Sunday, June 26, 2011

Things Are Coming Together

Well am at work doing final night shift (work 12 hours 7 on, 7 off), over the last 3 nights I have been cutting over mats and putting the pictures together in the frames. I am also doing some spotting and frame repair. Its kind of funny, for years I could not cut mats or do spotting well but when I needed it for this show things seem to be coming together. The mats are not perfect, either is the spotting but heck its a lot better than it ever has been, it's like I improved magically by 25% out of nowhere. Maybe it is a sense of confidence I have with my photography now that is translating to these minor tasks as well. Not sure what it is but I am filled with hope for the future, hope that I can finally make the type of photographs I always wanted to make, and confidence that I can get that work collected and shown. Ain't photography grand!

Hopefully this new found confidence will continue post July 14th (the show opening date)!

Quote: Emily Carr

From Emily Carr's journals (Hundreds and Thousands).

"Fifty-six years ago tonight there was a big storm out West and a deep snow. My dear little mother wrestled bravely and I was born and the storm has never quite lulled in my life. I've always been tossing and wrestling and buffeting it. How little I've accomplished! And the precious years are flying by and never, never one minute will the clock tick backwards."

Saturday, June 25, 2011


For a long time I have thought that 70 years of age might be the deadline for me to create the body of work I hope to create. I am 47 now that gives me a mere 23 years to get this done!

There is a very good chance that I might not even have till 70 to get the photographs made, no guarantees in life, I might die or become disabled in some way before that. Anything after 70 would be a bonus, I need to take care of myself as best I can and hope for some luck, maybe I can squeeze a few more years out of my body traveling and carrying camera gear past 70 with a bit of luck.

Later in life my hope is to print a large body of work, print the work I that I might not have had the time to print at a younger age. Hopefully I can do 10 or 15 years of printing even as a very old man.

Gosh got everything figured out, don't I! I will probably get hit by a car tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

90 Confirmed Coming To The Opening NIght

Well we have 90 people confirmed coming to the opening night with probably another 10 also showing, that gives 100 bodies plus the 3 photographers in the gallery. The gallery is of a decent size but 100 people takes up quite a bit of space. We have stopped inviting people to the opening night as it might get to crowded.

Gosh 100 people, maybe I can blend into the wood work a bit better than I thought! Yesterday was reading Emily Carr's journal and she spoke of an opening of her work and the Group of 7 down East around 1927, and what a disaster and disappointment it was when hardly anyone showed up. It looks like we will have enough folks at the opening so that should not be an issue, hopefully they will all enjoy themselves, and are challenged a bit by the work.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Framing At Work This Week

I had a pretty good printing week. I did the 2 white background sex worker shots for the show and also printed the smoking man and old man shots. I started the children on the train tracks shot yesterday and will make two more attempts at it tonight (start working my nighshifrs tomorrow night). I am not sure I got all those photographs, might have to do some reprints. When your doing reprints thou its easier as your making slight adjustments to prints you pretty much have figured out, I have have mask cuts and a feel for the negatives already it just requires adjust. My 35mm Prints are a bit contrasty, a bit darkly printed but I like the look of the prints, sort of a warmtone, contrasty, bleached highlight look. I think they are quite moody and hopefully not overprinted, I will take a good look at them in the lighting next week when I hang them.

I am going to take the mat cutter and mat board to work this week along with the frames, plastic fronts etc. I want to make up at least 5 completed final photographs for the show, maybe more. If I do the mat cutting and final framing at work during my nightshifts this week I can hang them early next week. I am still waiting on the cut white framing for the 2 sex worker white background photos but the rest of the framing material is cut.

I also want to try doing some color printing this coming work week. I need to do 1 color print of the brothel workers and might also do a few square head ring flash shots as well. If I could get all the color work done on a regular work week it would leave that much less to do in my final week of printing before the show. In my final week I want to work on a a shot of a boy sitting on the train tracks, of the 2 xpan slumscapes with canals/slum houses and maybe a shot of 2 children behind a screen window (not sure of the composition on this photograph). I might also need to do some reprints the final week.

I have a busy schedule but think everything is going to be finished in time, I wanted to have it all done and hung 2 days before the show on Tuesday July 12th.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Arts Writer Covering The Opening

Arts reporter Janice Ryan from the Edmonton Journal will write a article on the show for the paper. We have to submit our CVs and jpegs for the story. I always wanted to be in a reviewed show and now it looks like that will happen. I think the article will be mostly an information package but it is still nice to get your name into the paper along with the other photographers in the show. Hopefully one of the jpeg's will get into the the article and seen by the general public , thats what really matters.

Will post it when it gets printed.

Gerry Yaum Goes Italian (Again)

Found another image of mine online at a Italian photo website. Some nice photographs on the site, they chose a photo I did of a slum mans home, he allowed me in and told me stories about his family (his son was in jail for drug crimes). It is kind of nice to have a non portrait selected, so far all the stuff that others have added to their web-pages have been portraits, this is the first slumscape.

Here is the link the Italian website.

Here is the photograph they chose, it was rejected by the Foundation For The Arts this year, but I always liked it. I did not print it for the "Faded Lives" show but maybe I should have.

Well off to bed, got to take a nap and then its back into the darkroom. I spent the last two nights printing and want to continue for the next two.

RBC New Works Gallery At The AGA

Got a reply to my submission request from Rochelle at the AGA. I plan on making 2 sex worker related submissions in the next few months. One submission will be the white background work made in 2007 and 2009, the other will be the color ring-flash heads made in 2009 and 2010.

Now that I got the scent of this place I plan on doing yearly submissions, maybe a couple a year till I get in. It has always been a dream of mine to be shown at the AGA. Other dreams have come true in the last few years so why not this, besides I have an advantage this is a Alberta artists only space, which cuts down on the competition. The real goal is to get into the main parts of the gallery and have a major show but lets do this one baby step at a time. It should be fun creating work with the goal of this gallery in mind.

This gallery is sponsored by the RBC (Royal Bank Of Canada), so not sure they will want to show anything as controversial as portraits of sex workers but I need to try. I plan on doing more work on the "Peoples Project" this year so hopefully I can make a submission of the work to the AGA in 2012, that might be more palatable for them. I also want to continue to photograph in the Klong Toey slum. I probably have enough photographs to do a submission for that series now but if I go back and continue to work the project will only improve.

Thinking lately of doing a series of heads called "The Children of Klong Toey". Next trip I will take the 4x5 and do head-shots of Klong Toey children (with limited depth of field). I think this project might make an excellent submission to this Gallery. I can still see in my minds eye the children on the tracks, see their smiles, their curiosity, and their hope. I want to go and make individual portraits of these same children.

Reflect Or Not To Reflect That Is The Question

I have been experimenting with the front surface of my frames, glass or plastic. I got free plastic 20x24 sheets from my friend Rob when he cut the frames and love the luminosity you get from the plastic. Today I went out and out and bought a piece of non glare glass (designed for picture frames), I got a 20x24 inch piece for $27. I just placed that piece (cut my fingers 2 times) in a frame and placed it along side a plastic front picture. The non glare glass cuts down most of the reflections thou you can still see blurred forms but it also gives the print a much more duller look. I like the plastic sheen/glossy look much better than the dull look but I also like less reflections from the non glare glass.

Not sure what to do, I think I will probably go with the plastic at this point, the glow it gives the prints, especially the b/w stuff is worth some reflections. I might be able to close the window blind in the gallery to cut down on some of the reflections.

Another thing to consider is that the glass will cost me around $300 and I do not have any extra money to throw around. I have to buy 2 air tickets this year and also need to have spending money to travel and make photographs for the "peoples project", $300 for travel, food etc. in Asia is more important than non glare glass. Making new photos is more important than having shows. There is nothing more important than creating new work.

More thought needed.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Quote: Susan Sontag

"To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed. It means putting oneself into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge, and therefore, like power...There is something predatory in the act of taking a picture. To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Fading Lives" Photographer Biographies

Here is the little write up for the show. I never sounded so good, to make so much out of so little requires a good creative writer, thanks Joanna.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Quote: Emily Carr

"A picture is not a collection of portrayed objects nor is it a certain effect of light and shade nor is it a souvenir of a a place nor a sentimental reminder, nor is it a show of colour nor a magnificence of form, nor yet is it anything seeable or sayable. It is a glimpse of God interpreted by the soul."

"I feel about my paintings exactly as if they were my children. They are my children, of my body, my mind, my innermost being. When people call them horrible and hideous I rent it deeply. I can't help it. I know people don't have to like my pictures, but when they condemn them I feel like a mother protecting her young."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

First Show Print Framed-Sort-Ah

Put my first print into a frame for the show. I am going to Larry's gallery on Monday to hang a few framed prints to see how they look. I had problems with the plastic I am testing in place of the non reflective glass (the plastic is free from my friend Rob). I love the light transfer through the plastic, the print shines under the light. The problem I am facing is tons of hairs and dust, I need to wipe the plastic with a wet sponge, sort of half did that with other tools but it did not work well. The other problem is the plastic is highly reflective and in my small section of the gallery show there is a large window so I am not sure the plastic will work.

The frame looks good, acceptable but not great, some of the corners are off a bit, I will try to adjust and sand them to get a better fit before the show opening. For the test hanging I cut my own over mat and did a surprising not terrible job! I tried a new way to cut the mats, I got some small over-cuts and one corner has a tiny tiny tear. I think that with more practice I might actually be able to cut the mats myself for the show. I have a good mat cutter, I just need practice cutting these darn things. Like anything practice makes perfect.

Will go cut another over mat then off to bed, another 12 hour night shift tonight.

Friday, June 10, 2011

New Razzle Camera

I am not buying any more cameras but had 2 Razzle Cameras on order from Dean Jones that go back a few years. The razzle is a wonderful camera that allows shooting 4x5 hand held, Dean converts a poloroid body to allow 4x5 holders. You can make large photos using a lightweight rangefinder camera, its fricking awesome.

Dean emailed me and told me the first of my new Razzles is ready, a lime green body with Linhof 90mm lens. I hope to use it to make photos with flash handheld throu out Southeast Asia, it will allow me to make large format negatives quick and easy in poor lighting conditions.

Thank You Dean!

I made these photo last trip with a 6x9 Fuji camera,65mm lens and flash, but was not completely satisfied, will try doing similar work with the new Razzle next trip.

Emily Carr Biography

From Lewis DeSoto's biography "Emily Carr":

"A painting from 1931, Strangled by Growth, shows a carved face peering out of that swirling mass of greenery that is half garment and half light waves that have somehow become solid. The painting is very still and yet at the same time bursting with life.

All of these elements-the tree when it was growing, the carver who cut into the wood, the history and the myths and the people who once lived here-are in the painting. All of them and more: the slow invisible growth, the particles of dust, and the insects drifting in the shafts of sunlight, all are alive in some big way that she senses but cannot put into words. there is a force that pulses through everything. She feels it in her veins, in the beating of her heart, in the slow turning of the earth and in the invisible stars in the sky. Not even the word "god" is big enough to encompass what she feels.

How to tell it? How to say it? How to touch it and show it? Emily speaks in the only way she can, with her brush. She dips it into the dabs of paint and her palette and makes a mark on the canvas-a gentle, rhythmic curve of green, a shape and a form and feeling. There it is. And now, here is the great stillness on the edge of nowhere, she makes something for eternity."

Strangled by Growth, Emily Carr

"Emily Carr, The painter, immersed herself totally in her own experience and created something that is partly the forest, partly herself, but mostly something else entirely."

"It does not matter if she was an innovator or an original; what matters is that she makes something true."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wow 8 days!

Just got my new passport, I applied for a renewal last Tuesday, what's that like 8 days? That's got to be some kind of record. Well done passport people, one less worry for me. I will leave Canada to continue the "Peoples " portraiture project in September, and November this year, now I have the updated passport I need.

Soon it will be time make the photographs!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Quote: Paul Strand

"I am a politically conscience person...I've always wanted to be aware of the world around me, and I 've wanted to use photography as a instrument of research into and reporting on the life of my own time."

Night In The Dark

Spent then night working on the "Fading Lives" show photographs. I think I got one print completed and am almost finished another. The second print is bordering on being to soft a photograph, the grain in the image helps give an illusion of more sharpness. I wish I had my unsharp masking set up but I cannot afford it just yet. I wanted to add a unsharp mask carrier, punch and printer to my darkroom but the entire package costs $900 and I cannot afford it just yet. I am not sure how unsharp making will work with 35 mm negs, maybe it will not work well but I wanted to give it a try. Will probably use the setup more with my large format negatives.

I am reasonably happy with the second print so far, but I am going to touch up the burning on the face of the subject in tomorrows printing session. I had a Leica M6 for many years and did nothing good with it but for this show after shooting 5 days in Klong Toey I will have around 8 prints made with the Leica. The camera is a wonderful tool, the 28 mm F2 is a very expensive lens but boy is it a beauty, it produces beautifully sharp negatives.

Am tired now, will go to bed. Thinking ahead to tomorrow, I am excited, it will be great to be printing again, printing these new negatives for the first time, trying to make them sing the song I want them to sing.

Ain't photography grand!

Some More Xpan Scans From Thailand

These will probably the last Xpan scans from the 2010 Thai trip. I was just looking through the contacts and chose out a few I liked.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Quotes: Vincent Van Gogh

"I am risking my life for my work, and half my reason has gone."

"The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting."

"I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say 'he feels deeply, he feels tenderly."

" The emotions are sometimes so strong that I work without knowing it. The strokes come like speech."

" It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

AGA, Warhol and Carr

I really loved the show yesterday at the AGA, will probably go back at least 2 more times before it runs out. I learned of a new artist yesterday, Emily Carr. I had heard the name and even been to her art school in Vancouver but did not know her art or history. Carr was one tough lady with some very inspiring work done amongst the Haida native Indians on Haida island (north of Vancouver island).

Saw Warhol also and loved the fun of his show. They had several of his silkscreens, a large sliver Liz (Elizabeth Taylor), they had several of his films including a guy sleeping for 8.5 hours, they had 3 videos going, one of him talking on the phone, one of him painting (very interesting to watch) and one that was a variety of vids including one with a surprised Warhol learning someone had died. He was interviewing a fellow artist and was told a mutual friend had died, and Warhol could not believe it, he asked like 5 times, "he's dead?" Then he finally says" He's really dead? but he's so rich!" the comment broke me up, I laughed out loud, the artist he was talking to said, "yes even rich people get sick and die!"

In the show they had several of his photographs mostly his Polaroids, including several self portraits in drag, which were loads of fun, Warhol heads shots in drag. I loved the vulnerability of these photographs, my favorite part of the show, Warhol showed wonderful courage in making and showing them. They also had 5 of his wigs! and some wig stories, there is something eary about looking at a guys fake hair, like your peeking in a wardrobe drawer in his bedroom.

I bought a Emily Carr book new on Amazon yesterday for ($27, new with free shipping) the exact same book retails for $75 in the AGA bookstore. I want to learn more about this amazing women, she was also a very successful writer. I bought Carr's journal as well online, reading artist diaries is usually very interesting, you get a feel to their artistic process, why they create what they created.

While waiting at the front desk I got both the phone number and email to the person in charge of submissions for the small Alberta only RBC new works gallery at the AGA. I want to send an email (I do better in email) and find out more on the submission process. It is a bit of a cheat to be put into a Alberta only room but heck, beggars like me can't be choosers. It would be an honor to get work into the AGA anywhere! Think I will try and submit some sex worker portraits done down the years, later on will also try submitting some of the "Peoples Series Portfolio" which I still have to make. The other option is to submit work done in Klong Toey but I need to do more photography there as well. Since the new museum reopened I have seen 4 or 5 shows in this space and nothing has nocked my socks off, so I know my work is good enough to be shown, it is not like I would be competing for space in the main gallery with Burtynsky, Karsh, Matisse, Warhol or Degas. It is a very achievable goal, so will check the submission requirements and make submissions over the next few years. Who knows maybe someday will get into this new works gallery for Albertans and in later years get into the non segregated sections of the museum.