Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Quote: Kevin Costner

"Real heroes are men who fall and fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they've stayed true to their ideals and beliefs and commitments."

Monday, May 30, 2016

Bought A GoPro Hero 2 Camera

With the burn out of my RE video camera in Asia I was in the market for something new/used to replace it. I decided to go GoPro this time. The newest version GoPro is the Hero 4 but that is a tad expensive at $360+ USD. I decided to buy a used Hero 2 from a seller in Ontario. My cost including shippping (no duty or GST) was $114 CAD. Not that bad at all. This camera will hopefully get the job done, allowing me to shoot film camera view point videos, and first person diary recordings in the future. I also got the camera plastic case, various strap on set ups and a 32GB SD card thrown in. Might buy a few optional accessories int he future, possibly the LCD screen.

Note* I might be able to use this cameras time lapse features etc for the coming dump documentary.
Note** Bought 2 extra batteries with a a/c and car lighter charger (for when I am camping).\
Note *** Bought a second plastic case and a open side and external plug in microphone for better quality audio recordings.

My new/used Hero 2 GoPro with plastic case

Quote: Giovanni Boccaccio (Writer)

Writing of the Middle Ages black plague (Bubonic plague) in his book "The Decmeron". The plague took over 75 million lives in the mid 1300s over a 6 year period and continued to return and kill in Europe over the next centuries.

"....this sore affliction entered so deep into the minds of men and women that, in the horror thereof, brother was forsaken by brother, nephew by uncle....and often husband by wife, nay, what is more scarcely to be believed fathers and mothers were found to abandon their own children, untended, unvisited, to their fate, as if they had been strangers."

More Book Buys!

Ended up going back to the library book sale and buying more books on both Saturday (3 boxes) and Sunday (3 boxes). Saturday I picked up a number of top notch art books including a wonderful older (many b/w images) super large volume on the complete works of Michelangelo for $2. Probably the best-cheapest book combination I have ever bought. Yesterdays books were $10 per box and included many non art history books etc. Surprisingly yesterday I was also able to get a wonderful older book on Van Gogh and a beautifully printed large book on Impressionism.

Tons of stuff to read, tons of stuff to learn. You got to love books and libraries, one of the things I miss most when I am in Asia. All in all over the last 3 days spent around $200-250 but got so much good stuff it was well worth it. Knowledge is power and seeing others artists creativity leads to inspiration and motivation to create art myself.

Note* I also picked up a number of DVDs (concentrated on documentaries to learn from) as well as CDs (mostly unknown singers, instrumentation and classical).

Link: JiJi Portrait Used On "Genderphobia In Southeast Asian Cinema" Presentation

Another found use of a photograph I made. The photo was made in 2007 of ladyboy sex worker "JiJi" in 2007. It is part of a presentation on gender-phobia in Southeast Asian Cinema Presentation by Mikee Nunez.

I am happy this photographs and some of my other social documentary photographs are being used in such a positive way. Raising awareness, educating, promoting equality and understanding. Who is not in favour of that! This is an example where people photography, social documentary people photography can do so much more good that your average, everyday, nice light and shadow pretty landscape picture does (the type of photo most everyone does).

Here is the link the "Jiji" photo (on white background) is buried inside the presentation (Thai section). Please check this Genderphobia link out and learn a bit more on this important issue. Lets all fight intolerance and hatred based on sexual orientation.

Link: Facebook Photographer Yves Dimant

Found the having fun with view camera film on Facebook photographer Yves Dimant's page today.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

5x7 "Forgotten Laughter" Shots #1

Not sure I like the 120mm lens, the 210mm better? I like the larger perspective that includes the environment story, not sure it works as well for the person.

3 men in the dump, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
Boy sleeping in dump, 630am version #1, Mae Sot May 2016
The old man at the dump who was only 50, Mae Sot May 2016
Dumpscape #1, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
The groom in his dump shack after breakfast, before going out to work, Mae Sot May 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

Quote: Bruce Davidson

"With photography, one can enter unknown worlds and inside lives. Through this I was able to visually communicate what I experienced once I was inside."

Jimmy Armstrong, a circus performer, New Jersey 1958 by Bruce Davidson

Big Library Used Art Book Buy

Bought 4 boxes of art books today from my city library. The library has sales on books 3 or 4 times a year, this is my second in a row. The hard cover books go for $2 CAD each and the soft cover for $1 each. They also had a special section of big books individually priced from $10 to $15 each.

I bought huge older super sized volumes at $15 each.

- Van Gogh
- Rembrandt
- Raphael (who I know almost nothing about, except that he died young)
- Michelangelo

I ended up buying 24 hard cover art books (3 on photography). Some of these are very large and heavy, running 600-1100 pages long. Price $2 CAD a book.

I also bought 17 soft cover art books (4 on photography). Price $1 CAD a book.

The only downside in all of this is that they did not have many photography books for sale. 2 of the nicer hard cover photo books I bought I already own. At $2 a piece I thought it was worth getting a second copy. I intend to keep those books in my car to read during my security night shifts. Will go again next time they have a sale specifically targeting photography.

Ended up getting everything for around $125 not bad!! Hopefully I can continue to use these books to grow and learn as artist. Plus just having so much emotion, beauty and creativity around you at all times in intoxicating. You open up these volumes and you never know what you will find. So much wonder and beauty! So much humanity and soul on display. Then you read about the incredible commitment the artists had to their work and it is all so inspiring. You get off your lazy ass and get to work!

35mm "Forgotten Laughter" Shots #2

Some more 35mm from the families and life at the dump.

Mother in her dump shack, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
Dumpscape, Mae Sot April-May 2016
Brother and sister hugging at the dump, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
Burned circle and feet at the dump, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
Man working the dump near dump dogs, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
Young baby girl in dump reaching for me, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
Girl from dump in tree, Mae Sot May 2016
2 boys sleeping in the dump, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
Young girl in family dump home, Mae Sot Thailand April/May 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Book: "Vincent By Himself" Edited By Bruce Bernard

Got a wonderful book on Vincent Van Gogh last night at the neighbourhood book store for $20 CAD. The book is called "Vincent by himself" and showcases the human documentary portrait aspect of his art, they even show 2 nude drawings. We have all seen his landscape paintings but but most books do not focus on his people work in this new book there were several human-people studies I had never seen before in this volume. They combine these works with exerts from his wonderfully thoughtful, open and intense letters. You get a real feel for the creativity and love of humanity he possessed and communicated through his art. An amazing man and a wonderful book, recommended to all. Hopefully some of Vincent's thoughts, feelings and love of his fellow man will rub off on my documentary photography.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

120mm "Forgotten Laughter" Shots #2

Boy near dump shacks in styrofoam box bathing, Mae Sot May 2016
Boy working in the dump, Mae Sot 2016
Many carrying water with dogs in dump, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
Old man in his dump shack, Mae Sot Thailand 2016
Daughter, Mother and dump dog, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
Baby girl in the dump, Mae Sot Thailand April 2016
Dog in the dump with bags, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016

Young boy with bare feet in the dump, Mae Sot Thailand April 2016
Man cutting chicken near well at dump, Mae Sot May 2016
Woman working the dump garbage, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016

Film Loading Issues

Fuck, have some sort of film loading issue with my Rolleiflex. 3 of the 6 Rolleiflex films I developed last night were missing frames, instead of 12 per roll I am only getting 8-11. This sucks, fucking camera problems again! Wish I could get reliable equipment that worked as promised. I dished out the doe to get the Rollies repaired and am still having this kind of crap happen.

How many top notch negs are gone forever? How many stories forgotten? What do I need to do to get what I paid for? To get what I worked for? To not screw up the story the families gave me? Feel like I let my subjects down yet again, they trusted me and gave, I screwed up my part.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Video: Mae Sot Dump Hut Area (Lean-Twos)

This was shot during my first 6 days at the dump in April of 2016. Between November 2015 and April 2016 area of homes that I photographed at extensively had been knocked down. Some of the families that had lived in those homes were now living in these very basic Lean-two type structures. This is a video of that small section of the dump.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Video: "Man In The Dump WIth Bicycle", Portrait Video Moment

Here is a fun little video shot in the dump. Was sort of multitasking at the time, shooting with the Plaubel Makina 67, my RE video camera and my Sony digital camera all at the same time! So please excuse the bumpiness, and weird composition angles. This video was made with the small RE wide angle camera that was mounted to the hot shoe of my Makina 67.

Note* The Sony digital was still working at that time but breaking down bit by bit, day by day. Had some problems with it as you can see in the video.
Note** The small digi snapshots were made to give as gifts to the families. I later came back and gave the photos made of the 2 children to their mothers. I have more snapshot photos taken during a second visit that I will have to give when I return to the dump. I will probably return in early 2017 to start filming the "Fred" documentary movie.
Note*** "YEE" is the Burmese word for "Smile". In the rest of the video I am speaking a mixture of Thai, Burmese and English (mostly Thai which some folks at the dump understand).

Here is a link to a higher quality Vimeo version
Vimeo Channel Link

This is the main photo made:

Man in the dump with bicycle, Mae Sot April 2016
Here is the Video behind the making of the shot:

Sunday, May 22, 2016

My Last RX100 II Camera Photograph

My used E-bay camera the Sony RX100 II crapped out and died this trip. The is the last photo I made with it was at the Vatican Museum in Rome Italy. It is an image of Vicent Van Gogh's "Pieta" (Mary holding her dead son Jesus), a delicate and very beautiful peice. Most of the thousands of people visiting the museum missed it as it was in a small side room that folks walked by without entering.

Note* Am currently debating in my mind whether to get another RX, this time it would be a new camera the #3 or #4 version (runs around $800 USD I think). I love how you can shoot the camera on the sly and how you can get large RAW files to make big detailed prints. This could turn into a very creative tool, I love the results I got with my RX100 II before it broke down.

Another Thought: I wonder what Vincent Van Gogh could have created with a Sony RX100 II?
Marry, Jesus, Vincent and Me, Rome May 2016

Photo Scrapbook Anthology - Retrospective Magazine "Yaum: Tears Of A Butterfly"

I need to create a lifetime retrospective photo mag of some kind. I want to be able to have a set magazine style book (they look best from Blurb.com) that I can roll out at all future exhibitions. I need to show the visitors at the exhibitions the range of work created over the last 15+ years.

This magazine would be titled YAUM: TEARS OF A BUTTERFLY (an old title that dates back maybe 20 years) and include color and b/w stills, video captures, contact sheets, emails, blogs, self portraits, scanned writings and drawings etc. I want the thing to be visually complex and fun to flip through. Everything mixed and matched on top of and around each other. I do not think I would have to write much fresh stuff as I have kept all my old emails through the years (sent and received) and have around 8 years of blog writings that I could use.

This would be a major project that would take a long time to complete. I will have to look through thousands of negatives from neg binders all around my home, in boxes and on the floor! Then scan and edit those mags before placing them into the magazine software. I would also need to review hundreds of emails and blogs to find out what works. This is going to take time but should be tons of fun to do. A walk down memory lane!

Note* This mag book could turn into a great promotional tool. If I want (and can afford) I could send samples to influencial - important gallery curators, collectors etc. It would show a large body of work and also show the creative process behind it. The joys, the pains, the sucesses and failures would all be up for grabs. Maybe no one gives a shit about this but me but it will be fun and challenging to put together. Heck what else do I go to do? :))))

Some books and photographers work that influenced this idea:

Diane Arbus: "Revelations"
Walker Evans: Anthology "Unclassified"
Edward Weston: "The Daybooks"

Email: What's New Jim?

Hey Jim...sitting here at work on my 7th night a bit bored, thought I would write you. Tomorrow I finally get a day off after all the experiences overseas and then coming back directly to work for a week. I was originally planning to tame the wild jungle that my yard now is but with all the rain that's impossible. My current plan is to sleep, sleep, sleep!

Anything new with you? Traveling much? Now that I am an expelled ----------- (camera club name) person I have no chance to talk to you (the only real part I miss!).  What you been up to?

Am starting to develop and scan the most recent work, here are some samples. There should be lots more in the coming week. I still have not started developing the 5x7 film. Shooting in the dump was both hard and easy. I have many friends there now, so had about 95% access to photograph (a few folks still unsure and or shy) so that was easy. The hard part was the extreme heat and physical difficulties of hauling everything around a dump site (lost about 20 lbs), and dogs that urinate on your camera bag!

Am doing some new things in the coming months. I plan to make up a career type magazine of some kind for the next show (if that ever happens). A thick magazine with photos dating back 15+ years along with contact sheets, emails, blogs, video captures etc etc. Want to make it into a visual diary type thing, like a wild scrapbook, fun to browse, read and scan. It might be 100 or so pages (depending on how big you can print the mags on blurb). In the past I have been happy with the magazine style results from Blurb.com so want to make a best of type thing that is fun and that I can throw on the table for people to look through at any future shows. Probably will take a long time to complete, as I have to look through thousands of negs-emails-blogs-contacts and scan-edit-place what works for me.

My other new thing is that I am preparing to do my first documentary film (video). The subject would be Fred --------- a tough old fellow at the garbage dump. Fred has been doing great work for the last 9 years helping the people there. I want to tell both his story and the dumps story, this time on VIDEO. Am learning how to make movies now, how to edit, how to shoot, how to record good audio. I am purchasing a bunch of used equipment to help me get this done. I expect to get started early in 2017.

Am very excited about the new film that will be developed and these 2 new projects.

Hope your shooting lots and making some great photos. Every time I was in Europe (visited Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Italy on my Thai visa run) and saw graffiti or details on buildings I thought of your work.


Bought A "BeachTek DXA-SLR Dual XLR Audio Adapter"

Today bought a BeachTeck DXA-SLR, this used item sold for $160 USD. The BeachTeck should allow me to control audio better from my camera position when I am doing interviews or have a live audio feed of Fred wearing a wireless mike. If I am shooting Fred running about wearing his mike I should be able to adjust audio levels easily from my camera position. I can wear head phones and hear what is coming into my camera directly. This is a relatively cheap item that could improve the tech quality of the documentary 10 fold.

Note* All my video gear is used-second hand stuff. I hope it all preforms as promised. Having breakdowns in Asia is a pain. Last trip I lost my iPad, my mini RE video recorder and my Sony RX100. When your in a location like the dump losing most of your electronic gear is a irreplaceable pain in the butt!!

Live Audio Capture With The BeachTek DXA-SLR

120mm "Forgotten Laughter" Shots #1

Here are the first 120mm shots. I used 2 medium format cameras a Plaubel Makina 67 (6x7) and a Rolleiflex F 2.8 (6x6). These scanned negative then photoshopped (burn-dodge, contrast-brightness) images are probably more contrasty than I will make the darkroom archival prints.

Baby in the dump version #2, Mae Sot April-May 2016
Two dump children in their shack, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
Young boy in dump shack, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
Baby in the dump, Mae Sot April-May 2016
Young boy in the dump, Mae Sot April-May 2016
Man in the dump with bicycle, Mae Sot April 2016

Grandfather in the dump, Mae Sot April/May 2016
Boy in the dump wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt, Mae Sot April 2016
Young boy in dump with teddy bear shirt, Mae Sot April/May 2016

Bought A Used Glidecam 4000 System

Got a Glidecam video camera set up used and at a good price. The new version of this Glidecam 4000 runs $300 USD plus, the harness set up another $200 or so. I got both of these used for $248 USD (including import and shipping costs).

Not sure how good this thing is (a bit cheapo) but online saw several movies that looked wonderful. I expect to be quite heavy on my right arm but it should create a steadycam like effect for my new video camera system. I guess using these things requires lots of practise. I will have to work with it quite a bit to see if I can use it successfully in Asia on the documentary project.

YouTube Glidecam Training Video

New used Glidecam system.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Documentary Film Thoughts

With the purchase of my new/used documentary film camera thoughts of making that film fill my mind. How the hell do you make a documentary movie? How do you do it technically (recording sound?). How do you do it creatively? How do you make a story interesting, visually captivating, and draw the viewer in emotionally? I have so much to learn. This is a huge learning curve.

Will watch tons of docs and how to vids on YouTube then I need to struggle my way through this till I get it right. I learned my still photography that way, just kept stumbling and making mistakes until I learned to do things right (still learning!).

I have always dreamed of doing documentary movies, way back before computers and video were ready. Now with Fred's interest, my experiences and friendships at the dump along with the advances in technology I can make a film. I can be a one producer, just like with my photography. To that end I have started to draw up a story board for the film, what shots I want and where they will be placed. it is a beginning!

Gerry the 'FILM MAKER" : ))), sounds rather grand don't you think?

Found Dad Film

This photo is from a found dad film. This negative has been laying around in my darkroom, not cut or scanned until now. Saw it for the first time today. I remember clearly making this picture, mom was crying and dad was in a bit of shock.

I miss my father so much, wish I could just sit and talk to him for 30 minutes again, hear his voice and give him a kiss. We lost dad (Pancreatic Cancer) on February 22nd 2015 about 1 year and a bit after this photo was made, he was 82 years old.

Dad during his first hospital stay soon after his cancer diagnosis, early March 2014

Bought A Canon EOS C100 Video Camera

Well I went out and did it, bought a video camera for the Fred documentary. I sort of screwed up and bid more than I wanted to, tried to retract the bid but could not. I ended getting a used C100 along with a nice case, 2 extra batteries and a special viewfinder device for $3246.98 USD. An OK price but not great. After I bid I found out that B&H is selling new cameras (old model) for $2499 USD. I kind of wish I would have bought that unit instead. Still I think it should be OK my camera supposedly only has 70 hours on it and the case with a special designed insert looks very nice, along with the expensive accessories which I think I will use. Now I got to find the money to pay for it!

I will start working with the camera to improve my technique as soon as I get it. I have lots to learn shooting video is an entirely different type thing. Much stuff to get good at, shooting, exposure, white balance, gamma, waves etc etc. Also need to learn sound recording and more high end video editing. This is going to be a huge challenge for me. I got to get it down so I can make a good quality and moving documentary film.

Note* The lens in the last photo is not included in the auction. I do have 2 lens from my DSLR that will work thou. A 24mm f1.4 and a 24mm-70mm F2.8. The focal lengths will be longer as the camera censor is not a full censor.