paper.

American Gothic. Another of my Oak Grovian Landscapes.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Setting up for the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival.

Oak Grove, Oregon.

I grew up in this little town south of Milwaukie back in the 1950's-70's. My parents and my grandparents lived in the area back in to the 1920's. We bought our gas at 'The Bomber' gas station, shopped at the Piggly Wiggly at Courtney and McLaughlin Blvd. I lived in a house that was right along side the last remaining trolley line that ran between Oregon City and Portland. Those cream and red colored wooden trolleys that you sometimes see downtown were the kind I remember riding. The trolley line stopped running in 1959 so it is a pretty dim memory. I went to Oak Grove Grade School from 1959-1965. It's where I experienced the Columbus Day Wind Storm, which happened around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and may explain why I have 'issues' with anxiety. I learned to ride my Red & white Schwinn on those streets and later my Dads Green Chrysler New Yorker. It was an old community and run down even back then. It was a real mix of economic levels from the fairly well off to people who could have played extras in Deliverance without additional makeup or costumes. On occasion I go back and walk those same streets I walked as a child and so much of it looks exactly the same that I feel like I have become 'unstuck in time' like Kurt Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim, or a character in a Philip K. Dick novel who accidentally finds himself in a strange and still familiar parallel reality. Recently I spent some time back there and here are some pictures I took of the experience.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Their pollinators, not bugs.
Happy Fourth of July!!!
"We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour. If we refused, or rather used up, such paltry information as we get, the oracles would distinctly inform us how this might be done." Henry David Thoreau from Walden where Thoreau spent his first night on the 4th of July in 1845.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

My photo blog is now a year old. I am always thinking about my photography and my blog has been a way to share this in a totally democratic venue. In an interview with Alec Soth about the blog world in Conscientious Alec Soth calls the art world Exclusive but the blog world Inclusive. He says this as a member of the Art World and as someone who started a blog. This inclusive nature does make the blog world ubiquitous and vulgar but it can be a way of entering the 'Artistic Conversation' even if you may only be talking to yourself. When I returned to taking and making pictures again my goal was to have a show of my work as if the Art world had just been waiting for the last 30 years for me to do something with my photography. In my initial forays into the Art World I was invisible and that's okay now. I have come to realize that I really do not have the time, the energy, the constitution, the skill, or the attitude to get noticed. I've come to accept and even enjoy anonymity. It's safer and less humiliating. I have a friend who is a very accomplished print artist and I knew her for quite sometime before she revealed to me that she even was an artist. She says that there is no prestige in being an artist unless you consider it prestigious to lie down and invite people to come up and kick you. My good friend up in Tacoma is a painter and even graduated from Rhode Island School of Design and he has come up against this wall of indifference for over 20 years. I have no reason to complain or be bitter. To create is a joyful experience and as important as Prozac to the creative personality ,which talent or no, I was born with and I need to express. So in the spirit of 4th of July wherein I celebrate Thoreau moving to Walden to declare his independence from the Industrial tyranny of 19th century man, I declare my independence from giving a rip about what the established Order thinks of my photographs. This is my manifesto and a birthday card to my blog. Tom Rutter, July 3rd, 2007.

Another of my favorite orchids, Phalanopsis Violacea. Beatiful green petals a magenta center and a lovely fragrance.
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