Monday, March 29, 2010

My Week Off

Had a nice week off from my regular job. I ended up doing some much needed cleaning in my dry mounting/print finishing area. The room was quite messy but now that I put some of the flash equipment in the studio I have more space. Now hopefully with this new cleaned up area I can make up some 20x24 submission prints for the Victoria gallery and also do a set of 16x20 year end prints for my photography club.

Also experimented with a new fiber paper called Ultrafine Silver Eagle. I was happy with the initial results (beautiful blacks) with some 35mm negs shot with the Leica, I am less sure how they will work with large format 8x10 negs, looked a bit contrasty, lacking mid tones. I liked the paper enough to order some 11x14 and 16x20 for more tests.

Last night I did some 8x10 neg printing using Ilford 16x20 fiber paper. I wanted to save my Bergger paper for the VAAA group show and a possible one man show in Victoria. If I have to order more of the Berrger paper it is a long convoluted process that is very expensive.

There do not seem to be enough hours to do all the photography stuff I want to do. I wish I didn't have to work my regular job and could devote 24/7 to my photography. There still would probably not be enough hours!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Special Moment

Had a special moment tonight, a few years ago in Vancouver had something similar happen, not sure how to put it into words. I was in the Degas gallery at the end of the course and kind of wandered off and looked at the Litttle Dancer bronze sculpture on my own. The rest of the group was listening to the course teacher in another part of the gallery. I had Little Dancer all to myself, I looked up at her face and thought, looked and thought and then looked and felt. It was a strange feeling that lasted about 45 seconds, a feeling like the hair raising on your neck but also a feeling like I could not breath, like I could not catch my breath, it was a joyful good feeling, a feeling of awe.

I think back to some of the women I photographed in Cambodia, some of the Vietnamese women working the brothels. They had a look of resolve and strength to them, a sadness but also a strong independence. I wonder if this girl Marie (the Little Dancer) had the same problems, the same poverty, the same relationships with men and parents as the girls in the Cambodian brothels.

It seems so right that Degas gave this strong independent young lady artistic immortality, she deserved it. I hope I can also give a voice to the often forgotten people with my work. I want them to be remembered, to give them a lasting importance that maybe they did not have a chance at in real life.

Degas Course

Had a wonderful night out at the AGA, I went to a Degas course. It was fun to be around all that art, talking art and listening and learning. I found it to be very informative and the lady teaching the course was very knowledgeable and enjoyable to listen to. I wish the other people in the course (about 15 folks) would have spoken up more, I felt a bit like a loudmouth in the group always putting in my 2 cents but other than the monk like attitude of some of the people it was a great evening.

It is so cool that in the Impressionist days people would really get emotional and outspoken about art, it was like Art really really mattered and was important in their lives. Sometimes I feel that in our modern world people are to quiet about Art, speak up, be heard, make some noise!! (my 2 cents worth : )

A very nice enjoyable evening, I hope to have many more. I hear Matisse might be in the AGAs future, hopefully I am not working and can go to that course night! Please more photographers also!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Working On A Book

Did a bit of work this afternoon on a self published book I want to print using I tried this last year unsuccessfully, the book was a crashing failure. I was very unhappy with the scans I did and the darkness of the reproductions. I will try it again this year with better/lighter scans. Hopefully I can put together something that is half decent. I do not expect to much from the cheapo printing process but heck I should be able to do something better than the piece of crap I made last year.

The idea is to make a small hardcover book measuring 8x10 which I can have for sale at the group show at the VAAA next year. I do not really want to sell the books so much as to give people a look at more of my photographs than they can see on the walls of the gallery. I will do a small version of 15 images first to see if it works and then go to 30-40 images or so for the VAAA group show book.

Billy Holiday, Simply The Best

Listening to Billie Holiday the ultimate connection again tonight, such emotion in her singing, cannot think of of anyone that puts more feeling into her songs. Her tragic private life (drug addiction, abuse both sexual as a child and physical as an adult, and early death) plays a role in how you listen to her, she is so special, damn an amazing vocalist, simply the best!

I would have loved to photograph her, maybe that's what attracts me to photographing women working the bars in Thailand, the tragic circumstances they often find themselves in. I feel connected to these kind of women, identify with her somehow, feel the need to tell their stories. Bla and Long have had the same lives to Billie in some ways, it's to late to photograph Miss Holiday but not to late to make important photographs of others suffering the same fate.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Khon Thai, A Search For A Greater Truth

So far most of my photographs on Thailand deal with sex workers and some shots of poverty. The more I think about this limited viewpoint of the country the more I realize my photographs need to show a greater truth of who the people are. The idea behind the Khon Thai project is that I will photograph people from all aspects of Thai society. I want to show the great range of peoples in the country, show through photographic portraiture the diversity of what it is to be Thai. I need to capture the spirit of the people, to photograph who they are and to make a honest record of this great people.

Quote: Roger Housden (Writer)

From his book: How Rembrandt Reveals Your Beautiful Imperfect Self

"When you sense the living spirit in someone, standards of beauty and ugliness fall away."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quote: Robert Markle (Artist)

"Every artist needs a central issue..."

Some Thoughts

I guess that the AGA (Alberta Gallery of Art) has already doubled its membership, they have had 30 000 visitors since the opening (partly because of the free days). They have also had 12 000 paid admissions versus 29 000 for all of 2009.
I want to try to set a goal for myself, a pretty hard goal to achieve, maybe an impossible goal but something I should strive for. Within 10 years I want to have something mine, anything of mine hang at the AGA.
Am excited and frightened by the Khon Thai project. Going out and making something out of nothing often by myself is daunting and intimidating, but also quite exciting and exhilerating. It is much better to try and fail and deal with that failure than to never try and live with the regret.

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Studio

I will be opening up a small studio room in the next while. I spent the day cleaning the room and hauling Speedtron flash equipment along with cameras, lens and tripods about, boy is my back sore.

Hopefully I can leave all this equipment at this studio location in the future and do not have to lug everything about. Having everything in one studio makes things much easier and should allow me to shoot more and learn more about lighting. I will try to do a series of portraits of various folks at the studio as well as dabbling in some still life images (something new!).

Places an advertisement in a local art weekly newspaper which will hopefully lead to some strong photographs, I also have a list of people (Father Series) I am interested in photographing. With the studio set up (about 1/2 completed now) I should be able to make photographs more easily and quickly.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Banarama Tests

Took the 4x5 Bananarama (135mm Razzle camera) out for some testes with my friend Rob the other day. Here are some samples shot with available light and the camera mounted on a tripod, F-16 and 1/2 second with Tri-x. The same school house as the Leica 35 stuff but shot a couple of weeks later, it was COLD!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Quote: Amy Fung (Art Critic)

Writing about the Yousuf Karsh exhibit at the AGA.

"...Karsh, like many photographers of his generation, profess to seek that "elusive moment of truth". But if you compare and contrast every photographer who's ever been after the truth, from Cartier-Bresson to Sally Mann to Nan Goldin, it becomes clear how subjective the notion of truth really is and how their truth reveals more about the photographer than anything else."


Think I will try to get into poetry. At the Karsh exhibit (AGA) there is a video of him recommending photographers study art and literature as well as poetry. I have done some of the literature, quite a bit of the art but almost no poetry. Reading this biography on Modigliani has put poetry on the map again, this guy lived and died poetry, he could quote long poems by heart even when drunk. I will try to read poetry, get to know that art form and see how it affects my work.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Quote: Paul Strand

"It's what you see that matters."