Monday, August 31, 2015

Bought Me Some Notebooks

Picked up 10 black notebooks today for $50. Nice books that should be durable and tough, they have an elastic to help keep the book shut and a page marker string. The idea is I want to write up a daily diary of my photography trips. I already have this online blog but in the diary I can even be more candid and forthright, privacy has its benefits. I can be more free, more honest, more of everything, the words will most likely only be read by me. I  feel that writing things out, thoroughly thinking things out carefully, freely will help with my creative process. I will transfer some of that writing, writing that might be a bit more compelling to the blog.

Another use for the diaries would be to add some substance to my daybook/contact sheet photo book idea. I could scan the pages from the diaries and then insert them into the blurb book mock ups. Hopefully these mock ups will eventually lead to a real books, from a real publisher. That idea would be similar to Diane Arbus's wonderful biographical (partly autobiographical) book "Revelations", one of my all time favourite photo books. "Revelations" has information from many sources. Diane's notebooks, contact sheets, photos etc. I want to try and create something similar, something of visual, emotional , spiritual and educational interest. Something hard hitting, truthful with a unique power to it.
Diane Arbus "Revelations"At Amazon.ca

Update* Just played around a bit with my new notebook. It fits snuggly into my Domke camera bag back pocket (impossible to lose). I also discovered the notebook has a little envelope for storing things on the inside back cover. Now I can save interesting paper artifacts from my adventures (for later scanning?), PURRR FECT!!!!

I will take a notebook with me on my photo making days, in between shooting I can write down stories and thoughts, draw pictures, whatever! I want to make these things very personal as diaries should be. 10 books should last me 5+ years, maybe longer. I might pick up a few more of these note books while they are available, been looking a long time for something that works.

Maybe someday they will end up as part of a collection along with my life's work of prints and negs, people handling everything delicately with white cotton gloves. If the saving for posterity thingy does not work out then the books will be good landfill material, or someone could use them to start fires., crumpled paper always works well for that! : ))

Notebook 1 of 10, it will travel with me to Thai soon

Another Rejection "I Submitted There?"

Got a rejection email today from a gallery I'd forgotten I applied to. Who knew? It must have been a long time ago. Anyway it was a nice polite rejection note, boy do I get lots of those. It would be great if I was actually accepted somewhere, imagine that! After the Rosebud show I have nothing scheduled, nothing to look forward to or to print for.

Am not selling any work (it has been years since I sold a photograph), not preparing work for any new exhibitions, nothing, nada, zero, zilch! I guess my photos are not really powerful enough, not really that good or people would be accepting the work. When you get rejection after rejection that's a sign. I feel I let my subjects down again, failed to shoot the stories well enough that others would be interested in showing them.

Hello Gerry  -

The Langham Gallery has recently finalized our exhibition schedule for 2016 - and unfortunately we are not able to offer you an exhibit at this time.
I very much appreciated the opportunity to see your extremely powerful photography series and I wish you success in your future artistic endeavours!
Sincerely,
--- ----- Langham Curator

ULF Wheeled Camera Case By Alan Brubacker

One of these might be in my future. I probably could get something like this made in Thailand for a reasonable cost. Similar but smaller for the 11x14 or an 8x10 camera and gear. I would have to store it in country as the box is to big to take back home on the plane (removable wheels?).

The pretty wheeled case below is made by Alan Brubaker the person who refurbished (restored) my recently purchased Korona 11x14 banquet ULF camera.
Alan Brubacker's Website, AWB Enterprises


Alan Brubacker wheeled ULF camera case

Link: Large Format Lens Specifications

Here is a greart link to a chart of tons of (all?) large format lens. The list includes the image circle size for each lens.
Large Format Lens Specifications Chart

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Link: So Sad, What A Waste

Check out this video, cameras-lens are made to make photographs, made to tell important stories, made to make great art that can communicate life affirming and life changing messages. Cameras and lens have one destiny, to make photographs!! They are not made to sit on a collectors shelf, in a box or as a showpiece gathering dust. Gosh looking at all these wonderful tools just wasting away in this collection makes me sad.

At least this collector is making a tiny bit of effort to shoot his cameras as mentioned at the end of the video. Still it seems that most of his tools are kept under glass and in storage boxes in pristine condition, never to be used as creative tools, so sad.
Large Format Camera Collector

Links: The Platinum Printing Process

Here is a short wonderful meditative vid on the making of platinum prints. Looking forward to doing this in the coming years with my 11x14 negs. The platinum, platinum/palladium process is expensive but seems relatively easy.
Platinum Printing by Stanze di Luze

These videos are also fascinating (love the hanger device).
Platinum printing onto Japanese tissue by Masayuki Nishimaru
Making a large print

Link: Making Your Own Ground Glass

Check out this well produced video on making your own ground glass. Who knew it was so easy?! You got to love YouTube, it teaches you everything.
Tony Santo Teaches You How To Make Your Own Ground Glass

Image Circles

Just checking the image circles for my 4 lens, all should cover 11x14. I will probably sell one of the 360s as owning 2 is not necessary, a bit of overkill. Not sure what working apertures I can use with these lens, I might have to stop down some to get full coverage of the super large 11x14 film.

Nikkor-W 360mm F5.6 - 415mm f5.6 and 494mm f22 (will cover 11x14 with movements)
Schneider 360mm F5.6 - 500mm f? (will cover 11x14 movements)
Nikkor-W 300mm F5.6 - 420mm f? (slight movements possible?)
Fujinon-W 250mm F6.7 - 398mm f? (will cover 11x14 with NO movements)

Note* I also own the Kodak Ektar 305mm F6.3 but its circle is just a bit too small at 380mm and the Nikkor M F9 which has a way to small image circle of 320mm.

11x14 Korona Camera Hopes And Thoughts

Now that I have entered the ULF (Ultra Large Format) world with the purchase of my first 11x14 camera, I thought I would share a few hopes and other thoughts.

I now have the chance to do high end contact printing negs. I will have to tray develop my 11x14 Ilford HP5 at $11 CAD a sheet but it should yield some stunning results.

The possibility to do 11x14 wetplate is also an option, either tin types, ambrotypes or large glass negatives.

I have 4 different lens for this camera already. The 360mm Schneider that was won in the auction, my 360mm Nikkor-W f5.6 and 250mm Fuginon-W f6.7 will all cover 11x14. The 250 which I bought for my 8x10s has a huge image circle and covers with 11x14, I guess it would be a wide angle lens for that format. Not sure how much I can do in terms of movements, probably enough. My lens for all my white background sex worker portraits of 2007-2009-2012 the Nikkor-W 300mm f5.6 might also have enough coverage. The 300 has a bit of a larger image circle than the Fuji 250 and not nearly as much as both 360mm lens.

I have started to look for film holders online. I think I would eventually like to get 5. If I had 5 active holders I could do 10 exposures, plenty for a days shooting.

The weight of this unit, lens, holders and tripod worries me. I believe the Korona is one of the lightest 11x14s out there.Still with holders and the like, 11x14 gear is HEAVY. Will do the best I have.

Type of photos to be made?
- full body available light portraits with the 250mm at widest aperture? (Shooting in Asia? Africa? South/Central America?)
- in studio white background still life's and portraits
- various types of landscapes at small and large apertures
- negs for platinum/palladium printing (after I buy a high quality UV printing light source machine)
- wet plate work, thinking of black/ruby glass ambrotypes
- will contact print work onto 11x14 warmtone/cooltone Ilford fibre paper to start. I got a ton of various types of 11x14 fibre paper in my darkroom, I can use all that stuff up now as well.

Update* Next camera up? A 16x20 ULF : ))

Wow! Wow!! WOW!!! I Now Own A 11x14 Korona ULF

Gosh, this 11x14 Korona camera was haunting me. So I went ahead and bought it. The buy now cost was $2400 USD plus shipping, I paid $3,328.69 CAD for the camera (including shipping) and got a ton of extras thrown in. Spent a bunch of money again on MORE GEAR AGAIN! The plan is to eventually do platinum/palladium printing with this tool. I might also be able to portrait shoots in studio as I have done with my 8x10s. Wish I could still photograph dad with my 11x14. I not sure if camera will have enough bellows extension to do closer portraits?

I still have a bit of money left over from the GX Rolleiflex refund, I will forward that to this 11x14. I am still on the hook for another $2600 CAD or so. In the future I will also be needing to buy more holders $250-$450 each, a tripod, super sized dark cloth, super sized changing back (not sure my 8x10 Harrison will be big enough).

This camera was refurbished by Alan Brubaker who from what I read online is a heavy hitter at rebuilding ULF (Ultra Large Format) cameras. This  almost 100 year old 1920s Korona looks almost new (check the pictures). I watched a YouTube video of a Korona and saw that the rise and fall as well as the rear tilt is geared, I loved that. The camera is also relatively light for its size, leaving traveling with the camera to Asia a possible option.

Here is the YouTube video I mentioned:
ULF Korona Movments

I communicated with the seller and believe I am getting the following for my money. There was a bit of a language issue but they have 100% positive over 132 feedback items and are probably trustworthy.


I should receive:

- 11x14 Korona view camera, refurbished

No charge extras:

- Cherry wood ground glass protector
- 1 new S&S cherry wood 11x14 film holder (value new $375 USD)
- Schneider Kreuznach 360mm copal 3 lens (value used $400-700 USD)
- Outdated Adox and other 11x14 films

Right now I am happy with this purchase, am off to bed, got to work tonight. I hope I feel as optimistic later on tonight, tomorrow and next week!

Platinum/Palladium, and contact silver gelatin printing here I come!!!!!

Update* I wonder what a composed image on a 11x14 sheet of ground glass is going to look like? It should really be something else!
Update** I guess you would call this camera, a banquet camera.

11x14 Korona Camera

Isn't she beautiful!! Don't worry I did not not buy another camera, YET! : ))

Always wanted to go larger than 8x10. Would only be able to do contact printing (no 11x14 enlarger available) with this 11x14 Korona. Film is also limited, Ilford HP5 and Adox seem about the only options. The Ilford runs $199.95 USD for 25 sheets. That's close to $11 CAD an exposure, Ouch!

Still to view those wonderful contact printed 11x14 negs-photographs must be something truly amazing and beautiful.

"Ain't Photography Grand!"
Antique Korona 11x14 Camera

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Finished Work For The Rosebud Show

Well tonight I finished the spotting, matting and framing on the final two "My Fathers Last Days" photographs that will hang in the coming Rosebud show. I added 4 new photographs to this coming exhibition. These negs had not yet been shot when I showed the "Father" work at the Louie Gallery as part of the Exposure photography festival in February. At that time dad was still alive. The last 4 images added to the exhibition were made in the last 2 weeks of his life and after his death. I felt I needed to include them to complete this very important personal story.

Here are the final 2 images, 16x20 inch prints in 20x24 inch frames.

The Stare, "My Fathers Last Days" February 2015, 35mm neg
The Coffin, "My Fathers Last Days" February 2015, 5x7 neg
At the Rosebud Alberta exhibition I will showing both the "My Father" series as well as as "Families of the Dump" in the Akokiniskway Gallery. I am heading down to Rosebud (3 hours  South of Edmonton?) on the 15th of September to hang the photos. The exhibition will run from September 18th to October 24th. If your in the area, please check it out. I will be doing an artist talk on Saturday September 19th.

Note* I have slight variations of each print that I can change out to depending on the lighting in the gallery.

Note** I have become a much better mat cutter. I only do standard single cut over mats but I am much better at getting these things done. I had to cut 1 mat for the 2 new pictures and got it done without over-under cuts on the first try. Like with any other skill, practise and using the proper tools yields good results.

Quote: Jim Lewis (Writer)

"An asshole who makes great art is an asshole who makes great art; but an asshole who makes lousy art is just an asshole."

Quote: Sally Mann

From Sally's wonderfully intimate autobiography "Hold Still"
"Hold Still" at Amazon.ca $26.25 CAD

"... I daresay even most, good pictures of people come to one degree or another at the expense of the subject."

Friday, August 28, 2015

Poem: My Daily Thoughts

Her eyes stare back
Flies and thanaka paste
Young then old
Laughing and smiling
Knows nothing better

6 sitting on plastic chairs
Whitened drugged faces
Waiting for customers
$2 a fuck
That's all they're worth

He smiles
Reaches out with helping hand,
Gone now, why?
Is it real?
Did it happen?
Together never again
Scared and lost
He, we, needed more

Quote: His Holiness The Dalai Lama

"If it can be solved, there's no need to worry, and if can't be solved, worry is of no use."

Saved $10 USD

Well I got my used 9/10 B+W filter from B&H Photo in New York today. I paid $10 less for my used filter, $25 USD. A new B+W UV 60mm 010 B+W single coated filter cost $34.95 USD (multi coated cost $63 USD, nano coated $79.99 USD). I put the filter on the lens it works as expected, no problems, I like buying used. Having this extra protection on the glass will help in the dump, slums and other lens abrasive places I will be shooting. When this filter gets all beat up, I will have to replace it, hopefully that will not be for at least 5 years.

Maybe I can buy some extra rice for the families with that $10, ten bucks American goes a long way in the dump. I remember a dump worker (an older man) screaming out with joy when he found 20 baht in a wallet (20 baht = 56 cents USD).

Note* What the f-ck is nano coating? All I want is a slightly higher quality filter to protect my Leica lens. I do not need to go all "Mork and Mindy" on this, "Nano, Nano!" $80 American for a filter? You could almost buy a nice used lens with that money. Was looking at a pretty little used Fujinon 120mm F5.6 going for $139-150 USD.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Poem: By Pablo Nerude

This is Tina Modetti's epitaph from her gravestone, it is part of a poem written by Pablo Neruda. Modetti was a revolutionary political activist, photographer and Edward Weston's lover. She died in 1942 in Mexico city at a young 46 years of age.


Pure your gentle name, pure your fragile life,
bees, shadows, fire, snow, silence and foam,
combined with steel and wire and
pollen to make up your firm
and delicate being.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Streamlined Gear List

I have been thinking of the best possible STREAMLINED gear kit for the trip. I am 51 years old traveling to the other side of the world. I need to streamline as much as possible. I have cut out the 60mm Leica lens, the 21mm M lens, the 210mm large format lens and the Canon 1/2 frame camera (not sure on that one as it is a small light camera).

The heaviest gear set up is the large format stuff, I need everything listed. There is no getting around what I need to shoot large format. In this large format gear set up list I will only take 1 lens the 120mm (risky).Taking one lens will force me to compose, to see with only one point of view. It will force me to really learn the lens, something I have promoted on this blog for a long time. It is something that Jock Sturges taught me.

In the streamlined look I am also taking less film. 500 sheets of 5x7 down to 400, 50 rolls of 120 down to 40, 75 rolls of 35mm down to 65.

Looking at this list makes me feel more comfortable. I am still taking lots of shit but at least it's manageable now.

Large Format 5x7 Gear
- 5x7 Linhof
- 120mm Nikon lens
- Pentax spot meter
- 10 film  holders
- Tripod
- Reflector (small round collapsible)
- 400 sheets 5x7 Tri-x
- Film changing tent (4x5 size)

Medium Format Gear
- Rolleiflex 80mm
- Close up lens (small-light pack)
- 40 rolls 120mm Tri-x

35mm Gear
- Leica R6 body 24mm f2.8
- Leica M6 body 35mm f1.4
- 65 rolls of 35mm Tri-x

Monday, August 24, 2015

My New Leica 24mm F2.8 R Lens

Got my new Leica 24mm f2.8 R lens today in the mail. No extra charges so that was good. I paid $450 USD lens which was the cheapest price on eBay. The lens is in great shape, the lens hood also. I am not that happy with the 2.8 speed of the lens (my Canon digi 24mm lens is a 1.4) but we can work with it. Leica lens are world classs pieces of glass, I am sure this will make great pictures. One other benefit of the R versus M series lens is that because it is an SLR lens you can focus closer. With this 24mm I can focus down to 11 inches, pretty good!

The only only issue is a stiffness in the focusing which I knew about before I bought the 24mm. I will eventually send this lens in with my 60mm which has a similar problem for a CLA, both should focus smooth and easy after that. The stiffness of focus is not that big of an issue, I should be able to work with it. I will shoot this lens this coming trip and maybe the next as it is. I plan on shipping it in for a CLA mid 2016.

Here is are a few shots of the lens mounted to my black R6 body (have another one of these bodies being shipped to me).

Note* I have a used B&W protective UV filter on order for this lens. The 24mm lens hood also fits my 60mm. Not sure it will provide that much protection thou. I will probably have to buy the 60mm lens hood at some point. Also need to buy filter and lens hoods for the other 2 Leica lens I have in the mail, the 35mm f2.8 and the 28-70 f3.5-4.5 zoom.

Leica R6 body (taped) with 24mm f2.8 R lens

Contact Sheet Style Book?

While driving the car just now I had an idea for a photo book. It would be a book with a variety of contact sheets, chosen photos and the stories behind the making of the pictures I would put together a book of 50 or so of these contact sheet/photo/story combos using 35mm, 120mm and 5x7 contacts. My next 2 photo trips to different parts of Asia would provide the materials I would shoot and tell stories of these trip projects. If I go ahead with this idea I could have a working version (Blurb magazine) of the book by late 2016.

Another book idea, another project to think about. This would be a variation on what I have already done. I did something similar with the magazines I made for the "Living on the Margins" show.

A possible titles?

   Contact Sheet Asia
                      by Gerry Yaum

  Contact Story Asia
                      by Gerry Yaum

Maybe I will go through every world region and do up similar books. There can be an African version, Central America, South America etc. : ))

Trying For Too Much??

I feel I might be trying to do too much this coming photo trip. 3 different types of camera formats, multiple projects, over 1 hundred rolls of film and maybe 500 sheets of 5x7.

How much can I do in less than 7 weeks. My 7 week trip includes traveling time, so will have less than 7 weeks of actual shooting. Maybe I need to slow this down a bit, it is better to do less well than a lot of stuff poorly. I so wanted to do a 3 month or 6 month trip, 7 weeks is just not enough time to do everything I wanted to do.

I just have so many ideas, plans and hopes. I hate to give up on them.

Almost Completed All My Rosebud Show Prints

Did up more prints of the coffin photograph tonight. I also did the secondary printing on the staring and coffin shots. The photos are washing now, I should have them on the drying screens before bed time.

Tomorrow after my security nightshift I will take the dried prints and flatten them in my dry mount press. I never dry mount photographs to mat board as that is a non archival process not approved of my collectors and galleries. Who knows some day this current work may end up needing to be archival.

I will take the prints to work on Tuesday-Wednesday night, spot them, cut mats and frame them. I should have these last two photos framed and ready to go by mid week. That will be the end of the printing for this next show my 6th larger photography exhibition (4 of those showing over 25 prints).

The more I do these things the easier and efficient I become, still it is a lot of work! This show was easier to produce because I am reusing a ton of the photos from the "Life in the Margins" exhibition. I only made up 4 new prints, all of "My Fathers Last Days", to tell the complete story. Those last 4 images deal with dads eventual decline and end with the coffin photograph.

Still Haunted By Walker Evans Portrait

I am still haunted by the photograph Walker Evans made of the Fields family in 1936 Alabama. The photo communicates the message of who these people were so well. You get a understanding of all the individuals, their poverty, their strength, their vulnerabilities. It transports me back in time to that place and time, into the Fields home.

I think what I need to do this trip is to try to do a group portrait outside each shack in the dump. I need to photograph every family this way. I might not be able to get everyone to pose for me, but I think I can get at least 10 families shot in this group portrait way. The large 5x7 negative should yield a crisp beautifully detailed family portrait.

Only when I have my own good versions of this group portrait, will I find relief from my Evans-Fields photo haunting.

Update* With this added side photo project, I will probably need more film. Am thinking of upgrading from 400 sheets of Tri-x 5x7 to 500.

Update** Just noticed something I had not noticed before (when I looked at the variation). There is a dark shadow under Bud Fields raised foot, indicating Walker Evans probably used a flash for the shots.

Bud Fields With His Family , August 1936, Alabama By Walker Evans
Variation

Sunday, August 23, 2015

More Film

Bought another 20 rolls of 120mm Tri-x. I needed to fill out an order for a used B&W UV filter for my Leica lens (over $99 USD you get free shipping). I need to get a couple of screw in 60mm filters for the newly purchased 24mm and the 35mm lens. The used filter I bought is rated 9 and a top end German made B&W so it should work fine. Total cost for everything $134.41 USD with free shipping to my door in Canada. You got to love B&H photo.

I always feel good after I buy film. In the past I was criticized for choosing to buy film over spending money on clubbing. engaging in social functions and boozing, but going the film way always makes me feel good. When you buy film there is always the chance of making great photographs. With the newly purchased Rolleiflex's and the Plaubel Makina 67 I will probably use up the 120 stuff fairly quickly. I plan to take a minimum of 50 rolls with me to Asia this next trip, and probably another 50-100 rolls will be used up on the trips in 2016.

Printing The Coffin Photo

Here is the coffin photo of dad, the last picture of the exhibition and the last I will be printing for the Rosebud show. I thought it was important to include this image so that the gallery viewers would understand dads complete story.

Initially I worked on a 35mm coffin shot made in the chapel just before dads funeral. I was not happy with the look of the print, it did not have the tonality and strength I hoped for. I switched off to the photograph below, a totally different type of shot. The photo was made with a 5x7 camera in available light the night before the funeral in the family viewing room. I like the sense of isolation in the shot. The family has moved away from dads body and dad seems so alone in the room, not forgotten but isolated and alone. There is a sadness and loneliness to the pic, everyone alive is looking away from the coffin. The living move during the long exposure, dad does not. 5x7 negs have such wonderful detail and tonality, even the blurred areas have extra dimension because of the very large negative.

I will let this print dry and continue working on it tomorrow night. I might have to do up another 2 or 3 versions. Tomorrow I also want to do the secondary printing on this shot and the photo of dad staring that I did on Friday. I should be able to have these two pics, spotted, mounted, framed and ready to go by the end of the next work week. I will then have all my photos ready for the Rosebud exhibition.

Now it's time for bed, I only have about 5 hours sleep before I need to get up and to do my biweekly swimming workout. I am looking forward to shooting the 5x7 Linhof in Asia, I should come home with 400 or 500 exposed sheets of film. It will be a joyous experience to print that work in 2016-2017. I will continue to work with motion in the photographs.

3rd print attempt, Dad in viewing room of funeral home with family, Linhof 5x6 210mm lens long shutter speed

Rolleiflex GX Converted To Leica Rs

I have basically converted my refund from my Roleifex GX to Leica R system equipment. I can make a much larger variety of photos with the Rs so it is probably a very good deal. I have about $650 USD to spare, could get a 90mm or a 135mm Leica lens with that. It is strange how these purchases work out. When I bought the Rollei GX I was worried I made a mistake. This time round I feel like I did the right thing and will be using these tools extensively over the next 10-20 years.

1) Rolleiflex GX camera and 80mm lens
Refund $1950 USD.
for a
2) - Leica R6 body
    - Leica R4 body (throw in, might use or sell)
    - Leica 24mm f2.8 R lens
    - Leica 35mm f 2.8 R lens
    - Leica 28-70mm f3.5-4.5 R lens (throw in, might use or sell)
Total Cost $1298 USD

Leica R Camera Equipment Deals

I decided to fill in my Leica R SLR equipment package today. I already own 2 Leica R6 s and a Leica 60mm Macro. I have a 24mm f2.8 R lens coming in the mail. Today I low bid on some combination R equipment auctions and won the auctions at cheaper prices. Probably saved around $350-550USD on these combined deals as compared to if I have bought everything separately. These cameras were part of a collectors collection, so they are going back out into the field again! Got to love that. They will travel the world making pictures before they are to beat up to be used any longer. Camera's are made to be shoot pictures, and that's what I intend with these cheaper R Leica's

In today's auctions I got:

Auction #1: $451USD
- Leica R6 Black body
- Leica 28-70mm f3.5-4.5 R zoom lens


Auction #2: $397USD
- Leica R4 Black body
- Leica 35mm f2.8 R lens


I was mostly interested in the black R6 body and the 35mm f2.8 R lens. I wanted a 35mm lens to take with me to Tondo slum next year. A lens that was world class in sharpness yet cheaper, much much cheaper than my 35mm f1.4 M ($3000+USD). These buys today add to my collection of world class Leica R equipment at discount prices. Cameras I would reluctantly give up in a robbery attempt.

I will probably take this R series equipment into dangerous places in the future, leaving my very expensive Leica M camera system stuff safely at home. Hate to leave the Ms at home but the Rs are also world class cameras and I will be braver with them. I know that I will go into more dangerous shooting situations with the Rs than I would with the Ms. I am thinking of also traveling to Africa and Central America in the next few years. I am currently reading a book on El Salvador.

Note* I think the Leica R system cameras/lens are currently much cheaper than the M lens because the M's can still be used with Leica's digital rangefinders. Both the R and M lens are renowned for their extraordinary sharpness, and quality of glass. One my workshop students explained the selection and building process to me. Only the best of the best for Leica. Now I can profit from digi taking over the market and buy these discounted world class Leica film lens at great prices.

Note** Both these auctions are from the same seller so I am getting a cheaper combined shipping cost. I am not sure if I will have to pay duty and GST tax, sometimes I do, sometimes not.

Update* I could use the R4 body with the 28-70mm zoom in the worst conditions or the most dangerous situations. They are basically freebees I got thrown in, if I lose them I am out $0.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Joys Of Using A Condenser Enlarger.

A condenser enlarger print has a very special look to it. There is a hard edge and sharpness to the grain I cannot capture with a diffusion type machine. I have found that with all my 35mm work the Durst 4x5 1200 enlarger with condenser head works best. Changing out the filters by hand can get a bit tedious but the look of the grain, and the harsher feel and contrast make up for any filter worries. In the future I might also do all my 120mm and 4x5 printing in the 1200.

I am looking forward to printing the "Forgotten Laughter" series 5x7 portraits in my other condenser enlarger a 5x7 Durst 138S. I got both the 1200 and 138S free from my friend Jack. These things are such are such great tools, I will be using these things the rest of my life. I hope on my death I can donate them to another eager beaver darkroom type to use for another 30 or 40 years. I want to hold off on these machines becoming landfill for as long as possible. Durst made such high quality enlargers, they last forever. When you lock them down, when you focus them they stay locked down and focused. If had a choice of keeping any two of my current darkroom enlargers it would be the Durst 1200 4x5 and the Durst 184 8x10. Truly beautiful tools that are a joy to use. The Durst's even top my old beloved Saunders LPL with multigrade head.

Note* The brighter light on the Durst 1200 helps me deal with my dense negs. I burn my highlights for shorter periods of time because of the brighter light source.

Dad Staring At Death

This image was made about 2 days before my father died. Dad had stopped eating 2 days before. He was still talking, right till the last time he fell asleep before dying he told mom "I am going to have a sleep" and never woke up. Dad always wanted to die in his sleep, and in the end that is what happened.

That last week dad spent a lot of his time staring up at the ceiling, his eyes had gotten bigger, they had such a sorrowful, empty, confused feel to them. I believe at this point my father was looking into his death, foreseeing what was going to happen soon. He had so much courage that last week, he decided it was time, he stopped eating, a few days later he went to sleep and was gone.

Dad gave me these last photographs. He saw, understand and knew I was photographing him right to the end and supported my taking photos. It was his final gift to me. Dad also knew about the Rosebud and Louie Gallery exhibitions. I will continue to try to exhibit the photos from the "My Fathers Last Days" series at other galleries.

This is a very difficult negative to print, both emotionally and technically. Looking at dad in this condition for hours on end in the darkroom is so hard. Initially I chose a very similar negative with dads mouth closed but I felt this 2nd neg communicated his condition better, the expression, the eyes was more true and telling. I feel it is an important photograph and will be part of the Rosebud exhibition, the second last print of the "My Fathers Last Days" Series. The final print in the series and the show will be dad in his coffin. I still need to make the coffin print, it will not be fun to do. Printing is almost always fun for me to do, not this time.

This photo is the first attempt at the neg. The print has 2 filter grades, 3 dodges, 4 burns with a card, and 2 burns with a mask. Some of the burns are very long 200 seconds at max aperture.

Update* I made up 3 more prints of this photograph before shutting it down. I think I got the image, will let the prints dry and re-evaluate tomorrow. Will also do a quick mask for the coffin photo before sleeping. 12+ hours in the dark is enough, tonight I will have another printing opportunity, and I also have Sunday night Monday morning.

Detail
First printing attempt, 2 days before dad died, Canada February 2015, Durst 1200 enlarger

Friday, August 21, 2015

Loaded Backpack, For "Forgotten Laughter" Series

Loaded up my small view camera backpack today. I plan on using this pack in the dump and elsewhere to help distribute the weight more evenly. The bag is relatively heavy (20lbs) but I think I should be able to handle it, even at 51 and even in the heat-humidity of Thailand. The really heavy part will be carrying the more awkward metal camera body and tripod/tripod head (another 20lbs) in my right hand or over my shoulder. I will be walking in the dump covered in flies with 40lbs of camera gear on me (more if I also take along a 35mm camera).

Possible ways to cut down weight include taking only 1 lens, and cutting the holders from 15 to 12 or 10. I might take 15 holders with me to Thai, then see how I do carrying them in the field. Maybe some days I can carry more with me, some days less. Having a few backups is always a good thing. I cannot buy new holders in Thai if any breakdown.

I need to push my self hard thou this trip, taking everything in the backpack and doing the whole 40+ pound option might lead to the highest quality images. The photographs are all that really matters in the end, a bit of suffering to achieve better pics is well worth it. Dealing with difficulties is part of the bargain in these ventures. Plus what I am going through is nothing compared to the life long hardships my subjects face. I am the very very lucky dude.

The backpack includes:

- Schneider 210mm lens f5.6
- Nikon 120mm lens f8
- Pentax spotmeter
- Dark bag
- Focusing loupe
- 2 cable releases, cleaning tissue
- 15-5x7 all plastic holder
- Small round reflector

Update* I will also have to figure out how to carry donations of food (heavy rice, canned fish) to the families and water for myself. I will need to carry a minimum of 2 bottles to help prevent dehydration. Sunblock is also a need, I usually apply that 2 or 3 times a day. A digi camera is needed as well as I use it to take id photos and also to give photo gifts to the people I photograph.

I think the backpack will be closing in on 25lbs now. Gosh I better work out some more, I feel a sore back already.

Loaded 20lb 5x7 backpack

5x7 Film

One of the reasons I bought my Linhof 5x7 a while back was because of my large stock of 5x7 Tri-x I got off eBay at a discount several years back. In fact I ended up buying 2 different large outdated or almost outdated film back round 2010 and 2013. The hope was that in the future I would be able to do large format portraiture in Asia. At the time I bought the film I had shot very little large format work in available light. That has now changed as I did the 4x5 work in Klong Toey a few years back and now feel more comfortable. I will be moving up in format this trip to 5x7, the goal being to eventually shoot my stock of $4000 CAD or so of 8x10 film in the same way. Available light portraits in South East Asia. First thou there is the matter of the using up all the 5x7 film.

I have been looking at my stocks of 5x7 in my freezers and have found outdated versions in 2009, 2012 and 2013. I will try to take 8-10 boxes of 50 sheet 2009 Tri-x this coming trip. The other newer versions of the film (less outdated) can wait frozen for future use.

Today I loaded up a bunch of 2009 to check it out. I am testing all plastic film holders for fogging and also the film for fogging. Am no anticipating any difficulties as I have shot the 2009 versions of the film before without issue.

Once I get the film holders tested and the film tested, all I need to do is play a bit with the 2 lens, the 210 and the 120 to see which I prefer for portraits. Things are coming around nicely.

Link: Eyeworks, A Major Player

Seems Eyeworks the company that contacted me about film rights are major players in Sweden and Europe.
http://www.eyeworks.tv/countries/sweden/overview_sweden

If I could get some money for the rights from this multi million dollar corporation, I could make individual donations to each of the families. A little bit of money to every family, to every shack in the dump would go a long way to helping them at least in the short term. It would have a positive impact on their lives even if it was only to provide a few decent meals for the family groups. Helping to buy some food or to help them get new clothes for the kids, whatever the mom and dad thought was most important.

Another option would be to give the money to the local dump school, thou I am a bit less sure how that would be spent. Maybe I could do a bit of both. If you spread it around, you at least know that some of money is doing good.

I am going back to the dump within a few months and could make sure the funds gets to the right folks (usually the mothers/woman of the household is who you want to get the money to, male members sometimes use it for booze-gambling etc). Or I could just buy rice and other food stuff and give it to the families directly myself, from my hands to theirs.

This whole thing just seems so right, the video footage I made could lead to providing some help for the families. One of my goals in doing social documentary photography (and the video footage) was to tell the stories of people like those in "Families of the Dump". The goal was to educate, to inform and cause positive changes. I have been told by several people, several negative type folks who were at the time supposed friends (I can think of 3 of them off hand) about how photography does not have impact, that it does not lead to positive change, how I was wasting my time and efforts etc. This film rights thing could be an example of how wrong those people were. People do care, you can use your photographs (and video) to help those in need.

Even if nothing does happen and no donation money is made I still know I am on the right path, I will hold to my idealism. Social documentary photography (video) does have power, it does have impact, it can lead to positive change (small and large). Lets say that one more time!! Social documentary photography (video) does have power, it does have impact, it can lead to positive change.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

GX Relief

Well I got a full refund including a refund for my shipping costs back to Japan for my Rolleiflex GX. I am a bit sad to lose the camera but getting all my money back makes me feel relieved.

Comparing the GX and F camera models side by side I preferred the build and feel of the Fs, so this is not that big of a loss. The GX lens was newer, maybe coated better but that is the only major benefit I saw. I felt that the overall construction of the GX was not as good as the F, and the feel of the camera was more plasticky and cheaper. The other thing I did not like was the metering system with battery that seemed very fragile (it is what broke on mine). Another negative feature is the shutter was not as sensitive because it also engaged the meter, so took more pressure to use. The F camera shutter is smooth, easy and beautiful to use.

I can understand why the F cameras are so expensive on eBay, they are wonderful tools. I have 2 of those cameras being repaired and getting a CLA from Harry Fleenor in California. I am pretty sure they will work (might sell one) very well for me and give me years and years of reliable use, something I was unsure of with the GX.

Got all my GX worries taken care of now, no more worries there. I even got a free Rolleiflex camera strap thrown in for my troubles. Were down to 3 Rollies now, a Rolleiflex Automat (nice cheap camera) and 2 Fs which are expensive but should be great cameras for me. Glad the GX problems are behind me now.

Link: Film Rights?

Got this email today. The video mentioned is the "Living in the Margins- Families of the Dump" show video I made of people at the dump in Mae Sot. It was used as part of the exhibition opening night here in Edmonton back in February.

I am not sure how these things work, usually production companies pay for the rights to use film, its not a freebie thing. I believe this company is a major Swedish concern, there website promotes a multi million dollar type affair.

I asked for a credit and a payment usage fee (even for a few seconds of video). Am also asking some advice of some professional friends I know here in Edmonton who are much more knowledgeable about such things than I am. If I can get some money I will make a donation to the Mae Sot garbage dump school, this could be a win win opportunity. It would be great to give back a bit more money to that community than my limited security guard savings can do.

Here is the email I received, minus the contact info to protect the privacy of the individual who contacted me.
EYE WORKS TV SWEDEN

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Hi Gerry!

I work at a production company in Sweden. We are currently producing a drama-series for a channel here in Sweden. We would like to use a few seconds of yor youtube-video ”living in the margins”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBJEVN8yh9Q

Can we get the rights to do this? 

best regards 

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GAMLESTADSVÄGEN -------------
SWEDEN  |  WWW.EYEWORKS.TV

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sketch Of Suspected Bangkok Bomber

Here is a sketch released by Thai police of the suspected bomber. Probably not a terribly accurate depiction but the best they have to go on based on the poor quality CCTV footage. I wonder if they have any eye witnesses that contributed?

I hope this drawing helps with a capture and ends the bombings and the taking of innocent lives. I keep thinking of the CCTV footage of the lady on the bench beside the person who took off the backpack with the bomb inside. This lady actually moves closer to the bomb when as the bomber leaves. Did the man, the suspected bomber not see that woman? How could he do that? Be next to another human being like that and just walk away leaving a bomb behind. I just do not understand how you can do something like that. What kind of callousness and hatred leads to these kinds of acts. I just don't understand it, it makes no sense.

An image released by the Royal Thai Police on August 19, 2015, shows a sketch of the main suspect in Monday's deadly blast, in central Bangkok, Thailand, August 19, 2015. Thai police released the sketch on Wednesday of the main suspect in the deadly bomb blast in Bangkok that killed at least 20 people, more than half of them foreigners. The sketch shows a fair-skinned man with thick, medium-length black hair, a wispy beard and black glasses. It was unclear whether the man was Thai or a foreigner. 

Link: Photo Bangkok 2015, Bangkok Photography Festival

I do not know much about this photography festival but will research it more in the future. This looks to be the third festival I have become involved with, PhotoNOLA (New Orleans), Exposure (Alberta) and now Photo Bangkok (as part of a projection of images). Maybe in the future I can have a selection of real hard copy images on the walls of a gallery at the festival.

Here is a link for those interested in learning more and possibly submitting work. There looks to be some strong work at this years festival. The stuff that is still hanging when I eventually arrive in Bangkok, I will make an effort to check out.
http://www.photobangkokfestival.com/

Link: Mimi's Hard Work A Thank You, Gerry Yaum "Night Workers"

It is great to have hard working folks fighting to show your photography, first Thom B in New Orleans now Mimi in Bangkok. Not sure if this is all set in stone just yet but it looks like things are happening in regard to showing some of my photographs (via projection) along with the work of several others as part of the end game, closing night for Photo-Bangkok 2015. 

I will post anything further that I find or is sent to me. Will also probably put something in my CV about this. It is great to add more non Edmonton shows on the resume, first New Orleans, then Rosebud now Bangkok. Bit by bit the CV is starting to look more national and international in scope. 

This projection showing of my photographs would go under the title of "Night Workers". I am not sure how many images of mine will be shown but if there are 8 photographers as listed and 250 works thats around 31 per artist-photographer.

Thank you Mimi for your hard work and dedication as a art curator.
http://afthailande.org/en/cultural-activities/cultural-events/cultural-events/nc/event/soiree-de-cloture-photo-bangkok-2015/

CLOSING PARTY PHOTO BANGKOK 2015 AND PHOTO PROJECTION NIGHT

Sat 10-10-2015 19:00
The closing party and photo projection night will be the occasion to gather all people involved in the Photo Bangkok 2015 in an innovative and relaxed atmosphere. Opening at 7pm, the evening will start with short speeches from the main organizers. Projection screens will be set outdoors and indoors, on which extended photographic selection of Thai and French artists will be projected. Two DJs will assure the rhythm and ambiance of the evening and there will be a pop up bar and food stalls.
The Franco-Thai selection of photographers will focus on socially engaged portraits, involving themes of identity, genre and body performance. Extensive series of each photographer’s works will be projected from 8 to midnight unveiling over 250 photographies during the evening.

Pre selection for the photographic night:
Marc Lathuilliere: “Musée National”; Tada Hengsapkul: “Ying Yod Chai Chua” (extensive) ; Claude Estebe: “Tukata” (extensive); Gerry Yaum: “Night workers”; Florence Lucas: “Before college”; Ohm Panpiroj: “You will be there”; Jitti Chompee: “Pecheurs de perles”; Skall: “Performances”; Montri Toemsombat: “Nation colours”
Curator: Myrtille Tibayrenc
TOOT YUNG ART CENTER

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

This Weeks Printing

Enough on the bomb stuff, back to photography.

I am starting work today on the last 2 prints (might try for 3 but more probably 2) for the Rosebud exhibition which opens on September 18th in Rosebud Alberta at the Akokiniskway Gallery. The 2 prints I will work on this week are a shot of my father with large eyes as he lays in bed and a second shot at his funeral of dad in the coffin. I thought it was important to include the coffin photo in the show as a end image for the photo story on "My Fathers Last Days".

I asked dad before he passed away (tough question to ask your father) "Dad is it OK for me to photograph you in your coffin? Do you want me to do that?" he looked at me and said "Well a few would be nice, for a memory" (or close words to that affect). Including the coffin photo in the show seems only right, as it was dads wish.

I will post some photos of the pics in the trays as I get them. I wish I could show them to dad, I dream of him almost nightly. Last night he was watching TV with the family and fell asleep behind our sofa.

Akokiniskway Gallery, Rosebud Alberta

Links: 2nd Bomb In Bangkok, Hunting Suspect

There was a second blast in Bangkok today, possibly a second bomb from the same bomber, details are sketchy. It was thrown off a car bridge on the Chao Phraya River at a walking bridge below. This attack was also in a tourist area. Luckily the device landed in the water missing its target, no one was injured.

Thai police and other gov't institutions are hot on the trail of the suspected Erawan Shrine bomber. They have footage of a man dropping off a knapsack at the temple (the location of the first attack). I hope they capture the bastard who is responsible quickly, before any more innocents are killed.

Thailand is a beautiful country, with a loving compassionate, tolerant and understanding people. I hope this madness ends soon.

Note* The Thai writing on the third photo says, 18.52 Nau-ti (minutes). which means 1852 hrs. The bomb went off at about 1900 hrs.
CNN Story On The Attack, Multiple Videos Of Explosion
CCTV Footage Of Suspected Bomber
Suspected bomber
Erawan Shrine Bangkok shortly before explosion

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bomb In Bangkok Kills Many

A bomb exploded at the Erawan Shrine (Hindu) in Bangkok last night. The current list of injuries and deaths from the explosion is 20 dead and 123 injured. CNN is saying it was a 3 kilogram improvised devise of some kind. Probably a terrorist attack, details still unknown, this bombing targeted tourists and people praying. An indiscriminate, despicable, cowardly way to kill and maim innocent people. How many lives were destroyed? How many families affected? Why? For what reasons?

I have been to this shrine over 5 times, maybe as many as 10 times. Passed it in a taxi or bus probably dozens of times more. The shrine is located about 15 minutes walk from where I lived for 1 year in Bangkok in 1999. Directly across the street from the Erawan shrine is a police hospital I visited back in 2013. The shrine is a place for quiet reflection and thought alongside the chaos and noise of Bangkok traffic. This Hindu shrine (in mostly Buddhist Thailand) is very popular with local Thais and tourists because of its location at busy intersection and proximity to major shopping areas and hotels. When your at the shrine you will see Thais passing in taxis and buses on the nearby roads respectfully wai the statue (placing their hands together as in prayer).

Bombings are relative common occurrences in the South of Thailand (muslim groups fighting for independence) but rare in the capital, maybe that is changing now. My deep condolences to those who lost loved ones and those hurt in this attack. I will try and visit that area to pay my respects when I am in Bangkok soon.

Update: When I watched the initial video footage post attack I saw many bodies on the street covered in white cloth-sheets (body bags?). Now I keep wondering, is anyone I know under those cloths? Is anyone I know, am close to, and care about laying dead on the cold hard pavement under those white sheets?

Erawan Shrine Bangkok

Quote: Mary Ellen Mark

"I would die if I had to be confined. I don't want to feel I am missing out on experiencing as much as I can. For me experiencing is knowing people all over the world and being able to photograph."

The 3 Print Plan

I have been thinking of a 3 print plan in regards to archiving my best photographs. As I have time in the coming years and after I retire as an active shooter because of old age I plan on printing my life's work. The 3 print plan idea is to make 3 photos of each and every negative I love.

I would start out with 3 11x14 prints (printing and learning the neg) and then later on make 3 16x20 versions as well. The 16x20s might only be for the best of the best images. The black and white negatives would be done traditionally in a darkroom, the colour negatives would be scanned and then printed with a digi printer. Any digital work I create in the coming years would also be printed digitally. I would then store all the photos in archival boxes.

As I print my way through my vast lifetime of negs, I would organize everything as best I could. I would number, date, make contacts and scans of all relevant work. There would be different binders for different subjects and years. I could also gather and destroy the garbage negs, the stuff not worthy of keeping.

To accomplish my plan I will set up a special room to store all my negatives, that room will completely devoted to only negs. Later on when I have enough photographs printed I will create a similar room to store all my finished fibre prints.

The hope would be that eventually before I die I would have a vast collection of important, archival, fibre photographs that some institution might see some value in. I could then donate that work to any museum/gallery/school that wanted it. If not, if no one gave a damn, it would then all become garbage in a landfill. I will mostly likely fail in my attempt at getting the work collected, but I got to try! You just gotta try boy! You gotta go down swinging! I will make 3 prints of all my best photographs, then let the cards fall where they may.

If the work was collected by an important, even prestigious institution that would be a dream come true. The photos would then live on long after I am gone. My stories would continue to be told and the lives of my subjects would continue to be remembered and have importance. That is what is most important, so lets say that again. The lives of my subjects, their personal stories would continue to be remembered and have importance.

Heard From Mimi

I heard from my friend Mimi today who is in Bangkok. Mimi is the French, Thailand based gallery curator and lover of art who I have spoken of occasionally on this blog. We have been in contact for several years, there has been talk of a show, we have met several times, she has become a good friend. I guess her Bangkok based Ekami area Gallery is now closed down but she is moving on and building a new space at another location with her Thai sculpture husband (a very nice fellow).

Mimi asked if she could show my photos in some kind of photography festival in Bangkok (Bangkok Photo 2015, Alliance Francaise). The closing event is on the 10th so I will just miss out on this event IF my contribution happens. I do not arrive in Bangkok until the end of the month. To bad!! If I was there I probably could have said a few things about the work.

Not sure the photos will be shown (projected files), not sure anything at all will happen, nothing is confirmed yet. Either way it was great to hear from Mimi. She works so hard I was worried for her health, glad she is doing well and still fighting for art.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Link: Closing Gerryyaum.com??

I am thinking of closing www.gerryyaum.com. Why pay for a website and a host name when you do not have to? In the future if I leave my security gig (to pursue photography full time), I will need to watch my dollars and cents more carefully. I would rather spend the money on film or photo paper anyway.

I could start up another Gerry Yaum photo website  on blogspot, or wordpress etc. for FREE. It might not look as high brow professional as an independent personal site but if my future photos are good enough, everything of merit will still follow. I just need to make quality photos, photographs which show empathy and understanding for the human condition, photos that tell important social stories. A free website sounds like the best option, the best way to go.

In the future if things improve financially I can start up the page again. Still not sure I will close the page. I have to check into the yearly costs and decide whether it is worth it.

Here is a page I am fiddling with:
https://gerryyaum.wordpress.com/

Online Portfolio

I am going to put together an online portfolio of maybe 10 or 15 photos. The idea would be to have a link I could send in my emails for emails like trying to get access to the refugee camps. In the future whenever I am introducing myself to someone new, I could add the portfolio link. The person I send the email would have a much better understanding of where I am coming from. Hopefully with the inclusion of the portfolio link they would be impressed with the quality of the photographs and help or at least spend the time to answer the email. I am thinking of including my CV on the page but am not sure. Maybe a short biography is enough, that and the photos.

Current Trip Gear Thoughts

This list changes almost daily but here is my current list of gear I plan on taking to Asia. Making these lists like most of my writing on the blog helps me to organize my thoughts. When your doing everything yourself as I do, there is lots of plotting and planning involved.

1)  Large Format Kit
    - 5x7 Linhof
    - 120mm Nikon f9 lens
    - 210mm Schneider f5.6 lens (?)
    - Gitzo carbon fibre tripod with geared centre pose and geared Mantfrotto head
    - Small round collapsible reflector
    - 4x5 size Harrison changing tent
    - Dark bag, 2 loupes, 3-4 cable releases, cleaning brush, lens tissue
    - Pentax spot meter (extra battery)
    - 10-12 5x7 film holders
    - 400 sheets of 5x7 Tri-x film (8 boxes of 50 sheets each) (500 sheets?)
    - Small comfortable back pack and my favourite large shoulder strap bag (will use one or other not sure which)

2) 35mm Kit
    - Leica M6 rangefinder camera
    - Leica R6 SLR camera
    - Canon 1/2 frame camera
    - 35mm f1.4 M lens
    - 60mm f2.8 R lens
    - 24mm f2.8 R lens
    - 75 rolls of Tri-x film
    - Old beat up Domke bag with purple cushioned insert (for all the 35mm and medium format gear).
    - extra batteries

3) Medium Format Kit
   - Rolleiflex F with 80mm 2.8
   - Close up lens kit
   - Small compact carbon fibre tripod
   - 50 rolls of Tri-x 120mm film 
   - Handheld Lunapro meter (?)

Quote:"Salt of the Earth"

From the biographical documentary Sebastiao Salgado film "Salt of the Earth". The movie narrator is speaking of  Salgado's major 6 year photography, almost 30 country project - book "Workers", which followed his project - book on Africa "Sahel" :

"He came on a different mission now with a changed view but he was still the same man, driven by the same empathy for the human condition."

I think that is the key characteristic a social documentary photographer must have, they must have a deep seeded all encompassing empathy for the human condition. Salgado, James Nachtwey and Donald McCullin  have it, Eugene Smith, Mary Ellen Mark, Walker Evans and Lewis Hine all had it.

When you have "empathy for the human condition" as your foundation you can make strong photographs that tell important stories. I do not think you can understate how important this is. It leads you on, and pushes you forward, it is the source fire that stokes your work.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bought A Lens, Leica R 24mm F2.8

Well got a good price on a used but good condition Leica R 24mm f2.8. This lens is made for the Leica R series SLR 35mm cameras. I have 2 R6s which I got very cheap, around $200 each, my chrome version R6 body I think was even cheaper $150?, forget now. For this new 24mm lens I paid $450USD with a $30 shipping cost, a very good price. These lens go from around $450 to around $1700 USD in mint condition. My lens is a older, a bit used up but the glass is in great shape, no scratches, fungus, haze etc, a nice lens hood is included. The one flaw is the focusing is a  little bit stiff (like with my macro Leica R 60mm f2.8). There is a good chance I will take this lens with me this coming trip.

I hope the stiff focus is not too much of an issue as I mentioned I have the same problem with m 60mm and able to use the lens without any problems. In the future I plan on sending a bunch of Leica equipment in for repair and CLA. I will probably do this after my second trip next July/August.

My Leica equipment repairs include:

- the 24mm and 60mm R lens for a CLA (lube and cleaning which will smooth out the stiff focus)
- my dropped and badly damaged 50mm f1.4
- my damaged M6 body, one of the lens strap ringgits was ripped off the camera causing a light leak.

This Leica repair CLA bill might be $1000 CAD, mostly for the damaged 50mm.

Am still waiting on the refund for my Rolleiflex GX, hope that comes through considering I already bought my Leica lens! Might be getting ahead of myself here.

Update* Gosh this is scary, a discount price for a new version of this lens at $2795 USD (list price $3990), $450 is sounding better and better!
http://www.amazon.com/Leica-Elmarit-R-24mm-2-8-Lens/dp/B00009VQ9R

My Leica R 24mm f2.8 lens, $450 USD

Friday, August 14, 2015

Working On All 4?

I only have 7 weeks this trip, tried to get more but was shut down by people here at work. The next time they shut me down, I will probably smile, say thank you and walk away from my job to make photos full time for as long as my money lasts.

With this coming 7 weeks I need to try to put time into as many portrait, documentary photo projects as I can.

1) "Families of the Dump" continuing that social documentary work.
2) "Forgotten Laughter" portraits children living in poverty.
3) "Lost Innocence" portraits of those that work the bars and brothels of Asia.
4) "Landless Worker" portraits and social documentary work on the migrant workers of Asia.

So much to do, so little time to do it. "Lost Innocence" might have to wait, as it is probably the most difficult and dangerous to shoot, lots of corruption and illegal money involved in that world. Those moneyed corrupt people include police and politicians. They do not want you making photos of the workers, or interfering in any way with their cash cow. When those with power and money feel threatened they tend to punch back and punch back hard. Caution and time to built relationships and access is warranted.

I will probably work on 1, 2 and 4 this trip, will do a bit of each day of my 7 week trip. I can then do another 5 weeks in early 2016, possibly in Tondo slum in Manila.

Such Dignity

I am studying the work of Sebastiao Salgado, yet again. I am running his Oscar nominated biography dvd "The Salt of the Earth" and looking through 2 of his books tonight.

He makes photographs which such human dignity in them. He loves people so much. There is tragedy, harshness and suffering in the photographs but what I get most out of his photography is how beautiful they are. Not only the beauty of the imagery, great light, wonderful textures and composition (he has been wrongly criticized for this), but more importantly the beauty of the human spirit. That is why I think I worship his work because of the love and compassion Salgado has for his subject, for his fellow human being.  There is so much love in his photography, so much human dignity.

Salgado shows the moral strength of his subjects, he photographs them with love, with compassion and with a deep understanding. I need to replicate those oh so worthy themes in my photography. Moral strength and dignity are two very important terms.

Note* There is a movement in Brazil called the "Landless Workers" maybe a title I can use for my proposed photo series on migrant workers.
Firefighter, 1991 Kuwait by Sebastiao Salgado
"Landless Worker", migrant Cambodian worker, Bangkok Thailand 2013

Links: A Safe Haven

I am going to try and visit some orphanages my next trip to Thai. Steve one of my online contacts, a photographer who has shot in the region recommended the Safe Haven orphanage. This orphanage is run by a group of woman in Thailand and is located in the small village of Ban Tha Song Yang (Mae Tawo- บ้านแม่เมย or บ้านแม่ตะวอ) which is 2 hours North of Mae Sot.

Maybe what I can do is spend time in Mae Sot at the dump then on my own slowly make my way North finding what I find. I could go by Mae La refugee camp, visit Safe Haven orphanage etc. My only concern is transport? A rot song tao? (local truck bus like system) My own rented motorbike? (2 hours on a 100 cc motorbike might take 3 or 4 hours through those mountains).

Anyway here is a link to Safe Haven if you want to make a donation, it seems like an amazing place run by amazing people. More later:
Safe Haven Orphanage
About Safe Haven Orphanage

Safe Haven Orphanage, Mae Tawo Thailand

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Link: Mr. Movie Watcher

I have been transferring a bunch of my favourite TV shows, movies and photographer documentaries from my personal DVD collection to my Macbook Pro laptop hard drive. The idea is that during my off hours in Thailand I can sit back and enjoy something fun. These shows will help pass the time when I am alone in my hotel room munching down on some food or before I go to bed.

I also will use the movies/tv shows to help me through the tedious hours spent in airports and on airplanes. The only limit to watching will be how long my computer power lasts before it needs a recharge, hard to do at 33000 feet over the Pacific Ocean.

For those that are interested in doing the same, this free program works quite well.
MacX DVD Ripper

Good For Tondo

I figured out another benefit of a 24mm R lens purchase. If I go to Manila's Tondo slum (where my friend Larry has shot) in 2016 I can take the lens. Numerous people have told me that the Philippines is far more dangerous than Thailand, especially Tondo slum. Larry when he visited Tondo went with an NGO guide who told him where to go and where not to go for safety reasons. I will be traveling as usual by myself, without guides, completely on my own. How best to protect myself from robberies?

If I go to Tondo I think taking $3000 lens like the 35mm f1.4 M might be a mistake, the 28mm f2 is around $2000, the Leica bodies $1000 a piece. I might be carrying $10 000 worth of equipment that is a lot of change to take into a dangerous slum where there is a chance you could get robbed. I think if I do go there I will restrict myself to the R equipment, 2 Leica R6 camera bodies, the 60mm f2.8 and the 24mm f2.8. The total cost of the R outfit is around is $1500-$2000, still a good chunk of change but something I would much rather lose in a robbery than my beautiful 35mm f1.4 M. I would still have the capability to make great photos with great glass, using very reliable tools. And if I get robbed? So be it! I will give up the gear and buy new/used stuff when I get home. I just hope the robbery takes place at the end of my trip not the beginning so I can make lots of pictures first!!!!!

Update* I must remember to keep my exposed film in my pants pockets not my camera bag, if they steal the bag I will still have the days shot film.

Tondo Slum, Manila Phillipines photo by crystalandsam.blogspot.ca