Sunday, July 31, 2016

Preview Of "Gerry Yaum At Work" Portrait Exhibition Book

Here is the first 27 pages of my "Gerry Yaum At Work" Portrait  exhibition magazine/book. I have been working on this layout over the last few night shifts. I expect the pages below to be about 1./3 of the books final size. All picture files are of required MB, and this is the near final cut. I might change out some photos, alter pic size, adjust contrast and lighten/darken things a bit.

The goal of this book is simply to allow the gallery viewer at the AGSA a chance to see a larger body of the photos I have made in my lifetime. Most of the photos below are pretty current but a few date back to the mid 80s. On the opposite page of the photo is a simple grey title which I tried to keep short.

Note* I will also be adding an essay to the front of the book, which I have partly completed.
Note** The photos in these 27 pages were made with 7 different cameras ranging from 35mm to 8x10. I do buy a lot of equipment but I also tend to actively use a lot of equipment, so it generally works out in the end.
Update* Been thinking I might try sending this booklet out as a gift (advertising) to some of the head honchos at Canada's better gallery/museums. Depending on the cost to print the thing, it might be a good investment, and help eventually get the photographs and the lives of the people in the photographs out to a larger audience. Their stories need to be told, my obligation to them needs to be fulfilled.
Update** After viewing the photos on this blog a few times I decided to lighten the darkness and lesson the contrast of the "Old man, working dump, Mae Sot Thailand 2016" picture below. I knew this blog was a good dealy thingy! and would help my photography.

Scary "Oh! Canada!" Fact

Here is a scary and very intimidating Canada fact. If I try to do even part of the proposed "Oh! Canada" wet plate-platinum print project, I would have to deal with it.

Canada is the worlds second largest country and spans more than 3,855,100 square miles (9,984,670 square kilometers). 

OUCH! That is one hell of a lot of driving to make some pics!

Still if I can travel half way round the world, learn and communicate in another language while making studio photos (with flash gear I brought from Canada) using an 8x10 of the sex scene workers in Thailand. If I can travel half way round the world, and photograph Burmese families in a garbage dump for over 3 years running. Why can't I do this? Heck it might even be easier, hope hope! Anything is possible, sometimes it is important to push yourself as hard as you can, who knows what the result might be! I know many photo people (former camera clubbers) that give up even before they get started. I do not want to be one of those folks.

Reach for the stars baby, reach for the stars!!

Sh-t!, F-ck!!, Oops!!!, Bought Me An Old Brass Lens

This morning before sleeping I accidently put in a nuch higher bid price than I intended on an auction. The auctioni was for an very old extremely rare Petzel type lens dating back to 1865. I later won this auction which was good! I paid way more than I intended, which was bad! The seller was out of Poland (my family heritage on my moms side is Polish) and the lens sold for a high $1494.34 USD (including shipping).  I overpaid big time (at least from my viewpoint) and buying the lens was an accident.

Maybe this is fate, I will give the lens a try, see how it performs in wet plate and go from there. The one advantage about buying these old lens is that you can resell them fairly easy over and over again. I expect I will be able to sell this lens near the price I paid in a year or two, heck I might even make a small profit. Hopefully this Oops, I screwed up moment will lead to some strong wet plate portraits-landscapes. Maybe this will all work out well in the end, who knows, maybe this is not an accident, maybe it was the photo gods of fate leading me down the right path. Imagine doing a wet plate photography project (1850-90s process) on Canada using a vintage/extremely rare brass lens from 1865! I see myself as a temporary owner of this historic rare lens. I will try to make some important photos with it before reselling it for others to use.

Even when I screw up, :(( ,  "Ain't Photography Grand!", :))))!

Here are the lens details.

Extremely Rare Wet Plate Large Petzval Type Vintage Brass Lens circa 1865

Next very beautiful camera lens from my private collection.

Wet / dry plate brass
camera lens in very good condition.

Lens comes with the 
mounting flange. 

An interesting patent the user of this lens. The rear lens is not screwed into threads. 

This is pressed into the barrel.

Very high quality.  

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Canada, A Vast Land

Spending the night browsing through photos online from Northern Canada. Canada is such a vast country and I have seen almost none of it, know Thailand, know Cambodia, even know Nepal a bit but Canada? It's a mystery!!

If I go ahead with this "Oh! Canada!" ULF wet plate and ULF platinum print project in the coming years. I could be visiting some of these places and making pics (where roads allow). Canada's Northern territories include, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Note* The pics below only show the landscape, my main subject of course would be the people of the North.

"GERRY YAUM AT WORK", Book Covers?

Still playing around with various books-magazines from Blurb for next years exhibition. I want to hit this exhibition out of the park. Make up very strong large dad exhibition prints and also do up 1 or several book-magazines detailling my life in photography. Hopefully it will all lead to more shows at higher end spaces. Which will allow the stories of the people I photogaph to be told with greater detail and clarity to a larger audience.

The latest magazine idea is to pay "homage" the layout of a simple book I love on Paul Strand, titled "PAUL STRAND AT WORK". Here are some possible cover layouts. This book-magazine would be smaller and easier to design and make (a doable thing!). It will probably run around 30-60 photos, 1 picture every 2 pages.

In these cover samples I tried to focus on individual portrait images that speaks to the strength of the "Human Being".

Note* Three of the photos below were made in the Mae Sot dump for the "Forgotten Laughter" project in  April/May this year. I have only been back in Canada a few months but already miss shooting daily so much. Need to get back in the field soon, and make me some more pics!

Quote: Bruce Lee

 When asked if he thought of himself as Chinese or American.

"Neither, I think of myself as a human being."

Bruce was so ahead of his time and our time. He is of course right, we are all human beings first. One of the great faults of countries (nationalism) and religions (your god is right) is that it can separate us in so many terrible ways, it often leads to so much hatred and killing. If we can see the other person as simply a "Human Being" just like us, and not as a dreaded-feared-hated OTHER type, then compassion, understanding, equality and fairness come into play.

Well said Bruce. Lets all look at ourselves as HUMAN BEINGS first and not as Canadians, Americans, Chinese, Christians, Muslims.

Update* Maybe I can use that as a title of a book for my photography lifetime retrospective (if anyone cares for such a book). It could simply be called "Human Beings"

Friday, July 29, 2016

Quote: Dianne Arbus

"A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know."

Thursday, July 28, 2016

More Deliveries

Today I got 2 more deliveries of recent eBay purchases. I got my Ries A100 tripod ($42 in brokerage/taxes) and my 16x20 silver nitrate tank from the Czech Republic (no extra charges).

The tripod is smaller and lighter than I thought, doubt it could work alone with the 16x20 but in my planned combination with another tripod it should work great. ULF cameras over 11x14 require second tripods so this Ries should solve 1/2 my tripod arrangement. The 16x20 tank looks to be very well made, I should be able to use it for the rest of my life. In the future I might be getting a 24x32 silver nitrate tank made from this same builder, if I eventually buy the Ultra Ultra large 24x32 Chamonix camera.

Note* I will also be using the Ries and head with my 8x10 and probably my 11x14 camera.

RZ67 Now In The Fold

Received my $200 Mamiya RZ67 today, a beauty of a camera. I need to get some batteries for it before I can use it but it should be a a great tool, it is quite a bit lighter than the RB67, using it overseas might be an option.

In the same package I got the small Reis J200 head, still waiting on the Reise wooden A100 tripod, which might come in tomorrows mail.

Bought 2-11x14 Holders

Got 2 11x14 film holders for my 11x14 camera, cost $365 USD. Will probably have to get another 3 or so in the future, but this will have to be enough for now. I have the 11x14 film (HP5) on order, multiple lens and tripods that that I can use. I still have to figure out the lens board but I should be making pics with the new ULF camera soon.

Note* I checked into the cost of getting a high quality 11x14 wet plate holder from my workshop Jody Ake, $600 USD. At some point I will probably be getting one. Jody makes a great holder, I have one of his 8x10 holders.

My 2 new-used 11x14 film holders

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Glass Bottles

When your mixing your own wet plate chemistry you need LOTS and LOTS of glass bottles. I decided to order some in advance. I did this order through, allowing for free shipping, cost $297.62 CAD for 10-1000ml bottles and 4-2000ml bottles (for silver nitrate when I make the big plates). I will need to buy more bottles in the future maybe some smaller 250ml, 500ml, sizes and a larger 5000ml. The more bottles you have the better. Each bottle will only have one use in its lifetime, cross contamination is a huge problem in wet plate. I will also need to get a number funnels that are specific to its own chemical, one for Silver Nitrate, one for Varnish etc.
Amazon, Link To the GL-45 Bottles
Note* Clear glass bottles allow for sunning of the silver nitrate and inspecting-filtering your chemistry more easily. I will be storing these bottles in a dark place possibly a dedicated camping cooler when they are not in use.

Kimax, GL-45 Media/Storage Bottle

My Large Format Cameras

With the newest camera in my large foramt arsenal I decided to run down all the various large format cameras I now own.

- Sinar F1 (old version)
- Sinar F1 (new version)
- Speedgraphic (cheap and damaged)
- Toyo (damaged)
- Toyo (working)
- Wista (brown color, mostly in parts)
- Wista (black vesion used for the early "Klong Toey Slum" photos)
- Linhof 2000 (my favourite 4x5, used for later "Klong Toey Slum" and "Forgotten Laughter" photos)
- Razzle (modified Polaroid-Banarama, Ladyboy sex worker photos)
- Graflex Super D

- Linhof 5x7 (used in "Forgotten Laughter, "My Fathers Last Days" photos)

- Deardorff (gift from dad, possible "Oh! Canada!" photos)
- Kodak Masterview (sex worker photos, "My Fathers Last Days" and much more)
- Wisner (almost never used)

- Older model Chamonix or copy Chamonix (possible "Oh! Canada!" photos)

- Chamonix (possible "Oh! Canada!" photos)

Bought Me A 11x14 Camera

I bought a older and cheaper version 11x14 today. The camera seems to be a older model Chamonix or a copy of a Chamonix. It looks to be a nice little and very usable unit complete with lens board. The cost was a relatively low $1099 USD. Most 11x14 cameras seem to run $4000-$5000 US dollars. This is not a beautiful looking camera but it is fully functional which is all the matters in the end.

Am quite excited by this purchase. I always wanted a 11x14, now I own one at a very reasonable, even a cheap price. This might be my main platinum printing camera. I will be doing only contact prints with this, and HP5 llx14 is available from B&H at $199.95 USD a box for 25 sheets.

Update* Bought me a box of film! Got the great FREE shipping to Canada deal from the B&H folks. In the past a former close acquaintance had criticized me for buying film over using the money go buy booze and socializing with photo folks. I always feel so happy when I buy film with my hard earned wages. What wonders will come of this new 11x14 film? Who knows, but the beauty and possibilities are endless. You don't get that by buying scotch and drugging yourself to find happiness.
Update** Will probably use the large ball head I bought a while back for the 16x20 with this camera instead. It should be a better fit, weight and size wise.

My new 11x14 view camera
Update* Will need to get some 11x14 holders and a 11x14 wet plate back to fit this camera. I already own 5 modern lens that will work with it. Will try to get a nice swirly sharpness 1800s Petzval brass lens to use with it as well.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Getting To That Next Level? And The Bad Side To Photo Clubs!

How do you get to that elusive next level in your work. It is something that is difficult for me to understand. How do you do that exactly? Two of the things I learned in a couple of photo clubs I used to belong to (left both, guess I out grew them) was that you can only reach a certain level unless there is a greater level of commitment. One of the major problems I had with my former club members was that they did not have the level of commitment required which created conflict (at least from me) and two they did not take criticism of their work well. If your not committed, and if your afraid of honest opinion your photography will never rise up, never get beyond the trite and average stuff.

Lets look at those two points in greater detail.

How can you get to another level, a higher level unless you devote your life to photography? If your distracted by every minor deal, if you think of photography as not having power (photo club member I know felt that, said that) or as a simple side effect (photo club member I know felt that, said that). To get to a higher level you have to have a complete commitment. The thing is most camera club folk, especially older ones who are set in their ways think of their photo group as simply a hobby to help pass the time (till they die). I guess that's fine, but for me that is a game breaker, why stay with folks who do not give a shit, who are lazy, who do not take photography seriously. No need to be there!

The second point, the inability to accept criticism is interesting. One club I used to belong to encouraged judges and its members to critique each others work. The problem was that if you were actually honest, people would tend to FREAK OUT! When I first joined that group I was too honest which sparked outrage, so I toned it down, toned it down to the point where I would never say anything negative and only comment on the good. I had been beaten down by club member peer pressure, forced to conform. My conformity damaged the club, as did the conformity of the other members. We all poisoned each other with our ugly sameness. I did thou manage to keep my independence of thought on this blog. The thing is members from the group were following my blog and when I wrote about my true feelings, they FREAKED OUT!! again. They simply could not accept real honest opinion or debate. I had committed a thought crime.  I always found it sort of odd that a group of people would ask for honest, helpful, building type criticism but then when it was given they did not have the grace and courage to accept it. No one is hurt by opinion, in fact just the opposite, opinion is extremely important to your growth as an individual and an artist.

I think to get to the next level in my work I have to follow these two guidelines. One, to have complete commitment to my work. Two, to allow and listen to all criticism with an open mind but to ultimately follow my heart regardless. I am the supposed artist, what I think is right, is right, for my art. Nuff said on that!

Update* Been thinking of what makes clubs great, I think it is strong opinions and diversity (in work and people types). If your club is the opposite, if everybody does things exactly or almost exactly the same way, if everyone is a YES person, your in a lousy useless club. If as a member your afraid to be honest, and if your not viewing a great diversity of work, what are you achieving by meeting? Its just a mutual admiration society promoting useless sludge.
Update** On a side note who really gives a fuck what others have to say about your work anyway, it's just an opinion, no biggy, certainly no reason to FREAK OUT. As a creative person as an artist you should listen, accept, don't get angry and filter everything through your process. Think of it as part of your learning curve. Maybe 1% of that opinion will eventually find its way into your photography or maybe none of the opinion will but you will go oppostite and write a scathing blog about laziness and intolerance and that will help you! : ))
Update*** Am continuing to think on this after the writing of the blog. I guess what it comes down to is that if I want to get to the next level with my work I need to.
1) Work hard (Harder than now).
2) Follow my heart (Believe that my heart will take me in the right direction).

Note* This is why I started this blog, to get me thinking, to push myself, to not stagnate, and to continue to grow as an artist. This blog entry has helped that growth I believe, the juices are flowing! Nuff nuff said on that!!

Lens Mounted To Boards

Well I now have two of my ULF lens mounted to newly arrived lens boards. Both the 21 inch process lens/shutter Ilex and the 450mm F 9 Nikon (Q) are now mounted to a Sinar lensboards, that will fit into my Chamonix adapter board. I had to wait a bit on mounting the Nikon as I was missing the mounting ring. I requested the ring from the seller who sent it in a second envelope (he had forgotten to attach it). I still need to mount my Fujinon 600mm, I already have that lens board waiting inside the camera. Am still looking for a Ilex #5 shutter to use with my 42 inch Goertz Red Dot. When I get the shutter I will send it to SK Grimes for mounting. I am also in the market for a 19 inch Dagor. My ULF-Platinum printing teacher Allan K recommended it to me.

This whole ULF photography thing is coming together nicely., piece by piece. My Ries wooden tripod should be here in a a few days.

Note* The standard Sinar lens boards can be bought relatively cheap on eBay, got mine for $29.99 USD and 30.45 USD with free shipping.

Bigger Is Better?

I have the option of eventually moving up from my 16x20 Chamonix wet plate imagery to a 24x32 Chamonix camera costing a HUGE,  $11000 USD. Not sure I will ever go there, but it is nice to have this wonderful but expensive option. This wet plate camera is even bigger than the 22x30 camera Luther Gerlach is using in his wonderful "Three Graces" video.
Luther's Huge Wet Plate Camera

Hmm guess I should shoot my 16x20 a bit or even once before I move up to ULTRA ULTRA LARGE format cameras.

Dreams Of Wet Plate

I am starting to dream of making wet plates. I see the  imagery everywhere. Last camping trip everywhere I went I saw imagery in wet plate, I wondered what they would look like large in collodion on black glass.

This is exciting, this is what I wanted a true excitement with the wet plate process. With that excitement everything will follow, hard work, technique and finally good photographs. Maybe eventually truly great work will flow naturaly.

"Ain't Photography Grand!!"

Enlarger Parts All Here

Well all of my Zone VI cold light enlarger parts are in my home, they have finally all arrived. The last two large parcels containing the long metal column and the base of the enlarger head arrived this afternoon via UPS and an additional $120+ brokerage bill.

I have now started to assemble this beautiful machine. Today I attached the tall metal column to the extra large baseboard with metal legs before I had to skid-daddle off to work. Gosh I hope this new somewhat expensive tool will make great prints. I have always been a pretty decent printer, hopefully with some colour diffusion heads, a multigrade head, a couple of condenser heads and now a cold light head my world class darkroom will be complete. I should now have all the tools I need to deal with most any negative or print look.

I will remove 2 of the enlargers I almost never use from my main darkroom and place them in my hoped for 2nd teaching/renting darkroom and digital/platinum printing location (at moms home). Last week before my trip I was able to get a large old style metal filing cabinet FREE to use in this same secondary space. I also was able to pick up a small wooden filing cabinet for $5 on my recent trip. Will post pictures here on this blog of both the new Zone VI enlarger set up as well as planned secondary darkroom when they are ready.

A Week Camping

Did a week camping in South BC, lots of fun. End up buying 2 tintypes probably dating back to around 1860-80, rather hauting images of children and an older man. Did a bit of shooting with the Rolleiflex trying to overcome the recent loading issue where I lose 1-3 shots per film. I do not want to send the camera in for repairs again but it might have to be done. Both my rollies have a similar problem now.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

120mm "Forgotten Laughter" And Other Trip Shots #11

A mixed group of 10 120mm shots form the April-May Thailand trip.

Muay Thai boxer #2, Bangkok Thailand Aprl 2016
Bride and grooms daughter in the dump, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
Muay Thai boxer #1, Bangkok Thailand
Muay Thai boxer #1, Version #2, Bangkok Thailand April 2016
The bride and Chamiko in the dump, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
Young girl in dump, Mae Sot Thailand April-May 2016
Dog next to dump shack, Mae Sot Thailand April-May 2016
Muslim man and woman walking on Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok Thailand April 2016
Grandfather in the dump Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
Bride and grooms daughter in the dump, Version #2, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Bought Me A Wooden Ries Tripod

I bought a wooden A100 Ries tripod with J200 head today. The package also included a mint Mamiya RZ67 Pro II camera with 110mm lens. I always wanted a RZ (have 2-RBs) but never bought one before. Probably did not need this camera but heck for what I paid for it is a nice addition. It is kind of cool to finally own one of these things. The first RB I got years ago was a gift from my father. I will always remember him buying that for me, what a great generous father.With this purchase I was only interested in the Tripod, but the camera happened to be attached to it! So I got that too.

The A100 Ries tripod is only listed at 35lbs (the weight of my 16x20 alone) but I have been told that the tripod can carry more than that weight effectly. The J-200 head is rated to only 16lbs. Not 100% sure this smaller tripod and head will work for my Chamonix camera but it could work. I might have been better off with the larger A100-2 and the a-250 2 head. Will see what happens?? The other thing to remember is that I will be using 2 tripods in my 16x20 camera set up, so maybe this tripod/head combo working in conjuction with a second tripod will be OK.

Cost of this supposed mint gear purchase was $1248 USD. A new Ries tripod and head would cost $1000 USD so I basically got the camera body, film back and lens for $248 USD, not that bad at all. If I find the A100 tripod and J200 head are too small for my big May Lee 16x20 I will use this gear for the front standard tripod and buy a second larger A100-2 and A250-2 head for the back heavier weighted part of the camera.

Note* The RZ67 was photogapher Annie Leibowitz's favourite tool for many years.
Note** Most decent condition  RZ67 Pro II with 110mm lens seem to sell for around $600-830 USD on eBay now. Hopefully the one I bought as a SIDE EFFECT is in MINT condition as promised.

Update*  I wonder what I could do with this camera in the dump? The camera would be heavy and awkward to carry but would also allow a 6x7 negative and very easy up close (bellows) focusing. The RZ cameras are very well built professional tank type things with sharp lens. Not sure how they do handheld, I need to use a tripod with my RBs.
Update** I just learned I can use all my RB lens with this RZ so no need to buy more lens as I have a wide angle and telephoto already.
Update*** I bought a second 120mm film back for this camera, cost a cheap $55 USD. Two backs will probably be enough for me to shoot fluidly thou if I can get a third cheaply it might be worth buying. I am considering whether to buy the prism finder (meter), will think that over, they cost around $250 USD. Leaning towards a no on that one (to much weight).
Update**** I thought of another 2 tripod option for the 16x20 if this Ries tripod is a bit too small. I put the A100 on the front standard and get a non giant (shorter) large Gitzo carbon fiber tripod for the year. This might be my best and lightest option. The camera would be locked in place, super solid like!

My new RZ67 and Ries wooden A-100 tripod with J-200 head

Friday, July 15, 2016

Super High Contrast?

It might be fun to play with some of my images like this, going SUPER HIGH CONTRAST using photoshop, then making digi prints. This ultra high contrast really creates a very very graphic look. For comparison see the normal contraster version in the earlier dad blog.

Dad with super high contrast

Bought A 16x20 Silver Nitrate Tank

The prepare continues to do ULF 16x20 wet plate. I purchased a 16x20 silver nitrate tank off eBay today from a seller in the Czech Republic. Cost of the tank was 189 GBP (325.44 CAD), with free shipping. I will use this tank to coat silver nitrate onto my collodion plates. I will be doing tintypes, ambrotypes as well as glass negs. This item seems to be well made, hopefully I can use it for many years.