Sunday, November 30, 2014

Photo Idea: Inspired To Design Retrospective Magazine

Looking through the newly arrived Vanessa Winship retrospective book has inspired me to try my own homemade version retrospective publication. The idea is to do a 240 Blurb magazine which runs around $49.99 USD. I will design it along similar lines as the Winship book, into series sections with a brief intro to each. This is a bit of a vanity project, it will also serve as a career marker for me. This retrospective mag will help me see exactly where I am in my photo career, how many top notch pics I have actually made. Having everything in one mag should help put everything in a proper perspetive.

I might also be able to do a bit of promotion with this thing as well through the YouTube and Vimeo channels. Who knows a book publisher might see it and become interested. Anything is possible in the world of the internet, in the past I got a international show as a result of this blog, so why not a book? I might also be able to print and buy a few mags and send them to important collectors and museums/gallery as gifts, thou the cost would limit what I could do there.

I wish I could have a retrospective mag for this coming exhibition but thats impossible. I think thou having it ready for the next majorish exhibition (#6) wherever that may be, should be possible.

The series sections might be:

1) Early work.
   - Growing up
   - Landscapes
   - Nudes
   - West Oakland ghetto drug scene
   - Laguna beach gay scene
   - Baba's last days

2) Bangkok 1999
   - Street life
   - 3 Hearts (colour)

3) Bargirl/Sex worker
   - Freelance street workers male and female
   - Bargirl workers in Thailand (colour)
   - Freelance workers Cambodia (colour)
   - Brothel workers in Cambodia (colour and b/w)
   - Sex worker on white
   - Ladyboy worker  (colour and b/w)

4) Documentary
    - Families of the dump
    - Klong Toey slum
    - People under the freeway
    - Muay Thai boxer
    - Cambodia
    - Nepal
    - Japan
    - Dads last days

This is the first step in the development of this project which will probably take at least a year of work. The most difficult part will be finding all the negs (especially the early photos) and doing all the scanning and photoshop work needed

Centrally Located Condo In Bangkok

This condo is not as nice looking as the previous one I posted and it cost more 15000 baht ($521 CAD) but it has a great central location. The room (48 sqm) is located in a prime Bangkok area so your bound to pay more. This condo is within walking distance of bars, restaurants, tourist-Thai markets, shopping centres, supermarkets and most importantly the skytrain system. In Bangkok you can spend hours and hours locked in traffic or trying to get a taxi during rush hour. Getting to where you want to go in Bangkok can be extremely time consuming and painful. Paying more for a room with a better location especially as a Westerner might be my best bet. Saving costs on transportation and wasted time spent sitting in taxis and buses might be well worth the extra monthly room price. I also like the light from the window next to the kitchen area. With power and water the total cost would be around $650 to $750 CAD a month. The down side is that if I spend lots of time outside of Bangkok, in Mae Sot shooting the dump project or in Cambodia etc, the $521 or so monthly charge would be a tough pill to swallow.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

No Scratch? No Kidding!

When your printing work for an important exhibition it pushes you, you try your best, you work and work at getting the prints just right. Today I have been working lots but producing little. After working for several hours on a print of dad I decided to cut my losses and stop, move on, the photo was not saying what I thought it should say. I then started work on to 3 different dump negs.

1) Man in hammock.
2) Baby in shack.
3) Mother feeding baby.

The second neg, baby in shack, had some minute scratches on it that after careful consideration made me decide to scrap trying to print it. I then remembered some stuff I had thrown in when I purchased something years ago. Quite often I buy things and miscellaneous freebees are thrown in, the stuff thrown in free that time is called "Edwal-No Scratch". I had never tried this product before but in desperation I gave it a go. You are required to take a brush and then coat each side of your negative with the Edwal No Scratch liquid. I spread it on then reinserted the sticky neg in the glassless carrier (the stuff does not seem to dry). I just did a quick test print, and the scratch believe it or not is gone! No kidding! Go figure! Even in the Durst condenser enlarger that shows every neg imperfection I can see nothing.

The baby in the shack neg is back in play! I am off to shovel Dads snow and then its back into the darkroom tonight to continue working on this negative.

Hmm, I wonder how long you can leave this stuff on the negative before it damages it?

Poems: "A Minor Bird" And "A Question" By Robert Frost (1874-1963)

                A Minor Bird
I have wished a bird would fly away,
And not sing by my house all day;

Have clapped my hands at him from the door
When it seemed as if I could bear no more.

The fault must partly have been in me.
The bird was not to blame for his key.

And of course there must be something wrong
In wanting to silence any song.

                A Question
A voice said, Look me in the stars
And tell me truly, men of earth,
If all the soul-and-body scars
Were not too much to pay for birth.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Link: Use Of Audio?

I just read something about Susan Meiselas's photo book "Carnival Strippers" shot back in 1973-75. She incorporated audio in her project, in the first printing of the book there were text interviews with the working girls and in the second reprint a few years back she included a CD of those taped conversations. I have the 2nd version of the book but do not remember a CD, I need to look into that and give it a listen.

The idea behind the audio inclusion was to give a more rounded complete picture of these workers lives. Often photographs alone do not tell a complete enough story, things in real life are complicated and documentary photos do not always communicate everything clearly.

According to the book "Photography The Whole Story" by Juliet Hacking she quotes Meiselas" The whole point of hearing voices is to challenge what the pictures themselves show, that is the tension and power of 'stereotypes'; contextualizing with voices/texts hopes to counterbalance and reveal what is missed by images alone."

Should I try to include interviews for the same reasons if I do the "Lost Innocence" brothel worker project? Language would be the major problem I would face. I can see an exhibition in my minds eye. Stark large 6x6 contrasty b/w head shots, displayed at an important gallery with headphones under the pictures. When you pick up the headphones you can listen to a 10 minute MP3 of the worker telling her own story in her own voice. Something like this could be extremely powerful and might jack up the awareness level 10 fold with the viewer. The visual/audio combination could be bang on strong and very compelling. Maybe I could get the person telling their story in their own language and then hire translators to do a voice over. Not sure how I can pay for all that on a security guards salary but its worth the effort.

Here I go again, I have lots of grand ideas, not sure how close to reality this sort of thing is. It is easy to make plans like this while laying on my sofa in snow bound Edmonton but turning it into a reality, that's another thing.

Here is the Susan Meiselas book mentioned:
Carnival Strippers

Snowed In! Darkroom Time!!

A big snow storm has hit my city of Edmonton. I spent 2-3 hours digging out my house and my parents place yesterday and today when i woke up all evidence of that had completely disappeared. I am not sure I can go to dad and moms today as I am worried about getting stuck in my back alley after I back out of the garage. Last night I barely got into the garage today I am not sure I can get out! I can dig out all the snow on the back driveway but after that I would probably need a big all terrain vehicle with huge snow tires to go any further. I was supposed to go to a work Christmas party tonight but doubt I will do that either, to bad those are always nice functions.

It looks like today will be nothing but darkroom work with a mid day attempt of snow shovelling around my house. I am working on another photo of dad, last night I was doing up the masks. I want to continue to work on that dad print followed by a shot of a young child in a dump shack from the "Families" series. If I can do these last 2 prints by Monday morning I will have done up 4 negs for this week which would be a very nice little run, my best so far this exhibition printing schedule.

I feel things are coming along, but am unsure how far as I have yet to do my secondary printing process of bleaching and toning on any of the prints yet.

Another sucky point on all this snow is I have several books of poetry waiting for me at the library and I cannot get to them!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Video: Dad Magazine Flip Throu

I got a Blurb delivery this afternoon, here is a quick flip through magazine #3, dads mag. I think it looks pretty good with one exception. The last photo has either a printing problem or a problem with the scan. I cannot see anything wrong in my scan or my Book Wright software layout. I have written to Blurb about it and sent scans asking for their opinion. It might be a printing problem on their end. If I cannot figure it out I will replace that photo and reprint the entire magazine 3 times. I gave a copy of the magazine to dad tonight, he looked through it several times. His favourite portrait was the head shot on the right page of the section he is looking at int he photo below. These things are far from perfect but they are certainly acceptable, better than anything I have had at my previous 4 majorish shows. These magazines will add a positive element to my part of the night.

Dad looking through his magazine tonight.

Here is the Vimeo. com higher quality link:

Video: Dad In The Shadows

After a long beautiful sleep filled with dreams (was trying to get 2 rolls of film through enemy lines with agents of evil attempting to capture me, sort of a spy novel dream), I am working of a photo of my father laying in bed. This picture was made a few months back in the summer when it was hot and he was in bed with light coming from a window behind him. I will probably include this shot in the exhibition, am not sure what 3-5 photos of dad I will show. Larry mentioned that I might be able to display the dad photos downstairs in the main area of his shop. If I show downstairs I would probably show one or two more prints of dad as there is more room.

I think I better print all the photos of dad as soon as I can. Now when he is still in reasonably good shape it is all so much easier to handle, later when he gets more sick or passes I am not sure I will be able to do anything. Later I will probably put these negs away, it will all be to difficult to attempt to print them at least for a several years. I hope dad can come to the opening night in a wheelchair but that's in February so who knows, I have no idea what his health will be like from day to day.

Today after I work int he darkroom and the snow stops falling I will go over and do his sidewalks and driveway and have a visit. I hope dad is feeling OK today, yesterday he was not so bad. Each day we have together is another good day.

3rd Attempt of "Dad in the Shadows" print.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Video: Printing Burmese Child On Dump Shack Steps, Mae Sot Thailand 2013

Enough laying around with my cat on my lap reading poetry, here is today's printing effort. This is a difficult neg that I will probably need to continue to work on. I made 4 slightly different versions of it this morning, not sure I like any of them. I am waiting for them to dry to decide whether I need to keep printing it or move on to the next neg for the show.

My goal for the week is to do up 3 good show prints, starting to print on Tuesday should give me a good run at accomplishing that goal.

Printing method:

1) 80 seconds f 4 filter 2 with durst 1200 condenser enlarger.
2) Dodge arm of girl 30 seconds.
3) Burn with mask #1 40 seconds.
4) Burn with max #1 upper single colour cloth over girls head (block other holes) 120 seconds.
5) Burn with max #1  lower ladder (block other holes) 60 seconds.
6) Burn with hole card 100 seconds upper stripped cloth over girls head.
7) Change f stop to 2.8 and filter 1 burn with card left side of print 100 seconds.
8) Burn with bent card upper left corner 40 seconds.
9) Burn with mask #2 upper corner +300, move mask every 100 seconds to blend around tree.

Pray it works!!

Note* I made mask #2 out of sheet of cardboard (from photo paper container envelopes) because it is thicker. I am doing very long burn exposures, in this case 300 seconds. If I used normal photo paper as a mask the light might get through and fog the paper. Better safe than sorry!

Here is the YouTube version:

Poem: "To Autumn" By John Keats (1795-1821)

                               TO AUTUMN
    SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
        Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
    Conspiring with him how to load and bless
        With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
    To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
        And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
            To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
    With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
        And still more, later flowers for the bees,
        Until they think warm days will never cease,
            For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells. 

    Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
        Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
    Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
        Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
    Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
        Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
            Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
    And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
        Steady thy laden head across a brook;
        Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
            Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours. 

    Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
        Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
    While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
        And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
    Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
        Among the river sallows, borne aloft
            Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
    And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
        Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
        The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
           And gathering swallows twitter in the skies. 

Quote: John Keats (Poet)

"The great beauty of poetry is it makes everything, every place interesting."

Poem: "The Public Garden" By Robert Lowell

Here is a poet I discovered today, Mr. Robert Lovell (1917-1977). This is a poem about a place, it invokes so many visuals, it is almost like you are there. Maybe at some future date I will try to write some poetry, there is a real beauty to this art form, a real spiritualist nature to it all. Poetry reaches deep to another level, it is different than novels, non fiction etc, other stuff I have read for years. I do not know quite how to explain it, all I know is I am starting to love to read it. I enjoy its personal lyrical nature, it's like the words of a good poet-poem get by all the bullshit and to the heart of the matter, the poet speaks from deep inside who they are.

              The Public Garden

Burnished, burned-out, still burning as the year
you lead me to our stamping ground.
The city and its cruising cars surround
the Public Garden. All's alive—
the children crowding home from school at five,
punting a football in the bricky air,
the sailors and their pick-ups under trees
with Latin labels. And the jaded flock
of swanboats paddles to its dock.
The park is drying.
Dead leaves thicken to a ball
inside the basin of a fountain, where
the heads of four stone lions stare
and suck on empty fawcets. Night
deepens. From the arched bridge, we see
the shedding park-bound mallards, how they keep
circling and diving in the lanternlight,
searching for something hidden in the muck.
And now the moon, earth's friend, that cared so much
for us, and cared so little, comes again—
always a stranger! As we walk,
it lies like chalk
over the waters. Everything's aground.
Remember summer? Bubbles filled
the fountain, and we splashed. We drowned
in Eden, while Jehovah's grass-green lyre
was rustling all about us in the leaves
that gurgled by us, turning upside down...
The fountain's failing waters flash around
the garden. Nothing catches fire.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Head Spinning With Photos

Went out with Larry tonight for dinner and then a visited to his home photo library afterwards, my head is now spinning with images. Larry showed me some of his favourite books and magazines, we browsed through the books speaking about what worked for us. It was a fun night with lots of photography, we talked Salgado, Larry's coming photo trip, photo theory, plus all the people-subjects-lighting-composition-decisive moments in the various books. Great stuff!

As you develop as a photographer it is vitally important to have positive influences. Through the years I have had many people in clubs and in life who have inspired my photography now Larry is being a very positive influence as well. The Internet has also become a huge thing for me, new friends read and respond to the blog, I see tons of work online and exchange ideas with other photographers world wide, its a constant evolving education. Everything all mixes in your mind, changing who you are, adapts your thought process, your focus, your style. Seeing, thinking, learning, having the chance to grow with the help of others, it is all positive stuff. Love every second of it.

"Ain't Photography Grand!"

I will order 4 of the books Larry showed me today starting with the two linked below.

Anders Petersen
Vanessa Winship
Note* This blog entry makes 720 for year, tying last year for the most entries in one year. The next blog will be a brand new record number of 721 and I still have all of December to add to that total. I might be writing a few to many of these things : )) One of the reasons I started writing the "Yaum's Photo Diary" was to avoid boring and pissing off all my friends with emails. Imagine getting 720+ emails from Gerry on photography, gosh would that be annoying!

Rental Condo In Bangkok

For fun and with a bit of hope for the future I visited a real estate site tonight. Maybe if I do go to Thai in the next year for 6 months, I can rent something like this. The idea would be that I would use this place as my base to store all my gear etc and also as a living space in Bangkok. I would also take trips around the country or outside of the country for short periods. So I could stay here when shooting in Bangkok and when not it can hold all my stuff so I could be more mobile and travel lighter. I have done this before when I stayed in Bangkok for 10 months in 1999 and when I stayed in Pattaya Thailand for 1 year in 2003. I never had a nice room like this thou. I love the large windows, the kitchen and the trees of this Condo.It would be a great place to relax and refuel after a hard days shooting.

Here are the rooms details. Located in OK semi central area Bangkok, 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 55 sqm, monthly rental 9000 Baht $308 CAD. Water and power are extra, power is expensive in Thai but you need it for the air conditioner and fridge. I would expect another $150 maybe more for that, so the total cost would be around $458 CAD or $407 USD. With big windows like this I might be able to turn the a/c off to save money, as long as I got some kind of breeze. Thailand has 3 seasons, hot, hotter and hottest!

2nd Mag Improvements Complete

I touched up the 2nd magazine I made earlier and am ready to upload it to Blurb. This mag is simply called "Contact Sheet #1, it contains various scanned contacts. I removed one of the bargirl sheets from 2003 and added a more recent dump set of images. I cleaned up some problem areas a bit. I also flipped any negs that were upside down, this took forever to do up but I think it works better for the viewer. The updated improved mag should be easier to read and stronger overall.

I am now moving onto the final magazine redo. I will fix up the first mag I made of solo prints. I need to turn all the pics horizontal and lighten tonality and lessen the contrast on several of the photos. I should be able to order both these magazines next week sometime.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Quotes: Sebastiao Salgado

Mr. Salgado is a role model to me, I love his work and admire him greatly. I  have every book of his I can afford and constantly study his work. In my opinion he is the worlds greatest living photographer and one of the best of all time.

From his autobiography "From my Land to the Planet".

Here is the international site link to the book. I purchased mine from the Canadian site.

Sebastiao Salgado's "From my Land to the Planet"

Page 44
"Through photography, I sought to show this exploited world, in all its dignity."

Page 45
"Lelia (Salgado's wife) and I came to the conclusion that the world is divided into two, on one side, freedom for those who have everything and, on the other, a lack of everything for those who have nothing. Through my photos, it was this dignified and exploited world that I wished to show to a European society sophisticated enough to receive this appeal."

"To me, photography is like writing---what writers tell with the pen, I tell with my camera. It is a passion, as I love the light, but also a language that is extremely powerful."

Page 50
"Some think of me as a photojournalist. It isn't true. Others think I am an activist. That isn't true either. The only truth is that photography is my life. All my photos correspond to the moments that I have experienced intensely. All these images exist because life, my life, has driven me to make them. Because there was an anger in me that led me that particular place. Sometimes, I am guided by an ideology, sometimes simply by curiosity or by my desire to be there. My photography is not objective at all. Like all photographers, I take photographs depending on myself, what happens to be going through my head, what I'm thinking and experiencing. And I take it on.

New Countries?

I enjoy visiting Thailand, I want to tell so many stories there, I want to return and photograph in the dump but I wonder if I am doing the right thing?? Would I not be better served by spreading my wings and going to an entirely new country or to one I have not spent that much time in.

Tonight at work I am reading the Autobiography of Sebatstia Salgado "From my Land to the Planet". In the section I just finished he writes of his love for Africa, how it became his new Brazil. Maybe I should go to Africa, Rwanda might be a country I need first. Go to Rwanda to visit and tell stories, or Angola, Sudan, Niger, Mali somewhere in that large beautiful but troubled continent. What about returning to Asia but instead of Thai spending time in Laos or Burma or Cambodia? Central America? I always wanted to go to Nicaragua. What about South America, Ecuador? Peru? I think with some renewed effort I could learn Spanish. I found that language easier to learn, much easier than Khmer or Burmese.

What to do? I probably I have to much time to think of these things, dream of visiting here and there and making this photo story and that series.  There is so much I want to do, so many places I want to make photos. Trapped here in the snow of Canada working security nightshifts it all seems so far away, so distant, so unreachable.

Bought A Copycat Bag

I bought a new camera bag, it is a much cheaper copy cat version of a Domke bag. I hope I did not make another buying mistake, at $39 CAD its not much of a risk. I used a Domke F-3X in the dump my last trip in November 2013 and absolutely loved it, it has become my favourite bag. The problem was the bag was bought used for I think around $70 USD, over time I got 3 or 4 large rips and tears in the bag. I had the bag repaired by shoe repair lady on the streets in Bangkok but now back in Canada I realize there is a whole new round of tears in the bag. I am not sure if it is because I bought the bag used or because I was carrying to much Leica gear in it. In Thai I would routinely carry 3 Leica bodies and 4 lens plus a small flash, small digi and film etc when I went out.

The story about the bag repair in Bangkok:

I decided today to buy a new version of the bag but they are so damn expensive, they run with shipping around $140 USD. I found a copy cat made in China that costs $34.09 (free shipping). I could not resist getting the Chinese version as its over $109 American cheaper. With $109 USD I can rent a room for an additional 5-6 nights in Mae Sot, allowing me to make more pictures and tell more stories.

Here are the two versions, do they look the same to you? I hope the quality is equal or at least acceptable in the Chinese version. If I use it for a one good long trip the $34 price tag will be worth it, anything longer is bonus time.

Dollice DR-621 $34.09 USD
DOMKE F-3X $142.99 USD

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Link: Famous Camera Only $390,000-580,000 USD

Here is the final Leica story. It deals with tthe sale of a historically famous photograph. Kind of ironic that a Soviet photographer during WWII was using a high end German made Leica. This photo is also famous because it was altered to hide the fact the soldier with the flag had several looted wrist watches on his arm.

The camera, bearing the serial number 257492 is accompanied by an Elmar f/3.5 50mm lens with the serial number 471366 and is set to be auctioned on 30th November. Auctioneers Bonhams has set a guide price of $HK 3,000,000-4.500,000 (equivalent to £230,000-340,000 or $390,000-580,000).

Link: Provenance!

This is from the Leica site linked below. The word provenance for a CAMERA got me chuckling. Cameras are for making pictures but this Leica is so collectible (weird word) that it has lost its way in life and now has become something you put on a shelf and stare at. Cameras are for making pictures, they are not some kind of half assed work of art with a trackable provenance. Let these cameras come back to life, let them fufill their true natures, their true destinies, let it make pictures again! Free it from its purgatory.

Here is the stories, and link:

Leitz Wetzlar, 1960, Black paint, from an original series 987901-988025, with Leitz Elmar 2.8/50mm No.1636136 (B, Filter rim with one minor dent), rear top plate and lens with “Triple crown” engraving. A great rarity, only 125 ex in black paint made for the Swedish army 1960, and this camera is in 100% original condition with dark brassy patina and never restored. Provenance: Bought by the owner at FFV Allmaterial (=Military surplus), Ursvik 1977. Slow shutter speeds irregular.
Starting auction price is 350,000 Swedish Krona (approx $47,500 US dollars).

 Original and very rare black paint MP with patina of professional use, in perfect working order, matching chassis number inside the camera, with black Leicavit MP. Expected selling price: EUR 150.000 – 180.000

Link: 240 Page Magazine?

Just did some pricing on blurb, you can get a 240 page magazine (largest size) done on their premium paper for $49.99 USD. Not bad, not bad at all. If everything turns out nicely with the show mags I might try a bigger volume, maybe even something over 100 pages.

Here is the link to the blurb site price calculator so you can price your own magazines and books:

Final Version Dad Mag

Here is the final version of the dad mag, the 3rd different magazine I have made up. I ordered 2 of these today for the coming exhibition and to show dad. I figure that 2 of each magazine is more than enough. No one will want to buy these things but to have a couple of each will make multiple viewing easier if that happens during a busy opening night. I expect we will have around 50-75 people on the first night maybe more. I will make a few upgrades to mags #1 and #2 in the coming days and then order 2 of each of those as well.

Here are captures of the final design. I did to some additional lighting of 2 photos and a complete re-edit of a 3rd after making these captures and before sending the project into blurb. This will give you a general idea of what the final magazine will look like. Later I will post a video of a flip through the printed magazine.

Update* Since shipping was almost identical I ordered 3 of these mags for a grand total of $38 CAD ($12.66 or so a mag) that includes all costs. They should arrive by around December 10th. I guess I will try to sell them and list them at $15-20 during the opening, who knows I might sell one. I also listed the mag on the Blurb site. I think there is a way to list it on Amazon, but I am not sure how that works. I will look into it tomorrow at work. If there is any way to make a bit of extra money for my photography, I am on it! All my money earned on photography (workshops etc) goes back into the photography.

Update** I also added a title below my photo name "Dads Last Days". I think I will make up titles for the other 2 mags as well, that way I and the readers can differentiate between them.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Your Moral Obligation Is To Your Subject

During my round at work I was thinking of the moral responsibility of a photographer to his subject. In the past the argument has been made to me to only photograph people or subjects that are for a better word photogenic. The idea that you should only shoot folks with big eyes and cragly faces, or wonderful lit subjects that includes fog and rain, seems so wrong.

I agree that those things mentioned can help your photograph and will no doubt create more interest and drama but the problem I have is the moral one. Should I refuse to shoot or ignore an important subject that does not live up to these photogenic standards? Or should I try to shoot all important subjects equally and make the most of what I have to work with.

When I am invited into the lives of my subjects they are giving me a gift. The person in the photograph deserves to be treated with respect and has earned the right to be photographed even if they do not have that strong face or are in the most beautiful light. I owe that person the chance to have their stories told. I of course will try to get nice light, I will try to shoot in rain or fog, get a great composition or whatever else helps. I need thou to try photograph all important subject matter regardless of its photogenic qualities.

The most important thing to remember is that the documentary photographer, the concerned photographer has a responsibility, they need to be actually CONCERNED.  It is not about making the most beautiful photographs it is about telling the story of that person who welcomed you into their life. The photog should put the subject first and work with what is available to make the best photo he/she can and tell the important story of that forgotten person as well as they can.

Concerned photography is not about making beautiful photographs of photogenic things. It is about allowing the viewer into the lives and experiences of your subject. It is about raising awareness and hopefully starting a conversation that leads toward positive change in that subjects life. Photographing all persons with important stories to tell is the moral obligation of the documentary photographer.

Links: Simply Beautiful

I found this photo of a wonderfully brassed up Leica M3 with 50mm Summicron lens today. I thought it was just simply to beautiful not to post. If you have a chance check out the link as well, interesting little hot debate about whether Leica camera's are still relevent. My M6s will not brass up like this, maybe I should see if I can get an old M3 brassed body, they are not that expensive and still extremely reliable. The M3 is a meterless camera built in the 1950s-60s.

Beautiful Leica M3

Update* Oops turns out these things are just a tad expensive! I read today the black body M3s are extremely rare. Guess I will stick with my M6s.

US $18,173.00

Link: Unsharp Masking

I found this quite informative, if any of you out there want to do up unsharp masks, heres a quick "How To" by photographer Rob P.

Unsharp Masking

I have never done this technique but have seen positive results in print form, it definately has its uses. If you shoot the neg sharp in the first place it is not really necessary, but if you need it, its a great tool to have. This technique works best with large format negs. I am finding I sometimes like blur, non sharp grainy looks in some of my 35 and 120 work.

Canon Demi EE17 Half Frame Rangefinder Camera SH 30mm f1.7

Here is another highly rated 1/2 frame camera. James from San Diego told me about this machine, it was recommended to him earlier by the Swedish photographer Martin Bogren You got to love the internet for making friends and spreading useful and helpful hints and ideas. I might try to get this camera at some future date if I like the feel of the 1/2 frame when I start shooting my Pen EE 3.

Almost Completed The Dad Magazine Layout

I have spent the three nights working with the software and last three mornings scanning negs. This is  my almost completed layout for the third magazine, a edition devoted to my fathers fight with pancreatic cancer. Dad is 82 years old, all these photos were made since February. I am still going to add some late format portraits and maybe make some minor changes like taking out one of the contact sheet scans and replacing one of the double shots at the back of the mag. Here is what I got done up to this morning, I think its about 70% to completion now. I would like to order it next week when I am off work.

Link: New Paul Strand Book Arrives

I got my Paul Strand book "Paul Strand Master of Modern Photography" today from Amazon. The book is a loving and beautiful tribute to Mr. Strand. I am certainly no "Modern Master" but my dream is to someday have my best work in a gorgeously printed volume like this. Even if it happens 20 years after I am gone, it would be such an honour. Something like that will most likely never happen but its fun to dream to have. You need dreams it keeps you motivated, they help me keep my nose firmly on the grindstone as I try to reach to make better and better pictures.

I know many older folks who have accepted fate and conceded their dreams long ago. It is so easy to lose the drive and goals of your youth as you age. I never want to lose my hopes, I want to always be striving for that "great picture" and that eventual "photo book".

This Strand book is recommended especially if your a fan. I do not like all the photos but discovered much new strong work. Some of the printing has a hypnotic warm tone to it. I have always loved portraits made with warm tones.

 Here is a link to the book:

Note* This link is to the Canadian version of Amazon.

Quote: Yukio Mishima (Writer)

"My life is in many ways like that of an actor. I also wear an mask. I play a role. When he looks in the mirror, the homosexual like the actor, sees what he fears most: the decay of the body."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Link: Blog Story About Sex Trade In Thailand

I found this blog story today that mentions my photo name Gerry Yaum. The blog is written by a person from the Philippines, the story speaks about Thailands sex industry. Sex tourism is also very common in the Philippines which is a bit ironic, you would think the writer would comment on abuses in their own country first.. Many of the Western sex tourists I have spoken to in Thailand also visit Angeles City and Manilla in the Philippines. I have never been to the Philippines but it is a possible second location for more documentary photography on the sex worker project.

My sex worker portraits and quotes seem to be being used more and more often now as the Internet world sort of feeds on itself.. I now get quoted as sort an authority on this issue by various online sources, I seem to be sometimes thought of and quoted like some kind of half assed expert. I might know a bit more about that world than the average Joe but I am far from an authority on the subject. I need to be careful what I say (write) and how I say it because everything becomes magnified online. I do not want to misrepresent Thailand or the workers who have so graciously allowed me into their lives.The sex tourist trade is not just a Thai problem it exists in most countries in South East Asia and around the world, to classify it as an only Thai thing would be completely inaccurate.

The blogger also talks about underage prostitution in Thailand, I have never really seen that, some people are no doubt under 18 but at least in the Thai bars all workers id's are supposedly checked by management and the police. On the streets thou like any country in the world there is less control and regulation. One thing that is definitely true is that the red light districts of Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia and other South East Asian countries do attract the dregs of the world, criminals (including murderers and pedophiles), drunks, abusive men, organized crime etc. When you have more of those types of damaged and dangerous people around many more bad things are likely to happen, which of course they do.

Here is the most recent quoted blog story.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Magazine #3 Cover

Here are the front and back pages of my third magazine, I am dedicating it to photos I have taken of my father in the last 8 months. This magazine along with #1 and #2 will be available for viewing at the "Life in the Margins" exhibition opening night in February 2015. I wish dad could go to see the show but its to much to expect I think. I will make a nice video of the evening and show him later at home where he can relax and enjoy it.


I got my refund from the Japanese EBay seller today for the Ricoh GR-21 which I returned a couple of weeks back. I had to pay for $86 CAD return shipping but got a full refund on everything else. I was happy to get my $950 USD back, it was quite a relief today to see the money in my pay pal account. I probably will not buy another GR-21. My main concern is that the camera is no longer being repaired so when things break down your out of luck. My camera's LCD was malfunctioning, when that went you were helpless, you could not accurately adjust the camera setting any longer. I will take this as a $86 dollar mistake and move on, I am hoping the Pen EE 3 will be able to do some of the same things as the GR-21 at a much cheaper cost.

Quote: Ronald Reagan

"I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.

Poem: Final Curve by Langston Hughes

 I had always thought of poetry as being about serious heavy stuff but quite often they are just fun and goofy.
When you turn the corner
And you run into yourself
Then you know that you have turned
All the corners that are left 

Quote: William A Ewing (Curator)

"The skill of any great portrait photographer is to gain an immediacy, an intimacy.... he brings out their humanity".

Olympus Pen EE 3

I got my package of 3 old cameras for $36 today, not sure any of them are working but they are certainly fun to play with. Maybe I can get the cameras working and if not for $36 it's no biggy, they can become show pieces, I can place them on my photo book shelves as part of my old camera collection.

I liked the feel of the Pen EE so much I decided to get one that is guaranteed to work. This time round I paid more $94 including shipping and got myself a Olympus Pen EE 3 with flash hot shoe mount. The camera is in 100% working order as the seller posted 4 pictures made with it in the Advert. This 1/2 frame machine shoots 72 pictures per 36 exposure roll of film. Hopefully the flash sinc works as I want to use this camera with flash as a point and shoot abstract camera.

The camera is from England and will hopefully arrive in the next 2 weeks.

Update* The camera was shipped out of England today and should arrive on or before November 28th.

My Olympus Pen EE 3

Link: Long Lost Edward Steichen Photos

I always loves stories like this, "Photos found after 80 years!" Here is a link to the CNN story, these beautiful photos were made by Edward Steichen. The article I think overplays Steichen's status a tad, top 5 photographer all time?

The actress Anna May Wong, pictured by Steichen in 1930