Last week (June 19-23) I was in the upper upper corner of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan (troll land – why? because it’s under the (Mackinac) Bridge!). The event was Photostock 2013, a very loose, casual gathering of photographers to hang out, shoot, share work, talk photo, and just relax. The event was held at the Birchwood Inn in Harbor Springs, Michigan, which is on Lake Michigan, not far south of the Mackinac Bridge. The bridge spans the strait that separates Lake Michigan from Lake Huron. It’s the second longest suspension bridge in North America, and the fourth longest in the world.
Here’s a photo of the bridge in the morning fog:
To clarify some confusion, Mackinac is pronounced Mackinaw (why I don’t know, but it is). If it’s a transliteration from a Native American word, then you’d think Pontiac should have been pronounced Pontiaw. But it’s not. Go figure. Anyway, you’ll sometimes see Mackinac written Mackinac and others Mackinaw. And same with the resort island of the same name.
Back to Photostock- it’s an environment where you don’t feel like the odd man out for being a total photo geek for bringing TWO Rolleiflexes with you (that was me, and in comparison to some folks, I was highly under-geared!). Here I am having fun with my Rolleiflexes- they’re wearing my Ray-Ban Wayfarers:
The coolest thing about it for me was getting to meet a whole bunch of folks in the flesh I only knew virtually, from participating on APUG (http://www.apug.org), Large Format Photography (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum), and Rangefinder Forum (http://www.rangefinderforum.com). Some of them I’ve known as virtual beings for nearly a decade. Everyone attending was just terrific, and I can’t think of a single conversation that was anything other than interesting or a person who was anything other than energizing to talk to. We had some really fantastic photographers give demonstrations of their work, like Judy Sherrod showing off her homemade 20×24 wet plate pinhole cameras and the accompanying alumitypes she made with it – WOW. Talk about inspirational – here was someone who was told “no, it can’t be done”, decided that no was not an acceptable answer, and proved the naysayers wrong. She shot wet plate pinhole photos of the beach and ocean at Pass Christian, Mississippi, coating her giant plates at home, driving to the beach, setting up, exposing, driving back and processing the plates all within a half hour span – pretty amazing considering that her exposures were 7-10 minutes each!
I received the following note from Judy Sherrod clarifying the information about the wet plate pinhole work:
The 20×20 pinhole cameras are made to shoot wet-plate collodion plates in a collaboration with S.Gayle Stevens. Gayle is the collodion artist. I am not. I make the boxes.
I live in Texas, she lives outside of Chicago, and we work from a darkroom in Pass Christian, Mississippi. It’s a long commute for each of us!
We coat the plate in the darkroom, put the plate in the camera, put the camera in the car, jump in and drive to the beach, where the exposures are made. Most exposures are about three minutes. Then we put the camera back in the car and return to the darkroom for processing.
Thank you for writing about this project. It has turned into a dream come true for me. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
looks like I got a couple facts turned around in my head! Thanks, Judy for the clarification!
This is a preliminary set of photos of the people attending Photostock – there were nearly 70 people participating throughout the week, and I’m sure there were some I barely saw let alone got to meet and talk with.
I’ll have a whole lot more to show once I get all my b/w film developed.