Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Working in a Simple Way

There is something really attractive to working in a simple way. If you study the work of Sebastiao Salgado or W. Eugene Smith you see that they make/made great photographs with a simplified technique.

Working with a couple of 35mm cameras and Tri-x film and available light is beautiful and timeless. To work with the same restrictions that many of the greatest photographers of all time had just seems right to me.

I might be going to Laos or India this coming Asia trip. I want to spend 10 days making photos in this way. Just me and my 2 35mm cameras (Leica M6 and a Contax G2) a few lens and Tri-x.

Monday, March 30, 2009

New Asia Trip

Well am off to Asia again soon. I plan on shooting 5 weeks in Thailand with the 8x10 and also a Hasselblad in studio followed by 10 days to 2 weeks shooting in Laos or possibly India with a Leica M6 and Contax G2 doing street photography.

I am very excited at the chance to shoot more 8x10 work. The last series was really the first serious project I did with the camera, this trip I hope to improve the work, my choice of subjects as well as make up for some of the mistakes I made the last time around. I expect to shoot approximately 400 sheet of Kodak Tri-x as well as 75 sheets of Ilford HP5.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

More More Color Ladyboy Heads, 2008

Tia 28 Ladyboy Sex Worker in Shortime Room, Thailand 2008

Auria 25 Ladyboy Sex Worker in Shortime Room, Thailand 2008

Friday, March 27, 2009

More New Scans

Long Female Sex Worker in Shortime Room, Thailand 2008

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More Color Ladyboy Heads

Mat 25 Ladyboy Sex Worker, Thailand 2008

First Color Ladyboy Photograph

I realized today that my C-41 bottle chemistry is getting old, so I am going on a developing spree. I have lots of color negative film to develop and now have some time so will spend lots of time in the darkroom over the next days using up this chemistry and developing film from 2008 (ladyboy series) and some from 2003 (bargirl series).

I will post some of these images on the blog first before I update the website. Here is the first photograph

Mickey 24 Ladyboy Sex Worker, Thailand 2008

Friday, March 20, 2009

Quote: Photographer Alec Soth

"With photography you have one little moment and you allow everyone else to fill it in."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

8x10 With Flash

Over the last few hours I have been working in the darkroom on an important print. My mind keeps going back to the "Khon Thai" project, how to do it? What am I trying to say? What technique will work?

Bill Burkes photos of Cambodian Soldiers keep coming to mind, I have loved these photographs for years and maybe that is what I am about. Almost all my work has been captured with flash in one way or another, maybe that is the way I see best. I have always loved the mixing of flash and daylight with black and white film. Shooting with flash and an 8x10 would also also me to shoot at night which opens up more photo opportunities (thou carrying around 8x10 equipment at night is a bit daunting!). I might have to try using the banarama (4x5 rangefinder) with flash instead or in certain situations where the 8x10 (tripod, flash unit) is impossible.

I have to give this more thought but I think this might be the way to go, will have to try to do some tests soon. I would like to at least try to make some beginning photos using whatever techniques I decide this coming trip,

Cambodian Soldier, Bill Burke

Dignity in a Portrait

People are always asking you to explain why you photograph this or that, it is rather annoying actually as the pictures if they are good enough should be self explanatory.

I have been thinking about these large format portraits (Thai Portrait Project), am thinking about why I want to make these images. It is almost like it is a responsibility to record with dignity the people I find. A man who spends his life working driving a tuk tuk or farming some field so that his children can go to school and so that his parents can eat and be safe deserves a portrait that shows his dignity.

I think the reason I want to make these photographs is because most often these people are forgotten, they are swallowed up by time. If a record is made it is almost like a piece of them lives on and the dignity in which they lived their lives is remembered.

Now if I can just learn the technique needed to make the images!! My first 4 or 5 attempts at available light 8x10 portraiture have been abysmal failures. I might switch to 4x5 cameras and maybe include flash to make the technical part a bit easier to deal with.

Name for the project? "Khon Thai" (The Thai People) simple and direct. Something like this will take years of effort and hard work, maybe I am getting ahead of myself, I think you have to start out small and see where it leads. Maybe I can try photographing a group of people, like Monks, or Muay Thai Boxers or Taxi Drivers, and move on from there. If you look at the big picture, at this huge body of work it is sort of unattainable but if you do things one series at a time you might be able to reach your goals.

Even the longest journey begins with a single step.

Another Ladyboy Gallery Page

Added another 9 photograph Ladyboy page, slowly improving and expanding the site (at least that's the goal!)


Friday, March 13, 2009

Working in a Traditional Way

Been thinking of the simplicity and beauty of working in a traditional way. Weston, Adams, Curtis, Atget, Sturges and Strand all worked with a large 8x10 view camera, they created great work with the simplest of tools. There is something truly beautiful in limiting yourself in this way because I think that by putting certain limits on how you work can lead to the opposite, it can lead to an expansion in ones vision and expression.

What if I took a year or 2 years and just shot 1 camera and 1 lens and Jock recommended. Would the simplicity add to my ability to express what I feel?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Adding More Humanity

I want to make a larger variety of images, I have sort of been caught in the sex worker scene for the last few years. I have to branch out and photograph a larger group of people. I need to learn more and to use that knowledge to tell a bigger picture than I am currently doing. The Thailand wide portrait project seems more and more appealing. Some more subjects could include:

-Muay Thai Boxers
-Medical People/Nurses
-Hill Tribe Peoples
-Refugee Camp People
-Illegal Workers
-Street Labourers
-Bus Employees

etc etc, so many people to photograph.

I need to become more proficient using the 4x5/8x10 cameras to make portraits in natural light. If I could improve my large format technique and work fast and well with that camera system I could create honest thoughtful portraits with great detail and beauty.

Website Up and Running

Well the website is up again! I had some uploading problems over the last few weeks but things are back to normal again, now that the problem has been solved I can make weekly improvements. I plan on rescanning all images onsite as well as adding many new photographs and pulling some of the weaker images. I uploaded the first page of a new gallery "Ladyboy". Over time I will add many images to this series. I still have all my color ladyboy 2008 film to process and scan.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Possible Major Project

Soldier by August Sander

A project has been in the back of my mind for years now. The idea to create a great body of portraiture dealing with all aspects of Thai society.

-Govt Officials
-Military People
-Street Sellers
-Office People
-Cab/Tuk Tuk Drivers
-Sex Workers
-Homeless People/ Beggars

Basically the idea would be to do a series of portraits of people from all aspects and levels of Thailand. The work would follow in the tradition of the greatest portrait photographer of all time August Sander. I will continue to give thought to this idea, maybe this coming trip to Thailand and I can make a initial stab at it and see where it leads.

Boxers by August Sander

Government Officials by August Sander

Friday, March 6, 2009

More White Background Portraits

Planning a trip to Asia soon, I will continute the studio on white background portrait photographs from 2007. I have been debating which way to go with my work and I have decided that it is important to continue the white background 8x10 photographs. I hope to put the work of 2007 and the coming work of 2009 together to create a self published book by 2010. The 2007 photos were the first series I shot with the 8x10 Masterview so I am hoping that the work will continue to improve, I am very happy with the initial 2007 results but feel I can do better work this year.

I also plan to do more street portraiture with the Mamiya 6, similiar to my work with that camera in 1999. I recently had 2 of the Mamiya 6s repaired, both with the same film advance problems (seems a common break down in Mamiya 6 cameras). I am hopefull I can make some good portraits with this camera again.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How To Make A Good Photograph

Making a good photograph is rather simple, all you have to do is be completely devoted and work your ass off!

This idea that some people are so talented and that's why they make great photos is bogus. Sure talent plays a certain role but the biggest part is when a photographer has comeplete devotion to his craft. He works and works and works for years and then the photos start coming and to others it might seem that he makes the images because of his talent but the reality is he makes the images because he works harder than the next joe. The guy creating the good work makes sacrifices, he puts photography ahead of everything else in his life and he keeps at it year in year out.

I read a story tonight in the book by the photographer Anni Liebovitz "Annie Leivovitz at work" I had read the story before years ago and it was in inspiration to me like it is to Annie Leivovitz, I thought I would share it here.

Page 195 (Annie is telling a story that the photographer Dorothea Lange told her)

After spending a month on the road in southern California she (Dororthea Langue) was finally heading home. It was raining and she was exhasusted and she had a long drive ahead of her. She had been working up to fourteen hours a day for weeks and was bringing back hundreds of pictures of destitute farm workers. Somewhere south of San Luis Obispo she saw out of the corner of her eye a sign that said PEA-PICKERS CAMP. She tried to put it out of her mind. She had plenty of pictures of migrant farmers already. She was worried about her equipment, and thought about what might happen to her camera in the rain. She dorve for about twenty miles past the sign and made a U-turn. She went back to the sign and turned down a muddy road. A woman was sitting with her children on the edge of a huge camp of makeshift tents. There were maybe three thousand migrant workers living there. Lange took out her Graflex and shot six frames, one of them of the woman staring distractedly off to the side while her children buried their faces in her shoulders.

The image of the woman and her children became the most important photograph of Dorothea Lange's life and the iconic picture of the Depression.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Book I am a Makin!

Have been working on scans for a book project that has changed names 3 times:
-20 Photographs
-36 Photographs
-Thoughts From My Heart (kind of a pretentious title)
This book deals with a variety of photos in a variety of formats in both b/w and color.

I think I need to go more simple for the first effort

Today before falling asleep I came up with a idea for my first self published book. I will do a book called "Ladyboy Sex Worker" it will be a very simple and small affair. In 2008 I did a series of 4x5 b/w flash portraits with the Bananarama (Polaroid conversion camera). The portraits were of Thai sex worker ladyboys in short time sex rooms. I shot about 20 people and I hopefully have decent vertical portraits of at least 15 (will count them tonight). The book will be 15 or so portraits, 1 per every 2 pages with a vertical portrait on the right page and the title/date on the left page. The book will be under 40 pages measure 8x10 inches and be made at the www.blurb.com website. Will buy one book and check out the quality before ordering more.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Quote: Siegfried and Roy Announcer

"Within all of us there is an illusive melody, which when heard and followed will lead you to the fulfillment of your fondest dreams."