Call For Entries- Rendering the Spirit: The Personal Image in Alternative Media

Render (v): to distill, to cook down to its essence, to translate, to represent.

Rendering: an act of bringing into being, of distillation, of translation, of representation. By aiming our gaze at works created using “alternative” processes, we aim to show the diversity of work being created at this nexus of the 19th and 21st centuries and engage in a dialog about what it means to create work using anachronistic techniques.

Curators: Scott Davis and Malcolm Cosgrove-Davies

Scott Davis is a faculty member at Photoworks where he teaches alternative processes, portraiture and studio lighting. He received formal training at Maryland Institute, College of Art. His specialty is platinum/palladium printing, and he is an avid collector of 19th century photography. He has exhibited his personal work locally, nationally and internationally, and has served as curator at the former Art Reactor Gallery in Hyattsville.

Malcolm Cosgrove-Davies is a self-taught photographer who since 1978 has been practicing historic photographic processes including gum bichromate, cyanotype, VanDyke, palladium, and carbon printing. Mac’s images derive from his extensive travel to developing countries as well as everyday life. Using antique and hand-made film cameras in various large & panoramic formats he seeks to match the image to the beauty and elegance of the selected photographic process. In addition to building the occasional camera, printing frame or other useful photographic gadget, he also creates books and presentation portfolios for his prints. He is represented in various collections such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Library of Congress, Maier Museum, and Lehigh University Art Galleries.

More of the Good Stuff
More of the Good Stuff
© 2008 Scott Davis
Gum Over Palladium

Submissions:

Works to be considered must be made using an alternative/historic process, including but not limited to lumen prints, tintypes/ambrotypes/melainotypes, daguerreotypes, gum bichromate, platinum/palladium, kallitypes, Van Dyke Brown, cyanotypes, carbon prints, calotypes, salt prints, albumen prints, bromoil, gumoil or some combination of the above. Silver Gelatin prints are not accepted. Original capture of the image can be from in-camera negatives or digital capture or some combination thereof, but the final image must be a physical object made using one or more historical processes. For a submission fee of $40, each artist may submit up to five examples. Send jpegs at 72dpi, 1000 pixels on the long axis. JPEGs should be named ArtistName_number (i.e. JohnBrown_1 ).

Also include an artists statement, brief bio and an explanation of the work(s). All required documents (JPEGS, Artist statement/bio/explanation of works) should be emailed to photoworks.gallery@gmail.com no later than February 21st. Notifications will be sent by email to all selected artists by March 1. Works must be received by March 14. The opening reception will be held on March 26.

Explanation:

The explanation should enumerate the title of the work, the file name of the associated JPEG, the size of the piece (including frame dimensions), the year it was made, and any pertinent details about the creation of the work.

Example:

Image Title: File Name: Size: Year Created: Explanation:
Joseph JohnBrown_1.jpg 8”X10” 2016 Hand-colored quarter-plate daguerreotype, distressed with fingerprints and acid etching.

All works accepted must be framed/mounted and ready to hang. Outside dimensions should be no greater than 24 inches on the long axis. All works must be available for sale – Photoworks takes a 35% commission on any sales. Artists are 100% responsible for shipping to and from Photoworks.

PHOTOWORKS
7300 MacArthur Blvd.
Glen Echo, MD 20812 ( 1st floor Arcade Bldg.)

You must include a pre-paid return shipping label with your work; any work shipped without a return label will be considered a donation to Photoworks, and will not be returned to the artist. Artists are responsible for insuring their work – while Photoworks endeavors to take every precaution to protect and care for works while on display, they will not be liable for any loss or damage.

Artists Statement:

Please send us a one paragraph statement about your work, and in particular describe why you are using the alternative process(es) you are using; what do they mean to you, to the work, how they shape meaning, their aesthetic impact.

Artists Bio:

Please send a one paragraph biography.

photoworks40years

Forty years ago, in a derelict building hidden among the abandoned amusement park rides of Glen Echo Park, four young photographers founded Photoworks with little more than a shared passion for the daily work of seeing, shooting, and printing images of lasting beauty and artistic integrity. The day-to-day collaboration, creative dialogue, and informal mentoring that led those artists to successful careers as fine art and commercial photographers established the values of experimentation and collegiality that define Photoworks today. Offering a diverse combination of educational programs, gallery exhibitions, and community initiatives, Photoworks is a vibrant and unique resource for student and professional photographers – an arts community in the very best sense of the word.

For more information about Photoworks, visit their homepage: Glen Echo Photoworks

Tom Thumb, His Wife, and her Sister

No, not a prequel to The Thief, the Cook, His Wife and Her Lover, it’s a CDV by an unidentified photographer of Tom Thumb, his wife, and her sister Minnie Warren.

Tom Thumb, His Wife, and Her Sister
Tom Thumb, His Wife, and Her Sister

The latest addition to the collection of Tom Thumb images, this was one I hadn’t seen before. Clipped corners aside, it’s in quite good condition overall. Certainly the image is very clear and sharp, and the print has minimal wear. In the conversation I had with Zoe Trodd, the co-author of Picturing Frederick Douglass, she triggered an interesting thought. The main thesis of Picturing Frederick Douglass is that he is the most-photographed American of the 19th century. I was skeptical of this as his images on the secondary collector market are not common, however the book does document her case rather thoroughly, with 150-some distinct images of him known. This got me to wondering how many different images of my favorite subject to collect are there. I’ll enumerate the Tom Thumb images I have below:

Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, in middle age
Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, in middle age
Tom Thumb by C.D. Fredricks
Tom Thumb by C.D. Fredricks
Tom Thumb & Lavinia Warren - Walzl, Photographer, Baltimore
Tom Thumb & Lavinia Warren – Walzl, Photographer, Baltimore
Tom Thumb and Minnie Warren, in their advancing years
Tom Thumb and Minnie Warren, in their advancing years
Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, by Masury of Boston
Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, by Masury of Boston
Tom Thumb, Wife and "child"
Tom Thumb, Wife and “child”
Lavinia Warren Stratton, Mrs. Tom Thumb
Lavinia Warren Stratton, Mrs. Tom Thumb
Commodore Nutt, Mrs. and Mr. Tom Thumb
Commodore Nutt, Mrs. and Mr. Tom Thumb
The Reception Dress, The Fairy Wedding
The Reception Dress, The Fairy Wedding
Bride & Groom, The Fairy Wedding
Bride & Groom, The Fairy Wedding
Fairy Wedding Group #3
Fairy Wedding Group #3
Brady's Fairy Wedding
The Fairy Wedding, 1863 E&HT Anthony print, Obverse
The Thumbs, by the Stereoscopic Co of London
The Thumbs, by the Stereoscopic Co of London
The Thumbs, Commodore Nutt and Minnie Warren, as presented to the Queen
The Thumbs, Commodore Nutt and Minnie Warren, as presented to the Queen

These are the ones I have in my collection. I know there are more out there that I don’t have (one particular one from the wedding, and at least two from the London Stereoscopic Company). This puts me at 15, eighteen if you count the ones I know but don’t have. It’s a far cry from the 150 of Frederick Douglass, but I’m going to keep hunting and collecting and tallying up. Having been a star of stage and circus for most of his life, he was dependent on publicity for his career and would have worked hard to keep his image in the public eye.

Admiral Dot

The newest addition to the collection of CDVs of little people sideshow performers – Admiral Dot, age thirteen.

Admiral Dot, Age 13
Admiral Dot, Age 13

I would take his age, height and weight in this photo with a grain of salt – the producers of these CDVs were prone to mis-statement, exaggeration and even outright lies about the subject’s physical traits as part of the sideshow hype. Fat men and women were often described as sometimes a hundred plus pounds bigger than they were. “Giants” were often endowed with an additional six or seven inches in height. In this case, I’ve managed to wangle a series of Admiral Dot at three different ages- 13, 14 and 18. In the span of five years he’s gained an inch (not unbelievable) and only five pounds.

Admiral Dot, published by E&HT Anthony
Admiral Dot, published by E&HT Anthony
Admiral Dot, published by Anthony, photographer unnamed
Admiral Dot, published by Anthony, photographer unnamed
Admiral Dot, by Bogardus
Admiral Dot, by Bogardus
Admiral Dot & Lottie Swartwood By Chas Eisenmann
Admiral Dot & Lottie Swartwood By Chas Eisenmann

Admiral Dot was born Leopold Kahn in San Francisco. He had two brothers, also little people, who also went on to become sideshow performers – Major Atom and General Pin. He began his career working for P.T. Barnum, but went on to perform with other companies of little people, married another little person, Lottie Swartood, and have two children before dying from the Spanish Flu during the 1918 epidemic at the age of 59. While I do have images of Major Atom, I have yet to come across one of General Pin – he must not have had the career his two siblings did.

Here is my CDV of Major Atom. Can you see a family resemblance?

Major Atom, by Chas. Eisenmann
Major Atom, by Chas. Eisenmann

Panoramas of the Colosseum, Rome

Photographing the Colosseum was one of the primary reasons I brought the Belair X/6-12. I knew already that I wanted to take panoramic shots of the building, as just about anything else aspect ratio-wise was not going to do the place justice. I think (I hope, anyway) that these give you somewhat of a sense of the scale of the building – it sits in a large open plaza and is every bit as large as a modern American Football stadium, seating somewhere in excess of 50,000 people. A testament to its architectural genius is that the entire stadium could be emptied in a matter of minutes.

Colosseum Panorama
Colosseum Panorama

These views depict the outer curtain wall, of which only a fraction remains. In fact, almost 2/3 of the original stadium and its decorations are gone – the columns, marble seats, wooden flooring and doors and bronze and gold decorations are all lost to the ravages of earthquakes, vandals, fires, and architectural re-purposing.

Colosseum Panorama
Colosseum Panorama

An astounding fact about the outer curtain wall – there is NO mortar used in its construction. The entire edifice was assembled and held together by iron bow-tie shaped clamps interconnecting each block.

Colosseum Panorama
Colosseum Panorama

Roman Panoramas – Pines of Rome

So I was busy and didn’t get around to developing the last few rolls from my Italian adventure until a couple days ago. I’m working through them now – they’re all panoramic shots taken with my Lomo Belair X/6-12. I’m still on the fence about whether and how much I like it.

Umbrella Pine, Via Fori Imperiali
Umbrella Pine, Via Fori Imperiali

In this case, it worked. Quite well in fact. This is one of the famous “Pines of Rome” – the umbrella pine – that are ubiquitous throughout the city and the region. They’re the source of the pine nuts used in making pesto. The umbrella pine is such a signature emblem of Rome I needed to take a photo of it by itself because now having been there, I can’t think of the city without thinking of the pines.

More Memories of Summer

This trio of Lotus seed pods might look a little odd to those in the know- they’re not exactly in their native habitat. I was wandering the trails at Kenilworth, saw these three had fallen while still full of seeds, and picked them up to make a still-life. I re-planted them in the muddy bank of a lily pond to create this grouping.

Lotus Pod Trio
Lotus Pod Trio

This cat-o-nine-tails at full fluff presented itself to me at the edge of another one of the ponds.

Cat-o-Nine-Tails
Cat-o-Nine-Tails

Reminder of Summers Past and Future

I finally got around to scanning and uploading these shots from Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens I took back in the waning days of summer. Now’s the perfect time to bring them out as it’s descending into freezing temperatures here, as a reminder of the golden light and radiant heat that we love to complain about while we’re in the middle of it, but deeply miss when it’s gone.

Lotus Leaf
Lotus Leaf
African Lilies
African Lilies

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ve seen me post other photos (and the odd video!) from Kenilworth. If you’re at all a fan of aquatic plants, Kenilworth is well worth the visit, as they have acres of lily ponds, lotus plants, cat-o-nine-tails and other species that grow in wet and marshy environments. In addition to the flowering plants, Kenilworth is a great place to go for wildlife – everything from dragonflies to frogs to turtles to herons and even supposedly a beaver family can be found there. And the amazing thing is that it’s not only in the middle of a city, but in the middle of a rough part of the city. Enter the gardens and you think you’re in some vast national park riverine oasis, not three miles as the crow flies from the United States Capitol building.

Photography, Alternative Processes, Really Big Cameras, and other cool stuff

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