Monday, December 31, 2012

This Is Supposed To Be Fun!

Sometimes I get so worked up and worried with the printing on my coming solo show that it takes the fun out of things. I keep thinking "I got to get 30-35 prints ready by March, I am running out of time." I calculate how many free days I have to print left and how many more prints I have to make, "Will I made it in time?". I am figuring out how much photo paper I have and how much more I will need. I am calculating the cost of every 16x20 paper I use (over $6 a sheet) "I am spending lots of money on paper, do I need more?". The worrying and the pressure of the job ahead of me can take the fun out of things.

I am still relatively new to printing larger shows, this will be my 3rd, my first solo show and by far the largest. I can't let the negative vibe get to me. I need to remember what matters, I love photography, it has always been a joy for me to create new work in the dark. Lets keep it fun! Lets take the negs you love most and want to share with others and just make beautiful photographs.

Why worry this is just a Edmonton show in a basement gallery, not a retrospective at MOMA. Relax boy and have some fun!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Story Behind The Photos: Sanitation Workers

These men (one lady was also part of the crew) worked in the Klong Toey market garbage collection area in Bangkok Thailand. I became friendly with the late dayshift crew, I ended up photographing them with the 4x5 and the 35mm Leica. I went back to this area where they crushed the garbage from trucks and market vendors several times. It was a terrible smelling and very dirty place, lots of stagnant and foul water. Everyone there was wearing white rubber boots, I had to watch out where I stepped in my sandals. They had a little rest area where they waited for the garbage trucks, this little sitting/laying area was filled with pictures of the king of Thailand, Thais show respect for their king in all places.

One man I talked to was embarrassed that he worked this job, he told me he used to work an important position in the government and took out a picture from  his wallet. In the photograph from his former life he wore the official beautiful clean white military government style uniform. I wondered how his life had changed so drastically, from an important government official to a garbage worker.

Living in that garbage day after day has to be very hard, how do you get the smell off of you? The smell must stay under your nails and in your hair and skin no matter how much you wash. People do what they have to do to survive, they need to feed their families, such is life. Guess I should not whine so much about my grant problem crap and just be happy with what I have. I just need to continue to tell important stories and make pictures of what matters, pictures like the ones below. I am a very lucky guy.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Gifted Artist And Tortured Person: Frida Kahlo

I have been studying a book on the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the book is called "Frida Kahlo Face to Face".

Frida was involved in a terrible bus accident as a young woman and underwent over 30 operations during her lifetime, she was in constant pain. She also had long relationship (and 2 marriages) to the artist Diego Rivera who chased women constantly, causing Frida additional heartache.

I found the work below especially troubling and strong, it was made by Frida after Diego had an affair with Frida's beloved sister Cristina. The painting is called "A Few Small Nips", it is also partly inspired by a news story of the day of a killing of a woman where the male defendant claimed, "I only gave her a few small nips."

The hat worn by the man in the Frida's painting is similar to one Diego Rivera owned and wore often.

The Story Behind The Photo: Young Cambodian Woman

I thought I would start to tell some individual stories behind various photos (sort of a new blog feature!)

I will start with this one of a young Cambodian woman I photographed in November 2011, in Poipet Cambodia.

This girl did something I have experienced in other parts of Cambodia (in the past other women have done this to me in Phnom Penh and Sihanouville Cambodia). They sort of  talk (sort of flirt) with you and joke then grab a big pinching handful of arm skin and pinch and twist it REALLY REALLY HARD!! (grip of death stuff) not sure what the deal is (maybe its part of the Khmer mating dance) but many Cambodian girls seem to do it (more violent culture?). In Thailand the women might do it a tiny bit but not in the same way or nearly as hard, it f-cking hurts!! After the pinch/twist their is a laugh and smile, they quite enjoy it and think its funny.

This girl (have to check my notes for her name) lived in the poorest place I have ever made photos, absolute squalor. She talked to me a bunch of times and let me photograph her after running away shyly at first. I think that her family is behind her, not sure if the child is hers (probably a younger brother). Beautiful lady, I would like to go back and give her this photo and learn more about her, wish I could speak Khmer! She also helped me buy a treat from a local seller and then said goodbye to me 2 different times. Hope she and her family can get out of that place and have a nice life together.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Final Scans For A While

More 35mm scans from the last few years, Thailand, Cambodia and Korea.

35mm Thoughtful Portraits

Did these in Cambodia, am not sure how well I can print them the main subject is a bit underexposed (averaging meter distracted by light background, should have added some exposure manually). I think in the future I want to try more of these type photos with probably a 50mm or 90mm lens to isolate the subject more (think I used a 50mm in these shots). I like the quiet thoughtfulness of these shots. There is a real beauty to the way peoples expressions, gestures and emotions constantly change, something eternally fascinating to watch and record, people are beautiful!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Xmas Day Scans

Watching Bourne Legacy and doing a bit of scanning, here are a few more from Klong Toey and the Poipet Slums, all shot in late 2011 or early 2012.