Monday, February 29, 2016

Direct Positive Printing Out Paper From Ilford!

While studying the work and techniques of the Chamonix photographer Tim Layton I came across a no negative direct positive paper (had to learn what that was). The paper is called "Harmon direct positive printing out paper", it is  made by Ilford. Pretty cool stuff, you can put the stuff in your view film holder then expose and develop it leaving a one of a kind unique print. It is available with free shipping from B&H in 4x5, 5x7, 8x10, 11x14 and 16x20 FB.

I want to try this process, experiment with it, see what it looks like. Later on it might become a part of my creative technique, I might even try giving workshops on it! Will order a package of 4x5 my the next time I get some stuff from New York. The ASA on this stuff is 1-3.

Here is Tim Layton's site, loads of fun, strong work and many things to learn here. This site is highly recommended, please visit.

25 sheet box of 4x5 direct positive paper from Ilford
Here is a sample portrait made by photographer Alessandro Bocchi (gosh Italian names are exotic, everyone sounds like an opera singer). I included the artist process details for the making of this direct positive photograph.

Photo by Alessandro Bocchi
Milano Marittima - Cervia (RA) Italy - "Italians Gone Surfing" a Series of Portrait of Surfers, Windsurfers, Kitesurfers and also Skateboarders. Portrait of Stefano Manzi, a surfer from Cesenatico.

- Camera: TOYO-FIELD 45 AII L (Linhof)
- Lens: Voigtlander Heliar 210 1:4.5 in Compound shutter
- Exposure: 1 second between f 4.5 and f 6.3
- Film: HARMAN FB Direct Positive Paper - 3 ASA - size 4x5"
- Developer: ILFORD PQ UNIVERSAL 1+9 - 2 minutes at 20° C
- Lightmeter: Gossen Lunasix 3 reading the incident light.
- Lightning: Ambient light only.

- Scanner: EPSON V700 and EPSON Scan 3.81
- Software: Adobe Photoshop CS4

Note* One positive thing about using this stuff overseas is that with an ASA of 1-3 it probably could go through 50 airport X-ray machines and not be fogged. 

My 16x20 Chamonix Camera, Arriving Today?

Think my 16x20 Chamonix camera should arrive from Shanghai today, probably in the next 2 hours. It is fun to track the history of this 41.46 lb package around the world! Lots of camera fondling to follow this week. The trick is after this initial romance is over to keep using and keep shooting the camera for the rest of my life!! More importantly, I need to make strong/strong/STRONG photographs with it. Can I do "In Buddhas Path" with this tool?

Here is the Chamonix 16x20 travel history from the factory in Shanghai China to Gerry's crib in Edmonton Canada. Unboxing video and photos to follow!

Travel History

2/29/2016 - Monday
10:09 amInternational shipment release - ImportEDMONTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, AB
Held, cleared regulatory agency(s) after aircraft/truck departed
8:33 amClearance in progressEDMONTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, AB
Package available for clearance
2/26/2016 - Friday
3:50 amIn transitMEMPHIS, TN
2/25/2016 - Thursday
10:30 pmIn transitSHANGHAI CN
10:28 pmInternational shipment release - ExportSHANGHAI CN
10:23 pmArrived at FedEx locationMEMPHIS, TN
5:57 pmInternational shipment release - ExportSHANGHAI CN
8:11 amClearance delay - ImportEDMONTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, AB
2/23/2016 - Tuesday
10:30 pmAt local FedEx facilitySHANGHAI CN
7:49 pmPicked upSHANGHAI CN
Package received after FedEx cutoff
2:15 amShipment information sent to FedEx

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Quotes: Photographer Billy Kwan (The Year Of Living Dangerously)

"Don't think about the major issues. You do what you can about the misery in front of you. You add your light to the sum of all light."

" Starvation is a great aphrodisiac."

"Most of us become children again when we enter the slums of Asia. And last night I watched you walk back into childhood. With all its opposite intensities: laughter and misery, the crazy and the grim, toy town and a city of fear."

"In the West, we want answers for everything. Everything is right or wrong, or good or bad. But in the [shadow play], no such final conclusion exists. Look at Prince Ajuna. He's a hero. But he can also be fickle and selfish. Krishna says to him, "All is clouded by desire, Ajuna, as a fire by smoke, as a mirror by dust. Through these, it blinds the soul."

"What then must we do? We must give with love to whoever God has placed in our path."

Quotes: First Corinthians

"Love never fails, it tells us; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud,"

2 More Forgotten Dad Photos

As I was making up my "Fathers Last Days" submission for the AGSA gallery in Saint Albert I came upon these two forgotten photos. These photos were taken during the hot summer of 2014 when dad used to lay in bed shirtless.

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Dad Dreams Return

It is mid day, keep waking up after dreaming of dad. Lots of dreams of his funeral, just after he was buried, lying in the coffin, walking and talking beside mom and me, me telling him how much I miss him, telling him how we wished he did not die, tears, sadness. Too many dreams, 3 or 4 I think. Not as intense as last year but still pretty real, dad has been gone over 1 year now, his death day was Feb 22.

Not sure why all these dreams have returned, maybe preparing the submission, the recent passing of the day we lost him, maybe the photo I posted last blog (seeing his eyes again). Have not dreamt like this for many months, but they are all back again this afternoon. Need to get some sleep before work tonight.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

More On The Blurred Photo Idea

Found this photo today while looking through dads scanned negs. This pic was made with a 35mm fairly early in dads last year with us. I am making up a 2nd submission for the AGSA (Art Gallery of Saint Albert). Hopefully this submission "My Fathers Last Days" or "Forgotten Laughter" will get in to the gallery.

The neg is only slightly blurred, more blur would probably add to the isolated, confused feel. Maybe if I show this in a gallery series I can add a second later more blurred portrait of similar style to show the illnesses progression and dads feelings later on. My father was so open to be photographed, one of his last gifts to me.

This is the type of portrait I was referring to in the earlier post about how I might use my 16x20 Chamonix camera. I could shoot X-ray 14x17 or Adox 16x20 and do tight face portraits. I would probably need a second bellows to focus this closely.

I pumped the contrast a lot in photoshop to create a harsher effect, would probably darkroom print it the same way with a filter #5 in the Durst with a condenser head, cold tone fibre paper and straight Dectol for max contrast.

Note* Do not have my Chamonix yet but already wish I would have bought it earlier so I could have photographed dad with it.

Blurred dad 35mm, early 2014

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

My 16x20 Chamonix Is On Its Way!!!!!!

Got my tracking number today for my brand new 16x20 Chamonix camera, it is currently in Shanghai China (where it was made). Arrival is expected on the 29th of February!!! Exciting stuff!!!!

I plan on ordering at least 4 reducing backs for it in the next year, possibly as many as 6. Some of the possibles include:

1) 11x14 (portrait work)
2) 14x17 (X-ray film, possible portrait work and landscape work)
3) 8x20 (super panoramic landscapes)
4) 12x20 (part panoramic landscapes)
5) 14x14 wet plate (square format portrait and landscape)
6) 16x20 wet plate (max size I can fit on the camera, portrait and landscape)

I am also interested in 7x17 and 20x24 size cameras, but would probably buy those formats as separate cameras.

Update* Spent last night studying about alternative processes, hopefully I can use this camera to create some of that work.

Update** Think I found the tripod for this beast. I is a carbon fibre Gitzo that can carry up to 88lbs that can stand 9 feet tall and can fold down to a reasonable size and carrying weight. The tripod will cost $1300-$1500 USD but should be outstanding to use, much better than any wooden model.

Update*** I guess with the wet plate backs and Chamonix cameras you can get some kind of adaptor board to fit in. I would buy a 16x20 size wet plate back then adaptor board to fit that back at any size smaller than 16x20 that I wanted. 15x15, 14x14, 11x14 etc.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Photo Idea: 14x17 Blurred Portraits

Been thinking over the last few days of a unique type of portrait I can make with my ULF Chamonix camera. A vertical tight portrait of faces with blur on 14x17 film (possibly X-ray).

The idea is I would focus in tight on the face, then expose in available light at maybe F9 (with the 450mm Nikkor f9) and have a 1-4 second exposure. During that long shutter speed the subject would inevitably move somewhat creating the effect I want. I might have to purchase a second 16x20 bellows and end up with a bellows factor of 3 or 4 stops but I think this can be done.

When I was doing the "My Fathers Last Days" series of dad I often would incorporate movement in the 35mm exposures, sometimes the camera shook, sometimes dad moved. I love the look of those portraits, the look in his eyes. This technique seemed to tell a better story of what my father was going through than a sharp more static image would. I would try to get that same feel with this new photo idea, everything would just be magnified to ULF inch film.

Having a large 14x17 negative that I could then contact print on fibre silver gelatin or in an alternative process like platinum could create a powerful feeling/looking portrait.

Note* Wonder if I could take such a major camera setup to Asia? If I could do the white background stuff with studio, lights etc I am sure I could manage this, it would be a major undertaking. Lets first see if I can get this working the way I want in Canada. Can try some tests of my photo group friends later this year.

Chamonix Adaptability

One of the main reasons I chose a Chamonix 16x20 over other manufacturers was how adaptable the camera is. The Chamonix company will basically make most everything you might ever desire to fit your camera. For my 16x20 I can get any reducer back (will do 11x14 and 14x17 maybe more). I can get wet plate backs of most any size (will probably get 2 different sizes). I can get carbon fiber lens boards, adaptor boards etc. I can even get a second bellows which will allow for much closer focusing which I might get. Pretty much anything I need or want for my 16x20 camera the good folks of Chamonix have in stock or will custom make for me.

Here is a long list of Chamonix accessories:

Hans Dekort's double bellows Chamonix 15x20 camera with 24 inch petzval Derogy f4.8 lens and Narita stand (1888)
Photographer Hans Dekort website

The X-ray Film Look

Been doing some research on the "Look" of X-ray film for portraits, here is what I came up with.

This first photo is from the FPP photographic site using a Super Blue X-ray film. As you can see there is almost a wet plate look to it, super cool looking.

Mark Dalzell by Michael Raso

This second link is very intriguing. The work shown is rather remarkable by a photographer named Lee Smathers. It was shot with a green sensitive X-ray film called Fuji HR-A, which I might also experiment withI do not know his process yet, will read more about this photographers work tomorrow during my security nightshift. Here is what I have so far.

Portrait by Lee Smathers

Bought 3 Types Of X-ray Film

Bought 3 different types of 8x10 X-ray film tonight. They should arrive before I fly back to Thailand, will store them so that I can hit the ground running on my return from Asia. The idea is to try all 3 types with my Deardorff, figure out which I like before proceeding to my big 14x17 purchase. I will use one (maybe 2) of these X-ray films with Chamonix 16x20 (with 14x17 reducer back).

Here are the 3 types I am trying after receiving suggestions from 2 online photos, thanks Angus and Dave for all your help. It is good to have knowledgable photo friends!

- Kodak 8x10 Inch X-ray Carestream Ekatascan B/RA Single Emulsion Video film. Cost is $80 USD plus shipping for a 100 sheet box. This is a green sensitive film (I think). This is a one side emulsion film.

-Agfa 8x10 X-ray regular (half) speed Green - CMS 100. Cost is $47.95 for 100 sheets plus shipping. This is a Green sensitive film. This is a double side emulsion film.

-Agfa 8x10 X-ray regular (full) speed Blue- CMS 100. Cost is $49.50 for 100 sheets plus shipping. This is a Blue sensitive film. This is a double side emulsion film.

Note* the blue sensitive film should create an almost Wetplate look.

Note** The downside to X-ray film is it scratches very easy, the plus side is it is so cheap. A 14x17 sheet of X-ray film will probably cost me around $1.50 - $3.00 a sheet versudes $22 -$50 a sheet for regular type film from Agfa, Kodak or Ilford.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Flash With The Rolleiflex

I am trying to set up a direct flash attachment for my Rolleiflex F camera. I think it is important to have flash which would allow me to shoot in night time and interiors. I could shoot in the dump at night and also do projects like "Lost Innocence" more completely. I worked out 2 different flash set ups tonight. Will experiment with both and then take the better version to Thai with me for April.

2 Rolleiflex F cameras with 2 flash set ups

Ries A100-2 Wooden Tripod?

Here is a Ries wooden tripod that can carry up to 66lbs, the model below this (A100) can do up to 35lbs. My Chamonix 16x20 weights $34lbs but I need to add the lens weight and the holder weight so the A100-2 sounds like the one I might eventually buy. This tripod weights 14lbs taking the grand total of camera and tripod to 48lbs, quite a bit. I still need to add the tripod head, lens (probably 1) and holders (probably 2-5). We will probably be looking at 80+ pounds before this is all done. I will need to hire people to help me (in Asia) and or develop a cart system of some kind.
Ries A100-2 Wooden Tripod
Other options a bit cheaper, last one has a centre post!:
Berlebach Wooden Tripod
Center Post Berlebach

Update* I have been looking at several Gitzo carbon fibre tripods. The Gitzo thou a bit more expensive seem the way to go. They fold up more compact, carry more weight and are less than half as heavy as the Ries/Berlebach wooden tripods. If I hope to travel extensively with my Chamonix 16x20 going with a 10lb+ lighter carbon fibre tripod that does as good maybe a better job, seems a no brainer.

This tripod and head from Gitzo (B&H free shipping) can handle a load of 55lbs, well above what I should need. The max I will be loading even with a big lens, high end tripod head and heavy film holder will probably be around 45-50lbs.
Gitzo Carbon Fibre Tripod, Head Package

Edmonton ULF Project Idea

Been thinking how best to use my 16x20 Chamonix camera after it arrives, probably sometime in the next 12 days. The photographer group I now belong to wants to do an Edmonton based project. We plan on each taking a Edmonton neighbourhood and doing any kind of photographs within it then moving on to another and another. I thought I could do my part of the project related to a theme I thought of a while back when I belonged to a b/w film photo club. The idea is called "Edmonton at Night". That previous group (lots of talk, little actual shooting) really did not accomplish anything photographically so the photo idea became a non starter. Maybe I can now bring the idea to life with the more serious photographers of my current group. I could photograph my neighbourhood and the neighbourhoods later in this project at night with the 16x20 camera. Then do up contact prints for the group. Heck in the future once I learn the process I could do platinum prints as well.

Still building my ULF gear kit. I would need to get a 14x17 reducer back, film, a super large dark cloth, a 450mm Nikkor F9 lens (which I have been told covers 14x17) and possibly a tripod thou my large Majestic Tripod might work. Also need to buy film, probably X-ray stuff and Adox at this point.

Many questions to answer. How hard is using and setting up the 16x20 going to be? Would X-ray film work at night? What about this new Adox film, good, bad?. Does the lens cover the format as promised? What about reciprocity failure, I could be doing hour long exposures. Does my tripod carry the camera?

The idea would be to convey feelings of solitude, loneliness, emptiness, yet with fullness in the natural environment. The effect people have on place, even when they are not present. The series would allow me to learn my camera before I use it to do the more important projects of the future. Anyway this could turn into both a learning project and a fun project. A subject like this would no doubt also get play in Edmonton based galleries.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Rolleiflex Binocular Head

Got my Rolleiflex binocular hood from Singapore today. I overpaid a bit for this item I think and it was sort of accidental purchase but it should be a good gear addition. When I am photographing in the dump it will be like having a magnified dark cloth, it should allow me to focus properly more often. There should be less distracting light and flare and more magnification in darkness, that is a good combo. It is a strange looking item but if it works it works, nuff said. I will take 2 Rolleiflex F 2.8 cameras with me this trip, will use the binocular hood device on the Rollei with Rolleinar close up attachment lens. Will keep this camera setup in my bag for quick grab shots as it will not have a strap.

Possible Ultra Large Format 16x20 Subjects?

Been running possible 16x20 camera projects through my mind. With various reducer backs I could also use the 16x20 to shoot these projects in wet plate, 11x14, 14x17, 8x20, 12x20.

- Large format vertical face portraits shot in studio (like my 8x10 work), film and or wet plate.
- Canada landscape, film or wet plate (travel the country especially the North making landscapes), film and or wet plate.
- "In Buddha's Path" The story of Buddhism in Asia, portraits and landscapes, film.
- A study of people in population, large shots of hundreds of people, blurred and detailed showing the beauty of living, breathing man in motion, shot in large population centres around the world, film.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

My New ULF Film?

Before buying the camera I looked in detail and studied which film sizes are available for ULF. I found and emailed and talked to a great online resource,  Angus Parker. A great guy with lots of photographic knowledge. I highly recommend his site.
Angus Parker, ULF Film Sizes Available

The main 2 seem to be Ilford FP4 and HP5 which is available in most sizes. There are yearly runs of the bigger format films which I would join in on.

Another film I know very little about is from the old AGFA people or related to them I believe, it is called Adox CHS 100 II. This newer product Adox film is available in every conceivable size and relatively cheap (cheaper than Ilford I think). With shipping to Canada (not including duty/taxes) I can get 16x20 film for around $24CAD a sheet, which is not cheap but still an OK price for such a huge sized sheet of film. I can also get Adox CHS 100II in 11x14, 14x17, 8x20, 12x20 etc. surprisingly they also sell 20x24 film.

Kodak also does limited runs of their b/w films. I have an American contact and am on a list to get Tri-x for whatever size I need. The problem with Kodak and my favourite film Tri-x is that it will be very expensive. I love Tri-x so will probably give it a try at least in 11x14 to see how it looks and feels.

The other possibility is shooting X-Ray film that is available up to 14x17. The biggest reason to do X-ray is the cost probably $2-3 CAD a sheet! I could shoot a ton of 14x17 that way.
I have been reading on X-ray films, Angus has a great article here.
Angus Parker On X-ray Film

The last option is no film at all and doing everything on wet pate, tintypes, ambrotypes or glass negatives.

Here is the Angus Parker website, give him a read, well worth, a very knowledgeable man.

I Bought A 16x20 Chamonix Camera!!

Well I finally took the step into Ultra Large Format (ULF)! I bought a new 16x20 Chamonix from the Chamonix company in Shanghai through their representative in the USA, Hugo. How did this happen? It is a long story.

There is currently a used older model 16x20 on eBay for sale. The used version peaked my interest and then I started to ask the online eBay seller (Hong Kong camera store) and Hugo (new Chamonix seller) questions. Eventually after lots of on haggling and me playing one seller against the other (and them playing me somewhat!), I was able to get a nice  $700 discount from Hugo allowing me to buy the brand new version camera. I almost never buy new photo equipment so this is a bit different for me. I paid $5615 USD, plus $450 USD for shipping. The Canadian dollar is not very strong right now, so not sure this was a smart smart deal on my part, but the discounts $500 then $200 and the opportunity to jump right into ULF photography, contact and platinum printing was too much to pass up. I always dreamed of going ULF, now I finally have. I still might be be satisfied and buy a 20x24 someday.

I am planning to get 2 reducing backs for this Chamonix 16x20 camera, possibly more. One back will be a 16x20-->11x14, the second a 16x20-->14x17 (to possibly use cheap X-ray film). I am also considering 8x20 and or 12x20 backs. If I get all 4 backs I will have the ability to do 11x14, 14x17, 8x20, 12x12 and 16x20 with one camera body. I will also be able to do large wet plate work as Chamonix also makes a variety of wet plate back sizes that will fit the 16x20. The possibilities are endless, this camera has a exciting ton of possibilities. I will also buy their Sinar adaptor board, which allows standard and cheap Sinar lens boards to be used with this cameras 10 inch lens board front standard.

Am a bit stunned by all of this, happy but stunned. Now for the next trick, anyone can buy gear, no skills there. What I need to do is make this a worthy purchase. I need to do honour to my subjects, the camera, the lens, the film. I need to make important photographs!!

Note* The camera weighs 34lbs minus the lens, holders, tripod, meter etc.

Here are the details on my new Chamonix 16x20 camera, along with photos.

16X20 specifications 
AccessoriesFilm Holders
Bellow Maximum  1050mm 
Minimum 210mm
 movement FrontRise : 158mm
Fall  : 94mm
Tilt  : limited by bellow
shift : 52mm to each side
swing: limited by bellow
 Rearshift  : none
swing : 10 degree to each side
Tilt    : 25 degree backwards, forwards limited by bellow
 weight Sapele and carbon fiber: 33.95 pound/15.40 kg
 Dark Walnut: not available

Todays Darkroom Work

Am back in the darkroom today and through the weekend! Had a 3 days of laying about and finishing off the dentist work (new gold crown). Now I am ship shape, time to get back into the darkroom. I am also in the process of making a major camera purchase, more on that tomorrow. : ) This is going to be fun both the new (mystery) camera and today's darkroom work.

Here is today's darkroom print, I made the colour digi pic with my new used RX100 II Sony camera.

2nd attempt, man carrying garbage, Mae Sot dump
I still need to fix up the borders and do some minor adjustments but I rather like the tonality, contrast, feel and the look of the print.

Printing details:
- Durst condenser enlarger
- 90 seconds f 8 filter 2 1/2
- Dodge lets - 25 seconds each, spread, small dodge tool
- Burn bottom edge +30 seconds, card
- Burn right edge +50 seconds, bent card
- Burn +90 seconds, mask #1 filter -1

Update* Made 4 versions of the print, in the later versions I darkened the whole right side garbage area and also burned the lower left garbage down another 80 seconds at filter -1 with the mask.

Received the Used RX 100 II

Got my new/used RX100 II digital camera on Tuesday, a bit cosmetically beat up but it works fine and will hopefully give me 3 years use.  I plan on using this camera to replace my Samsung which is breaking down. Will use this camera this  coming trip to do little videos and also to make free colour snapshots I plan on giving away to the people at the dump

Saturday, February 13, 2016

2nd Darkroom?

I am strongly considering opening up a second darkroom. I have access to a large space in my parents house that would fit that purpose. It is a basement room which was first used by me as a bedroom when I still lived at home, later my father and mother prepared food there for a farmers market. About 2 years before my dad got sick the room became vacant when dad stopped working at the market (he was 79 1/2 years old). I want to use this space in a positive way, and build another darkroom/photo work area might be the best way to do that. Me making photos there after dad spent so many years cooking in that same room seems right somehow. Dad loved to cook, he was great at it and it was special for him. Maybe I can do good photo work while standing in the same place dad stood for so many hours.

I will need to clean and move out many things (3 large deep freezers), add a new linoleum floor, repaint the walls/ceiling and block out the 3 windows. Once that is done I will have a large beautiful room to work in. The idea is to move my part time photo studio into one half, and my darkroom into the other half. I have multiple enlargers that I could  use in this 2nd darkroom. 2 condenser enlargers, 2 colour head enlargers and a 5th very old mystery unit that might not work. I also have 2 plastic darkroom sinks, a large deep metal sink (from dad) that I could set up and use. Another existing sink has a large spray gun for washing pots that I could use to wash trays and other darkroom things. There are already multiple tables, cupboards and shelves in the room from dads cooking days. Everything would need to be reorganized, cleaned up and redone. I have all the darkroom trays, safe lights, tanks, easels etc. that I need to set up a complete 2nd darkroom without buying anything new. Heck if I had to I probably could set up 4 or 5 darkrooms. A lifetime of collecting gear has its benefits! : )

This whole project would probably take me up to 6 months to complete. I would most likely get started on my return from Asia in May. Everything might be up and running by next fall or early winter.

What advantages would a second darkroom/photography working space hold?

- Being in my mothers house more would allow me to spend extra time with her. Since dad passed
  away mom has been lonely, sad and often depressed. I could print in the darkroom, then eat
  dinner with her, help around the house etc. Who knows mom might even come down and help
  with the printing! Mom is 80, she might be able to live another 10+ years in the house, especially if
  I am there to help her.
- A possible rental space, where I could rent out the darkroom to others and make some money.
- A single location where I could do my one on one workshops for darkroom and view camera.
  Currently I do the darkroom workshops at my home and the view camera at my parents house.
- A possible location to do larger workshops with 3-6 people at a time. More space will allow
  for larger workshops. Larger workshops mean I have another possible way to make extra money to
  fund my photo projects. Grants are not working for me, so this might be the best way to make a
  bit more funding money.
- A place I could bring all my negatives, along with light tables etc to organize my thousands and
  thousands of images. The situation I have now with  negs and binders disorganized on the floor
  does not cut it.
- A place to store my final fibre prints in archival boxes. Print storage for me is also now a complete
  mess. Having a unique room with nice storage shelves seems like a great solution.
- A platinum printing area. I could set up the large Arista 20x24 light source in the room and do all
   my alternative darkroom work in this space. I could make some great platinum prints there.
- A place to set up a seperate computer with printer(s), to do digital work, both prints and digi negs.
- A place to do all my digital negative scanning (thou doing that at home in front of the TV might be

More thought needed on this, but it might be the way I go.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Links: The Long Road To Platinum

Well I have started down the long road to becoming a platinum printer. After seeing the strong work of Donald McCullin produced in platinum several years back at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, I new I had to travel this path.
Donald McCullin - History of his platinum prints.

The photograph below is titled "Early Morning at the Kumbha Mela, Allahabad, India 1989" and was made by the great social documentary photojournalist Donald McCullin. My friend Larry owns a Silver Gelatin fibre version of this wonderfully compelling image.
Photograph by Donald McCullin, platinum print by Paul Caffell’s 31 Studio
I fell in love with the look of the platinum prints I saw at the McCullin National Gallery show. In the future I hope to create important photographs using this same platinum pocess. The trick is how to learn all I need to learn? I am a self taught photographer for the most part with the odd workshop and some help from various photo friends through the years. Almost all of my photography is a result of working hard by myself and figuring stuff out. I have now started this figuring stuff out part with platinum printing. Been reading a fair amount online was well as watching YouTube videos. I understand the basics of how things work but have never actually coated a piece of paper, exposed a negative or made a platinum print before.

I am currently studying how to make digital negatives for alternative processes. I think I would like to try enlarging my 6x6 Rollei "Forgotten Laughter" portraits into digi negs then making 8x8, 11x11, 15x15 sized platinum prints. I want to also work with my vaious "Forgotten Laughter" 5x7 negs. This process could also work well using my existing 8x10 sex workers on white background negs and future negs from projects such as "Lost Innocence" (sex workers portraits) and "In the Path of Buddha" (Buddhism in South East Asia).

I originally thought of getting a high end UV printer that ran about $4000 USD but am thinking for now I might have to settle for this model (see link) from Freestyle. It runs at $799 USD, which is something I can  currently afford. I do not want one of those half assed shitty homemade UV printer jobs. I always work my best using good tools, so do not want a crap UV light source. The more expensive model $4000 model has a vacuum feature which creates a better bond between the negative and the paper. I have read that this vacuum sync ability creates superior prints, but for now I think I need to settle for the cheaper $800 ($179 shipping) USD version. If I become a high end printer in this process and sell some platinum photos I will later buy the better vacuum UV light source version.

Here is the freestyle UV light source I will probably buy soon. It also comes in a larger 30x36 version.

I would also need to buy a kit like this from Bostick and Sullivan. Palladium is added to the process to save on costs.
Platinum and Palladium Combination Kit

Note* I already own, 4x5, 8x10 and 11x14 (I think) contact printing frames, will have to get some bigger versions to use with this UV light source printer. I want to go as big as 20x24, thou I am unsure of the costs of making such a large print.

I am so excited by the platinum possibilities! As usual it's just me, myself and I getting all this stuff done but that's part of the fun! Doing it on you own, and trying to create important, lasting, empathetic photographs is wher it is at!

"Ain't Photography Grand!!"

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Poem: 3 Hearts

Four arms, four hands, one hug, whose is whose
Tears and laughs, lust and sweets, what is what

3 together, 1 and 2, life of fun ego
3 together, 2 and 1, why oh why

3 hugged through, held there safe
Warm yet wet; the 1 with 2

Left then lost, go now gone
1 left left, 1 will follow

Whose is whose, what is what, why is why
The 1 with 2

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Avedon Portrait

Tonight am re watching the film "Capote" tonight, about the creation of the book "In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. In the movie they have a sequence with Richard Avedon photographing  the Clutter family killers. I have always loved the haunting portrait Avedon did of Richard Eugne Hickock.

Here it is:
 San Franciso Museum Of Modern Art, Photo Story

Richard Eugene Hickock, Kansas 1960 by Richard Avedon
I think the portraits visual effect probably minus the white background would work well for the "Lost Innocence" project. I might start to make a few photos for this series next trip. I have been haunted by this idea for a long time, it keeps coming back to mind over and over again. I keep seeing the faces of the workers in my mind, that look in their eyes, sad, pleading, destroyed, drugged.

I need to try to take some photos soon. Making pics will help satisfy my need to create and will start me down the path to telling this important story. I want the image viewer to see the eyes of the worker, and feel what they feel. So far this work is just in my mind, just thoughts and feelings, I need to start to put something down on film, very soon.

Note* "Lost Innocence" is portrait series of the workers in the brothels and bars of Southeast Asia.

Poem: The Year Later

               The Year Later
               Room empty, 
               echoed hollow, 
               distant footsteps

              Voice quieted,
               Near forgotten,
               Almost silent

               Face closed,
               Paper speaks,
               Silent witness

Monday, February 8, 2016

Poem: "If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking" By Emily Dickenson

If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Need To Humanize

I need to go back to the dump and do portraits of anyone and everyone. I need to capture who they are on film and to humanize them to the viewer. Empathy and understand will follow, but first I need to get those faces and their emotions on film. I owe it to the families, to the children in the dump to tell others who they are as people, that they exist and that their lives thou forgotten by many truly matter. I need to interpret, feel from the heart and then complete this important series of photographs.

Poems: Robert Louis Stevenson

Picked up a wonderful fat volume of poetry yesterday at a bookstore going out of business sale. I got "A Treasury of Poems" for $2.63 CAD. Browsing this volume has improved my mood, and lifted my sour spirit.

Here are two poems from Robert Louis Stevenson.

Away With Funeral Music
AWAY with funeral music - set
The pipe to powerful lips -
The cup of life's for him that drinks
And not for him that sips.

Gather Ye Roses
Gather ye roses while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying;
A world where beauty fleets away
Is no world for denying.
Come lads and lasses, fall to play
Lose no more time in sighing

The very flowers you pluck to-day
To-morrow will be dying;
And all the flowers are crying,
And all the leaves have tongues to say,-
Gather ye roses while ye may.

Bettter Today

Feel better today after a nights sleep. I need to continue down the path I have chosen regardless what others feel or think about the work. An artist needs to follow his inner self, to communicate in the ways he feels are important. If my main concern is receiving acceptance from others then I am on the wrong path. I need to feel and then chase down those feeling on film, it's as simple as that.


Feel down tonight, got another grant rejection (micro grant EAC). The pictures I have sent out so far from "Forgotten Laughter" are not making much of an impact. Seems no one gives a shit about this series but me. Not sure what direction to go in April when I return to Asia. Miss dad a lot, keep having flashbacks to things we did together. It seems so strange that he is now in a box underground.

Tomorrow is another day, need to regroup and refocus as best I can.

Printing: Dump Baby

Started work on the dump baby print tonight. Did up 2 prints one lighter and one darker, will let them dry overnight then re-evaluate what I got when I wake up with a fresh head.

2nd attempt at dump baby print
- 60 and 70 seconds, f8, filter 4 1/4.
- Burn +30 seconds with card shirt and arm.
- Burn +50 seconds mask at filter 2.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Links: Got My New Nail Through the Boot, Boots

Got my next set of rubber boots for the dump tonight. Last time these same style of boots which I later gave away allowed a nail to enter my foot while I was photographing in the dump. Guess I have not learned from my past mistake there. They cost $18 CAD and are lighter than the steel toe boots, those are my 2 chief concerns. No artist grants or print sales coming my way, so need to save money any way I can. Hopefully this does not lead to another nail in my foot! Plan on giving this newly bought pair of boots away again just like last time, hopefully minus a nail hole.

Still need to buy some large zip lock bags for "found dump objects" and a head gear flashlight in case I shoot in the dump at night.

Here are the original blog stories about the nail in the foot and the size 12 boot giveaway.

Dentist Time, Ouch!

Sort of had my week off screwed up by a dentist appointment. I wanted to do more printing but not much done so far. I finally am back in the saddle today, will post some shots of the negs I am working on later.

Back to the dentist part, no cavities but I had a crack in one of my upper molars which meant I had to get a crown done. First they need to grind your tooth damaged down, then add a temp plastic tooth (where I am now). They keep the roots, nerves and everything of your old tooth but add a new artificial molar. Next week off I get my new gold molar. That will make 2 gold crowns in the mouth, am starting to look like a James Bond villain.

Yesterdays grinding of the tooth was a lot like the linked video, complete with smells and sounds. Enjoy!

Link: An Email, My New Devleping Website Address, Any Opinions From Anyone?

Tonight I received a nice email from a friend online.

Hi Gerry,

Just read your blog about your Wix site and I would skip the advertising Wix and pay the extra. Its too visually distracting to have pop-up advertising all the time. I have had Wix for several years never had a problem with it. People view it from all over the world.
Continued success in your travels. The photos of your last trip are truly amazing.
I will be in Edmonton to probably pick up my work from --- at the end of Feb. and hope to visit L L's Gallery.
Take care and keep submitting your photos, I know it can be discouraging I have been doing it for a very long time.


I decided to forward the link to my ongoing efforts at creating a webpage using Anyone else out there in the cyber blog reading world have any opinions on the page? What I can do to improve it?

Here is the link, still going to change out many of the photos, fix them up, bigger smaller files etc. Most of the galleries are still empty, might take years to fill up. I want to cut down on the number of overall photos but I also want to include as many of my subjects as I can. This page is for them, the people I photograph, not me, it is about allowing their stories to be told. Everyone in the dump, or the slum or wherever I photograph deserves a seat at the table and the chance to tell their tale. So I plan on putting lots and lots of pics and lots and lots of galleries on this site.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bought A Camera!

I needed to get a replacement for my beat up Samsung digi camera. The Samsung was a good reliable camera but now it is showing its age. The Samsung often freezes up while shooting video and now does so after each still shot. The battery compartment needs to be duck taped shut, I damaged the door after dropping the camera last trip.

I did some research and the best digi point and shoot on the market now seems to be the  Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100. The camera is now in version IV and runs around $800 USD. I went back a bit and got a decent condition used II version for $281 USD on a second offer bid. Quite happy with that price, the camera is in 100% working condition. If I can get 3 solid years out of it before it breaks down, that's good enough for me.

I will use this new tool to do video in the dump and elsewhere as well as making quick digital photos that I can give out as gifts. It will also be my tourist shooting camera.

Update* Bought an off market extra battery for the camera as well as a 64GB SD card.

My old Samsung digi camera being used by a family in the dump to take a wedding photo
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II 20.2 MP

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Link: Camera Cam Video Test

Mounted the new HTC RE video camera to my Rolleiflex and tried a video in the mirror. In the video I was very up close with my focus using the #2 Rolleinar, probably only 12 inches or so from the mirror. The angle of view for the video is very much wider, not sure if that is good or bad yet. I guess for what I need it for, sort of a history of the photo taking, wider is better as it will include more information.

Not sure how to attach the camera cam to the camera yet. Here I am using elastics which is rather half assed. Will try Velcro and attaching it to the tripod mount. I might also try a combination of Velcro and a small elastic or simply just take the thing on everyday, duck tape can work wonders! : )

This idea just might work. I think I have between 90 minutes and 2 hours power per charge. I could not use it all day but selective use could turn into a real positive for the photography.
Camera Cam Video Quality Test

Note* The sound quality is great, check how clear the  click of the shutter comes out.
Note** I am posting this on my YouTube channel, am having trouble uploading video directly to the blog, not sure why.

My $35 Camera Cam!

I got my $35 used HTC RE video camera today in the mail. This thing is tiny and might actually work. The plan is to attach the video camera via Velcro to my various film cameras (Leica, Rolleiflex, Linhoff). Love this mixing of very old and very new tech. They can work together to tell a more complete, educational, informative and fun story.

The HTC RE will enable me to get a first person video and sound recording of some of my photography next trip. I can use the footage for my blog, YouTube, Vimeo channels as well as in future artist talks and will show it alongside photographic prints in exhibitions.

The wide angle lens and slow motion feature of this fun little camera might work great for me or not at all! For $35 thou it is worth the try. Will post some camera cam video soon.
Original Blog 

New Main Webpage

Found a online source with free design website design so over the last 24 hours or so have been hard at work on that. Here is a link to that site if any of you out there want to give it a try here is a link, so far I love it!
Wix Photography Website Templates

My website basically sucks, old HTML code and a so so look to it. Trying to upgrade without spending a bunch of doe, I would rather buy film and make pictures!

In the new design I have slide shows running plus a quick more pro looking scrolling way to feed through all the pictures. Here are some screen captures, will post the final web address later. Not sure if I can get this moved over to or will have to use the free advertisement based Wix site.

Update* Thinking about how to handle the "Body Seller" sex worker portrait page. I want to show the 8x10 black film border so might go to a all white page with red and black type for that gallery only.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Rolleinar #3

I got my Rolleinar #3 lens closeup filter today from Germany. My cost was $200 USD after a $20 discount. It is a very expensive used item but this thing is emasculate. The German's sure know how to build things. Even the packaging of this used item from the German seller was all in. Big box, foam cubes, covered and taped in foam wrap, one zip lock bag over leather case and a second plastic bag over lens. You could have thrown this package out of a speeding jet at 30000 feet and the Rolleinar would not have been damaged! It took me 20 minutes to unpack the darn thing. Soon it will be working in a garbage dump :))

I played around with my Rolleinar #3. I will be able to shoot very close, around 7-12 inches using my Rolleiflex 2.8 Fs. The plan is two shoot closeups of hands, eyes, faces. I will also shoot details of found garbage items. It seems I am continuing to get closer and closer to my subjects, physically, creatively and spiritually.

Forgotten "Families of the Dump" Pics

I found these "Families of the Dump" photos a few minutes ago in a PowerPoint presentation on my iMac. Most of theses pics, I forgot I had made. These were shot I believe on my first trip to the dump in Mae Sot back in May of 2013, all are 35mm. Some are not bad. I will include many 2013 photos in my submission packages to the galleries in my EXTRA DVD section. Not the highest level scans, or the biggest files, but good enough.

I have gotten a lot tighter and personal in my shooting style at the dump. Most of these compositions seem. distant cold, geographically far away! Maybe that is a confidence thing, maybe I feel more comfortable with the families now in 2015, versus then in early 2013. I get much more up and personal in the more recent photographs. I prefer my current work, but this old stuff has a place also. I will probably include of of these in my eventual PowerPoing artist talk presentation. It will be part of my talk in regards to the evolution of the series.