Thursday, July 31, 2014

Buying A High End Digital SLR?

I might be buying a high end digital SLR, possibly the Canon Mark III 5D which runs around $3300 (plus the lens). My friend Larry has this camera and I hear its a beautiful tool.
I hate the idea of printing digitally but for commercial work digi is the way to go that's a no brainer. The only reason I am considering this is that I am being hired to do a commercial job at the plant where I work security. The job would be a large group portrait of around 40 people sitting and standing in front of a fire truck. I need to shoot the job in color and produce a high quality image. Digital would allow me to produce the photo without all the difficulties of using a view camera and doing the C-41 development plus scans etc.
My options are to rent a Mark III for around $165 a day or buying one for around $3300. I also might try asking a friend if I could borrow his Mark II which I might be able to do for a couple of days. I also need to get the print printed to a high quality/standard and which will add to the cost of the shoot.Digital!!!! I am not sure what to do. I am very happy with the quality of my film work over the last 3 or 4 years, I feel I am in tune with my tools. Now if I buy yet another camera that could all be mixed and mashed up. Having a digital thou could be advantageous especially when I am shooting in low light like at the boxing gym in Klong Toey or if I do the "Lost Innocence" series. I was told by a friend photographer a while back that shooting at 6400ASA with a digital is no problem, so thats another 3 stops faster than what I am currently doing with the Leica and Tri-x at 800ASA. The other big advantage is that I might be able to get a commercial shoot here and there if I owned a digi cam. I could use the extra money to fund my documentary work.
There is also the possibility that I could still do the digi photos in the darkroom. Sebastiao Salgado for his last book shot both on film and with a digi camera. His guys transferred the digital files back to 4x5 film then printed it traditionally in a darkroom. Just because you shoot something digitally it does not mean you need to print it digitally. I always loved the look of a darkroom print better than something that comes out of a printer, maybe even if I shoot some of my stuff with a Mark III I could still print it in the dark.
Another thing I hate about entering the digi world is there will be a Mark IV a Mark V and a Mark IIIIII, which always temps me to buy more and more gear. I am tired of the camera buying crap, I just want to make photos. If I buy a high end digi slr camera there will always be the temptation to keep on buying the latest and newest shit.
More thought on this needed, I have to see how much money they will pay me for this commercial project, then go on from there.

Trying To Keep Kodak Alive

Hmm seems others are trying to keep film Kodak alive also.

From the story:

Apatow told the newspaper that both film and digital video are “valid choices” but “there’s a magic to the grain and the color quality that you get with film.” In a separate interview, Abrams argued that “film sets the standard and once it’s no longer available, the ability to shoot the benchmark goes away. Suddenly you’re left with what is, in many cases, perfectly good but not necessarily the best, the warmest, the most rich and detailed images.”

Photo Idea: Children Of The Dump Calendar

I have been trying to figure out a way to make money that I can donate to the families and the children of the Mae Sot dump. My friend Larry has been raising funds for years selling calendars and then donating the money to charity, I think I will give that a go.

My idea would be to photograph 12 different children (or groups of children) for each month of the year. I would make the vertical portraits with a 5x7 view camera and Tri-x. For each month there would be a photo of the child along with their first name and age. The hope would be that the buyer would identify with the child and want to help. I would give 100% of the money earned either directly to the families or to aid organizations that help them.

Young girl crying Mae Sot Thailand garbage dump. Leica 35mm Tri-x November  2013

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Quote: Philip Seymour Hoffman

"Success isn't what makes you happy. It really isn't. Success is doing what makes you happy and doing good work and hopefully having a fruitful life. If I've felt like I've done good work, that makes me happy."

4 Possible Workshops

I have 4 possible workshops on the horizon. My last view camera workshop was cancelled by the student at the last minute but it should be rescheduled sometime in August. In the next 2 months or so I should be doing 2 darkroom and 2 view camera classes. The workshops should total $440 CAD, that's not great but not bad either. I wish I could get more workshops, I am saving towards my photo fund which will allow me to make pictures in Asia for 6 months.

I am also trying to put together some photo classes with the folks at continuing education in my city. I have still not completed my course descriptions submission but will probably get that done soon. Having a more serious teaching gig with larger classes would allow me to earn more money save up faster and eventually give me more opportunities to shoot freely in Thai and elsewhere. The other benefit is that I can promote film photography to Edmontonians.

A Tear In Dads Eye

I showed dad the print I  made of him a few days ago. Dad had a tear in his eye when he saw it. It made him sad to see how much weight he had lost. Dad has always felt proud that he looked at least 10 maybe even 20 years younger than his true age but now because of his illness age has caught up with him. After dad wiped away the tear he told me it was good that I made the picture and that it was important, he told me to write the date on it so mom could keep it and remember him. I told him I would try to submit it to some galleries, which I will. I will also submit it along with some other dad photos to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts folks next year. The photos are probably to dark to be accepted by the acquisition jury but I want to give it a try anyway.

The honest way dad has allowed me to photograph him is a tribute to his courage and love, he is allowing his son to cope with his death the only way he knows how by doing it photographically.

Quote: Roger Ebert

Two days before his death at the end of his final blog post, Roger Ebert wrote.

"So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I'll see you at the movies."

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Joys Of Printing

I finally got back into the darkroom last night for a short 7 hour printing session. I have been having trouble getting back into the dark even thou I have dozens of negs I would like to work on, heck I probably have over 100 negs that need to be printed. All I can think of thou is dad so it just did not seem right to print. I solved that problem last night by printing one of the photos I took recently of my father.

Dad in bed, July 2014
After 7 hours in the dark I managed to do up a OK print but I think I can draw more out of this important negative. This exposure was an attempt to tell the story of dads life with cancer, how it has affected everything he enjoys in life. Dad told me "It has taken everything away from me." I wanted to show his vulnerability, despair and weakness. The pic was made with a 21mm, Leica M6 and Tri-x at 800 ASA. I feel because I am shooting only one film I am really starting to learn it now.

I need to continue working on the neg, trying some different photo papers and maybe add a 3rd burning mask. Today I used 2 masks plus some dodging and burning at different filters along with bleaching. I will wash then dry the prints and tone them in the coming days. The next time I print I will try a colder tone paper, and maybe more contrast. I might also play around a bit with the developer.

I am not sure how photogs can either get others to do their printing for them or do it digitally, the darkroom is such an essential part of the process for me. Tonight when when I was printing I was agitating and caressing the print of dad as it sat in the developer tray. I was trying to coax it to life, it all seemed so hands on, so personal. Some how to me getting others to do it for you or doing it on an computer just seems so wrong, so limiting, so lacking.

I always get told by those around me to take the easy why, to do things the fast way by using digital cameras and processes. Then I have a session like last night that is so beautiful, so pure that it puts all my doubts to rest. I know I am on the right path doing things in the traditional way with film and I will continue down this path for the rest of my life.

I was happy, very happy to spend 7 hours with my father tonight.I will get back into the dark and continue working on this neg as soon as I can. I want to show the matted fine print to dad.

Update* I quite like the dried down version of this print before toning. It is a warm tone image and  has more tonality and less contrast than the scan.The 11x14 print also seems sharper than my digi copy. Leica sure does make some wonderful glass, even stuff stuff shot near wide open and with slow shutters can produces great negs.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


I have been thinking a lot about what I want to say with my photography, what message I want to communicate. What keeps coming back into my mind over and over again is this simple truth. I need to show the humanity of my subject. It should be that simple, the power of the photograph and the importance of the individual can be expressed in that single idea their "humanity". If I communicate this message with my photography that is more than enough.

Ot the man in this photograph died before I could give him his picture. When I returned to visit him in 2012 I was told by several people he had passed away.

Ot Klong Toey Slum, Bangkok 2011

Hector Pieterson

Doing some research tonight into the oppression that happened in South Africa under the racist apartheid governments of the 70s.  I am reading and larding about the life and death of Steve Biko and the Soweto uprisings that lead to the death of 700 school children. Hector Pieterson became a symbol of the children who died in the Soweta protests, uprising. The photo below told the story of his death, The description is provided by wikipedia. Once again the power of a single photograph helped raised awareness and contributed to positive change for a country and its people.

Hector Pieterson being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo after being shot by South African police. His sister, Antoinette Sithole, runs beside them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Photo Diary Of Gerry Yaum, THE BOOK

Started working on a new project just for the fun of it. It is a blurb book based on this blog. The inspiration was a wonderful Irving Penn book I love to browse through called "A Notebook At Random" which is sort of a scrap book of random Penn images. I thought I would do something similar, a combination of photos and writings from this 7 year blog. It should be fairly easy to put together as all the the words are just copy and paste stuff from the blog and I have access to most of the scanned images on my hard-drives. I will try to put together a 100 pages. A lot of these book idea project things just come and go as a fad when I get bored I stop working on them. Lets see how this one comes along, it might make it until completion.

No one is interested in this stuff but me, but it is still fun to design books and hope others might be interested. Imagine actually having a real book in a real book store! It would be cool to just watch a person flipping through the book and watching their face for reactions. I do that when I watch visitors at my shows, I am always curious how people react to the work.

Will try to make this project fun, scans of hand writin things, and travel related paper items along with writings pulled from the blog. I want to fill the book with imagery and thoughts.

Here are 2 possible covers, I have a third vertical nude of a ladyboy sex worker in a short time room that I like the best.

Bla freelance worker, Thailand 2009
Larry on the cover of the diary book.

My Phnom Penh Villa!

Continuing to look at some places to rent in Phnom Penh Cambodia. Here is my Phnom Penh VILLA. Imagine that a Villa, runs $285 USD a month plus water and power. Pretty cheap for the size of house, thou it's to big for me and probably to expensive when I get a single room at a much cheaper. Still wouldn't it be fun to stay in a place like this for 6 months or so making pics of the Cambodian people all day then returning to my Villa at night!

Not sure what kind of fruit that is growing in front of the Villa in the 3rd photo but I want to try it!

Dear the best Customer
I would to rent my house that have
1.The house side 7.5 m by 16.5 m
2.Have three bed room and each room have one bed and one mattress.
3.Have one big bathroom inside have hot and warm water.
4 Really nice good price just $285
5. Good to make NGO office or Company office have big land a round the house you can park many car and motor you want.
6. Have one nice big kitchen wood next to villa.
7. Have one washing machine, one refrigerator.
8. Have one big flat screen TV 32 inch have more than 200 Chanel
9. Electric charge the same price as what government charge.
10. In front or the Villa big tall wall and nice design.
11. Land side 30 by 64 matter 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Busy Week Off?

I want to do some printing this week off and also spend as much time with dad as I can. I have a confirmed workshop for Thursday so that will take a 3 or 4 hours but most of the rest of the week will be just normal day to day activities. I need to spend more time in the darkroom, ever since dads illness I have been thrown out of my darkroom routine. I have not had the drive to create in the dark. Dad was happy today so that makes me feel like working in the darkroom again. I will try to get back into the dark tomorrow sometime. I wanted to make a fine print of the neg from a few days ago.

Dad Had A Good Day

Visited dad tonight, no crocodiles in sight! Dad looked good, his colouring was very nice, he had eaten a bunch today and yesterday even made it out to a restaurant for the 2nd week in a row. Considering all he has been through dad looked good, weak, very thin but good.

I have a gift card from a high end restaurant I got for Christmas from work, before I wanted to use the card to take dad and mom out but then dad got ill. Now it looks like we still might be able to go out to dinner together as a family, maybe for the last time. I had thought that dad's restaurant days were behind him but since he went out 2 weeks in a row, he should also be able to handle this meal. When I asked dad today about going out together he seemed willing and eager to give it a try.

I can use the gift card ($100) to get dad a free lobster tail or two. Hopefully he will eat and enjoy it. We are 5 months into his diagnosis for advanced  untreatable cancer but dad is still fighting along, not giving up. Today was a good day, a fun day for me, I cut his lawn and spent time talking and joking with my father. Later in the week we will give the expensive dinner a try.

Dad said something today, something that surprised me,  I only half heard it because it sort of just snuck into the conversation. He said something to the effect that it was good I had plans to do the things I was doing. It was like dads way of saying he was happy and proud at what I was doing with my life. In the past he has supported me quietly giving me money, worrying about my safety etc, without saying to much about the photography, but today it was different. This might be the first time he actually told me he thought my making photos, spending my life that way was a good thing, a positive thing. It happened so fast and the 3 way conversation switched topics before I could really grasp things but I think that's what he meant.

Crazy Dream

Don't usually write about my dreams but this one was so  crazy I thought I would mention it. I just woke up  on my first day off after my 7-12 hour security night shifts, it is 5pm Monday.

I was in Thailand with dad and mom ( in real life they visited me there in 2003 and I took them on a 2 month tour), in the dream dad was very sick as he is now in real life but in the dream we were visiting  a crocodile farm. For some reason dad fell into the water and a large crocodile took him under water and swam away. I ran after him and could see dads white body in the crocodiles mouth underwater. Dad was not moving and limp, his arm loosely moving about,  it was terrifying to see dad that way, far underwater and being taken away.

Eventually the crocodile let him go and I reached in grabbed dads hand and lifted him out of the water. Dad was still alive but all cut up on his arm and back from the teeth of the crocodile, we talked, he was still breathing. I got him to the crowded busy street and carried him in my arms to a chair but he was having problems breathing, I could hear him struggling to breath. Dad was bleeding with a big tear in his arm and bite marks on his back, long open cuts.

I then started speaking in Thai to people nearby and asked a older lady on the street to call a ambulance for him. The lady was trying to call but could not get help for us, no one was coming. I felt desperate and did not know what to do. Just when I thought all was lost a real life friend of mine in Thai I have known for years was there she appeared almost by magic wearing a uniform and took over the situation, she called for help on her cell phone, she spoke to dad and cared for him. Everything seemed like it would be OK, it seemed dad might be live through this ordeal.

Then I woke up, a crazy violent dream mixing in a bunch of my fears and real life experiences. I hope I do not have any more dreams about dad and crocodiles (an animal I have always been afraid of).

I better go over to dads now I am supposed to cut his lawn tonight, it might rain.

Renting A Room In Phnom Penh Cambodia?

Thinking more and more of spending a long term trip in Phnom Penh Cambodia. Living in Cambodia is much more hardcore compared to Thailand plus the language would be a problem as I only speak a few words of Khmer. Still the photos might be better in Cambodia and the rooms might be cheaper, thou very very basic. To save money and to make better pics I do not mind roughing it a bit for 6 months. I know this place will be safe because it has a security guide.

Big New room discounts only $120 a month,  Phnom Penh City.
Cable TV
WIFI free with high speed in your room
24Hour security guide
24 Hour camera security
Room: Bathroom and Kitchen included
Parking Space

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dith Pran's Story

Here is a wonderful little video on the real life hero Dith Pran from the movie "The Killing Fields". The short documentary includes an interview with Dith Pran from a hospital bed before he died.

I sent an email to Mr Pran years ago asking about how I could help the Cambodian people and he kindly replied with some helpful links. A good and brave man who survived the Cambodian killing fields and then fought to raise awareness, help his country and prevent another genocide elsewhere.

Dith Pran passed away in 2008 age 65.

I need spend more time in Cambodia telling the peoples stories.

Dith Pran 1942-2008

The Three Films That Inspired Me To Do Documentary Photo Work

Three Hollywood films inspired me to go to Asia and do documentary photographic work. After seeing these films I wanted to enter these worlds and tell my own stories.

"The Year of Living Dangerously" (1982) A movie that showed the exotic and beautiful along with the tragic in Sukarno's Indonesia of the 1960s. Linda Hunt plays a male photographer character named Billy Kwan, a man who cared to much and to felt to deeply for the people of Indonesia. Billy Kwan is my favourite all time movie photographer.

"Under Fire" (1983) A tough but sensitive Nick Nolte playing photojournalist Russel Price. Price photographs in Africa and Nicaragua until he finally has seen enough bloodshed and decides to take sides in a struggle.

"The Killing Fields" (1984) A truly monumental and great film showing both love in friendship and the horrors  of the Khmer Rouge period of Cambodian history. John Malkovic plays disillusioned but passionate photographer Al Rochoff (a real life person).

Spoiler alert! The best ending to a movie ever.

All these films locals plus the photographer characters inspired me to do what I do now.

Sometimes watching a movie can have an eerie effect on you. In 1999 I was staying at a hotel on Monivong road in Phnom Penh. At that time Phnom Penh at night was mostly abandoned and dark, candles on the streets to light night markets etc. The hotel had a small theatre where you could pay $5 USD and watch a laser disc. I chose one of my favourite all time movies "The Killing Fields" In the film Phnom Penh is evacuated by the Khmer Rouge, around 2 million people are eventually killed.  The Khmer Rouge period ended about 1979, so in 1999 it was only 20 years previous. I walk into the  theatre and the movie starts, so there I am sitting in a Cambodian hotels movie theatre watching "The Killing Fields" for the 5th or 6th time. Eventually a few Cambodian people from the hotel sneak in, some of them would have been alive during this period of time and experienced what was on the screen first hand. Sitting side by side with Khmer people watching that movie in Cambodia was a very surreal experience.

Two hours later after watching all that killing, all that passion, love and trajedy the film ends and I immediately walked out on to the quiet streets of Phnom Penh at night, it was pitch black and very quiet. I get onto a lone motorbike and am driven through the dark streets, no businesses open, no people around only the occasional candle flickering in the distance. I kept thinking about what had happened in the very city just 20 years previous, it was at times awe inspiring and at times just spooky, it was almost like the ghosts of the dead could see you and reach out to you.

Anyway please check out the films if you have not seen then, if you have then watch them again! Great inspiring stuff.

Note* A fourth good film to check out is "Salvador" (1986) by Oliver Stone, starring James Woods and John Savage as half crazed photojournalist John Cassady.

Quote: Nick Nolte

On turning 70:

"When you start thinking about death more than sex, you know you're getting old. At 70, you crest that hill. In the sixties, you're still thinking you could do something about this slow disintegration of the body. As Katharine Hepburn used to say to me: 'Aging, Nick, is boring'. Now I know what she means."

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Quotes: Don McCullin

"Of course I came in for a lot of criticism, some of it very hurtful. There is a certain mercenary element in what I've done that does disturb me., but the rights and wrongs of the situation are not as simple as some people make out. I have recorded what some human beings have done to others. Is it better that we let these things happen and there is no witness, nothing to show us what is actually gong on? People sometimes fail to understand how much the photographer himself is emotionally disturbed by what he photographs. They think that all war photographers are just ruthless and relentless. But some of the pictures of mine that they saw a couple of years ago have probably stopped hurting them - they are still hurting me."

"My photography's an expression - of my guilt, my inability to make a protest in another way."

"I can't describe how I feel when I've had a good day photographing people, having met and talked to them and had their cooperation. It's as if somebody's given me an enormous present; I go home as if I've got a full belly."

“I’m alone in my house in Somerset. The ghosts in my filing cabinets sometimes seem to mock me – the ghosts of all those dead in all those wars” 

Photo Brings Housekeeper Back To Life

This story is quite interesting, it shows the power of photography. A found photographs brought this confederate white house housekeeper back to life 150 years after she disappeared.

Tintype of white house housekeeper Mary O'Melia made around 1865
This is what I hope to do with my portrait projects, give a lasting life to my subjects. If you make a strong photograph it lives on sometimes long after the person in the image has passed. In a way a photograph is a form of immortality and a strong portrait that is collected by a museum might live hundreds of years, possibly longer. If you do your work right you are giving your subject a form of life after death.

The man below is Khun Oo-dom I photographed him in 2011. When I went back to give him his photo in 2012 he had passed away, this and other portraits I made of him might be all that is left to show he was alive. The power of photography, you got to love it.

"Ain't Photography Grand!"

Khun Oo-dom 70, Klong Toey slum, Bangkok 2011

Friday, July 18, 2014

2015, 6 Month Trip?

After we lose dad I plan on asking for a 6 month leave from work to pursue the book project I want to dedicate to my father. The project will be a series of portraits of children living in poiverty in Southeast Asia. I plan on shooting the portraits with a 5x7 view camera, they will be vertical photos of standing full figures. I want to have continuity in the book so shooting everything full figure and vertical should help accomplish that. The goal would be to show the humanity of the children, their joy (as most kids can be happy in the oppressive situations) as well as their difficulties and poverty. I would travel throughout Asia to make the pics, Burmese children in the Mae Sot garbage dumpThailand, Thai children Klong Toey slum Bangkok, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Vietnam etc. I would need to make several thousand exposures which would eventually be edited down to a book of 50-75 portraits. The project might take 4 or 5 years to complete, I would also work on various other series during this initial 6 month opportunity.

Of course there is every chance that work will not allow me a leave, in that case I would take my 7 weeks of holidays and give the project a  small short start. Later on when I have enough money saved I would quit my job and go to Asia for 6 months to make pics. Hopefully dad will be with us for a long time yet and all of these plans are for the distant future, but I fear not. I will need time to recover after dad is gone, I am sure I will go into a depression, the only way to push through that is to make pictures which always gives me joy and helps me forget personal problems. Working hard and making pictures to put into the dad book is the best way I know how to move forward in life without my father.

Latest Dad Film

Here are some more shots of dad, Tri-x 800 ASA with 21mm lens and the Leica M6. Today when I visited dad his voice was a bit stronger than yesterday, he is still losing so much weight. He held my hand and thanked me for coming to visit him as he always does. I tell him lots of stories when I visit, about work about Thailand about silly pet videos, whatever I think will distract him for a while.

On Sunday dad managed to got to Swiss Chalet with mom and my uncle and aunt maybe for the last time. Not sure how much time dad had left, he fights on, eats as much as he can manage and tries his best to keep going. I hope I will have as much courage as he has shown when my time comes.

I want to try to photograph dad smiling and laughing but there is not much of that now. I photograph him how I find him each day, not asking dad to change anything. He has been very open to my camera not limiting what I shoot in any way. I try to document the truth when I photograph but also want to photograph him with respect. Dad has showed me nothing but love my entire life and made me everything I am today. Now he is allowing me the opportunity to record this last phase of his life. I asked him if he wants me to photograph him at the funeral home and he said yes a few shots, so I will photograph my father right up until the end, and then I will photograph him after the end. Last of all I will photograph his gravestone.

I will miss my father so much, not sure how to handle any of this, it's all so difficult. The most important thing is I want dad to be pain free and suffer a little as possible. I am looking forward to next week when I am off work. I can spend more time again with dad, maybe to tell him some stories and just be next to him to help him anyway I can.

Dad, July 2014 Canada
Dad, July 2014 Canada

Photographer Maya Goded

These two images are by the Mexican photographer Maya Goded. I think they are part of her book on prostitution in Mexico city called "Good Girls". I am going to try to track down a copy of the book tonight. I love wonderfully powerful abstract quality of these portraits..

Update* I bought my copy of the book from amazon, free shipping worked out to about $27 CAD. I have bought no photo books or much of anything else over the last 4 or 5  months as I am saving madly to go back to Asia but sometimes you got to splurge a bit. I am looking forward to studying this strong photographer.

Photo by Maya Goded
Photo by Maya Goded

Thursday, July 17, 2014

350000 Page Views!!!!

In the next day or so the blog should be hitting 350000 page views, it has taken almost 7 years. Thanks everyone for visiting the site and reading my little old blog. Please continue to click on the advertising as it is helping to fund my various photo series. I am not able to make much money from picture sales, shows or grants but the money from the blog always goes towards new film and photo paper. Every 10 months or so I make $100 from the advertising.

Thank you very much again for your continued interest and help. Now lets work our way up to 1000000 page views, 650000 to go!


Developing Using Rodinal In Thai?

I have been thinking a lot lately of doing film development in Thailand. My standard developer for all my films outside of stand development is D-76. With stand I use Rodinal 1/50. I have been thinking that if I am in Thai D-76 might be difficult to come buy and expensive. Why not use Rodinal especially for the large format sheet stuff which will probably be developed in trays along with all the 35mm stand development. I could probably save the 200ASA Tri-x both 35mm and 120 for later development in Canada but it would be fun to be processing some of the sheet film in Thai. I might have to try that in the coming months here in Canada to see how Rodinal looks with the 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10 Tri-x. At 1/50 or 1/100 one bottle of Rodinal might last me 6 months!

Another 800 ASA Dad Film

As I type this I am developing another film of dad shot on Tri-x exposed at 800 ASA, I will post some shots tomorrow. I want to less and less of my 35mm work using flash, with the faster lens I am using and 800 ASA stand development I should be able to do that. David Goldblatt used no flash in his photography, with 35mm I would like to do that also.

Shooting film at 800 ASA with movement and blur is a truly freeing experience.  You worry less about low light, less about focusing and sharpness. It is all about the feel of an image, the emotions your trying to communicate. The higher contrast prints with strong pronounced grain from the Rodinal development create a really unique and expressive look. Shooting 800 ASA Tri-x is something I plan to work on a lot more with in the coming years.

Quote: Peter Cushing

"I hate the word 'hate'."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Quotes: David Goldblatt

Speaking of his early photographic work against apartheid in South Africa.

" I  began at first to think that I had to be a missionary. I had to tell the world  what was happening in South Africa because nobody seemed to be taking any notice. I had visions of becoming a sort of missionary with a camera."

"The subject to me is always primary. Without the subject I'm lost. I see things that really excite me because they exist, they make me itch, and I've got to scratch the itch. I scratch it with a camera."

"I work on the old-fashioned principle that if you are shooting on negative film, you expose for the shadows and I used to develop for the shadows as well, so I would end up with very dense film. I would rather have a dense piece of film than one with nothing on it. You can't print what isn't there. But if if you 've exposed generously you can print. That's what I did."

Different Lives

My thoughts go back again and again to the people I photographed at the dump. Their lives in Thai are so different than my life here in Canada. Yesterday at work a women I work with threw out her entire dinner when a single fly landed on the food. I think back to my time in the dump, to the thousands of flies there that hover and crawl all over everything. They are in the garbage, then on you, then on your food, on your children, in your home, they are everywhere all the time. I remember at one point when I was in mid dump in the garbage counting 40 flies on my arms, chest, hands, legs.

What different lives we live here in Canada, one fly and the food is in the garbage. In the dump in Thai the food with the the flies on it is often taken out of the garbage. I need to get back to those people, and continue to tell the stories of those lives. The art expert grant and gallery people might think their story is not worthy but I do, and I will continue to try to tell it.

Young boy walking in the dump 1"Families of the Dump" Series, Thailand 2013

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Quote: Cees Nooteboom (Writer)

"Photography is preserving. It is a hundred other things of course, but to most people it is simply preserving. They preserve themselves and each other."

Qoute: Robert Capa

"If your pictures aren't good enough, you are not close enough."

Quotes: Donald McCullin

"There's a whole conveyor belt with one disgusting social problem after another. I know these things are wrong. That's why I photograph them."

"I don't believe you can see what's beyond the edge unless you put your head over it; I've many times been right up to the precipice, not even a foot or an inch away. That's the only place to be if you're  going to see and show what suffering really means. How could I live unscarred after all that?"

Monday, July 14, 2014

Latest Grant Rejection, That Makes 5?

Just got another grant rejection, this one is a small $750 travel grant. I was accepted for this grant the last time round but not this time, even thou I believed I qualified in all areas. The last grant lead to a major show in the Edmonton area and I also gave credit in all the advertising to the EAC as well as contributing photos (2 or 3?) to their year end funding statement catalogue. I am not sure what I could have done more of to quality, I did everything that was asked of me and a bit more. Maybe they just wanted to give out the grants to all new folks this time, they said in the rejection letter there were a record amount of applicants.

I will have to just soldier on using my security money to fund my photo projects. There are no galleries willing to pay artist fees to show my work, no one interested in buying the photos and no grant money. I earn a bit every month from my workshops and rest of my funds come from security guard duties, that will simply have to be enough. I will have to save as much as I can now, and shoot as much as I can later with that money. The photos will get done no matter it will just be a more difficult and a take more time. Everything will work itself out, determination, dedication and hard work will rule the day, it will allow me to follow my dreams. What the arty farty art expert people decide is beyond my control, but how hard I save and how hard I work at my photography I control. I will make the pictures regardless, I will do this on the own. Full speed forward, move out of my way Gerry is coming through!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

EPS, ESP Meeting

Had an Edmonton Photographer Society, Edmonton Society of Photographers meeting tonight. We all were at Larry's home today in the river valley, had some great food (full dinner) along with plenty of photo and art talk, the last several hours Larry showed his most recent work (all from the last 3 years) shot in Nepal, Bangladesh and the Philippines. Some amazing and powerful photography, with beautiful mysterious light and images that have both form and compositional feeling to them. Plus the overall human factor, which is something I admire most. Photos that are about people and tell the stories of their lives, that communicate the message of who and what they are. These are the most important types of photographs.

The group plans to meet at each members home where the photog shows his work. We have gone through 4 different members now I guess my turn is coming up. I was thinking of how I will do that. Larry did a digital projection show of his work tonight which worked out really well. I think I will create a PowerPoint of the variety of my series over the years. Maybe 5 photos from this project and 5 from that. I can do a running commentary of the pics as Larry did tonight. I would have to borrow Larry's projector as I do not own one. I could also show some fine fibre prints framed and otherwise along with a stack of my 11x14 contacts. I might even show some of the colour photos. It would be a fun night, who does not like talking about their work and I can blab with the best of them. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Quote: W. Eugene Smith

"Each time I pressed the shutter release it was a shouted condemnation, hurled with the hope that the picture might survive through the years, with the hope that it might echo through the minds of men in the future - causing them caution and remembrance and realization."

Random Photos #2

Here are some more random shots from the hardrive that I have never posted on the blog.

Betty ladyboy short time bar worker, Thailand 2012
Bloody finger, Thailand 2003
Mountain and lake, Rocky Mountains Canada 2011 
Remains of a forrest fire, Rocky Mountains Canada 2011
Young girl living in garbage dump, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
Young boy Klong Toey slum, Bangkok Thailand 2012
Klong Toey apartment, Bangkok 2010

Friday, July 11, 2014

Random Photos #1

I decided to look through some of the thousands of exposures that I shot over the last few years which are stored on my hardrives to find some pics I have never posted on the blog before. These photos are from a variety of photo series. I wanted to post something new, something besides shots of dad. Day in day out putting pics of dad online is so hard to deal with. I just wanted to see something else, something to distract me from that depressing reality.
Dad 2012
Ladyboy short time bar workers, Thailand 2012
Canal water and refections Klong Toey slum, Bangkok 2012
Man and woman sleeping over canal Klong Toe slum, Bangkok 2012
Man in Klong Toey slum, Bangkok 2011
Klong Toey slum freeway's, Bangkok Thailand 2012
Young boxer Klong Toey slum, Bangkok 2013
Long gogo bar worker, Thailand 2007
Garbage dump, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
Three young boys in garbage dump, Mae Sot Thailand 2013
Children Poipet slum, Cambodia 2010
Klong Toey slum, Bangkok 2012
Canal water and refections Klong Toey slum, Bangkok 2012
Three men at bus station, Thailand 2012
Garbage dump, Mae Sot Thailand 2013

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Earlier Photos, Dad In Hospital

Here are some earlier shots of Dad in hospital, this was around March I believe.

Dad and mom in hospital room, May 2014
Dad in hospital bed, May 2014

Need To Print A Show

I have a hunger to do a long difficult printing session for a major show. My new updated darkroom is raring to go, I am raring to get under the red light. The problem is I have no shows! : ))

It would be so exciting to print a major show of the "Families of the Dump' photos or some kind of sex worker or retrospective show. Two years ago I started printing 37 photos for the "Train is Coming" exhibition at Kaasa. I wish I had something like that to work towards, last year I did up 20 odd prints for the "Body Sellers" exhibition in New Orleans. I need a show like today, now, to print for.

Maybe I can just do up 20 or so of the dump pics in 16x20 for a possible show at some future, maybe date. It's not the same thou if your just printing for the sake of printing, having a gallery somewhere that wants the work makes all the difference. When you know it's going to be shown somewhere at a future date you have a worthy goal to work towards, the prints you create are more beautiful because they are destined for a gallery wall.

I guess I have to just continue to submit work. The photos I am doing of dad the last several months might also be a future project to submit to galleries but for now I am just doing it for my father and myself.  I am making the photos as a tribute to what dad is going through, I want him, I need him to be remembered. There is also the possibility a few of the dad pics might get into a self published mag with my photo group photogs.

The most important thing to do something I have always felt is to continue to create new work. If I keep photographing, if I continue to make new and important pics then everything else falls into place. If the new photos are good enough, if the stories are strong enough everything will eventually be shown. My number one concern should be the creation of new work, nothing else matters.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

More Dad 800 ASA Scans

Here are a some more recent photos of dad shot in June/July2014, all on Tri-x at 800 in stand development for 2 hours in 1/50 Rodinal. Dad and mom had their 57th wedding anniversary this week, I knew dad would make that date, he is proud of his long marriage.

Dad 82, July 2014 Canada
Dad 82, July 2014 Canada
Dad 82, June 2014 Canada
Dad 82 , July 2014 Canada
Dad 82 , June 2014 Canada
Dad 82, June 2014 Canada
Dad 82, June 2014 Canada

Monday, July 7, 2014

Quote: Micheal Ackerman (Photographer)

"Photography is an expression of the inexpressible, otherwise why photograph?"

Michael Ackerman is a very strong photographer, his work is so much less literal so much more ambiguous than what I try to do, there is a real unique beauty and mystery to it all. I need to grow as an photog to get to another level, to get past the first lines of the poem, make things more complex, more depth, less simplistic. I need to multiply the meanings of it all.

Here is a link to some of Ackerman's wonderful work:

Micheal Ackerman Photographs

Photo by Michael Ackerman