Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It Worked!

Did a test on the taped ground glass that a Thai man online told me about, the darn thing worked! You take a normal piece of 8x10 glass, then put strips of 3M glossy tape (the  kind you can write on in the green package) on one side of the glass. The tape acts as the ground part of the glass and you can focus and compose the shot on it (its not perfect but it works). Thais are great at fixing equipment and finding emergency temporary ways of doing things.

Taped ground glass in front of my 8x10 camera.


Well I am done with the white background photographs for now (might try again in 3 years or so). I shot 13 sessions (exhausting 4 sessions today alone) of 9 different people, 8 ladyboys and 1 women worker.
I have 12 sheets of Tri-x 8x10 left which I will save to do portraits of my father when I return to Canada. I want to use the remaining film with his new Deardorff camera and the 250mm Fujinon, maybe I can do a bunch of pics on his birthday in April when he turns 80.

Todays shoots were very tiring but rewarding I had several long talks with the people I photographed. We talked about the surgeries and procedures they had or could have, we talked about their familes and growing up as a ladyboy in Thailand family acceptance, we spoke of their customers, boyfriends, looking for love etc.

One worker Noi told me about how she recently spent 10 days in jail and had to have her hair cut. I guess when ladyboys are put into jail they are forced to get their hair cut to protect themselves from the sexual advances of other inmates. Noi will have to wait several more months before her hair is long enough for extensions (she wore a wig for the photos). I have known Noi since 2003, I photographed her in a short time room back then, recently she got silicone breast implants for 45000 baht ($1470.00 CAD). Noi told me she gets more repeat business since the implants.
Thai society is much more tolerant of homosexuality as compared to countries like Canada.  Thou Thailand is more open the ladyboys still do face prejudice and hostility at times. Noi for example when she left the hotel after the shoot was made fun of by a Thai man at a nearby restaurant.

My comfort level has gone way up when it comes to photographing, joking, talking, learning from and general interacting with the ladyboy workers, hopefully that will be reflected in the quality of photographs I made of them this trip. I hope my portraits will honestly speak to their inner humanity, I hope that the work will be true to who they are as people.
Now I need to take apart the studio, pack it away in 3 large suitcases for storage here in Thailand and pack my  8x10 camera, lens and film for transport back to the land of snow and ice. Check out time is 1pm tomorrow and if I overstay I will have to pay a penalty of 500 baht ($16.30 CAD).

Noi 29

Maeyly 32 (With Hair Down)

Gai 36

2 Portrait Sessons Done 2 Or 3 To Go?

I was planning on taking a box of Tri-x film back to Canada, but as usually happens the more I photograph here the more people that ask to be photographed. I photographed Noy for the 2nd time and Maeyly for the 3rd time this afternoon and am scheduled to do two more ladyboys with a possibly of also shooting Bla (female worker) for the 2nd time. I have never had 5 or even 4 sessions in one day 3 has always been the max but this is my last chance to make the white background photos for a long time, so I might as well go for it! The photography as always I love to do so thats still fun but changing out all the 4x5 and 8x10 holders over and over and over again gets to be tiring, each time I do it the film changing process the takes over 1 hour.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Roof Construction Safety

This house is being built across from my 4th story hotel room. A few days ago there was just the frame of the roof now it is nearing completion. The 2 workers on top are working without any kind of safety gear, harnesses etc. I tried to zoom in more but  the max zoom on my little digi camera is limited, they are working about 5 stories up.

Why Instagram Photos Cheat The Viewer

By Nick Stern, Special to CNN
CNN) -- It started on Facebook, then spread to Twitter. Now Hipstamatic and Instagram-style pictures are everywhere, including the news media.
With an app typically costing no more than $1.99, everyone is becoming a news photographer -- creating dramatic, emotive images with subdued tones, vignetted edges and selective focus. Just point your iPhone or Android device, click the shutter button and instantly you're producing something not short of fine art.
But every time I see one of these "news images" -- subtly altered to resemble images taken on vintage film stock or using expensive lenses and filters -- I feel cheated. And so should you.

The app photographer hasn't spent years learning his or her trade, imagining the scene, waiting for the light to fall just right, swapping lenses and switching angles. They haven't spent hours in the dark room, leaning over trays of noxious chemicals until the early hours of the morning.

Nor did they have to spend a huge chunk of their income on the latest digital equipment ($5,999 of my hard-earned cash just went on ordering a new Nikon D4) to ensure they stay on top of their game.

The app photographer merely has to click a software button and 10 seconds later is rewarded with a masterpiece.

The spread of these fake images to the mainstream news media is more worrying. I've recently seen a whole host of Hipstamatic or Instagram pictures in news reports from as far afield as Syria, Egypt and Afghanistan.

Why should I worry about the spread of app-doctored news photos? Surely as a news photographer I should welcome the publication of news pictures of any kind, however they are taken. Well no. A news photographer is there to record, not to produce works of art.

Every time a news organization uses a Hipstamatic or Instagram-style picture in a news report, they are cheating us all.
Nick Stern, photographer

Any news photographer worth his or her salt will tell you that the best camera is one that lets you take the photo unencumbered by the technicalities of the process. A camera that lets you record the scene with the light and shadows as it lies before you, and to produce an image that brings the emotion of the scene to the viewer -- one that lets you take the photograph naked.

This is what sets great news photographers apart from the rest of us. In their photos we can see the pain, the suffering, the pity and often the horror. A little of the photographer's emotion will show through in every image.

In Haiti, shortly after the 2010 earthquake, I took photos with tears running down my cheeks. It was only the camera held tightly to my face that meant my tears were not visible to those around me. I believe that emotion came through in my pictures. If it didn't I failed in my job.

Every time a news organization uses a Hipstamatic or Instagram-style picture in a news report, they are cheating us all. It's not the photographer who has communicated the emotion into the images. It's not the pain, the suffering or the horror that is showing through. It's the work of an app designer in Palo Alto who decided that a nice shallow focus and dark faded border would bring out the best in the image.

Over the past few years a number of news photographers have quite rightly been fired for altering images with the help of Photoshop. One added smoke to increase the dramatic appearance of bombing, one cut and pasted a rifle-toting soldier from one image onto another and another removed his own shadow from an image.

Hipstamatic, Instagram and other apps produce images that are equally unethical or perhaps even more so. The image never existed in any other place than the eye of the app developer.

Since when did we trust app developers to bring us the news?

Eye Problem

For the last 2 days I had a very red left eye, that was also itchy and uncomfortable. I must have got something in the eye as it was tearing up quite often and rather irritated, it was also a sensitive and hurt a bit in bright light. I tried not to scratch the eye and tried to flush it with water as best I could. I was at the point of almost going to the hospital for help when it got better, the eye is ony a bit red now and not itchy or uncomfortable. Everything with the eye seems to be returning to normal.

One More Day Of Shooting

I have one more day of shooting on the white background flash stuff before I pack everything up again. I have not shot as much as I thought I might. So far I have shot 9 sessions of 7 different people, 6 ladyboys and one lady worker. I plan on shooting the rest of my JandC 400 film tomorrow, I will try to do 3 shoots, I have about 60 sheets left.

My subjects might be ladyboy Noy for the 2nd time,  Ladyboy Muayle for the 3rd time and female worker Bla.

I have one box of 8x10 Tri-x left (discontinued 50 sheet box outdated in 2008). I will probably try to save it for dad and the Deardorff when I get back to Canada.

I am a bit disapointed with the amount of white background shooting I did (am taking unexposed film back to Canada) but I only had 8 days to get this done, digging out the stored equipment, transporting everything to the hotel room studio, setting everything up and getting everything working (broken ground glass and camera mounting plus power in the room problems). I guess I should just be happy I got what I got.
Soon I will move on to the more fun "Common Lives" project series, in Northern Thailand.

Chi 33

Tanned Old Dudes

In front of the hotel I am staying at where I am making my white background portraits is a small cafe bar. I walk by the place everyday and see the same tanned old dudes looking out onto the empty street. The soi (street) of my hotel on is a quiet little area in otherwise busy and noisy city. The tanned dudes sit out front drinking, talking, eating, with their Thai girlfriends. Not sure where these expats came from, their language sounds Northern europeon. It does not seems to matter what time I pass the same dudes are doing the same things, all hours of the day and well into the night. Gosh their has to be something more to life than wearing loud shirts, tanning your skin a deep brown and dying your hair jet black (70 year old guys with jet black hair?), hten drinking and staring out into space with a bored expression. These guys seem to be just wasteting their lives waiting to die.

 A few days back I went to the top floor to check out the swimming pool, the same dudes were rotating their rotund bodies in the sun trying to get even tans while wearing the skimpiest of bathing suits, at least there were no g-strings in sight. I thought about having a swim in the pool but quite often in my room I find little pubic hairs about (hotel not very clean), and the thought of swimming in the tiny rooftop swimming pool filled with old tanned dude pubes is not very appetizing.

Maybe at some future date I should try doing a series of portraits on the expats, sexpats of Thailand.

Monday, February 27, 2012

More Ladyboys

I photographed 2 more ladyboy bar workers yesterday, going to do 3 more today. I want to finish here by the 1st so that I can move on and work on the "Common Lives" project. I am definately tired out by the bar world (how can farang stay here for years doing the same crap everyday?). I want to move on and make the available light portraits, thats what I love to do now.

I also want to get back to Canada and start working with the 8x10 Deardorff. I want to make dads camera sing, I need to use it to make some important photographs. I will try using Jock Sturges 250mm Fujinon F6.7 lens with it to do portraiture. I am quite excited about the possibilities with this new tool.

If I can only get my artist grant from the Foundation for the Arts back home, if I can get   that money I will have the freedom to create the photographs I see in my minds eye. In the next few weeks I will try to work on some of my "Common Lives" picture ideas, some of which I can expand on later if I get the grant.

I wonder if I can do a mix of 8x10 and 4x5 camera work for the available light portraits. If I had a strong, sharp well exposed 8x10 negative to work with in the darkroom, I could make a truly beautiful photographic print.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

3 Portrait Subjects Today

I photographed 3 ladyboys today, all were very nice, polite people as most Thais are. Thailand is a country filled with smiles and kindness, if you treat people with politeness and respect most often in Thailand you recieve the same back. I will try to make up some prints to give back later to all the people who allow me to photograph them.

Betty 28

Mueyly 32

Ray 25

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Studio Waiting

Fun little shot of my studio waiting for todays photo sessions. I have my breakfast in front of me, cold chicken wrapped in plastic, 2 pieces of bread and a cup of tea. It should be an exciting day of shooting! The water bottle is empty, damn hot here! and the toilet tissue is multi functional in Thailand, in this case also used as paper napkins.

Thai Portrait Studio 2012 Version

Here are a few digi snaps of my studio set up here in Thailand. I have 4 speedotron heads on a white background 2 with softboxes for the subject, 2 just on the background. The speedotron power back is a large powerful 4803 unit that I need to run through a very heavy transformer before I can plug into to Thai power, not sure how it all works but it does! I also included a photo of my broken and glued together 8x10 ground glass. Breaking my ground glass seems to be a tradition for me, that makes 3 (2 in 2009 and 1 this year). I am using this taped together ground glass (luckilykept in storage with the flash equipment here in Thailand) this trip just like I did in 2009.

I will probably go to an acrylic (plastic) ground glass in the future, I got one with my new deerdorf camera, will give that a try next trip I think.

Rear view.

Front view.

Speedotron power  pack and background light.

8x10 Kodak Masterview with 300mm Nikon lens and hood.

Original Kodak ground glass that I managed to break then tape together.

11 Hour Sleep

Fell into bed last night after struggling through the loading of the 4x5 and 8x10 holders. I put my head down on the pillow at 730pm and woke up this morning at 630am feeling very refreshed. The a/c in the room worked all night, I even had to turn it down a bit, best sleep I have had in a long time.

Today I have 3 ladyboy shoots scheduled, Betty at 1pm, Ae at 3pm and Muryle at 5pm. The shoots last about 1 hour which will give me another hour to change out the film holders between photo sessions.

Hopefully everyone shows up and the power in the room holds. After today I should be 5 sessions into my 13 sessions of available film, I have approximately 325 sheets to shoot, and 12 8x10 holders. If I use all 24 for sheets per photo session that means I need to shoot 13.54 photo sessions to finish out the 8x10 film.

I am also doing a set of 4x5 film head shots of each person (using a 8x10 to 4x5 reducing back on the Masterveiw with the 300mm Nikon lens).

After the 8x10 film is shot I can concentrate on doing the 4x5 "Common Lives" photographs with the Linhof in Northern Thailand.

Betty, Muryle And Other Things

Photographed Betty and Muryle at 3pm, went well some good photos there I think. I had the flash equipment and the a/c going full tilt without any problems, hopefully thats a sign of things to come.

I am going to try to photograph 3 ladyboys tomorrow, Betty alone, Muryle alone and a third ladyboy Ae alone, I need to confirm things with them yet but that's my hope.

Was on a high when making the photos but am crashing badly now after so little sleep in the heat filled room last night. I am going to head to bed and try to get 10 hours or so.

One thing I noticed is that I still enjoy making the sex worker on white photos with the 8x10 Masterview but I think I have moved a bit past these pictures. Being out in the bar world last night looking for people to photograph was tiring, and not as interesting to me as in past years (its a pretty ugly place to be). After spending time in Klong Toey and photographing people of all types, learning about their lives, spending some quality time with them, doing the sex worker portraits again does not have the same appeal as it used to. If I do another one of these white background sessions it might take me a few years possibly 4 or 5 to get motivated. I might change my mind when I develop these negs but I doubt it. Being alone talking to my subject one to one is great but being out in the world of the bar wears me right down, it tires me out.

I want very much to start shooting available light portraiture with the 8x10 cameras (Masterview, Deardorff), that seems the next logical step in my progression with the work. If I could get those big beautiful negs like Jock Sturges and Sally Mann do, now that would be something! That would be important and lasting work.

Guess I should load the film before sleeping, that will take an hour or so but I can pass the time dreaming of the "Common Lives" photography project. Then I can go to sleep with a relaxed heart.

Friday, February 24, 2012

We Have Power!

The power came up today at 1pm, I rescheduled ladyboy Betty for 3pm and am waiting on her now. The room seems to be OK now, we will have to see how long it lasts when I start blasting away with my 4800w 4 head speedotron. Right now it looks good, it looks like I will not have to change rooms or hotels.

Went for a walk while they were doing the work (some line outside the room), ended up in a beach area filled up with half naked middle aged Russian tourists, I saw lots of g-strings  on people who should NOTbe wearing g-strings!!d

Going to take a much needed shower, have a sandwich and then wait on Betty and friend.

Room From Hell

Having lots of bad luck this trip, first I damaged the mount on my 28mm Leica lens now I am in the ROOM FROM HELL!

The power continues to go on and off, last night the air conditioning, room lights,, fridge kept going on and off. I had no a/c and slept only a few hours. I have a shoot scheduled with a ladyboy named Betty who I photographed in 2007 but no power for my flash unit. Both Betty and another ladyboy are coming at 2pm it is now 905am and I have no power in the room, plus I am tired from the lack of sleep. I am even scared to take a shower as there seems to be come kind of short in the room. The electric water heater might also be malfunctioning who knows. Looks like I will have to cancell todays photo sessions, another wasted day, f-ck.

I complained to the staff for the hotel but they cannot send anyone to fix the power till 10am. The power and the a/c went on and off 2 times in the time it has taken me to right this email, this sucks! 3 times

It looks like I might have to change rooms, hall all my gear (5 suitcases worth) to another room and re set up everything. I also did not want the staff in the hotel seeing all my gear in case they complain about, I prefer to keep a low profile but it looks like I will have this room filled with hotel staff and repairmen today.

The photographers that have assistants doing all this manual stuff have it so good, they just have to worry about the photographs, not all this other tiring sh-t.

Power went on and off another 2 times, I think the room is about to explode! This room is from f-ckin hell!!

Bla 2012

Had an up and down day, I arranged to shoot ladyboy Jiji at 2pm but she ended up not showing so had a wasted mid day. Later on I went for a walk looking for people to photograph and found an old friend named Bla whom I photographed in 2009. Bla was working a street that freelance sex workers work. When I went up to talk to her she did not initially remember me but after speaking to her for about 1 minute she did remember me and our previous photo sessions together. I ended up photographing Bla toinght, might try to photograph her again later.

Tomorrow at 2pm I will photograph Betty a ladyboy I photographed back in 2007 along with at least 1 other ladyboy from her bar. I want to try to do both heads hots with the 300mm and 4x5 camera and fuller body shots.

I am worried about the power in my room it keeps going up and down, I lose the air conditioning all the time, and the lights go on and off. When I shot Bla today I turned off the air conditioning and unplugged the fridge but the power still fluctuated and at one point burnt out one of my modeling lights. I put in the older weaker modeling bulb to replace the burnt out one but have no more spares now.

I am not sure I can get this all done, I need to have at least another 12 sessions. Am taking it day by day, step by step and hoping for the best.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Flash Equipment Up And Running!

I tested the 4 Speedotron flash heads, they are all still working! I replaced one modeling light bulb that was a bit dull with a new one I found in the storage suitcases, everything else seems to be working great! Amazingly made machines, I leave them stored in the heat and dust of Thailand for years plug them in every now and again and they work great!

Now I am getting excited, the shoots a go, a few more little things to do tonight, then shooting film tomorrow!

``Ain`t Photography Grand!``
This is the room I wil use for the newest white background sex worker photographs. Of the 3 rooms (2007, 2009, 2012) I have used  to make photos this one promises to be the best. The room measures 50 square meters with a large bathroom and small kitchen (microwave, sink, dises and fridge). For 8 nights I got the room for 1000 baht a night $33-35 CAD,

Room for set 3 of the sex worker portraits.
Am going to set up the lights and background today, and do tests, hopefully all the flash equipment still works!.

Woke Up To Singing Birds

I am so used to the noise, polution and crazyness in this bar town of Thailand that it was surprising to wake up to the sounds of singing birds today! My room is on the 4th floor with a good view of many trees, there are a few apartments about and there is contruction going on of a new condominium but for the most part I am in a more natural area here. I woke at 6am and could hear many birds singing, very strange for this type of bar area.

Feel more rested and at peace now, am still upset that I damaged my beautiful 28mm Leica lens mount but I need to get past that and shoot my remaining 2 cameras, the 8x10 Masterview and the 4x5 Linhof. I will have to take my unshot 35mm Tri-x back to Canada. I brought around 54 rolls (18x 3-100 foot rolls) and only shot 4 or 5 rolls before the accident. I still have 700 sheets of 4x5 to shoot and about 325 sheets of various 8x 10 films (Tri-x, JandC 400 and 25 sheets of HP5, I need to make the best of what I have left.

Eating some cold chicken with bread and water now, will go out shopping for some more supplies later in the day. I will finish the set up the studio, check to confirm everything is working, then go out and meet some ladyboy workers to set up photo sessions for tomorrow. I hope to do 2 maybe 3 sessions tomorrow and each of the next 6 or 7 days, until I run out of film.

View from hotel window, Thailand 2012

Thai People Are Good Hearted People

Helped offered by many Thai photographers today, will write more later about their kindness.


I sent out a distress call to unkown Thai photographers yesterday, I just found them online in an Thai large format group, sent out some emails and within few hours I received several emails offereing suggestions and help. I got advice on making a temporary ground glass with tape, I got phone numbers and emails to ask others for help. One man Khun Pui even offered to lend me his 8x10 ground glass, can you believe that? Some stranger you do not know emails you and you offer to lend him your only 8x10 ground glass, maybe one of the only 8x10 GG in the whole country! Amazing, Thailand, its not an advertising exaggeration the people here are truly AMAZING.

I am going to try to use my broken ground glass again from 200 , I found it in one of my stored flash suitcases (I store my Speedotron flash equipment, holders etc here in Thai, they have been here since 2007). The ground glass was still in broken, taped and glued shape but I think its usable again.

Khun Manit also offered me help, Manit is a very good photographer I met him in November 2011. I will go back to his gallery and see the latest show later this trip.

Photographing in Thailand through the years has gotten progressivly harder for me mostly because I am challenging myself in so many new ways but it also has gotten easier as I meet more and more people who help me in so many ways. It is rewarding making photgraphs here, you feel like your doing something important.

Fighting My Way Through The F-ckups

Things are coming together slowly, am fiighting my way through all my mistakes and screwups.

Am set up in a room near where I will go find the ladyboy frieneds to photograph. I spent the day hauling big heavy bags around and emptying dusty electrical equipment onto the floor that needed cleaning. I had to rent a van to haul all 5 bags of gear to this room.

I am to tired to type now, to tired to think, need to get some sleep and finish setting up the studio tomorrow. I need to put up the white background cloth and also test the lights, load film, also need to get a screw for my quick release tripod head head mount. FirsIt things first its 11pm, I will grab some food and collapse into bed, need some sleep, need to be alert for tomorrow. I have to buy a few things and use a broken ground glass again, more sex worker  on white background photo sessions might work out for the 3rd time running, hope hope.

Time to sleep.

Damaged $3000 Leica Lens! F-ck!

My beautiful Leica 28mm F2, the most expensive lens I have ever bought ($3000 USD) went crashing to the pavement yesterday. I must have accidentally pressed the lens release button then walked off with the camera on my shoulder, later the lens just fell off. The glass is not damaged which is the good news but the mounting ring is slightly bent so I cannot attach the lens to the M6 body again. I also think the focus is a bit screwed up (lens compressed like the 50mm was in Paris when dropped I think).

All very depressing cannot shoot the rest of my 35mm tri-x, big bill to repair the lens when I get back to Canada. I was gloomy all yesterday, still feel like sh-t about it now. I try to do to much sometime, try to chase down to many ideas with to many cameras and I do stupid sh-t like yesterday. I need to focus better and not try to do to much with to many tools, maybe I should just one lens and one camera like Jockkt Sturges and Larry Louie.

Got to dig my way out of this mess and make some worth while images the rest of the way throughe this trip. It will be my last trip for quite a while, I need to dig deep and create strong photos now with the cameras and film I have left.

Broken Ground Glass AGAIN!!!

Back In Thai

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thai Sex Worker Booklet 1st Attempt

Here is my first try at making up a booklet for the April VAAA show, called "Thai Sex Worker". I am doing it in the same style as the "Klong Toey Portraits" booklet. When I return from Thai I will work on version 2 of this booklet, after I see how the printing looks.

I want to place both the Klong Toey and the Sex Worker booklets on the table in the gallery for opening night April 19. Will try selling them for $15, they cost me about $10-11 to produce if I order 10 at a time.

If they do not sell(very likely) I might include them in my various gallery submissions next year as a little promotional extra.

Here is a link to the "Thai Sex Worker" booklet on

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Off To Thai

Well I am off to Thai and Laos for a 5 week trip soon. Got my bags mostly packed, have to weigh and transfer stuff around a bit and that will be it. My biggest concern is getting all my film to there, I am taking about 400 sheets of 8x10 (various films mostly outdated), 600-700 sheets of 4x5 Tri-x and 3-100 foot rolls of 35mm Tri-x. I need to carry all of the film plus my 300mm Nikon lens (for the 8x10) my Leica, meters, ground glass etc. in the 2 carry on bags. In 2009 I placed my 8x10 ground glass in the check in luggage and it arrived broken so I need to carry it on and watch over it myself this time. Last trip I had my Banarama camera stolen so am trying to get as much gear as I can into my carry on bags. I am learning from my mistakes but it leads to some pretty heavy carry on bags, hopefully I can get them through without any problems.

The plan is to start off the trip with a week of making 8x10 white background sex worker portraits (maybe all ladyboy workers this time). I also want to do a series of 4x5 heads with the 300mm. Later on I will try to make up a separate submission of just these head-shots.

After the week of white background stuff I will head north to Chiang Rai and Laos where I will photograph with the Linhof 4x5 and Leica M6 along the Mekong river, this is a continuation of "Common Lives". When I return to Bangkok I also want to take 2-4 trips to Klong Toey to hand out the photos I did last trip and to create new work. I might also travel  to southern Thailand and do some portrait work with the 4x5. I expect to shoot all the film I take with me and to return to Canada pretty spent.

When I get back home I will go directly back to working nightshifts and on my first week off I will need to work my ass off in the darkroom to complete the printing for my group show at the VAAA which opens on April 19th. I also need to put together all the framing, corner mounting and also cut all the matting for the photographs in the show.

Finally after the 19th of April I will be able to take a deep breath and relax! It makes me tired to think of it all!! Life is pretty great thou, I will be doing exactly what I love most in the world, I will be meeting folks, learning, interpreting and photographing, life does not get much better than that! : )

This trip will be my last for quite a while, I need to make some strong photographs while I have the opportunity. After this trip I will have to work and save money for a long time before I can return to continue these projects, while I have the chance I need to make the most of it!

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Final 2 Submissions

I was digging through some old papers today trying to find some sex worker quotes from a few years back that I wanted to use in a artist statement (found them), while I was digging about I found some submission information on a gallery in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan.

I looked up the gallery online and it looked like a nice space so I decided to do a final 2 submissions before I left for Thai. I did one on the Poipet Cambodia photos and one on the Klong Toey photos, both shot in November/December this year. These submissions were easier than others I did as I had the files scanned and the artist statements already written, I just fined tuned them a bit to fit the Moose Jaw Art Gallery and Museum requirements and I was done!

A bit of trivia for you the population of Moose Jaw Saskatchewan is 32132 (2006 Census). I wonder what Ai would think about hanging on a wall in Moose Jaw!

Hers a link to the Gallery/Museum:

Ai 30 Klong Toey Slum, Bangkok Thailand 2011

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Another Submission: McMullen Gallery

Made my first ever submission to the McMullen gallery in Edmonton. The gallery is a nice space but has a limited mandate because of its location (in a hospital). They request work to be submitted that fits into this mandate:


Not sure my submission fits the above requirements. The work I submitted was the 35mm Leica work I shot of in the slum areas of Poipet Cambodia. The photographs might be to depressing to "Be positive and offer a respite from the stress of a hospital experience." but I thought I would try. I think the work has an inspiring message, but thats for the gallery people to decide. I will probably use the project description/artist statement file again in the future so the time writing it up will not be wasted.

Young Girl In Doorway, Poipet Cambodia 2011

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Deardorff is 48!

Just found out that my Deardorff 8x10 was shipped to a Eastman Kodak store in Detroit on January 14, 1964. I was born in April of 1964 so the camera is about 3 months older than I am!

I wonder what kind of life this camera has had? What pictures has it made? Any great photographs? How many owners?

Thank you very much Ken Hough for your help with aging my camera. Heres Ken's site he is an expert on Deardorff's.

Hmm we are about the same age, wonder which of us will last longer? Me or the Deardorff, my money's on the camera!

I Got My Dads Deardorff Today

I got dads 8x10 Deardorff today, the camera is older but in nice shape. One of the small screws which holds the back/ground glass mount onto the camera is stripped but other than that the camera looks fine. I will take the camera to work today and do a bit of cleanup on it but it should all be OK. The camera is over 30 years old and for a wooden field camera its in overall nice shape. Everything about the Deardorff seems solid and well made, the bellows looks great, hopefully I can use it for another 30 years or so without problems.

I have not received my collodion wet plate back yet or my other wet plate equipment but that should be coming in the next few days. I am happy I have the camera safely in the house before I leave for Thai.

I hope I can make some work worthy of my father with this new tool, thanks dad!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Multiple Submissions Sent Out

I sent out a bunch of submissions today:

- "Klong Toey Portraits" to the Alberta Gallery Of Art, AGA.
- "Klong Toey Portraits" to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, WAG.
- "Klong Toey Portraits" to the Art Gallery of Hamilton, AGH.
- "Klong Toey Portraits" to the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, SAAG.

I also sent out my Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Arts Acquisition by Application submission (quite a name!) This is the program I sold "Young Monk Chiang Khong, Thailand 2010" to last year. They add work to the Alberta provincial archives each year, hopefully I will have similar luck and be accepted with the Klong Toey 4x5 portraits I submitted this year.

I also sent a booklet to the Foundation for the Arts personal project grant I applied for earlier. They are holding my grant till Septembers deadline so I thought why not add the little booklet for the jury members to see. Not sure the booklet will be be accepted into the submission but I thought, no harm in trying!

I also plan on doing up a couple of email submissions and sending them out as well before I leave for Thailand. One is to the annual Alberta Photo Open and the second to the McMullen gallery here in Edmonton. I want to send out some work I did in Poipet Cambodia in email to McMullen, heck not sure this fits into their style of gallery but its only an email, so worth an attempt. I do not have all the Cambodia work scanned yet but think I can dig out 10 decent images to use in the submission. It does not hurt to try these things, maybe this time the submission will be rejected but in a later submission the folks at McMullen might remember and accept the photographs.

Step by step!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sex Worker Show

I have a group show (I get a nice a small room to myself) of Sex Worker photographs on white backgrounds opening at Visual Arts Alberta on April 19th. Here are a few scans I did of photos (for promotional purposes) that might make the show.

Jiji 28 Ladyboy Sex Worker, Thailand 2007 
Long 25 Female Sex Worker, Thailand 2007

Natty 25 Ladyboy Sex Worker, Thailand 2007
Yai 40, Ja 28 Female Sex Workers, Thailand 2007

More In The Future

I want to go back and photograph the people who haul goods daily across the Poipet Cambodia, Thailand border.  It was very hard techically to make photo this photograph, I was shooting by running out into the road, using a small flashlight mounted to camera to focus as the people were moving towards me! This shot was made with the rangefinder 4x5 Razzle Banarama 2. When I go back and shoot there again at some future date I plan on using the Kermit 90mm Razzle which will give me more depth of field and also plan on using my Leica rangefinders. This is an important subject, I want to document the lives of these people, to show their work and home life, their hearts, their feelings, I want to do a very human photo story on them. I need to learn Khmer, had a hard time shooting last time with my very limited knowledge of the language last time round.

Maybe if I get a long grant from the Foundation for the Arts to do my "Issan Portraits" I can also photograph these important Cambodian people more when I go on my Thai visa runs.

Hmm to many photo ideas, not enough time or money to get them done. Am getting old, 47 now, need to work harder to get all of this done, need to get it finished before I am to old to shoot what I need to shoot.

Pulling Goods Home After Trading in Thailand, Poipet Cambodia 2011

Friday, February 10, 2012


Some more slums capes from 2012

Klong Toey Slumscape #2=1, Bangkok 2011
Klong Toey Slumscape #2, Bangkok 2011
Klong Toey Slumscape #3, Bangkok 2011
Klong Toey Slumscape #4, Bangkok 2011
Klong Toey Slumscape #5, Bangkok 2011

Patterns In Nature

Not sure if I posted these already or not, but was just scanning some odd negs I found today. I might try doing more of these in the future, its always fun to look for shapes and patterns in nature.

Patterns #1 Canada 2010
Patterns #2 Thailand 2010

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Some More Banarama 2 Shots

A few more Banarama 2 shots.

Boxing Trainer Klong Toey Slum, Bangkok 2011
Boxer Klong Toey Slum, Bangkok 2011
Ladyboy Sex Worker, Thailand 2011
Boxing Trainer Klong Toey Slum, Bangkok 2011
Boxer Klong Toey Slum, Bangkok 2011
Ladyboy Sex Worker, Thailand 2011
Ot Klong Toey Slum, Bangkok 2011

This photograph of Ot was made with the Banarama 2 and no flash. I need to do more work without flash using this wonderful camera. 
Sort of took a break from scanning negs, here are a few more 4x5 Linhof available light negs from Novembers trip.

Gop Boxer Klong Toey Slum, Bangkok 2011
Gop Boxer Klong Toey Slum, Bangkok 2011
This photograph of Gop was made with the Linhof and direct flash at the same time as the photo above was made without flash (I prefer the natural light shot).

Oo-dom 70 Klong Toey Slum, Bangkok 2011
Oo-Dom 70 Klong Toey Slum, Bangkok 2011
Klong Toey Slum, Bangkok 2011

Close Head Tests

I want to do a series of closeup 4x5 ladyboy head-shots during my next sex worker on white background sessions. I did a practise setup with the same equipment and dad and mom, here are the photos.

Dad 79, Canada 2012

Mom 76, Canada 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Alberta Photo Show Story

There is currently a photography exhibit at the MOCA in Calgary featuring the work of Craig Richards and Arthur Nishimura (both Alberta based photogs). The show is called "Counterpoint In Black And White", here is a link to a Calgary Herald newspaper story:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kaasa Gallery Solo Show Date Change And A Nice Word, "Compelling"

Got an email from the Jubilee Auditorium Kaasa Gallery folks today. They asked me if it was ok to change the start date of my solo show from January to March 2013. I guess they got a request from the Edmonton Opera Association people to use the space in January-February 2013. I told them it was not a problem so the show date will be pushed back a bit, March-June 2013.

In the same email I also got a nice compliment in regards to my sex worker imagery. J-- from the Kaasa gallery was speaking to one of the members of the AFA (Alberta Foundation for the Arts) who recommended I try and show that body of work at the MOCA (Museum Of Modern Art) in Calgary (formerly Triangle Gallery).

Sent a long detailed email to the MOCA people tonight, asking for submission requirements etc. Maybe nothing will come of this, but to have your work referred to as "Compelling" by art people who know their stuff is encouraging, especially after the recent rejections. Here is the email minus some names (not sure they want to be named on my silly blog!).

Hi Gerry

On a different note:  I was just speaking to ------- at the AFA, and he suggested that I tell you to check out Calgary’s new Gallery Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) (it used to be the Triangle Gallery) – he thinks that they have an ongoing “street life” series of exhibitions that your OTHER work – the portraits of prostitutes? – might be a good fit for.  It’s really compelling work and I would love to see Albertans engage with it.

So – check them out and see if YOU think you’d be a good fit.

Let me know, please, about the date shift.  Thanks so much and I will look forward to hearing from you soon,


"Klong Toey Portraits" Final Version Blurb Book

Did a final version (slightly bigger, small improvements) blurb book today, I printed it on the cheaper paper to save on costs. If I order 10 of these Blurb booklets I can get them for less than $10 each,  I plan on selling them at $15 at the upcoming shows to make a small profit. Am not sure any of these will sell but its worth a try, it is also a good promotion type thing. I will also work on a Sex Worker booklet in the coming week.

I might try sending one "Klong Toey Portraits" booklet  to my Foundation for the Arts submission of September 1. I am hoping this small booklet will tell the story of what I am trying to accomplish with the "Common Lives" portrait series more completely.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Gerry Is Razzled

Dean Jones of Razzle camera fame added a link to this blog on his website and also related the story of my Banrama Razzles, check out Deans wonderful cameras and the story here:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Larry Louie Photography Exhibit: Beyond The Darkness

My friend Larry Louie who is a world class photographer has an exhibit in Edmonton next week (only 1 week before the show goes to Vancouver). The show is at the downtown Grant MacEwan Library (10700 104 Avenue), the project is for Global Awareness Week. The exhibit has beautiful 48x36 prints mounted on Dibond Aluminum. Larry will be hosting a "Meet the Artist" on Friday December 10 between 11:30 and 12:30 in the Grant MacEwan Library.

Friday, February 3, 2012

VAAA Blog Blurb

Little blurb about my upcoming group show in the Visual Arts Alberta Blog. I always feel I sound like a pompous boob in these requested write ups. The galleries and art people want something so I try my pompous boob best.

UPCOMING AT VISUAL ARTS ALBERTA GALLERY… In A Box: Wide OpenAlberta Potters’ Assn & BC Potters’ Association. Joint exhibition of traditional, functional and sculptural clay works that showcase the vision and expertise of contemporary ceramic artists.1 March to 14 April, 2012, Opening Reception Thursday, March 1, 7-9:30pm
AND There is no remedy against the truth of language, new work by William G. Pret­tie: Gallery A: In many ways we create and maintain the world we live in through the language we speak, the text and the colloquialisms we use, and the explications that are part of our being through repetitive usage. Prettie’s work investigates text as image, and image as metaphor, to refashion the way that one looks at familiar things and to allow the mind to explore the new and multi-layered understandings that may result.
Human Voices, photographs by Gerry Yaum: Gallery B “I feel that photography can be a powerful voice for change; it can help the forgotten people in our society….My hope in creating these photo graphs was to document the people I met as well as to raise awareness amongst people in the West. I wanted to personalize the nameless work­ers everyone hears about but does not know. I wanted to have them heard, to give voices to the statistics.” 19 April to 26 May, 2012, Opening Reception Thursday, April 19, 7-9:30pm

Working On Submissions

I got my grant submission out last week, they are very nice folks and got back to me with some problems which I hope I corrected. They also told me I was better off applying for the Sept 1 grant date. I do not plan to do my project until April of 2013 so the Sept application date works better. The grant people know what's best so I will defer to their judgement. I hope I can get the money and do the project, thats all that matters, the creation of the work!

I also did up 3 of my 5 larger high end gallery/museum submissions round 2. Round 1 was some of the "Sex Worker" photographs, which have recently been rejected by 2 of the 5 I submitted to. I wanted to resubmit my work to all 5 again but this time do a "Klong Toey Portrait" submission. I have the Alberta, Hamilton and Lethbridge submissions complete, need to finish off the Winnipeg and G44 (Toronto) submissions. I am not sure I can get to G44 before I leave for Asia soon but Winnipeg will be completed tomorrow.

I am also working on my Foundation for the Arts, art by acquisition submission. I have my paperwork mostly done and will make up the image dvd next week. I want to submit everything to the Foundation of Arts jury before I leave for Thailand, the deadline is April 1.