Monday, January 28, 2008

This is me in 1974 or 75 with my Nikon taking pictures at Devils Punchbowl. A friend and I decided to jump over the railing so we could climb around the cliffs and get better pictures. This was not a good idea. In trying to get back to the parking lot I almost ended my photographic career tragically rather then apathetically.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I worked in the darkroom again yesterday working with old negatives left over from the 70's that I never bothered to print back then. Later I spent sometime studying photographs by Joseph Sudek 1896-1976. When I don't feel like making pictures I like to look at pictures. I was introduced to Sudek a couple of years ago by a photographer friend who mentioned that one of my pictures reminded him of a photograph by Sudek and wondered if I knew of his work. I didn't but I did connect with his pictures. Sudek was a countryman of my Grandparents all born in Bohemia in the late 19th century. He was only a year younger then my Grandmother. Perhaps we're related sharing some common relative making us 6,7,or 8th cousins 3 or 4 times removed. I'd like that.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I decided to spend some time in the darkroom yesterday. I haven't worked there since early December and felt I needed to keep my hand in. The advantage to having a dedicated space to work in is that with just a little preparation you can be ready to turn out the lights and start developing whenever the mood strikes you or as in this case you need to practice the craft to keep your skill level up. The darkroom was cold, 50 degrees so I turned on my little space heater went through my negative files looking for something to work with, selected some music and settled in for a few hours of work. I selected some negatives from a roll of film I found a few months ago developed but uncut and rolled up inside an old film box taped shut where it had probably been undisturbed for the last 40 years. The pictures were taken with one of my Mom's first cameras, a 1/2 frame 35mm camera called a Mercury. The camera was known for having a very fast shutter speed up to 1/1000th of a second which was rare for cameras of that time. After finding the film I cut it into strips and put them in glassine envelopes and then tried flattening them out in my plant/print press but I never could get them to lose the curl. I might have considered soaking them in distilled water for awhile and then hanging them to dry. I used a negative carrier I have for 35mm which has two small sheets of glass to flatten the negative. The 1/2 frame 35 mm format yields a negative that is 19mm x 25 mm with the long dimension being on the vertical when the camera is held horizontal (if that makes any sense). Despite the ability to shoot something like 65 pictures on a standard 36 exposure roll of film the image quality is nothing to brag about. I have thought about purchasing a 1/2 frame 35mm camera and using it to shoot ready made diptychs that I would print whole using a 35mm negative carrier but other then that I can't see much of an advantage to the smaller negative size. I think these pictures were taken during the legendary winter of 1950/51 where in January of 1951 the Northern Willamette Valley had a record breaking snow fall combined with a cold spell that lasted almost a full month allowing for accumulation of a couple feet of snow. This was the house my Grandmother lived in for almost 60 years along Oatfield Road just south of Roethe Rd. This is the house where my Mother grew up and where I spent a lot of my childhood. The one acre lot still exists intact and a larger and nicer house was built using the existing foundation and framing.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hollywood Camera on N.E. Sandy Blvd.
Once a month I love to go into Hollywood camera and check out the stock. For those who really love the silver medium and precision analog equipment it is a great way to spend an hour or more. It is also a meeting place for collectors of old cameras where they congregate on Saturday mornings showing off their latest acquisition or trying to low ball Ed for a newly acquired treasure that he has picked up. He has been in the business at that location since 1953 and he knows his stuff. A fascinating man who was part of the occupation forces in Japan in WWII. I've been visiting him now for 5 years and own at least two cameras, several lenses, and a lot of darkroom gear that I acquired in his shop. Over the years I have seen and handled some amazing pieces of photographic history there.

"Chess is not like life, Chess is life." Bobby Fischer 1943-2008. I have always admired eccentrics. They don't compromise or adapt they're discordant rather then harmonic, they forge upstream and piss in the wind. They exist alone in a parallel world of their own construction that sustains them. Bobby Fischer was such a man, brilliant,crazy, alone but never lonely. I don't think he found much that pleased him in our world but he found solace and glory in the 64 squares and 32 piece black and white universe of the chess board. The infinite within the finite. Say what you will but he was nobodies pawn.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Photography of Don Hong-Oai. Born in Vietnam in 1929 he died in the U.S. in 2004. I was given a calander last year of his work primarily done in China. Here is a link (you need to scroll down a bit to get to the text). This is so pure it breaks your heart.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

All Roy no Biv.

I like the predominance of reds and yellows in this scan from an old photographic slide from the 1940's. The slide was a 1/2 frame 35mm format and used a color slide film other then Kodak Kodachrome. It looks like the colors in the slide that faded were on the blue end of the spectrum leaving the reds & yellows intact. Not quite monochromatic but limited to a specific color range.

I'm thinking of submitting some pictures for this exhibit. I've been using a grayscale to help in calibrating my scanner settings in hopes of getting more accurate scans for the submission cd. I was real impressed with a show I saw at this gallery last month and I loved the space. I have until March to put together 3 scanned images, write a bio and artists statement and maybe even shoot some additional images but I think I have enough current pictures to select from.

Maui 1985.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I like beginnings and endings. It's in the middle where my mind wanders and I start to get bored. I am very focused though when starting a new endeavor and when finishing it. It's probably an attention disorder thing. I am going to work on taking more new pictures and discovering more old pictures. Today I took 25 old slides in to be scanned. Most were pictures I took in the 70's and forgotten. What was old seems new again. I also continue to be fascinated by old family photographs. I made it through an entire calender year with this blog. It keeps changing on me. Sometimes it's a gallery, a museum, a confessional, a mirror, a sounding board, a touchstone, a soapbox. I haven't taken any pictures in over a month or worked in the darkroom. I was thinking of taking a calligraphy class now that I have that nice drafting table and there is a one day workshop at Newspace in February on advanced darkroom techniques I plan on enrolling in. Hopefully it will have enough people signed up for it to happen. Whatever happens I'll write about it here.
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