Monday, July 30, 2012

Quote: Jean-Paul Sartre (Novelist, Playwright)

"It is the faces of others that teaches me what mine is like."

Shots Mag Portrait Submission Scans

Spent the night scanning 4x5 negs, some of the negs date back a bit, guess they can be classified as forgotten photographs. I might submit a few of these to Shots Magazine.

Here are some samples:

Noi 29 ladyboy sex worker, Thailand 2012
Mickey 25 ladyboy sex worker in shortime room, Thailand 2008
Emmy 25 ladyboy sex worker in shortime room, Thailand 2008

Nicky 26 ladyboy sex worker in shortime room, Thailand 2008
Laotian jungle, Laos 2012
Father and son, Laos 2012
14 year old Laotian friends, Laos 2012
Hilltribe children, Laos 2012
Young boxer Klong Toey slum gym, Bangkok Thailand 2012
Boxer Klong Toey slum gym, Bangkok Thailand 2012
Young boy Klong Toey slum, Bangkok Thailand 2011
Dad, Canada 2008

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Been in a photographic slump the last few days, I need to get back on the horse tonight. I plan on scanning work for a "Shots Magazine" portrait issue submission and spend the entire night printing. I might also try developing a bunch of back logged 35mm Tri-x.

Next week I will take the iMac to work to start working on the Alberta Foundation for the Arts submission. I need to complete my submission for the "Families of Mae Sot garbage dump project" by September 1.

I also made a local $30 purchase of over 100 cassette tapes from a former wedding DJ guy.  I will get a cheap (Sony) cassette player as well and hook it up to my darkroom amp/speakers to add to my dancing in the dark(room) collection! This new music all catalogued and very well organized by the DJ should make being in the darkroom that much better. I hope to spend many many nights and days printing to some great tunes, got to make sure I don't pull a muscle with some those disco spins!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Color 35mm 2003 Thai Bargirl Redux

Some old negs I scanned a while back from the 2003 bargirl series, these are rather rough quick cans that I might spend more time on in the future.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What The People See

I have been having a discussion with friends from my photo group lately and one member Jon made a very good point. I think that sometimes we get so hooked on all our various toys and techniques that we forget the basic way most people view photographs, they look at the work and do not care about the subtleties of film/developer and camera's but instead either respond or not to the artwork. His quote speaks to me about what photography is truly about. The simplicity of a good photograph is composition, originality, compelling story and clarity. We as photographers need to concentrate and focus on what the people see, and not get dazzled by the many distractions.

I definitely think that with the printing process, one can get absorbed to the point of no good outcome or real difference in the final print. As though fiddling in the printing process would actually compensate for a bad photo (by 'bad' I mean not of good composition).  I see this often with test prints, where people on the inside debate version A vs. B vs. C to no end, and the people actually viewing the end product (who aren't, despite the elitism, usually 'the great unwashed') don't care because it's composition they're looking at….they couldn't care less about slight variations in contrast caused by using Diaphine vs. Rodinal. The final print is the final result, there's no question, but the more variations we as photographers start fiddling with along the entire chain, the more I think we can start to get further and further away from things unintentionally.

Learning To Read Burmese

I am trying to learn to read in Burmese. When I learned to read Thai I found it a bit difficult but in the end it was worth learning, reading and writing (I read at a young child's level) has been very helpful. Yesterday for example I learned how to say Mae Sot properly. I was pronouncing this Thai town using my best guess reading the English and it came out something like MAY-SOT. When I read the Thai font I realized I had been pronouncing the word wrong it is actually pronounced MAAH-SOD (the AA pronounced like the A in the word LAMB and there is a D sound on the last part of the word not a T sound, SOD not SOT).

If I can learn to read in Burmese I will have a similar advantage when learning to pronounce words correctly, I will get that much closer to the real sounds of the language by reading. Here is a example of Burmese writing, its very ROUND!

Burmese font for the word Burmese = မြန်မာအက္ခရာ

Thai font for word Mae Sot = แม่สอด

Burmese font for the word Mae Sot =  မဲဆောက်

Funny how the Thai now seems easy for me to read but the Burmese looks likes complete gibberish, I can read a few letters that's about it. Learning by myself should be interesting, I wish I had a teacher. 

Speaking and reading the language as well as understanding a bit about the culture will hopefully help the photography.

Learning Burmese Is Tough!

Been spending lots of time on my nightshifts working on learning some Burmese, boy is that tough! I found a wonderful online source to learn from, its a set of audio recordings called "Burmese By Ear", highly recommended.

It is still tough sledding getting this stuff down, working on numbers, and basic phrases now. I am also reading a couple books on Burma, "Burmese Lessons" by Karen Connelly and a biography of Aung San Suu Kyi by Peter Popham  "The Lady And The Peacock".

Hopefully this effort will help me when I am making photographs of the Burmese refugee families in Mae Sot dump next year. I need to really bare down and learn as much a I can before I fly, I owe it to my subjects and to the photographs. I want so much to create something important and tell the story of these peoples lives with respect, honesty and power. I know I can do this, it will take dedication and hard work, I just have to work hard enough and it will get done! Nothings going to stand in my way.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Photonola New Orleans Photography Festival

Found out about this New Orleans photo festival today, looks great:

2011 exhibitions:

I had a email contact about this festival as a result of the blog (got to love the blog!), hopefully it will lead to having some work being shown in the 2013 version of Photonola.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

150 000 Page Views, Thank You

Well the blog will hit 150 000 page views in the  next few days. I started this Yaum Photo Diary blog in November of 2007 so that means in 4 years 6 months 150 000 write ups and photographs have been viewed. This thing has gotten a bigger than I ever thought it would, when I started this diary it was for 2 reasons:

1) to have a place to state my views without sending out bothersome emails to people I know. I have a tendency to write to many emails to to many people, the blog allowed me to put them all in one place.

2) to help me focus my ideas and thoughts which I hoped would lead to a sharpening of my artistic expression and quality of work.

Not sure how much the blog has helped with any sharpening of expression and quality of work but it has been a very good place to vent when I get frustrated and a good place to promote the beauty of photography.

The thing that really surprised me is the amount of viewers to the blog, who would have thought 150 000 people would visit? The moral support I get from these strangers that visit from around the world is always encouraging, often it has helped me push on when I felt down and depressed about the work.

Another recent surprise was that advertising could be successful on the blog and that it could make me a bit of free money that I could use to buy film. I hope to make a couple of hundred dollars a year (if current trends continue that might be possible) which means I should be able to get 45 or so sheets of free HP5 8x10, or 150 sheets of free Tri-x 4x5 every year the blog runs.

Thank you all for visiting "Yaum Photo Diary" and hopefully one day before I pass on (I would need to get to my late 70s, early 80s) we can hit a 1 000 000.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Backup Jobo Purchased

I got a nice backup CPA-2 Jobo processor with lift tonight for a very good price of $165. I also picked up a darkroom timer, a older 165mm lens (with 8x10 coverage) 9-8x10 holders (one damaged dark slide) and a 8x10 paper safe, the grand total was $500. This was a bit more than I can afford right now but I will use all the darkroom things, and rationalized the purchase of the lens because of its small size and light weight. I am quite happy with the 8x10 holders as well, hopefully I can find a backup dark slide somewhere and add 9 more holders to my collection.

Now I can relax and use this my darkroom Jobo with some confidence as I have a backup waiting in the wings for the inevitable breakdown. I am quite happy with the 8x10 holders as well, hopefully I can find a backup dark slide somewhere and add 9 more holders to my collection.

I wonder if buying the lens was not a mistake. I need to be very careful with my purchases from now on, my Burmese portrait/documentary project "The Families of Mae Sot Garbage Dump" is not to far away. If I am careful and save hard and with a bit of luck (grant?) maybe I can start it next April/May.

Quote: Karen Connelly (Writer)

This quote is from a book I am reading on Burma written by Karen Connelly a Canadian writer who was born in Calgary. The book "Burmese Lessons" is about her personal journey discovering Burmese culture, the language and people.

"If the artist is a historian of the personal, the images he creates are artifacts---evidence of lives lived, lives broken. Subjectivity doesn't detract from the reliability of personal history---it adds to it, makes it irrefutable truth."

Rejection Letter

Got my latest rejection letter today from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts folks. This rejection was for their Art Acquisition by Application Program (they collect work for the provincial collection), they did not like the Klong Toey 4x5 portraiture.

Will keep plugging away and try again next year.

How many rejections is that in a row? 8? 9? 10? Am losing count, getting a bit punchy from it all.

Will be reapplying for my grant September 1, this time to shoot the Burmese refugee families who live and work at the Mae Sot garbage dump site. Hopefully I can get some funding help for this important portrait/documentation project. Either way, grant or no grant I am going to make those photographs,  even if I have to take a second job or start selling stuff, nothings going to stop me. Those pictures are going to be made and those stories are going to be told!

Ambrotype Definition

Ambrotype in Greek means immortal.

That seems to fit because a great photograph is immortal, the print lives on forever (at least hundreds perhaps thousands of years) and it also gives a form of immortality to the subject. The moment in time the picture comes from and that person or place in the pic lives on and on, IMMORTAL.


After developing negs for like 21 straight days I am going to print this week, all week printing! The only thing darkroom menu will be printing printing and more printing. I will print fiber based 8x10, want to try doing some contact 8x10s and also enlarge some old and new negs. It should be loads of fun.

If I can get the scanner working I will try to upload some new images for the blog. I will also go and pick up a few photo things on sale (cheaper older used stuff) from a guy here in the city who is selling his gear.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Quote: The Talmud (Schindler's List)

'Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire." 

Quote: George Eastman (Founder of Kodak)

From his suicide note, for the final 2 years of his life Mr. Eastman was in intense pain as a result of a degenerative disorder affecting his spine.

"To my friends, my work is done, why wait?"

Quote: Stan Laurel (From Laurel and Hardy)

"If any of you cry at my funeral,  I'll never speak to you again."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Week Of No Printing

I feel bad, last week I only developed film each day off, did not make any prints. I will continue to develop film every day this week after my 12 hour nightshifts but next week when I am off again, I plan to print everyday!!

Epson 700 Neg Scanner Down

I am getting a black line down the image whenever I scan a 8x10 negative, not sure why, guess the scanner is dying. I will have to hold off putting more 8x10 negs until this thing starts working again or I can afford a new scanner ($599 plus tax).

Sunday, July 1, 2012

8x10 Ilford HP5? Or Kodak Tri-x?

I have been doing some calculating, comparing the 8x10 sizes of HP5 and Tri-x. If I buy a fairly large volume of the 2 films I can get the Tri-x for about $6.10 a sheet and the HP5 for $4.04 a sheet. That means for every 2 sheets of Tri-x I can buy 3 sheets of HP5. I love Tri-x but that's a huge price difference. Which film to use?

As I develop my skills in the field with the 8x10, would it not be smarter to have more film to play with? Maybe I can use HP5 for a few years and see how it goes, if all goes well I can keep using the HP5 but if I feel Tri-x is still the better film I can change back to it. I could switch back to the Tri-x when I am more on top of things and making fewer mistakes, better compositions, nicer portraits etc.

Something else to think about.