Sunday, April 30, 2017

Today's Darkroom Work

Today in the dark I did the secondary printing (bleaching and toning) on the first 2 - 20x24 prints for the "TRUMPET" exhibition. The plan is to wash and dry them tonight then take them to work and do the spotting matting and framing there. By weeks end I expect to have 2 of the "TRUMPET" photographs ready to exhibit as well as 1 of the "HEALING PROCESS" pics.

Tonight I will continue washing the 10 prints I have (will choose the best 2 to exhibit) then start working on "TRUMPET" exhibition number print 3. The 3rd print is from a 6x7 neg, a size I have not printed in several years. I still need to find 2-35mm negs from 2 older 2013 dump photographs . I have nice framed 16x20 version prints of these negs that hung in 2 previous shows (Louie Gallery and in Rosebud) but was hoping to print them to 20x24 as well. It would be nice if I could have my 5 prints all measuring 20x24 in white metal frames.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Printing A Variation For "TRUMPET"

I had all kinds of difficulties printing the father and daughter (groom and his daughter) photograph chose by the Latitude 53 jury. I decided to instead print a much sharper variation of that photograph. A negative shot a few seconds later.

I actually like this variation better than the original as the father (groom) makes direct eye contact with the viewer. The composition is also a bit tighter resulting in the baby girl being a bit bigger.

This negative is proving to be quite difficult, using all the darkroom skills I have trying to bring it to life. Three different printing grades (#2-3-4 filters), 3 burning masks, 2 different f-stops, 5 dodges, 4 burns.

Here is photograph I am working on. It is print #2 for "TRUMPET".

3rd attempt at the "Groom With Daughter" photograph, Mae Sot Dump Thailand 2016

Will Use The 5x7 Prinzdorf For Family Portraits

Another reason I wanted to get this latest camera was to continue to shoot family portraits in the dump. I found the format of a 5x7 negative was near perfect in shape (the same dimensions as a 35mm neg) to capture family groups along with the environmental surroundings they live in. That format with a 120mm lens creates the space and sense of location I like in a group portrait. Using this camera in the dump and in various other locations will be fun. I am also thinking of taking it to the Muay Thai gym in Bangkoks Klong Toey slum.

This camera could be a very important tool this coming trip, it will give will give me a lighter option to use at times, and cheaper film formats to use. I am very happy I won that auction. I can use the same Gitzo carbon tripod with Chinese made Luland head for both "Eddie" my 8x10 Deardorff and the new 4x5-5x7 Prinzdorf camera (Deardorff copy).

Here is a sample of what type of photo I want to make again and again in the dump next trip, of different family groups. I will use the 5x7 Prinzdorf camera. The photograph below is part of the "TRUMPET" exhibition at Latitude 53 gallery opening June 3. I made a 20x24 inch version print for the show.

Dump family group, 5x7 Tri-x with 120mm Nikon Lens, April-May 2016

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bought Me A-Prinzdorf 5x7 Field Camera

Bought yet another wooden field camera, this one also can do both 5x7 and 4x5 sizes. I was not going to bid on it but then I thought if I took it with me on my Thai trip I could shoot 4x5, 5x7 as well as 8x10 in the dump. Could not resist it so put in what I thought was a relatively low bid of $644 USD, ended up getting it for $621 USD (plus shipping).

This camera is called a "Prinzdorf" which is some kind of Deardorff copy cat but much cheaper, Deardorff 5x7s usually sell for around $2000 USD. I think this will be a great user camera that should be reliable and of reasonably good quality . Because of its relatively cheaper price (compared to a Deardorff 5x7), I can take it into all kinds of shooting situations with no fear. Places like the dump are a perfect shooting environment for it.

I thought I would also use it as a teaching camera for my view camera workshops! The students can learn-compose and focus upside down (no prism finder to correct things). I also do not have to worry about the students breaking my beautiful Linhof 2000 (a $2000+ dollar body). This camera also has broader movements, which will be great for the workshop folk to play with and learn on.

Here are some shots of the latest in long line of camera buys. This baby is coming with me to Asia for 6 months of shooting. I think I am going to love this camera very much, will have to give it a name like my 8x10.

Note* The lens is NOT included in the deal.

My new-used Prinzdorf 5x7 (4x5) view camer

"TRUMPET" Will Be A Great Exhibition!

During my talk Chris this afternoon he went over the line up of other artists in the exhibition. Some amazing work. is going to be on display, a piece on a SCALP LAW which is still on the books in Nova Scotia, a  transgender artist who speaks to sexual identity (4 photographs), a artist of Japanese heritage who is doing a piece on WWII internment camps, there will be some kind of video piece from a artist collective, plus more!

This should be one of the most important exhibitions I have been part of, possibly the most important, when you add in work of  5 other artists showing. Hopefully we can fill Latitude 53 up, June 3 at 7pm is the opening. 

Learning To Verbalize My Art

I tend to not like to talk too much about my art and what it means. I try not to play the know it all pompous, arrogant "ARTISTE!". I always found those types of folk a tad nauseating. But it is important to be able to articulate your inner artistic motivations and feelings, hopes and thoughts. Those feelings can be seen in the art, but sometimes the artist needs to help the viewer along a little bit (not too much but a bit), through his shared words (Artist Statement).

A few minutes ago I had a long telephone conversation with Chris from the VAA. I had sent him the written form to his questions last night before sleeping, today I spoke to him in person at length. Chris questioned me in some detail while sharing some thoughts on my answers, on my photographs, some feelings on the work, the emotional reaction he had to it etc.

My talk with Chris was inspiring, he got me to think and speak in a more open and honest way about my art work, my photographs, my motivations, my hopes for the photographs etc. Today's telephone conversation is all part of the process of improving and growing in your art form and as an artist. Some people know exactly what they are doing and why and can verbalize that naturally. Others like myself, are more instinctive in their creativity, they work from the heart, so that when it comes to verbalizing what they are doing and why it is difficult for them. Chris helped me down the road to a greater understanding of what I am doing and why. I knew deep inside me how and why I do what I do, but now I think I can express it a better, I can verbalize my inner motivations and feelings a tad better. Learning to do artist talks, artist statements, speaking to curators, press interviews and interacting with gallery visitors is all part of the process of artistic-creative growth.

My talk today with Chris helped me to take an important step forward into the greater world of what it is to be a true visual artist. Thank you Chris, and thank you Visual Arts Alberta and Latitude 53 Gallery.

Note* One of the reasons I opened this blog was for the same purpose. Writing constantly here on these pages (some say too much) has helped me to gain a greater understanding of what I am doing and why.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Answering The "TRUMPET" Exhibition "Families Of The Dump" Questions.

Chris one of the folks in charge of the "TRUMPET" put a bunch of questions to me about the "Families of the Dump" series. I am going to speak to him on the phone tomorrow, but I thought I would also give him a LONG WINDED email version as well. I tend to do better in blogs and emails than I do answering questions live! Here is his email and my response.

Hello Gerry 

I have been reading your statement and viewing the images several times. I wish to discuss with you What the images really means? Will these images be understood by the viewers and if so what do you expect them to take away from it? I want to know what it means to be a documentary photographer in the 21st century? As a documentary photographer visiting foreign lands and photographing outside of your own culture do you ever feel you are exploiting your subjects? Or is all documentary photography, by its nature, a form of exploitation? I do know that you are very involved with photographing people in Thailand, I am curious as to what made you want to record the lives of people in Thailand.  I would like you to talk more about the notion of political realities and your artwork. These are my questions that I have at this time. Naturally I may ask questions to clarify what you answer.

You are also invited to ask me any questions regarding the exhibition Trumpet. I look forward to talking.

Take care
---- ------ 
I will call you at 12 noon tomorrow but I also wanted to answer your questions in email form. I do better when I have time to think things through carefully. Tonight I am printing for "TRUMPET" and thinking over your questions. Here are the written form answers. We can talk about them in more detail when I call you. The answers below are rather long winded, be forewarned!

What the images really means? Will these images be understood by the viewers and if so what do you expect them to take away from it?

That depends, for every person the work might mean something completely different. Different folks have different experiences, knowledge and backgrounds that will affect the viewing of the photographs. 

For example when I showed the work "My Fathers Last Days" which deals with my father’s last year of life with pancreatic cancer, it meant different things to different viewers, some took it extremely personally. Many related the photographs back to persons in their own lives who they had lost to cancer. 

I am not sure what the viewer will take away after seeing the “The Families of the Dump” work. I hope they will have a greater understanding of what those lives are like. I hope they will see the strength of these people and their wonderful humanity. Being with the families for the last 3 years has helped me grow personally; I hope gallery viewers who see the photographs and hear the stories will also have positive, productive personal emotional experience.

As to what the "Families of the Dump” work means to me? They are photographs about the ability of people to overcome immense personal hardships, to survive and grow in the most trying and adverse conditions. They are about individual strength, sadness and yet contain the joy of what it is to be a human being. They are to me about the true power and beauty of the human spirit. They are about the ability to overcome great injustice and still be a kind, loving and caring. In my opinion the pictures are about the best parts of what it is to be human, our individual strength, courage, and the beauty, love and the importance of family.

I would like you to talk more about the notion of political realities and your artwork. 

Political realities? I try not to think of things in such broad terms. My relationship is with the person I am photographing, telling their story, which is all I really care about. I see them and only them, I relate to them and only them. 

I am a simple man, living a simple life, I try not to verbalize grand political themes or make pompous artistic manifestos. I have always felt that kind of stuff was too large, too distant and too grand for little old me. That is one of the reasons I use "Gerry Yaum" for my photography, that is not my real name, who cares about me, the photos, the stories in the photos are all that matters. My subjects are all that matters. Me, my arrogant thoughts or having my real name on a gallery wall is of no importance. Having the subjects on that wall thou is different, it is very important, telling their stories is what matters most.

When I am making the pictures I relate to the child I am photographing, see that child's eyes, and try to tell that dump or slum child's story. I will leave the high art things and the politics for others to figure out, people smarter than myself. I simply want to tell the stories of my subjects.  Nothing else really matters to me, I try not to over think things out too much. I just follow my heart and see where it takes me. Photographing the lives of forgotten people is what matters, I will let all the other political and or arty farty stuff fall where it may. Everything else will work itself out. I just make my pictures.

As a documentary photographer visiting foreign lands and photographing outside of your own culture do you ever feel you are exploiting your subjects? 

That is a real danger, and something I have thought about a great deal. Documentary work can be exploitative if you’re going about things the wrong way or for the wrong reasons. Years ago I asked Lisa about it. She came up with an answer that satisfied me, a simple way to judge what was right and what was wrong. She simply said to me "WHY ARE YOU DOING IT?". I think that is the answer. What motivates you to make the pictures? Why are you making the photographs? Why are you there? After you make the photos, what will you do with the work?

The documentary photographer knows if he is exploiting a person or a situation. They know in their hearts what their TRUE MOTIVATIONS are. 

Why am I photographing "The Families of the Dump"?  I am doing it to document-educate, to experience-understand and to help my subjects directly through the creation of the art work.

- To Record - educate: The lives of the families are hidden from the world, invisible to our eyes and thoughts. Is it better to ignore them, their suffering, their joys and sorrows, who they are as people? If I do not go there to tell these very important stories, who else will go? Who will tell the stories of the young children working the garbage, young children that will later become the old people working the garbage. These lives are unseen, these untold stories need to be told! My job is to tell them.

- To Experience - understand: Everything I do as an artist changes who I am. Years ago I photographed young women working in brothel in Cambodia. That very difficult experience shaped who I am today. I am still haunted by those thoughts, they affect my actions in everyday life and as an artist. Those memories and photos helped solidify my path as a documentary photographer.

The "Families of the Dump" series also changes who I am. After photographing in the dump in 2013 I came back to Canada and within a few days was having Christmas dinner with my family. We had turkey, ham, meatballs and gravy. We had pyrogies and cabbage rolls, periske and deserts. We had everything imaginable on that table, food left over and not eaten. I kept thinking back to the men and women, the children in the garbage, and the lives they lead, the foods they ate, the places they slept, the heat, the cockroaches, the wild dogs and rats. My mind kept flashing back over and over again to the dump as I ate, I could not relate to my family that night, I felt apart. Memories (experience) is an important part of the life’s story to me, it helps me grow and develop as a person. It puts my life in perspective and helps me to understand the greater world.

I think this is an important part of not exploiting your subject. You need to understand who they are and their lives need to affect you on a deep and personal level. When you feel that deeply for Long or Nong, Anapon or Chemeeko how can you exploit them? You would not be able to live with yourself if you did.

To Help: My friend photographer Larry -----, taught me to try to give as much as I take. Since I started photographing the dump families back in 2013. I have delivered probably 80-100 individual gift food bags to the different dump family shacks (each bag would contain rice, canned fish, soap, toiletries, noodles, donated hats etc.).

I have also made personal donations of money to the local school that helps the dump children as well as bought dozens of boots, head lamps etc, for people in the dump. Over the last 3 trips I even brought 10 pairs or so of heavy duty safety boots donated by plant site where I work as a security guard. For my trip in April/May 2016 the plant -------- ------- -----------had a fund raiser, a noon hour hot dog lunch function that raised $500 for the families. That money I later donated to an organization that helps the families in the dump. The money was used for dump children tuition fees and for school uniforms. People at my work site also donated personal money, toys and the hats that I placed in the food donation bags. 

So documentary photography can be a force for good in the world, it can lead to direct help. The people in the “Families of the Dump” documentary photographs have received financial aid/food aid/ dump work gear supply aid as a result of the photographs. The people I worked with had seen the families, seen their lives in various online documentary photo links, it influenced them in a positive way.

Here is another example that will happen later this year. I intend to donate the artist fee I get for the "TRUMPET" exhibition to the families when I return to Thailand in October of 2017. I hope to donate it to pay for school tuition fees for the children of the families who work the garbage. It is a perfect circle of life. I take the photos, I show the photos in Canada (creating art while educating and informing), get paid an artist fee, then I return to Thailand and give the money earned back to the people in the photographs, PERFECT! To me that is the true power and beauty of documentary photography, helping your subjects.

I hope in the future more shows will result, more education will occur, more money will be raised, more direct help can be given. That then leads to more "documentary art", more stories being told, one positive leading into yet another.

Not exploiting also has a very personal one on one element. You treat people you photograph with kindness and courtesy, ask permission before shooting, do not photograph those that do not want to be photographed etc. There are also times you simply do not make pictures out of respect for your subject. When I am photographing I do that quite often. During my documentary photo series "My Fathers Last Days" I put down the camera many times, and just simply helped my father, turned away to offer him privacy, told him I loved him or gave him a kiss. If you have heart and purpose in your work you know when it is right to make a picture and when it is not right. I always try to follow my heart.

Here is one of the blog page donation links, lots more on the site, I wrote about it several times.

I do know that you are very involved with photographing people in Thailand, I am curious as to what made you want to record the lives of people in Thailand.  

I guess this question is about the history of my Thai work. It is as follows. I have always found people living different lives than my own of great personal interest. I’ve always asked. Who are they? What makes them the way they are? What can I learn from them, what will they teach me? What stories can I tell with my photographs?

My initial interest in Thailand was trying to understand and photograph the lives of the female sex worker, the bargirls  of Thailand. My first trip was way back in 1996. I saved some money, gathered a bunch of photo gear, read one book on Thai culture and dived in head first. I was like a babe in the woods, completely unprepared for what I would experience and encounter. Going to Thailand that first time was truly a life altering experience for me. 

Later on I expanded the sex worker series photos, past the female worker to the male and transgender workers (ladyboys). Understanding and expressing those important stories in photographs obsessed me. I needed to tell everyone about these forgotten lives. It all became extremely important to me. I hung with the workers, trying to understand their points of view, I hug with the sex tourist/sex pats trying to understand things from their angle as well. The more people I met the deeper I was drawn in. I learned to speak a fair amount of Thai, even learned to read and write some. I studied the culture, Buddhism, the history of the bought sex world in Asia both for tourists and local men. Over a 16 year period I photographed the sex workers of Thailand/Cambodia in numerous ways, sometimes photographing the same people over several years as they aged and changed.

That resulted in this exhibition:

It also led to wanting to photo non sex work subject matter. I had grown so tired of that world. Some of the bar workers in Bangkok lived and worked out of the Klong Toey slum, so that was my next project, the lives of people in the slum, recording who and what they were. 

That resulted in this exhibition:

Now this latest series on the dump families has expanded that thirst to understand and express through photography the lives, the stories of others. Who knows where this series of pictures will lead. All I know is I love art, love photography, love entering and experiencing different worlds, different lives.  I will keep doing it for the rest of my life.

Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings Chris, I hope this helps answer some of your questions.

Becoming A Wet Plate Photography Teacher?

I was thinking of ways to fund my coming retirement wet plate project "Oh Canada"/
"Oh Canada" Blogs
It is going to take a ton of silver to make the larger ambrotype plates I plan (35x35 inch?). It is going to also be quite expensive to travel the country making the ambrotypes/wet plates. How to do it all? How to PAY FOR IT ALL?

I was hoping that I could apply for and receive some grant money from various government art groups but that seems a bit of a long shot at best, something that I should NOT rely on. A more practical common sense way to earn money for the project would be to do wet plate workshops in my cube van darkroom country wide. The idea would to first learn the process very well (5 plus years of intensive shooting, study and production) then to offer workshops to students across Canada. I could go to an area of the country to do my own personal work and then teach workshops at these same locals. Or I could stop along the way at a Canadian city, give a workshop, then proceed to my shooting location. I would probably make $1500-$3000 CAD per workshop given. Wet plate work shops are much sought after by students and expensive to take.

Teaching wet plate workshops is worth more thought. The idea of earning photo teaching money to then make more ambrotypes/tintypes is appealing. It seems just right, one need feeding the other. To be able to also spread knowledge and my love for wet plate and photography in general is also a great reason to do it.

"Ain't Photography Grand!!"

My 20x24 Paper Arrived At My Door Today!

I got one of my boxes of 20x24 Ilford warmtone fiber paper from B&H in New York today (ordered 2). I will spend the next 5 days printing for the "TRUMPET and "Healing Process" shows. Will post some of those results later here in the blog, might even do up a video for you all, if I have the time.

My hockey them the NHL Edmonton Oilers are on to round 2 tonight in the NHL playoffs. I will listen to the game while printing. Should be a fun night. "Go Oilers Go!"

Bought Me A - Korona 5x7 Wooden Camera with Ilex Paragon 8 1/2'' f4.5 Lens

Picked up this old model, great condition Korono 5x7 camera, with extras. The camera has both 4x5 and 5x7 backs and a lens included and an older lens with shutter (some fungus and haze in it). I want to use this camera for learning wet plate, and making smaller plates after I become proficient at the process. I will do the 4x5 plates(tin-glass) in a adapted Graflex Graphic model 1234 pack film holder and the 5x7 wet plate work possibly with a Chamonix wet plate holder. Here are some photos of this wonderful new tool in my extensive camera toolbox.

The Korona is my first wooden field camera in the 4x5 or 5x7 formats. The camera should add significance to the creation of the wet plate images. If I do artist talks of the work in the future, I can also tell stories about this old Korona camera and its history. Creating ambrotypes and tintypes with historic tools seems so right.

Adapting #1 Graflex 1234 Pack Film Holder
Adapting #2 Graflex 1234 Pack Film Holder

Korona 5x7 Wooden Camera with Ilex Paragon 8 1/2'' f4.5 Lens

Bought Me A - Russian Smena Smena-Symbol LOMO

Picked this up for $12 USD. I will ship it in the same package as the FED camera in the earlier blog. Combined shipping is a bit cheaper. This will be a fun plastic toy camera  to play with, creating weird visuals.

Russian Smena Smena-Symbol LOMO

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bought Me A Soviet Made FED 3 Camera

Bought me a 3rd Soviet era camera today a FED 3, cost $20 USD plus $22 USD for shipping. Yes the shipping cost more than the camera! I  bought it from the same seller as myfirst 2 Soviet cameras, Zorki, Chaika ll, Love these old USSR cameras, even if they break down (very likely) I can use them as show pieces. The seller Alex in the Ukraine repairs and gives all his cameras a CLA. I am hoping to get a couple of years use out of these things. My Zorki is built like a tank, hopefully the FED will be of similar strength. Heck if they break down I can use them to prop up my car if I need to change the tires :)).

Here is the FED I bought:

My new and very old FED 3 camera

Got My Soviet USSR Cameras Today!

Got my 2 USSR cameras today, a Zorki (Leica copy) and a Chaika II (1/2 frame camera). Gosh these things are fun to handle and use, cheap and fun! They do not have the cool clear sounds of German made PRECISION Leica's but they work, heck they work quite well at least for now. I only paid $32 USD for the Zorki and $25 for the Chaika. It took me a while to figure out how to load the Zorki, but with the help of a YouTube video (video maker really struggled loading his camera) I was able to get it done fairly quickly.
Loading A Soviet FED Camera With Tri-x

These cameras should be great to shoot, am looking to see what weird ass effects the scratches on the lens have on things. I also bought a adapter from China which will allow me to use the Industar 22 lens on my Leica M bodies. I think I am going to look into buying a cheap FED camera from the same seller in the Ukraine.
Original Zorki Camera Buy Blog
Original Chaika ll Camera Buy Blog

My 2 New USSR Made Beautifies
Note*s The cameras do smell old, I believe the Zorki is 60 year old. They smell a bit like an old tractor factory but heck that is part of their charm! I am not sure how long these things will last but for now "I LOVE THEM!".

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Inspiring Ambrotypes By Tushar Joshi

So often when I find YouTube vids of wet plate photography, it is all technique and gadgets, rarely do the photos move me. Here is a link to a photographer in India, Mr Tushar Joshi who makes great imagery, moving imagery with the simplest of tools. And after all is that not what it is all about! The creative piece of art you have at the end of the process! Everything else does not matter in the end. His project is titled "Sanakari", looking at the images in the video is very imspiring for me. I have hope to something of similar strength and consequence in my eventual "Oh Canada" project.
Behind the scenes- Wet Plate collodion By Tushar Joshi

Ambrotype by Tushar Joshi from his project "Sanakari"

Bought Me Am Ambrotype "Japan Antique Photo : Japanese Woman Sitting / Ambrotype Kimono Brazier"

Instead of buying a bunch of cheaper ambrotypes/tintypes I have decided to invest in just a few that I really love. Quality over quantity, you pay more but get more emotional impact, images that I feel are important and inspirational. I want to do a series of group ambrotype portraits for the "Oh Canada" project and to that end bought this inspiring Japanese portrait of 4 women (mother, daughters and granddaughter?) from 1894. The ambrotype is a little more than 4 inches long, the cost was a very hefty $124.51 USD including shipping from Saitama Japan. All 4 in this group look so glum, sad lives, lost family members? Where are all the men? What were the stories of these womens lives? I will now will be able to study this work up close, and hopefully be inspired by it to make my own group ambrotypes. Maybe in 120 years, some other photographer doing ambrotypes will be inspired by my portraiture, wondering about those lives.

Note" I like the wooden presentation of the Japanese ambrotypes I have seen online like the one I now own. It might be a way I can present my work. Each ambrotype in its only specially labeled wooden box. You open up and present each work of art slowly and separately.

Another Bad Dad Dream

Fell asleep around 730am woke up at 753am after another bad dad dream. I was in a room in mom and dads home. In their basement was a room my sister and I uses to call the "playhouse". I was standing in it and thinking of converting it into a photo workspace, in the dream my the room even had running water. Then all of a sudden I was upstairs in the kitchen talking to my father, mom was in background but not speaking. I could hear dads voice very clearly, then asked him a question, seeking his help. He answered my question, he sounded happy and normal, like he was really with us again, just like before. It was all do REAL! Then in the dream I new dad was dead. I ran over and hugged him with both arms very tightly, and started crying uncontrollably. I yelled out over and over again how much I missed him. My father said nothing. I kept crying, yelling and holding him a bit longer then woke up with a sudden start here in my home.

Unsettling dream, the worst I have had for a while, there was a tear in my eye when I woke. I will try to sleep again. I have 1 more night shift to go,

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bought Me An Old Lady Ambrotype

Bought another ambrotype, this one in rather poor condition but I loved the look, expression and feel of the old lady subject. She seems to have lived a difficult life, a strong portrait I think, one that will help inspire me to do similar work. Cost was $25 USD plus shipping.

Note* I wonder if I can shoot view camera portraits in the dump then later do ambrotypes in my darkroom? I know that technically there is a way to do it, but I have never done it myself.

Portrait of an older lady

Scheimpflug Rule

"When the extended lines from the lens plane, the object plane, and the film plane intersect at the same point, the entire subject plane is in focus."

Bought Me A 1/9th Ambrotype, Man In Top Hat With Soft Eyes

Picked up this sweet eyed 1/9th ambrotype today for $21 plus shipping (seller was asking $24.99). I love the look in this mans eyes, a quiet softness and beauty to him. This is the type of portrait I hope to make when I start doing my wet plate work. I wonder who he was? He looks, mischievous but kind hearted. What kind of life did he lead? How old was he when he died? Who did he love? Who loved him? What adventures did he have? What made him happy and sad? A nice portrait of a forgotten man, like the hat, suit-tie, and cigar as well.

Note* I plan to carry a bunch of these older ambrotypes with me when I do the "Oh Canada" wet plate project. An inspiration from the past so to speak!! I will see what has been done before and try  to emulate and surpass it.
Man in Top Hat with soft eyes.

Bought Me A Goerz Apochromat Artar Red Dot 19 Inch Process Lens (Barrel)

Got me a near mint 19 inch (480mm) Goertz Red Dot Artar lens on the cheap. A Canadian seller was asking $325 CAD (plus cheap shipping) for it, I made an offer of $250 CAD and was accepted. I plan to use this lens with my 8x10  camera, it might also cover 11x14. I bought this mostly because of the discount price, no extra taxes and duty and  the low $21 CAD shipping. This will be used as a wet plate lens just like my 42 inch version (42 inch Red Dot Goertz Artar).
Link To My 42 Inch Red Dot

19 Inch Red Dot Goerz Artar Process Lens (no shutter)

Link: ORGASMIC Ambrotype Photographer Petr Jedinak

Found this on YouTube tonight while researching ambrotypes. Czech Republic photographer Petr Jedinak  series of Orgasmic portraits. Certainly a unique body of work. I like the general idea. Do not want to do my own series of ORGASM POTRAITURE SERIES but it would be cool to do a variety of heads showing various strong emotions, anger, laughter, sorrow etc. I think that it could be quite an emotionally effective and powerful group of ambrotypes.

Here is the link to a video on this extremely intimate and passionate series.:
Orgasmic Ambrotype Portraits By Petr Jedinak

Friday, April 21, 2017

Gerry Yaum Goes French

Found some of the old sex worker pics (SLATE.COM) on a French blog run by a person named Emmanuel Chausssader (sounds like a character in classic French literature). Here is the link:

Installed A Second Hard Drive On To My HP Elitebook 8760W Video Editing Laptop

This afternoon I received my DVD hard drive caddy today in the mail from China. I came to work, installed the 2TB internal drive in the caddy, then removed my DVD player from the Elitebook 8760W laptop and placed the new hard drive inside. I then found on line the steps needed for the computer to recognize this 2nd drive. The installation went well, everything works great and I now have a 2 drives on my editing computer a 1 TB and a 2 TB.

I have a second caddy and second 2TB hard drive in the mail, when those arrive I will install them as well. That will bring my computer up to its max capacity, 32GB of RAM and 5 TB of hard drive (3 drives). I saved quite a bit of money by buying my RAM/DRIVES/CADDIES online and doing the installation myself (thank you YouTube).

This laptop which is armed with Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas and Davinci Resolve (video editing software's) should be a great tool for me in Asia. I can shoot all day then download and edit all night. Or shoot all night and edit all day! By doing the editing in Thailand  I will have a clear understanding of what is working or not working as I progress  through the project day by day.

Now Have The Maximum 32GB Of RAM In My Editing Laptop

You got to love YouTube. Today I was able to use a couple of online tutorials to install 16GB more RAM into my HP Elitebook 8760W laptop. I wanted to upgrade the memory so that I could handle more high end work when doing the movie editing in Thailand later this year. Today I was able to do that.

Today's computer upgrade turned out well. I was a bit worried going in as I am not really a tech guy but it went very smoothly. I had to remove the computer keyboard to get at the extra 2 RAM slots but that went fine. 

I also purchased a 2TB second hard drive that I want to install. Am patiently waiting on the hard drive caddy I need (from China) to complete the installation. If that goes well I will try buying and installing a third hard drive (another 2TB job). The most difficult part for me is getting the caddies (they hold the drives in the computer) from China. Ordered 4 different cheap ones but 1 never arrived, 1 is the wrong style (ended up getting that free). I have 2 more on order now. I would also need to buy the second 2TB hard drive online as well. With 32GB of RAM and 5TB of hard drive space. I would have a kick ass laptop for video editing.

Update* I bought the second 2TB hard drive, the cost $94.99 USD plus shipping. Am going for the 3 hard drive option for my computer.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

HF3535?, 35x35 Camera, To Buy Or Not To Buy

Thinking strongly of whether to get the 35x35 camera or not. The time is not the best as I am off to Thailand for 6 months in October. Still at a price of $5555 USD the camera is about $4500 USD cheaper than buying a 24x32 Chamonix wet plate camera with holder out of China. That special order camera-wet plate holder retails around $10 000 USD plus shipping. The 24x24 version Chamonix with holder sell for around $7300 USD. So $5555 USD for a much larger 35x35 inch camera with wet plate holder (plus shipping) seems quite reasonable. It is hard to imagine a camera that big 35x35 inches, imagine that! If I got it I might eventually get a reducing back to 20x24 for film and a second wet plate reducing back of 24x35 for a more rectangular composition.

Not sure what to do here. I would be taking a big risk as I have almost no experience with wet plate, tintypes, ambrotypes, wet plate negs. I have barely made 4x5 and 8x10 versions in this process. Yet I am considering buying a 35x35 inch camera to do that type of work. This seems to me it could be a huge home run thing or a brutal strike out. I could be buying a camera I never use or I could be buying a camera that creates some of the most important/collected and shown images of my photo career. I can see what the ambrotypes will look like in my minds eye, those possible photos haunt me. I feel it might be my destiny to make them. And that if I fail to take this risk, I fear I will later deeply regret it.

What to do? I will continue to ask questions and try to figure all of this out in the coming weeks.

Here are some samples of Filip's camera craftsmanship, He makes a variety of cameras and adjusts how he builds each camera to the photographers particular needs. I would want something with a reinforced front standard (to hold a large brass lens, 38inch? 40+ inch?) as well as the hardest strongest type of wood. The idea is to have something strong enough to take on a journey throughout Canada for the "Oh Canada" wet plate photographic project. I would also want a bellows that was long enough to allow me to do some portrait work with the camera (assuming that would work, I think it might).

I am also researching whether a table top camera mounting device could be made to for the 2 large heavy duty Russian tripods I bought earlier this year. The idea would be to mount the table top thingy on top of the two tripods then simply place the large very heavy HF3535 on top of that.

Various HF cameras and details of cameras

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Major Camera Delivery Day

I had a very busy postal mail camera delivery day today. Ended up getting 4 stereo cameras! Yes 4! I will test and choose 1, possibly 2 to take with me to Thailand. Additional costs were minimal $22 CAD for duty/taxes. All cameras are in working order, and in quite pristine condition, almost newish, rather amazing for their ages. The Verescope model is the oldest camera and dates I believe back to the 1930s, the F40 version I think is a 1950s camera. Beautiful tools! Am very excited about using them to make pictures.

Three of the cameras I got from my new friend Bernard in Florida, he kept them well taken care of. I will try to keep them in as good a shape as possible but I also want to use the cameras heavily in the field, some wear always results. Cameras need to be used thou, not just coddled and stared at from a distance, so they will be fulfilling their destinies.

I am quite excited by the thought of what kind of documentary imagery I can make with these wonderful cameras. I printed out the manuals for the various cameras tonight and will learn how to use each of them in the coming weeks. I will be posting some scans later for you all.'

Update* Played with the cameras some, and boy are they well built. The Stereo 35 is a cheap Czech plasticky camera but the other 3 are SOLID METAL!! Everything about them is metal. The Verescope F40 is especially beautiful, very Flash Gordon futuristic in look and feel. The Stereo Realist and the Revere 33 are also both wonderful constructed cameras. I get the feeling that these things will last 200 years no problem. I am less worried now about damaging the cameras. The only damage might occur if I drop one of these things on my foot and break a toe!

4 stereo cameras from upper left to right, Verescope F40, Stereo 35, Stereo Realist, Revere 33

Quote: Patrick Stewart

"Reinforcing human rights is the way to reinforce security."

Ouch!! Photo Paper So Expensive!

I bit the bullet and bought a second box of 50 sheet Ilford warmtone fiber 20x24 paper, cost $396.41 USD. That includes free shipping form New York (B&H) as well as the duty and taxes. I was trying to avoid buying 1 more box of this paper until after my trip but with this second show, in the end I bought 2 more boxes.

I needed more photo paper to get the job done. Some of the negs I am working on are proving particularly difficult to print which is using up paper at a higher rate. Hate to pay so much for this stuff but it is part of the process. Shows cost money to produce and the funds you get back from the gallery (especially if your donating that money to your subjects as I do) does not nearly match what your paying out to get the prints made.

I now have 2 boxes of 50 sheets being shipped to me, at least I saved $90 USD on the first box which was older and had been sitting in the store for a while. I wonder how big a seller these large boxes of large paper are? Anyway, I should now have enough paper to print the two shows. What happens if I get a third? The first box should arrive sometime this week, the box I ordered today with 2 weeks.

Note* I do have some sheets of 20x24 Ilford Classic (neutral tone) paper in the darkroom, but I dislike how that paper looks. This last week off I tried printing on it to bad results. The Ilford warmtone stuff is so much more pleasing to my eye. Unfortunately it is also the most expensive multigrade fiber paper that Ilford makes.

Monday, April 17, 2017

James Nachtway's Book "Inferno", A Truly Great Photographer

Been studying the work of James Nachtway in his supersized book "Inferno" tonight at work. I am a dazzled by his compositions and use of wide angle lens in his 35mm work. His photographs set you off balance, get you to look at the subject in new ways. The book is filled with raw emotion and the style of shooting makes things that much rawer.

If 35mm caameras, Tri-x film are good enough for Eugene W. Smith, Sebastiao Salgado and James Natchtway they should certainly be good enough for me. I will take a bunch of Tri-x with me next trip, and the Leica cameras and see what leads where. The SLR Leicas will allow for closer focusing, the 24mm R lens close up should do some great work. I need to start to see compositions outside of the norm, use composition as a more effective tool then I am right now.

Here is some of the Nachtway photos I am looking at tonight. Nachtway is a truly great photographer

All photos by James Nachtway