Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rejection Letter #2

Got my second rejection letter from Ontario today on the sex worker on white submission, This rejection is from the Centre Of Creative Photography in Toronto, Gallery 44.

January 10, 2012

Gerry Yaum

Dear Gerry Yaum,

Thank you for your submission to Gallery 44. Our Exhibition Programming Committee thoroughly reviewed all submissions. Unfortunately I must inform you your was not selected for exhibition at this time. The selection process s made very difficult by both the high calibre of the many proposals we receive and the the regrettably few exhibition spaces available.

We appreciated this opportunity to view your work and wish you the best of luck with it. We hope you will consider Gallery 44 a possible venue for future projects.



Exhibition Coordinator

I will continue this work on my next trip to Thailand and will resubmit it to these folks again. I also plan on submitting "Common Lives" proposals. Heck you got to keep trying right!! I need to remember what happened at the VAAA, todays no is tomorrows yes. The sex worker imagery previously rejected by the VAAA is now accepted as worthy of being shown (in the coming April show). I will continue the white background work this Thai trip and try to tell the story I want to tell in a clearer way. I will resubmit to G44 with the same subject later this year including new selections from the 2007, 2009 and 2012 photographs.

When it comes right down to it the work is whats most important anyway. I need to focus and make better  more compelling photographs, photographs that tell important stories, communicate worthy messages and create an emotional response in the viewer.

The most important thing is, I need to work harder and create the best work I can, the rest will follow naturally.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fate!? Bought A New Camera A Deardorff 8x10

I got some unexpected money from my father last week, we were just in the truck together after doing some work and he asked me to stop at the bank. The money came out of no where, I was completely surprised by it but thats my father always worried about his children. My father is the type of man who puts his children before his own personal comfort, he worked hard all his life  but his children always came first, he always placed his children's welfare and happiness in front of his own.

I am going to put the money towards my personal debt but I also wanted to buy something special, something I could use and remember my father by after he is gone (he is 79). When my father was younger and got money he usually bought something practical with it, something that would help him remember that person or event. I wanted to do the same thing with some of the money he gave me, I wanted to buy something very special (always dreamed of owning a Deardorff 8x10 wooden field camera) that I could use and create with and pay tribute to my fathers love.

I was unsure of the Deardorff as I have a wonderful Kodak Masterview 8x10 but I wanted something I could do alternative processes with, I want to try collodion wet process shooting. I also figured the Deardorff thou heavier would also be more robust in the field for my Asian portraits when I move up to 8x10 in the field.

I left it up to fate with the camera with a max bid of $1891.00 on ebay and won the auction after  the last bidder topped out at $1830.00, I got the camera for $1855.00. I barely won the auction, maybe this was fate jumping in and allowing me to win, maybe it was fate telling me this was the right thing to do.

 Every time I use this camera, whether with film or collodion, I will think of Dad. I hope I can create something lasting to his memory, a photograph that will be collected and remembered.

"Its Your Show Do What You Want."

Visual Arts Alberta Association has given me free reign in my upcoming group show on April 19th. I have the back room to myself which will hold 10 or so large photographs. I was told yesterday by the executive director of the VAAA last night that I can choose from all my imagery to make up a show, to quote him "Its Your Show Do What You Want.". In years past I have submitted 5 different sex worker packages (and been rejected 4 of the 5 times), I guess the executive director recently reviewed and accepted all those previous images as worthy of being shown. Now its up to me to decide what I want to show and how I want to show it, sort of a dream come true. I have the freedom to show what I want in the space I wanted to show it in! This is a great opportunity, something I have waited a long long time for.

I am undecided at present exactly what I will show, I am leaning towards going all white background shots in white frames with a possibility of a a few smaller black frame images of other sex worker related portraiture. I wish I had the front room also! Then I could do some of the colour work, some of the earlier 35mm work etc. I do not want the show to be to chaotic, to many different types of photographs might be a bit confusing. If I stay with the large format white background stuff it will probably be a more effective cohesive presentation.

I also have to write up a artist statement (oh joy!!) and make up a show title.

The VAAA is definitely heading in a better direction, the paintings I saw yesterday by Ricardo Copado and the drawings by Daniel Evans at the gallery were challenging (Copado's bird stuff a bit frightening), I would not mind going back and seeing them again.

Its strange, after all those years of rejection letters from the VAAA, with a change of leadership I now have the freedom to show the same work that was previously unacceptable. I now feel I was on the right track all along. I did not back down and continued to produce the photographs that I thought were important, and now all of the new stuff and all of the old stuff is worthy of being shown in this space. Its good to stick to your guns, fight your way through and make work you think is important. Conviction in what your doing is important, it gives the work added strength, a bit of adversity (rejection letters, friends and others who criticize what you do) also helps,  it puts a burr under the saddle and pushes you forward.

Here is a link to the VAAA.

Visual Arts Alberta

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Monochrome Guild Running Show at Dauphine Bakery/Bistro

A traditional printing club I recently rejoined, the Monochrome Guild will have a continuous running show at the Dauphine Bakery/Bistro. There are 5 Monochrome Guild photogs showing, with more to be added later. The work will be changed out every 2 or 3 months and new work added.

I had a long 15 hour photo session and reprint on the 2 end photos below, feel exhausted.

Dauphine bakery and bistro is located on 10129 104 Street.

Here are some vids and pictures from the hanging of the prints.

My 3 photographs, 2 from Klong Toey shot in November.

2 of my friend Rob's beautiful landscapes.

Here are a few low quality vids of the shop and photographs.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Latest "Klong Toey Portraits" Blurb Book

Put together a larger 7x7 inch square copy of the same photos a before. I wanted to see what the Blurb.com proline pearl paper looked like, it is supposedly special suited for photography books.

That it for the Klong Toey books/booklets for now, going to try making up a sex worker portrait book next so I have something to put on the table at my April VAAA group show.

To bad there is a slight colour cast to the b/w images in these books, the software is fun to play with and and its exciting to see your stuff in a bookish form, even ifs only a online/self published thing that no one else really sees or cares about. Hey a book is a book!

Square Format Proline Pearl Paper Version of "Klong Toey Portraits"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mailed Off The Grant Submission

Mailed off my grant submission to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. I asked for $15000 for a 5 month project,  photographing the the people of Issan ("Issan Portraits") with my 4x5 and Tri-x. Will see how it goes, really hope I have the opportunity to do this, if I cannot get a grant I will work extra time for 3 or 4 years and save up the money myself. Got to get the photos made no matter what it takes.

Klong Toey Booklet Version 2

Well uploaded version 2 of the booklet with about 10 more photos, 40 pages big now. If the sample they send me of this booklet is ok I will order 10 or 15 for the April VAAA show. I also plan to make up a Sex Worker version of the same booklet (40 pages).

Later on when I have more time I plan on making off a higher quality more expensive larger hard cover book as well on their pro line pearl paper.

Heres the link to version 2:

"Klong Toey Portraits" Version 2

Monday, January 23, 2012

Book, Or Should I Say Booklet!

Got my book today from blurb.com, its actually quite tiny and a better term might be booklet! I was surprised at how good it looks, better than I had hoped. The inside paper is not the kind I like and a few of the images are a bit dark but overall I am relatively pleased, after all it only cost $5.95 to print with a $10 shipping cost plus tax. Heck it cost more to ship the thing than to make the thing.

I will take it onto stage 2 now, move up to a square format of the book with a better quality paper and add some photographs, the current booklet is only 20 pages and 12 photographs.

The soft cover front and back photo which are on a more glossy surface paper look very nice. The printing is also better than I expected with less colour cast on the black and white images than I expected.

After the disaster of the Ladyboy Sex Worker Blurb book I was apprehensive to try again, I am encouraged with this effort thou and will continue working with the Blurb software. If I put together my top 50 4x5 photographs from Klong Toey I should be able to make up something quite nice.

I am thinking of making up a link on this blog and my website to sell the book. If I could sell any copies I could pull in a profit of $10-20 a book. With 3 books sold (and a profit of $20 a book) I could almost buy 50 sheets of Tri-x 4x5!

Grant Submission Almost Done

Worked my tail off over the last 4 nights on my "Individual Visual Artist And New Media Project Grant". I went through draft after draft of the 5 page project description. I think I finally got something half decent completed and printed at 4am last night. As part of the submission I had to make up a signed original along with 5 copies (one for myself) and a dvd with 10 samples of my work. I also had to fill out a PDF signed application form, a project budget and an inventory of the images sheet. When the jury members go through the application they need 4 copies, one for each jury member. I need to make up the image sample DVD (more scanning this week) but the very painful paper work part is done!! I should be mailing this out mid week, in time to meet the February 1 deadline.

I made a grant request for $15000 (the maximum amount) for a  5 month photography journey through the Issan region of Thailand called "Issan Portraits" The entire project including 4000 sheets of film and 20 boxes of photo paper along with food, transportation and accommodation costs would be more than $15000 (I would have to cover the extra costs over and above the $15000).  In the project I would travel using local transport for 5 months through the Issan region of Thailand (northeast Thailand, the poorest part of the country) and make hundreds of large format portraits using the 4x5 Linhof.

Doubt I will get $15000 as they had over 2200 submissions for grants last year. I think it was important to try thou. I at a point in my photography where I am creating good work, work that I am in control of and am confident of. I need money to produce the work, need to get some dollars together to purchase film and allow me the time to make the pictures. I am done buying equipment now, its all about creating the photographs, all my money now goes to creating new negs. If I got this whole grant or a partial grant it would allow me the freedom to make the portraits I know I can make.

Imagine that!!! 5 months in Issan making portraits, getting my food and accommodation as well as film paid for, the freedom! That would be freaking awesome! 5 months of shooting!, 4000 exposures!!, imagine the stories I could tell with those photographs.

 Its fun to dream sometimes. : )

Saturday, January 21, 2012

4x5 Tri-x Developed!

Took 600 sheets of Tri-x last trip, the last 5 sheets are washing now in the Jobo as I type this. I am pretty happy overall with what I got, I am disappointed I lost so many images to focusing/movement errors but most of my exposures were adequate and most of the compositions with the Linhof were quite good. I need to get better with the Bananarama 2 both in composing and in focusing but that will come with time. Hopefully most of the tech shooting errors will disappear with time and I can just concentrate on my subject. Once all the photo tech stuff flows more naturally I can do some very good work.

Will spend my next week off printing some of the "Klong Toey Portraits" and also start work printing my group show in April (sex worker on white photographs).

More Banarama 2 Shots

Bell Boxer Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011
Boxer Klong Toey, Bangok 2011
Dang Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011

Friday, January 20, 2012

Scanned More 4x5 Available Light Shots

Pong 36, Bangkok 2011
Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011

Bong Ex Champion Boxer/Trainer Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011
Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011
Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011

Less Than 40 Sheets To Go

Well the Tri-x 4x5 film is almost all developed, out of 600 sheets I have about 40 left. I lost lots (30%?) of the negs do to focusing or movement issues, I need to work on lowering those numbers. Overall I am quite happy with the way it went, I need more work with the Banarama 2 but when I focused properly I got some very good negs, with the Linhof I would get subject movement quite often at 1/4 of a second with the tighter upper body shots, need to shoot those at 1/8.

Am starting to get a handle on doing portraiture in the field with a 4x5, Jock's suggestion of using a reflector was very important, the negs now are more evenly lit and will be easier to print. Feel very excited about the possible 4x5 photo sessions in February/March. Can't wait to get back in the field making pictures again!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Other Submissions

I am going to submit 2 more show packages to the Hamilton Gallery Of Art (the gallery that recently sent me the rejection letter for my sex worker on white background photographs). Will also submit 2 more packages to the Alberta Gallery Of Art (have not heard from them yet) and I want to submit work to photo life and lens work magazines. I also have 3 other sites I want to submit the double submissions to but not sure I have time to do that before I leave for Thai, the other 3 are the larger gallery/museums in Winnepeg, Lethbridge and Toronto.

Then of course I have to submit work to next years Alberta Open competition and the very important art by acquisition program run by the "Alberta Foundation For The Arts" (they purchased my "Young Monk, Chiang Khong Thailand" last year).

I have to much to do do with to little time, mid February I fly to Thailand again to work on "Common Lives"

Feel tired these nights working my nightshifts but I am excited and exhilarated when I see the most recent negs. Plans to make new photographs soon in Thailand (ideas keep running through my mind!) is also very exciting.

"Ain't Photography Grand!"

Working On A Grant Submission

I am working on a grant submission for the "Alberta Foundation For The Arts" program that helps artists produce new work. I will request the maximum of $15000 to help cover costs for a 4 month trip to Thailand to make portraits in Issan province "Issan Portraits". I would use the money to cover transportation, housing, food, film (4000 sheets of 4x5) plus processing, printing costs etc.

I am not sure it is possible for me (unknown minor photographer) to get an important grant like this, the only other grant I have gotten is the travel grant I recently received for $750 from the Edmonton Arts Council. Even if I do not get it, its worth trying, anything ethical that will help me make pictures, I will try to do! If I fail I will try again and again.

Hopefully the importance of the photographs, the quality of the work, and my commitment to it will sway the grant jury folks.


Got my contract from the Kassa gallery people today. I will get $200 when I take the work down in April 2003, the show is tentatively scheduled for January to April 2013. Its good to get a bit of doe, $200 will help pay for 1 box of 16x20 Ilford warm tone photo paper (the paper I will use to print the show). Not sure where I can get 35-40 frames from thou, I have about 12 frames now, I might be able to borrow some from a friend and cut new ones to fill out the lot.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rejection Letter

I moved up in weight class several months ago and submitted some of the sex worker on white background photographs to several high end museums and galleries in Canada, got my first rejection today (sent out 5 to various places).

January 4, 2012
Gerry Yaum
Dear Gerry,
Thank you for your letter and package introducing me to your work. I was pleased to review your works, and congratulate you on your exhibitions thus far. We are , however, unable to accommodate an exhibition of your work at the AGH, given our current mandate and commitments.
I want to thank you for your interest in the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and wish you every success in your artistic endeavours.
Curator Of Contemporary Art

I will try again with this gallery/museum with the "Common Lives" Klong Toey work before I depart for Thailand in February.

35mm Thailand, Bangkok, Klong Toey Work #4

Cleaning The Klong(Canal) #2 Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011
Cleaning the Klong( Canal) #3 Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011

Monday, January 16, 2012

35mm Poipet Cambodia, Work #3

Young Girl In Slum Shack, Poipet Cambodia 2011

Show Layout

On my long -27C icy drive to work today I started thinking of the best way to layout my Kaasa solo show  (January of 2013). The room which is very large displays its art work in  laying down "b" shape. The long part of the "b" is first followed by a short  2 short wall bottom section.

So there I am driving and thinking about how to lay this out, how to make it most effective for the viewer? How I can tell my story the best way? W. Eugene Smith in his magazine and show layouts took this process to the extreme, he was extremely passionate about his work and tried to layout his story/show for maximum effect, he often worked obsessively to trying design after design for months on end. I will not go to Smith's extremes (few do) but I think I need to have a certain order to the images, a narrative that the person viewing the show can be drawn in by.

How to start? Was the thought going through my mind as I drove slowly down the slippery freeway. I think the best way would be to start with the children, to show the children first because people will be drawn to that and hopefully it will start the interest that might be held through all 40 photographs (going to try to print 40 -16x20s for this show). If you start out well, then your more likely to hold that attention through the entire exhibit.

Then I thought, what if I start out with a young boy portrait and then end with a old man portrait? Sort of the ages of man within Klong Toey slum. Think I might do it that way, my initial young man portrait will be this (depending if I can make a good print of this 35mm negative, sharp enough?).

The end photograph showing an old man portrait will be this photograph (am pretty sure I can make a good picture of this large sharp 4x5 negative).

 I might also start with one of my 4x5 young boy shots, or the shot of a mother holding her baby also a 4x5 negative if the young boy photograph does not make a good 16x20 print.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Life Magazine: The Power Of Still Photography

Life, In Black, white and color
                                                              By Bob Greene, CNN Contributor

(CNN) -- Winston Churchill, glaring, resolute, combative, left hand on hip, stares straight off the page -- a moment, and an image, like no other.
(How did the photographer, Yousuf Karsh, get that iconic pose from Churchill, Britain's prime minister, in 1941? Churchill told Karsh that he had very little time for the session. Karsh reached over and took Churchill's cigar from him -- then, as Churchill reacted, snapped the photo.)
Marilyn Monroe, at her most beautiful in 1953, leans back, wearing white slacks and a black sweater, and gazes off dreamily to her right. Somehow, even though being photographed for a national magazine, she appears supremely relaxed and right at home. Why? She was at home -- she knew that the photographer, Alfred Eisenstaedt, and the magazine, Life, would do right by her, and she had invited them in.
Prisoners at the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945, their faces haunted, their bodies gaunt, their eyes showing nothing and everything, look out from behind the wire fence that imprisons them, just before they are liberated. How did Margaret Bourke-White happen to be there to shoot that photo? Gen. George Patton wanted the world to see why his soldiers were fighting. Patton understood that Bourke-White and her magazine -- Life -- were the best way for the world to witness and understand.
All these photos and hundreds more are in a book called "75 Years: The Very Best of Life." It was published just before the holidays; I bought copies for friends around the country, and all of them have told me the same thing: They are spending hours with it, looking for long minutes at individual photos, treasuring the talent of the photographers, many long dead.
It is the photographers that I keep thinking about as I have spent my own hours and days with the book. To be a Life staff photographer meant that you were among the best in the world. Professional news photographers, even the most highly regarded of them, find themselves in tenuous times today; it is expensive to have them on staff and to send them places to do their work. There is always going to be someone with a camera around to snap a close-to-good-enough image and sell it inexpensively or give it away.
So to linger over the photos in the Life 75th anniversary book -- it is a very large book, because Life's pages were large by design, for maximum impact -- is to marvel at the commitment the magazine made, especially in the days before television, to do whatever was necessary to bring the world to its readers. And to spend time with those images is to honor the talent and courage of the photographers whose best work is on the level of fine art -- fine art produced as the deadline clock is ticking.
They were there. They seemed always to be there, at the moments that mattered. Larry Burrows in Vietnam in 1966 as Marine Sgt. Jeremiah Purdie, grievously wounded, reaches for a comrade who is also hurt; Ralph Morse virtually living with the first astronauts, capturing Alan Shepard, in 1961, running toward the Redstone rocket booster that will propel him toward space; Bill Eppridge at Robert Kennedy's side in that California hotel kitchen in 1968, somehow, in the anguished confusion, getting the shattering photograph of busboy Juan Romero who is down on the floor with Kennedy, trying to comfort the dying senator. . . .
W. Eugene Smith in 1948 with Dr. Ernest Ceriani, the country doctor who was the subject of one of the most famous photo essays ever published, as Ceriani, on the edge of exhaustion, wearily holds a cup of coffee; Gordon Parks in Rio de Janeiro in 1961, paying tribute to the heartbreaking life of 12-year-old Flavio Da Silva, a boy who is malnourished and ill but who must care for his brothers and sisters; Eisenstaedt in Times Square on V-J Day in 1945, with the impossible task of trying to sum up in a single shot the nation's joy as the war ends, and doing so with that photo of photos: the sailor and the nurse. . . .
Life featured words, too, of course, but it was the photographers who were the stars. During my own tenure as Life's columnist, my first assignment took me to rural Kentucky with the Everly Brothers, as the singers returned to their late father's home. I was glad to be in the company of Don and Phil Everly, but the real thrill came from the days spent on the road with the great Life photographer Harry Benson. I kept looking over at him. So this is Harry Benson. So this is how he works. I didn't want to miss or forget a moment of it.
I should mention that Life and CNN reside under the same corporate roof. But I fell in love with Life long before there was such a thing as CNN; Life brought the world to my parents' Ohio home, and when the mailman delivered it each week, he was bringing us more than just a magazine. He was bringing us . . .
Well, he was bringing us life. Life observed with as much skill and guts and heart as those photographers could push themselves to produce.
Life, as a regularly scheduled magazine, is no more; it continues as a series of single-topic issues and special books, and its photography is featured on its popular website. But the Life that was read in America's homes each week, and then, later, each month, is gone.
"I can't stop looking at that book," Gary Griffin, one of the friends to whom I gave copies, told me on the phone from California the other night. Me, either. Jackie Robinson rounds third base in the 1955 World Series, the expression on his face the stuff of novels, and Ralph Morse freezes it in time and gives us the chills all these years later. Man, oh man. That was the life.

35mm Thailand, Bangkok, Klong Toey Work #3

Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011
Bangkok 2011
Cemetary, Bangkok 2011

Boxer, Bangkok 2011
Boxing Judge, Bangkok 2011
Tree#1, Bangkok 2011
Cleaning The Klong (Canal) #1, Bangkok 2011
Couple Sleeping Near Canal, Next To Freeway Pillar Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011
Apartments, Children Play Soccer Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011
Father and Son Poipet slum, Cambodia 2011

35mm Klong Toey Thailand Work #2

Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011
Canal Water Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011 
Klong Toey, Bangok 2011
Graffiti Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011
Worker Kong Toey, Bangkok 2011
Canal Water #2 Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011
Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011 
Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011
Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011
Self Portrait,  Bangkok 2011
Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011

Man Who Jumped Into The Klong

I wrote a story when I was in Bangkok about a man who jumped into the bacteria filled canal as I was photographing something else. He ran about staring around like he thought someone was following him, he seemed to be drugged and paranoid. This is one of the photographs I made of him that I think works, its not completely sharp but I think the slight movement adds to the effectiveness.

Baung-hee 41 Klong Toey, Bangkok 2011

Wild Man In Klong

Saturday, January 14, 2012

PDF On Alberta Galleries, Submission Requirements Etc.

This link has all the information you need to submit your work to Alberta museums/galleries, from the VAAA blog.


Another Attempt At Blurb

Making another attempt at doing a blurb self published book, my last attempt with "Ladyboy Sex Worker"was an abysmal failure. This is the first attempt with the new set of portraits done in Klong Toey. It was made up quickly in the cheapest size and paper stock, I see it as a stepping stone on to creating a bigger and better book later on.

Klong Toey Portraits

35mm Poipet Cambodia, Work #2

Poipet Cambodia 2011
Poipet Cambodia 2011
Poipet Cambodia 2011
Poipet Cambodia 2011
Poipet Cambodia 2011
Poipet Cambodia 2011
These two images of the young child are cropped. I prefer not to crop photographs but I did a crappy job on the composition so was forced to.

Poipet Cambodia 2011

Friday, January 13, 2012

2003 Negative

I scanned a few old 2003 color negs tonight and found this picture. I used to see this young boy quite often begging near a major shopping mall in Bangkok. I might try printing some of these old color negs using photoshop and a printer (darkroom color printing is so limited).

Bangkok 2003

Flooding In Bangkok

Did not get many flood pictures, wanted to photograph people in the flood waters but did not find an area that worked for me. I guess you can only do so much, of so much, wish I would have had more time to travel to flood affected regions of Thailand. These photographs were made in Bangkok near the old Don Muang International (now domestic) airport, on my first day of shooting.

Untitled, Bangkok 2011
Untitled, Bangkok 2011
Untitled, Bangkok 2011

Untitled, Bangkok 2011