Sunday, August 31, 2014

Link: Worlds Largest Film Camera

This a great little story about building the worlds largest camera. I love the fact he is using it to shoot people with, not your average landscape stuff (like everyone else). Wonder how much this thing cost to do, rather amazing in its scope. Thou I wonder if shooting cultures could have been better captured using a 8x10 or 11x14 and traveling the world for 10 years shooting thousands of portraits at probably about the same costs. The camera they made is amazing and beautiful thou I am not sure they can make amazing pics with it.

Here is a link to the article and the Vimeo vids.

Lomography Article

Worlds Largest Film Camera

Need To Choose Well

I have been thinking a lot about what 15 or so photos I will use in the show. I need to select well, not only because I am in the same show as a great photographer (Larry Louie) but also because I get these exhibitions so seldom I need to make them count. If I choose the right work and print it to the highest standard who knows there that might lead, the dominoes could fall a bit. When you get your opportunities you need to make the most. of them. There is a possibility I might include some of the Cambodian slum negs and who knows maybe even something from the bar world photos of 2003. I think thou all the work will be from the last 2-3 years.

There should be no additional costs for this exhibition, I have all the frames, cut and uncut mats and all the photo paper I need. The negs are waiting patiently to be brought to life in the darkroom. I will start printing tomorrow night. I want to make these prints SING.

Let the games begin!

Quotes: Daido Moriyama

"I think the most important thing photographs can do is relate to the photographer and the viewer's memories."

"At first sight a photograph looks straight forward as it slices off a scene or moment in time. But images that photography captures are actually ambiguous and it's because of this ambiguity that I like photography."

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Links: More Daido Moriyama Videos

I love how it this major opening at the Tate in London Moriyama carries his camera with him : ).

Here is Moriyama wandering the streets of Tokyo with a digi camera and speaking about his life and photography.

Link: Daido Moriyama Documentary "Near Equal"

Here is a fun documentary on the current photographer I am studying Mr Daido Moriyama. You have got to love the simplicity of his approach, such simple tools whether it is the camera he uses or his darkroom.

Like always it comes down to your vision, your feeling, your creative statement not the gadgets and gear you use. Moriyama like so many great artists sees with his heart and brain first everything else is secondary. It is fascinating to listen to him describe what photography is, what a photograph is, the mans mind works in such a unique way. Watching a doc like this expands your thinking, it opens doors to what really is possible in photography. This is is all very exciting.

I need to put more abstraction, more randomness into my pictures, let shutter click and the creativity flow. Lets throw all rules out the window, there are no more rules, lets begin to see at a purer more basic and truer level.

Going With The Flow

I started shooting with a compact camera today, the Lecia zoom minilux I mentioned earlier. I am just going with the flow here, experimenting and being free in my photography. I will shoot up a bunch of old Tri-x that has been sitting around for several years in my darkroom and fridges. I want to just let the expression come naturally and not over think things. I use up a lot of film shooting this way but heck its fun and it is nice to just let things go and see where they take you, it's a new way for me, a new way to create. I will try lots of the NO FINDER type of photography. The lens is only a 35mm at the wide end so not sure its wide enough for that kind of thing, but am going to try.

Leica minilux zoom 25mm-70mm

Link: Shooting On The Street With A Compact Camera

Daido Moriyama often shoots with a compact camera that does not frighten people. I have a nice little compact Leica I bought several years ago that is not to intimidating, I might give that a try with Tri-x. I bought the Leica compact years ago cheap with this in mind. The camera has a nice lens on it and should work pretty well. I could hide my hunger to make the picture, it would make me look like a average joe point and shoot dude. It would probably work better in the bar areas of Thai where the people are camera shy. I could also just use a simple point and shoot digi, which are everywhere and less intrusive. Whatever works to tell your story is where it's at, film, digi, compact cameras, adobegraphs (composite heavily manipulated photographs), there should be no rules.

This is from Eric Kim's blog which is linked below.


Daido expands on why he prefers to use compact cameras compared to big and bulky SLR’s in his documentary, “Near Equal“:

“If you use a SLR, you see things like this [holds camera to eye]. And when you do this, you want to have perfect focus.The moment which you want to capture does not fit your feeling, if you do this. If you are using a compact camera, it is simple.[While holding SLR to eye] 

Also furthermore, if you [use a SLR in front of your eyes] many people in Shinjuku, people turn their faces, or flee.”

Eric Kim wrote:
Certainly the benefit of shooting with a compact camera in the streets is the fact you don’t have to always worry about the camera settings. You can simply point, click, and let the camera do the rest (autofocus, exposure, etc). According to Daido, it allows you to focus more on the photography and the feeling of the moment– rather than fumbling around with settings on the camera.
Not only that, but another huge benefit of shooting with a compact camera is the fact that it tends to be a lot less threatening than a big SLR. It is small, inconspicuous, has a quiet shutter sound, and looks more like a toy than a “serious camera."
Here is a link to a Video of Daido Moriyama speaking of using a compact camera. Check out his NO FINDER shot at 1 minute 42 seconds of the vid.

Dad Tighter

I got some chubby chicken from A&W for dad yesterday, he had a piece which was nice, today I plan on taking him some home grown corn on the cob. I also want to  take dad the Daido Moriyama photo book before I return it to the library.

I plan on photographing him with film tomorrow again, they will be higher contrast b/w shots, probably tighter head shots, hand shots. Working with the digital camera and film cameras together is quite compelling, I will do a bunch of that in Asia next trip. I am glad I opened up more to digital, the positive effect several photo club members and photo friends have had on me I guess. We should always be open to anyway that creates positive imagery. That is why I am always against rules in clubs, you can only shoot digi or you can only shoot film rules are just to damn restrictive and confining. Stop with the rules and simply allow people to create freely.

Long after my father is gone I will continue to work with and love the digital shots I made of him in his last days. Buying the digi was definitely the right way to go, now I am waiting on the used 24mm F1.4  from the States and a cheap Chinese ring flash for the camera which I bought last night.

Here is the latest shot of dad, rather like this one, the feeling in his eyes works for me. The lower eye is sharp the upper a bit soft, it creates an stronger dynamic I think. Not sure which version I prefer, there is a simplicity to the b/w shot that I find appealing. I wish I could print it in the darkroom, I might have to settle for a digital print if I can not figure out how to transfer the file to film. As I get better at the whole digital thingy, things will work themselves out. Another fun digital fact is that every time you shoot a pic you have both a colour and b/w version of the shot.

Dad Canon Mark II 24mm-70mm F2.8 at 70mm, August 29 2014
Image converted to b/w and contrast added, 2500 ASA 1/80 F2.8

Photographer Daido Moriyama

I borrowed a small book of photographs by photographer Daido Moriyama from the library last week and have become completely fascinated by his imagery. There is a almost mystical power to much of his work shot on the streets of Tokyo and elsewhere. I have no idea what any of the work means but the more and more I look at it the more and more I look at. This stuff has a hypnotic power to it.

Update: I have been laying off buying photo books of late as I am trying to save money to make my own pics in Asia. I could not resist the temptation today and bought 3 lower prices Moriyama books for $45 CAD including shipping from I will studies these volumes to death, they will probably influence my shooting over the next few years.

Photos by Daido Moriyama
Eric Kim Photo Blog about Daido Moriyama

Friday, August 29, 2014

Quote-Link: Mary Ellen Mark

PhotoWings Interview with Mary Ellen Mark at LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph, 2011.

What advice do you have for emerging photographers?

"My advice to emerging photographers would be to be true to yourself and to follow your hopes and dreams and to do your own things......when you get older and your life comes to and end or whatever that you have a body of work your proud of that's most important, that you have a body of work that you can be proud of." 

Photo Idea: The Life Of Weaw

I have started chatting again with an old friend from from 2003. Here name is Weaw and she has had a difficult life over the last 11 years. We met briefly a few years back in 2010 when I visited and photographed her in her family home in Northern Thailand (check the blog from in December 2010). Weaw lost much of her freedom when she became HIV positive, she also went blind as a result of that disease. The beautiful thing about Weaw is she does not let any of that get her down, she retains her joy for life and hope for a better future.

I was thinking that a photo series on her life might be a good project. She is a kind and brave person. To show her life now after HIV and blindness might be a great story, a story of sadness but also of courage, strength and hope.

Maybe can spend a month with her and her families and friends, documenting what here life is like now.

More thought needed. I have so many photo ideas it's hard to say what will work and what will not work, what I will do and not do.

Dad Yesterday

I made the right decision to buy the used Mark II digi. Having this new tool has allowed me to make hi res, quick photos of dad in colour. Soon I will not be able to photograph my father, its now or never. Having the money in the bank and not getting the colour shots would have been a huge mistake. Now I will have these photos for the rest of my life, I can print them large and remember my father. Dad looks quite good here, his face does not show the weight lost as much as the rest of his body does.

Dad August 28th 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Framing The Show

Framing the show this time round should be lots easier than the Kaasa show. I have all the frames and mats ready to go all I have to do is make the new pics and insert them. There should be no extra costs not even for over mats as I can reuse all the stuff from the last show. I would print the photos on 16x20 paper and mount them in the 20x24 black frames I have in storage.

I am thinking of doing one thing thou, using my large white frames to house two larger dad ring flash portraits. I want to print those images to high contrast but I am unsure how the square format images will look in big white vertical frames. I can print larger if I use the white frames, on 20x24 paper. Maybe its best to stay to 16x20 paper and the 20x24 black frames.

I have to thank my friend Rob who helped a ton with those old frames. At times he can be grumpy and hold grudges but underneath he is a decent enough fellow. Without Robs help I would not have the frames for this coming show and past shows. This will be my third time using the black and white frames, so it was money well spent. I hope I can eventually use these frames 10 times or more.

Quotes: W. Eugene Smith

From the book "dialogue with photography" by Paul Hill and Thomas Cooper.

Speaking about what he tried to do when making photographs during WWII.

"Your wrote that you felt the Japanese, as well as the Americans, were your brothers in your family."

Smith: "Yes. My private thoughts were that I wanted to use my photographs to make an indictment against war. I hoped that I could do it so well that it might influence people in the future and deter other wars."

"Do you think that as a little naive?"

Smith: Of coruse it was, but I still believe it. There are some things which you must attempt to do, even thou you know you're going to fail. Sometimes, enough can be done in small ways. 

Books For Dad

Over the last few days I have been dropping off some photo books large and small for dad to browse though, he seems to like to do that. Hopefully in the coming years I can keep my vow and dedicate my own book to him.

Over the last few days the books have included 2 by Mary Ellen Mark, a Walker Evans, a Nan Goldin and last night a Rineke Dijkstra book of portraits (wonderful work).

Update* Gave dad a small book to look at today on David Goldblat along with the local newspaper. He seemed so weak and fragile, I wish there was something I could do to make him stronger, it's all so heart breaking to see him this way. He thanked me when I kissed him before coming to work, his eyes so big, his body so small and quiet. I did a few head shots with the Mark II. Not sure how much time we have left together, whatever that number is, it's not enough.

Photo by  Rineke Dijkstra

Possible Photo Mix For Show

I have been thinking of the mixture of photos for the upcoming show, it might go something like this. If I show 15-17 photographs:

-2 Muay Thai boxing shots.
-5 Dad shots.
-4 Nepal shots.
-6 Dump shots.

Not sure about the boxing photos, might change that off to an extra photogaph of dad and the families of the dump. I will start printing the exhibition this Monday, which will give me 5 months to complete it. The most important shots of those of dad so will probably print those first so he can still see them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Quote: Marlon Brando

"I don't see anybody as evil. When you start seeing people as evil, you're in trouble. The thing that's going to save us is understanding."


This coming February show with Larry has given me a distraction. I spend to much of my day and night thinking of dad, this exhibition thing gives me something positive to think about and work towards. I can plan and print the show over the coming months and forget for a while about the sadness, it is a good escape for me. I feel myself getting pulled down deeper and deeper into depression, photography has always helped me to see the world in a more beautiful positive way even thou many of my photos deal with harsh realities. Larry and Joanna came to the rescue with this exhibition when I needed them most.


Hoping to get a few people off their tushes and into promoting photography in Edmonton I sent out an email to many local photo people I know. The emails were sent out mostly to club members I used to hang with. I got one reply that was hopeful and one that was a bit supportive but everyone else was dead silent. The indifference many of the club folks I used to hang with to supporting the arts and photography in Edmonton is rather pathetic. That is one of the problems I always faced in the club setting 90% of the members are not that passionate for photography, its mostly a social outing for them. When you ask to help push a photo festival in the city or if you ask to do a photo project together your met with indifferent silence. Many just do not give a f-ck. Photography is number 15 on their importance list, they have other priorities, such is life!

I will keep on trying thou, Rome was not built in a day, maybe we can get Edmonton into Exposure.

Update: Just got another positive response so maybe there is hope!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Link: "Exposure Photography Festival" Catalogs

Here is a link to "Exposure Photography Festival" catalogs tin PDF format. I guess they print out 28000 of these a year to promote the various photography exhibits in the festival.

Exposure Show A Go

I got confirmation tonight that the "Exposure Photography Festival" show is a go. Larry Louie and I will be doing a 2 person (think it will be 2 person) show at his beautiful Louie Gallery on 124 street. This all happened rather sudden. Wes L from "Exposure Photography Festival" came to a function to support Nepalese school children I was part of on Friday at Louie Eyecare Centre. Larry and his wife Joanna were excited by the possibilities of being part of Exposures spreading North to Edmonton. The festival will be in Calgary, Canmore, Banff, Lethbridge and Edmonton in 2014. Larry wanted to do a show on documentary photography for "Exposure" so asked me to take part.

This is a great opportunity to finally show the work I have made over the last 2-3 years Hopefully I will get to exhibit 15 large 16x20 photographs maybe a few more. I am happy the "Families of the Dump" work will finally be seen by a larger audience. I also hope to show 5 of the photographs I have done of dad lately. Today when I spent an hour with him I told him what I planned to do, he was quiet and did not say much but I think he liked the idea. The photos would be a tribute to his courage and to the fight he is going through, I want to show dads underlying love and humanity in this series.

Larry, Joanna and I want to push Edmonton photography in a different direction. So much club and  local photo work is so mundane, so pretty picture oriented. It is like everyone is taking exactly the same type of photograph that everyone else is taking. Hopefully this documentary photo show will help open people up to a new ways of seeing that takes your mind and heart in new directions.

I hope the festival and the work will also be recognized in the local media, it would be great if we could get some TV converge along with some newspaper notice. Showing people that photography can be more than pictures of flowers, sunsets, old buildings and mountains is one of the goals of the exhibition. If we could do some public talks that would also be great. I would love to talk and tell stories about dad, the dump and Nepal

Still no title for the show but things are starting to fall in line now. I am riding a bit on the coat tails of my friend Larry on this one, I hope to not let him down and to print work that is worthy of a joint exhibition with him in his wonderful gallery. Larry is a heavy hitter, to be in the same gallery show as him is quite a compliment. I will need to show my best work just to tread water next to his stuff.

The exhibition will take place in February of 2015.

The Guy Who Designed My Leica Lens

During our workshop on Friday Doug told me about this Lecia lens designer who he had known personally. This guy was a bit of a genius when it came to lens design, he has passed on now after leaving his mark. Here is his Wikipedia page, Dr. Walter Mandler.

16x20 Photo Paper

Just  a few minutes ago I did a survey of photo paper available in my darkroom. If the "Exposure Photo Festival" group show happens I should have enough 16x20 photo paper available to print the exhibition. I did not want to spend thousands of dollars on additional paper and I think I will not have to. I have quite a few different types of 16x20 paper available in the darkroom and assuming it is not fogged it should work just fine for the show. I would want to keep to one paper per series type but if I do a best of the last 2 years for this show I can use different paper for the dump, dad, boxer and Nepal pics. It might actually help the presentation as all the print projects will not look identical in tone, there would be a variety in feel and texture.

Mary Ellen Mark, Ward 81

I have been thinking of the great photographer Mary Ellen Mark after the recent quotes I posted from her. I love her complete devotion to her craft, something we should all aspire to.

Here is a link to her wonderful early photo essay Ward 81. I bought the reissue of the book several years back, it is well worth purchasing.

Ward 81 Oregon State Hospital, Salem Oregon 1976 by Mary Ellen Mark

National Gallery Of Canada Response

Surprisingly this afternoon I got a response form the National Gallery of Canada submission I did a year or so ago. I got my submission returned along with a positive note saying they were not buying photographs at present and thanking me for sending them an update on my work. It was nice for them to take the time to write me back and send back the submission back free of charge. I guess their people had a look at everything. So the submission did what was required it put the Gerry Yaum name out there, he is on the radar. I got to show a bit of work and received a polite return letter from the National Gallery of Canada, the number one facility in the entire country, one of the top museums int he world.   I will try again in a few years, with the latest and newest work, mission accomplished with this package.

I was quite impressed that the national art people would take the time to write back, many local small  time places are much less considerate. It is great to at least some of the work seen by national gallery people, even if no prints are shown or purchased. Maybe someday before I die or after, a single print of mine will hang in this facility, that would be a dream come true. To have a person I photographed in Asia or maybe even a print of dad hanging in those hollowed halls, would be so wonderful and rewarding.

Here is a link to the gallery in Ottawa, well worth a visit if you have never been there. I saw a wonderful Donald McCullin retrospective show there 4 or 5 times when I visited a couple of years back.

National Gallery Of Canada, Ottawa Ontario Canada

Canon 24mm F1.4 II

Am bidding on a 24mm F1.4 Canon II lens. After seeing the great work my friend Larry Louie does with this lens over the last 5 years or so I had to get one for the Mark II. This is the last gear item I will be buying for quite a while. These lens retail from around $1100 to $1400 USD used and around $1650-$2000 USD new.

I was thinking of buying a new lens but this one is in great mint shape so made an offer. Will see how it goes, I have finished 2nd on 3 different auctions for the lens over the last 2 weeks.

Here is a video of the actual lens I am trying to buy.

Update: I finally got the lens today after trying in several auctions. I paid a bit more than I wanted to but this lens is in mint condition, cost is $1249 USD plus shipping. I will use this baby to death wight the Mark II 5D and then with the Mark III later on. Plan on taking with me on the next trip to Asia. I can use it to do colour work on the tourist, worker relationship project discussed earlier. I will also use the lens and camera in very low light situations at F1.4 2000, 3200 and maybe 6400 where I cannot shoot film. This camera lens combination will give me more shooting options thou printing digitally is still a bit of a downer, maybe that will grow on me.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Possible Exhibition Prints

Just running images through my mind thinking of what my work for this possible "Exposure Photography Festival Show'.  Here are a quick choice 40 possibles for the maybe 10-20 available spots. The pics are from the "Dads Last Days", "Families of the Dump", "Slum Boxer" and "Nepal" projects. I probably have another 100 possibles that I would need to consider. Because the work would be part of a group gallery show, the selected work would also need to fit into that agenda.

Am getting quite a bit ahead of myself here but after so many gallery rejections it's nice to think positively for a change. Being part of an important photographic festival like "Exposure" would be an honour. More importantly being able to tell "Dads" story and the "Families of the Dump" story would be so rewarding. I might also be able to get people to donate a little to "Eyes to Burma", I would post the link in my "Artist Statement for the show. This group exhibition and the work could have a positive effect on peoples lives.

Exposure Photography Festival, Possible Show

The details are very limited at present but it looks like there is a good chance I might be part of a group show in early 2015. The show would be part of the Exposure Photography Festival. The festival has been taking part in Calgary, Banff and Canmore since 2004 and now is spreading to other locations in the province of Alberta. The next Exposure Photography Festival will add Lethbridge and Alberta's capital Edmonton (where I live).

I should have more info on the show in the coming weeks, the festival takes part in February. I would need at least 4 months to print maybe longer. I would probably use my existing stock of 16x20 photo paper in warm and cool tone depending on the subject. Not sure how many photographs would be exhibited, my current guess would be 10-25 b/w 16x20 prints framed to 20x24. There would be no shipping costs or additional framing matting costs as I have enough frames and cut mats in stockNot sure what I would exhibit if this happens.

I have several options:

1) "Families of the Dump" Burmese families living and working in the Mae Sot Thailand garbage dump.
2) "Dads Last Days" My fathers last days as he deals with cancer.
3) "Nepal Images" Photos from leprosy clinics, migrant farmers, street kids.
4) "Slum Boxers" Muay Thai boxing gym in Klong Toey Slum
5) A combination of all of the above.

I think number 5 might be my best bet, I would have the top selection of images and I could include number 2 which would be a tribute to my father. I could tell dad that his photos will be hanging in February he might like that. All photos exhibited would be new work from the about the last 2-3 years..

Not a 100% sure this is happening but if it does I will post full details later. his would be my second photography festival, I did PhotoNOLA  in New Orleans last year.

Here are some links to past Exposure festival work, the best photographers in the province have shown in past years.

Quotes: Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark is a photographer I have admired for decades. She is still creating great work at 74 and still shooting film. Encouraging to us all! Quotes from "American Photo" May/June 2014

"My heart is still in people and in showing them."

"I am a realist and I believe that the most interesting things come from reality, and that has not changed."

"You don't stop because you can't stop."

"Taking these photos is who I am and what I do."

Friday, August 22, 2014

Another Workshop

Did another workshop today, this one was a view camera class that went fast and easy. Doug the student works in the optical field so has great experience with all types of lens. He was able to pick up the tech stuff very quickly so the most important part of the workshop for him was the camera handling and getting some hands on experience shooting. It was a nice afternoon and another $120 into the photography trip kitty. I think I have enough film now so am investing it into the next trip for now. I would buy photo paper but do not have any shows lined up so spending money there seems a bit premature.

I have 3 or possibly 4 more workshops on the docket. All of that money will go into the bank for the 6 month extended trip. Todays workshop student was from Saskatoon, the next is from Calgary, I am starting to pull in photo people from other provinces now.


A friend Ray brought E-Books to my attention in a email today. I did a little search and found out that you can do E-Books on blurb then upload them to Amazon for sale through Apple iBooks store. Will do some more research into this stuff next week when I am working my nightshifts and have some time.  It might be a way to generate a tiny bit of income that would allow me to create more and do security less.

L1200 Almost Ready

The L1200 Durst 4x5 should be up and running and printing in the next couple of weeks. I was held back because of lack of a proper negative carrier. I found one on EBay which I bought and it has been shipped along with some anti newton glass. My hope is that I can get this machine printing by September. I have two different heads for it a condenser head of some kind and also a colour head. This added tool will help the printing because the light source is quite a bit brighter which will help with my dense negs.

My friend Jack is also going to give me his lens that I can use in the printing process. You can never have enough free lens to print with, they all have slightly different sharpness and feels.

"Lost Innocence" Portrait Style Idea?

I have been thinking of using the ring flash and blad to tell the stories of the "Lost Innocence" brothel workers. The idea behind these pics would be to raise awareness about forgotten workers inside Thailand. The brothels from what I understand (need to do read more about this world) use trafficked woman from Burma, Laos and Cambodia who work with Thai customers (mostly). I have very limited knowledge of this ugly scene and it would be dangerous to shoot because of the police corruption that is involved. Most of these places have police protection and pay bribes to stay open. In Cambodia some of the brothel customers are police getting freebees so I assume that happens in Thai as well. It would be dangerous series to work on, something that might get me robbed or physically attacked. When corrupt police and human traffickers see any danger to their illegal income anything can happen, lots of it bad.

The idea behind the series would be to do a series of portraits showing these forgotten abused women and tell the story of who they are and the terrible lives they live. I want to make stark portraits that show the ugliness of it all and thought that square format heads might communicate that message. Photos in the same style as the two I made of dad recently. The ring flash is also important technically. When I photographed brothel workers in Cambodia in 2003 the rooms were so crowded and dark that flash was the only viable option.

I might also try printing the work using wet plate in the darkroom. Having stark honest portraits of these workers and then print them large on wet plate might work very well. Showing the work nationally and internationally could not hurt the fight to end this kind of exploitation (at least a little bit). The pics might do nothing but they could also make a small positive change, its certainly is a goal worth working towards. This would be one of 4 or 5 projects I might work on during my extended Thai trips. Along with the  "Migrant Workers" project and the "Families of the Dump" and the colour "Sex Tourist-Worker Relationship" series. It would probably happen over many years maybe 10 or more.