Saturday, February 28, 2009

Final Scans Of The Day (before my eyes fall out!)

Bui ladyboy sex worker, Thailand 2008

Man with broken glasses, Thailand 1999

Wall Tool Sleng prision-torture house, Cambodia 1999

More More More More Lost Negs

Homeless street man, Thailand 1999

Cambodian children living in Tool Kok slum, Cambodia 1999

Grave, Hong Kong 1999

More More More Lost Negs

Pong, Thailand 2003

Mom, Canada 2008

Bee Ladyboy Sex Worker, Thailand 2008

More More Lost Negs

Mat 25 ladyboy sex worker with her new breasts, Thailand 2008

Weird ass double exposure of ladyboy sex worker, completely accidental, Thailand 2008

Ladyboy sex worker, Thailand 2008

Nit 48 Freelance Sex Worker, Thailand 2008

Ladyboy sex worker, Thailand 2008

More Lost Neg Scans

Long sex worker, Thailand 2008

Dad, Canada 2008

Ladyboy sex worker, Thailand 2003

Lin sex worker in her room, Thailand 2003

Today's Lost Negs

Baby boy with his mother in Tool Kok slum, Phnom Penh Cambodia 1999

Sleeping child in a slum, Phnom Penh Cambodia 1999

Little person greeter, Thailand 1999

Tool Sleng doors, Cambodia 1999

Wider shot of homeless street man from webpage, Thailand 1999

Photo of photos of victims of Khmere Rouge from Tool Sleng museum, Cambodia 1999

Ring Flash

Tried something new, a ring flash with a 250mm lens and 4x5 HP5 film, might try this more in my next trip to Asia.

Lost Negs Rediscovered

Here are some of the images I recently found, with limited manipulation ( I have to learn photoshop!).

Nong in the bath, Thailand 1999

Young son of my Khmere language teacher, Cambodia 2003

Man on street with crutch, a wider shot of a photograph on my webpage, Thailand 1999

Da shortime bar sex worker, Thailand 2003

Lau brothel sex worker, Cambodia 1999

Working With Scanner

Got my first negative scanner at a discount price no less. I am quite happy with it, thou I hate spending the time with the scanner instead of in the darkroom. I am going full bore now with a book project I might call it 36 Photographs. The book is a selection of 36 images that I have chosen from my negative archives.

I am also using the scanner to browse through my archives and find negs of interest that I have never printed before. I will post a few of those scans here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Quote: Norman Seider (Cinematographer)

" a good still photograph will always stimulate the viewer to construct a myth, with the still image forming the opening scene."

Interview With An Artist

Great series of interviews (Jock Sturges, Shelby Lee Adams, Jody Ake)

Quote: Anais Nin

" We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tintype: Civil War Era Young Freckled Girl

Paid a bit more for this one $52USD but loved the look in the girls eyes, her strength of character shines through. The black lace gloves, the freckles, the cameo, dress and hair all work along with the strong of the expression to make a great portrait.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tintype: Young Woman Gypsy

This tintype was made between 1860s and 1880s. You got to love that hair, possibly a bit of a rebel in her time. I get the feeling she would have been a dynamite person to talk to and photograph. Happy to add this to the collection, might try to concentrate more on tintypes in the future, they are of more down to earth people and alot cheaper to buy.

Quote: Brassai

"I only take one or two or three pictures of a subject, unless I get carried away; I find it concentrates the mind"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Daguerreotypes: Three People

A few more won auctions. Who were these people? What lives did they lead?

Who is this young woman? She has a beautiful and haunting gaze.

Abrotype: Mother and Daughter

Bidding on lots of auctions but winning very few, lots of bidders, lots of interest in these items.

What struck me was the expressions of the mother and daughter, it is almost like the sternness of the mother is pulling the daughter down the same life path.

Photo Stories

Next week after I get my scanner I plan to start a series of photo stories here on the blog. When I look back at my old photographs I have a memory flash to the moment when the image was made and the times leading up to and after the exposure. The plan would be to scan a negative and post it online with a little story about the making of the image. The history behind some of the photographs might be of interest and it will be fun for me to go back in time.

Quote: Henry David Thoreau

“Most men live lives of quiet desperation and go to their graves with the song still in them.”

Tintype: Wikipedia

Tintype, also melainotype and ferrotype, is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a sheet of metal, usually iron or steel that is blackened by painting, laquering or enamelling and is used as a support for a collodion photographic emulsion.

Photographers usually worked outside at fairs, carnivals etc. and as the support of the tintype (there is no actual tin used) is resilient and does not need drying, instant photographs can be produced only a few minutes after taking the photograph.

An ambrotype uses the same process and methods on a sheet of glass that is mounted in a case with a black backing so the underexposed negative image appears as a positive. Tintypes did not need mounting in a case and were not as delicate as photographs that use glass for the support.

The process was identical to the wet plate process, where collodion is employed to produce a photographic emulsion where silver halide crystals (silver bromide, silver chloride and silver iodide) are suspended in the collodion, and are chemically reduced to crystals of metallic silver that vary in density according to the original light values of the original image.

When a photographic negative image on film or plate is very underexposed, it appears as a positive when viewed against a dark background. This is the basis of the process: a very underexposed image is produced on a collodion photographic emulsion on a dark metal backing; thus viewed the image appears as a positive. The fact that an underexposed image is required means that the effective film speed is increased and shorter exposures can be used, which is a great advantage in portraiture.

The process was first described by Adolphe-Alexandre Martin in France in 1853, and patented in the United States on February 19, 1856 by Hamilton Smith, professor at Kenyon College, in Ohio William Kloen also patented the process in the United Kingdom in the same year. It was first called melainotype, and then ferrotype (by a rival manufacturer of the iron plates used); finally came the name tintype. All three names describe both the process and the resulting photograph.[1]

The ambrotype was the first wet-plate collodion process, invented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851 and introduced in the United States by James Ambrose Cutting in 1854.

While the ambrotype remained very popular in the rest of the world, the tintype process had superseded the ambrotype in the United States by the end of the Civil War. It became the most common photographic process until the introduction of modern, gelatin-based processes and the invention of the reloadable amateur camera by the Kodak company. Ferrotypes had waned in popularity by the end of the 19th century, although a few makers were still around as late as the 1950s and the images are still made as novelties at some European carnivals.

The tintype was a minor improvement to the ambrotype, replacing the glass plate of the original process with a thin piece of black-enameled, or japanned, iron (hence ferro). The new materials reduced costs considerably; and the image, in gelatin-silver emulsion on the varnished surface, has proven to be very durable. Like that of the ambrotype, the tintype's image is technically negative; but, because of the black background, it appears as a positive. Since the tintype 'film' was the same as the final print, most tintype images appear reversed (left to right) from reality. Some cameras were fitted with mirrors or a 45-degree prism to reverse (and thus correct) the image, while some photographers would photograph the reversed tintype to produce a properly oriented image.

Tintypes are simple and fast to prepare, compared to other early photographic techniques. A photographer could prepare, expose, develop, and varnish a tintype plate in a few minutes, quickly having it ready for a customer. Earlier tintypes were often cased, as were daguerreotypes and ambrotypes; but uncased images in paper sleeves and for albums were popular from the beginning.

Ferrotyping is a finishing treatment applied to glossy photo paper to bring out its reflective properties. Newly developed, still-wet photographic prints and enlargements that have been made on glossy paper are Squeegeed onto a polished metal plate called a ferrotyping plate. When these are later peeled off the plate, they retain a highly reflective gloss.

Tintype: Fierce Looking Man

First tintype, not sure exactly how this process was created or looks. I like the fierceness of this fellows stare. A tiny image measureing 2 inches x 2 1/2 inches.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Daguerreotype: Old Lady in Bonnet

Second daguerreotype in my collection. Does two count as a collection? Guess so!

Negative Scanner

I desperately need a negative scanner to use to promote my work. I plan on using it to scan images for a self published book I am working on, to scan negatives for gallery submissions and to scan images for my website.

I have been putting off this purchase for a long time because of the costs involved but I think the time is now. I recently sold a print to a collector so I could use that money and add the rest myself to purchase this item. The cost is $600 plus tax, a bit steep but if it can help get the work shown, it will be worth it.

Been looking at the Epson V700, will go check it out at a local photo shop the next time I am off work.

Got To Use Up That Darn Film!

I have 2 deep freezers filled with photo supplies, including many rolls of color transparency 4x5 and 120 film. I need to shoot this stuff before it becomes outdated. Keep thinking about how I can use the film if I take a trip to Thailand this year. I might try shooting some of the slide 4x5 stuff in studio when I do the 8x10 tri-x portraits. The 120 film will probably be used in the Mamiya 6 cameras (when I get them repaired) along with flash, probably a Vivitar flash which will allow me f11 with a 75mm lens.

Because most of the positive to positive darkroom processes (except Ilfordchromes) are now dead I will have to scan the slides and use photo shop and a printer to print the images.

Gerry the Collector

Last year I bought a daguerreotype of an old lady in a black dress, bonnet and wired round glasses that I just love. The daguerreotype process creates such a unique beautiful one of a kind photograph. I recently started bidding (ebay) on some daguereotypes along with tintypes and ambrotypes. Their is something very surreal and stunningly beautiful in these old photos shot in the 1800s. The people in the images are long since dead but because of the power of photography they live on in a different form.

I think that I will slowly add photographs and build a small collection. If I win any auctions will post the images on the blog for you all to check out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Victorine Meurent

The naked truth
The Guardian, Friday 3 October 2008

Manet's favourite model, Victorine Meurent, has often been dismissed as a drunk and a prostitute. But as V R Main discovers, she was actually an ambitious artist.

Picture the predicament. She is 18, working-class, poor, with a secret ambition to become an artist. He is 30, rich, aristocratic, and a painter. The year is 1862; the setting, his studio in Paris. She is modelling for him, and, as they talk, their ideas merge. Two of the paintings he produces with her will become among the most famous in the world. But the majority of his biographers will ignore her influence. They will say that she was a prostitute and an alcoholic who died young. And, with that damning description, her contribution will be erased from art history.

It was more than a century after Edouard Manet's death that the art historian Eunice Lipton discovered that his model, Victorine Meurent, had actually lived to be 83. And it seems unlikely that she was his grisette - a young woman in a casual relationship with an artist - let alone a prostitute. Manet died at 51 from complications related to treatment for syphilis, then an incurable disease. If there had been a sexual relationship, Meurent would probably have died far earlier than she did.

Most importantly, Lipton realised that Meurent had fulfilled her painting ambitions and exhibited at the 1876 Salon - in the same year that Manet's work was rejected. And Meurent's story has a very recent postscript. It was thought that all her work had been lost but, just yesterday, a museum in Colombes, France, took possession of one of her paintings - another fascinating piece in the puzzle of her life.

The question remains: why was Meurent so dismissed by the painter's biographers? After all, Manet's inner circle seems to have recognised her importance. The artist's close friend Antonin Proust noted in his memoirs that Meurent was Manet's favourite model (she posed for nine of his canvases); Jacques-Emile Blanche, who also knew the painter, was moved to ask, "How often does a chance meeting between a painter and a model decisively influence the personality of his works?"

But while Meurent's contribution was recognised by Manet's friends, her willingness to pose naked made her a notorious figure to the general public, undermining her hopes of being taken seriously. In 18th- and 19th-century art, female nudes were highly appreciated, as long as they represented goddesses or mythical figures. In contrast, the women in Manet's most famous paintings, Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe and Olympia, both modelled by Meurent, clearly belonged to contemporary Paris. And they weren't idealised goddesses; several critics commented that Meurent's body was far from perfect.

Le Déjeuner is such a strong painting that it inspired me to research its model and write a novel based on what is known of her life. The painting is a feminist work: it presents a powerful woman, offered for male inspection, but not objectified; the model's challenging stare meets the viewer's gaze in a way that thwarts desire. The female figure is disconcerting, exploding the stereotype of an anonymous, passive woman. In both Le Déjeuner and Olympia, Meurent refuses to collude with the spectator; her sexuality is all her own.

Le Déjeuner sur L'herbe, 1863, by Manet

The challenging nature of the Meurent portraits was not immediately appreciated by the public, and at a time when poor women were often forced to sell themselves, a woman whose naked body could be seen in public - albeit in an oil painting - was straight-forwardly perceived as a prostitute. When Le Déjeuner was first exhibited, at the 1863 Salon des Refusés, the public's response ranged from laughter to outright violence: more than one visitor expressed his outrage by hitting the image with a stick. Men would hurry their wives and children past the painting, only to return later to stare at it alone. The critical reception was no different to that of the public. Meurent acquired notoriety and became known by name, unusual for a model at the time.

Writing in the 1940s, Manet's biographer, Adolphe Tabarant, acknowledged that Meurent exhibited at the Salon, but remained as judgmental of her private life as his 19th-century predecessors. He wrote that by the age of 40 she was a wreck, that she had been selling her drawings to her "companions of the night", and had fallen into drunkenness and depravity, before disappearing.

What we know of Meurent's life is fragmented, but the reality is probably quite different from Tabarant's portrait. Born in Paris in 1844, Meurent came from a working-class family - her father is thought to have been an engraver and her mother to have owned a laundry shop. We know that she started modelling for Manet in 1862, but accounts vary as to how they met. It might have been at Thomas Couture's studio, where she apparently worked as a model, or through Victorine's father. Some have speculated that they met on the street near the Palais de Justice: there is a record of her address -17 rue Maître Albert - in one of Manet's notebooks.

In the early 1870s, she is believed to have travelled to America, perhaps engaged by an art dealer to accompany some paintings. By 1875, she had returned to Paris and was attending evening classes at the Académie Julian. Her self-portrait was shown at the Salon in 1876, and after that her work appeared there in 1879, 1885 and 1904. In 1903 she was elected a member of the Société des Artistes Français.

Despite this success, Meurent struggled for recognition, and never had the privilege of proper training - women were not admitted to the teaching studios until the late 1860s. Yet she was ambitious and financially independent. In the years after Le Déjeuner and Olympia, one of her lovers was Alfred Stevens, the Belgian painter, but she never actually lived with a man. For the final 20 years of her life, she shared a house with Marie Dufour, a piano teacher, in Colombes, just outside Paris.

In August 1883, four months after Manet's death, Meurent asked his widow for financial help. She claimed that years earlier he had promised her a small gratuity, which she had refused, on the understanding that she would remind him of his offer if she ever needed to. "That time has come sooner than I expected," Meurent wrote. Madame Manet, who had inherited most of her husband's paintings and was in the process of organising a sale, ignored the letter.

Tabarant wrote that Meurent was a strange girl of many faces, and he was right in at least two senses: she was strange because she was working class and longed to be a painter and because she was a woman and independent. The painting acquired by the Musée Municipal d'Art et d'Histoire de Colombes is Le Jour des Rameaux, which shows a young woman holding a palm leaf, and leaves one in no doubt that it was painted by an accomplished artist. It provides tangible proof that Meurent, marginalised because of her gender, was much more than just a woman with no clothes on. Perhaps the painting, currently under restoration, might prompt a much-needed reassessment of Meurent - the artist.


Olympia Influence

Did some reading on Edouard Manet's Olympia tonight, it seems his painting was influenced by the paiting "Venus of Urbino" by Titien.

Mr. Manet

"I paint what I see, and not what others like to see" Edouard MANET used to say to oppose to the academic doctrine, intending to assert his own subjectivity and the importance of the vision of the painter compared to the conventional rules.

Talked to a friend today about Édouard Manet, which got me thinking about the influence he had on some of my photographs. When I was thinking of how to approach the bargirl images I made in 2003 two of Manet's paintings were definite influences.

"A Bar at the Folies-Bergere, 1882"

and "Olympia, 1863"

I remember reading and studying these images (especially Olympia). The emotions he gave his subjects who worked as prostitutes was what I keyed on, I think he had those feelings just right. When you work selling sex to many men you get a tired worn out expression an indifference to those around you a sort of sad, hardened exterior.

Manet must have been quite observant or had personal knowledge of life in the bars and brothels of France, his work conveys a basic truth about the real emotions a sex worker has.

" When other artists correct nature by painting Venus they lie. Manet asked himself why he should lie. Why not tell the truth? "

Émile Zola defending Olympia as a masterpiece.