Alternative Photo Revolution – Artists

As a follow-up to my previous announcement about Alternative Photo Revolution, I wanted to post a list of the participating artists. One of the conceits of the show is that virtually all work presented will be printed by Bob Carnie, an internationally recognized photo printer and master craftsman. Bob has been in the forefront of experimenting with bridging the gap between digital and wet-darkroom technologies. He was the first person to take a Durst Lambda enlarger (a digital enlarger that was designed to make traditional C-prints from digital files) and use it to produce enlarged negatives on Ortho film. Bob has used this technique to make the required negatives for alternative process prints from sources as diverse as in-camera 4×5 sheet film to iPhone digital files.

Participating in the show is a bit of a leap of faith and trust in Bob’s creative vision and talent, as none of the participants will have seen their final prints before they hang in the gallery (Bob has been kept extremely busy producing, mounting and matting 40 images for the show in addition to running his lab). Some of the artists in the show are long-time alternative process workers, like myself, and others have only worked digitally, and never printed their own work.

Here is the list of artists and their organizations/locations.

Gallery 44: Alexis Jackson

Seneca IDP: Kin Lon Ma

Photoworks: Scott Davis

New Orleans Photo Alliance: David Armentor

Toronto: Marc Betsworth, Tamiko Winters, Paul Taborovsky, Kevin Kelly, Alan Dunlop, Lisa Murzin, Ron Erwin, John Migicovsky, Evan Dion, Salina Kassam, Philip Jessup, Marlene Hilton Moore, Juli Lyons, Skip Dean, Thomas Brasch, Matthew Plexman, Laura Paterson, Bob Carnie, Monica Glitz

St Thomas: Jeff Suchak

Quebec: Hugues Rochette, Jean Lauzon, Madeleine Marcil, Claude Dagenais, Guy Lafontaine, Mirabelle Ricard, Guy Glorieux

Ottawa: Brittany Fleming

Saskatoon: Jennifer Crane

Vancouver: Brendan Meadows

Seattle: Andrej Gregov

Texas: Larry Hayden

New York: Bryan Helm

The following three artists are supplying their own prints for this show:

Ginette Clément (Quebec)- Lumen Silver Gelatin

Stephen McNeill (Toronto)- Silver Gelatin Photogram

David Christensen (Calgary)- Silver Gelatin

AltProRevSponsors

Glen Echo | Glen Echo Park in the Ballroom, Backroom

March 28
Viewings will be taking place from 1-9pm with a formal reception from 6-9pm. Admission: Free

New Orleans | L’Entrepot

March 31-April 1
Private reception on Friday March 31st from 6-9pm.
General admission is $10
VIP Collector ticket is $30 admission + chance to win a unique permanent print
Stay at home ticket $25 for a chance to win a unique permanent print
Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite.
April 1st, viewings will be open to the public from 1-9pm. The Julia Street First Saturday event is from 6-9pm with all gallery’s in the area having receptions

Toronto | Connections Gallery

May 15-June 17
Opening May 18 from 6-9pm
The Toronto portion of the exhibition is a part of the Contact Photography Festival

#ContactPhoto #202Creates #202Fotos #acreativedc #glenechophotoworks #photoworks #altprocessrevolution #DylanEllisGallery #ConnectionsGallery #Toronto #NewOrleans #NOPA

 

 

Alternative Photo Revolution Show

I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming Alternative Photo Revolution show, which I have been assisting and coordinating to bring to Glen Echo Park later this month.

What is the Alternative Photo Revolution?

Combining contemporary photography with historical photo printmaking processes, the Alternative Photo Revolution (APR) is one of a kind. This group show features works by photographers from across North America, printed by internationally recognized master printer Bob Carnie. Hitting the road at the end of March, APR will be popping up in Glen Echo, Maryland then New Orleans, Louisiana before returning home to the Connections Gallery in Toronto, Canada for inclusion in the Contact Photo Festival from May 15-June 17. APR seeks to use the burgeoning trend of pop-up galleries and shows to broaden the awareness and appeal of historic photographic techniques. The one-day pop-up will be at Glen Echo Park in the Back Ballroom of the Spanish Ballroom building, and will be open from 1-9pm. A number of the artists represented will be in attendance at the wine and cheese reception from 6-9pm. The APR show at Glen Echo is co-sponsored by Glen Echo Photoworks, which is celebrating its 42nd year of providing outstanding photographic education and exhibitions.

 AltProRevSponsors

 

Alternative Photo Revolution
Glen Echo Park, Maryland-Ballroom Backroom | March 28 | 1-9pm
New Orleans | L’Entrepot | 527 Julia Street | March 31 6-9pm & April 1 1-9pm Toronto | Connections Gallery | 1840 Danforth Ave | May 15-June 17 Opening May 18 6-9pm

KeyBridgeFlagsPinhole.jpg

Photo © Scott Davis, 2016 4×5 Travelwide pinhole, 65mm fl, platinum print.

Photography, Presentation and Insomnia

What do you do at 2:30 AM when you’re stricken with a bout of insomnia? Why you tackle a prototype matting job for a very large triptych (3x 10×13 images in a 20×40 mat/frame). Which of course you mis-measure the windows in the horizontal dimension, ending up cutting them 1/4″ too wide. 

At least I didn’t screw it up prototyping with 8 ply mat board (which I’ve been known to do before). I think the sequence and the tonal values works for the series, which I’m titling “Head, Heart, Hand”. Or something to that effect. 
I think sometimes (perhaps most of the time? All of the time?) presentation can make or break an image. Its success is the culmination of many decisions that begin with the decision of what camera and film to pick up before heading out the door in the morning, following through to what to point the camera at, on to what developer, paper, process, cropping… it doesn’t end until the framed print is hung on a wall, sequenced with the rest of the prints in the show. They all build on each other. 

Head, Heart, Hand – Capitoline Museum, Rome

What do you all think of the sequencing of this triptych? Head, Heart, Hand, or the other way round? Any other critique/feedback is welcome.

All three images were shot on Kodak Tri-X, in my 1956 Rolleiflex 2.8E. Film developed in Pyrocat HD, printed on Ilford Warmtone MG fiber paper processed using Ilford Warmtone developer. 

Darkroom Printing: Technique

When doing enlarging of silver gelatin prints, it is often a prerequisite to a finished print that you do some burning and dodging to get the finished image exactly the way you envisioned it. And to compound the challenge, the area you want to burn or dodge is seldom neatly covered by an out-of-the-box tool like an oval, circle, or a straight line. That’s when you have to get creative and make some custom burn cards. This image I made was a perfect example. In a straight print, the sky is merely gray, and has a wisp of cloud on the right side that unless burned in looks like a bad printing mistake. 
To get the sky burned in, without losing details in the roof, I had to make a custom burn card. I took a stack of paper boxes, placed them on the easel, then my burn card on top. I projected the negative onto the card, traced my outline, then cut it out. When doing my burning passes, I held the card at approximately the same height as it was when I cut it. You can see it in the second photo in action. The only way to get more precise with burning and dodging is to make a contrast mask and sandwich it with the negative in the carrier during exposure. That technique presents a whole new set of challenges because you have to get the mask in absolute register with the negative, and deal with dust on four surfaces, not to mention the possibility of newton rings. 

Private Tutorial – Platinum/Palladium Printing

I recently completed a one-on-one private tutorial in Platinum/Palladium printing with Mat Marrash, who you may know of if you listen to The Film Photography Podcast. I’ve known Mat for several years now, having met him at Photostock in 2013. He’s an extremely gifted photographer who mostly works with an 8×10 view camera, and does a lot of work with infrared film. Mat knows a lot of the same folks I know in the alternative process field, including people I’ve learned from, so I was deeply flattered that he chose me to learn from.

Mat With First Print
Mat With First Print

Yes, Mat is a very talented photographer in his own right so a lot of what we did in this session was easy for him. BUT, he did make it challenging by starting off working from 8×10 inch negatives, instead of starting with 5×7 (the smaller size is easier to coat evenly when you’re new to the process, and costs 50% less per print). I want to show this as this was his first ever (!!!!) palladium print. We hit the first one dead on, out-of-the-ballpark, ready to frame and go up on the wall. This extremely beautiful process is quite easy to learn and should not be intimidating to anyone interested.

And here is his second ever print, which added another wrinkle – the negative he used was one he had previously shot, not planning to make a palladium print with it. We developed all his film, the negatives we made that weekend along with some other negatives he had made previously, using the development regimen I use for my work, and we were able to produce some excellent prints even from those other negatives.

Mat's Second Print
Mat’s Second Print

Private one-on-one tutoring can be arranged at any mutually convenient time, and can cover a wide range of topics either specialized for fine-tuning your process or just a deep hands-on introduction to the process. Contact me for details on pricing and scheduling – as this is an a-la-carte arrangement, I need to know what you are looking for in order to give a quote. Tuition will include your own set of chemistry and any paper we use in the class.

I’m offering my group class at Glen Echo Photoworks next weekend, December 10-11, if you are interested in getting your feet wet without committing to a one-on-one workshop, This is the perfect opportunity. Tuition is a very modest $250 plus $50 materials fee (chemistry, paper, and all instructional materials). The class runs from 10 AM – 4 PM Saturday and Sunday. You can register here at the Glen Echo Park website.

The Belair and its Russian Lens

For those curious what the heck I’ve been talking about when I mention my Lomo Belair X/6-12, and the Russian glass lens for it, here you go. The Belair is an odd little beast – collapsible folding strut camera, takes 6×6, 6×9 or 6×12 centimeter negatives depending on which insert you use, is manual focus, scale focusing (you guess the distance and set it on the lens, and compose through an un-coupled viewfinder), has only two aperture options – f/8 or f/16, has manual film advance via red window, yet has an automatic shutter over which the only control you have is changing the ISO dial. Bulb exposures are an option.

The camera out of the box comes with some plastic fantastic lenses (a 90mm and a 58mm). The 90 has perceptible but not egregious distortion, reasonable contrast, and acceptable sharpness. The 58 is, well, not so good. The viewfinder for the 58 has less distortion than the lens does! After the Belair had been out for maybe 6 months or a year, they introduced a limited run of Russian-made all-glass optics for it – a 90mm and a 114mm. I got into the Belair game too late to be able to buy the glass lenses from Lomography, as they were sold out. The lenses were also quite expensive from Lomography, the Belair vendor. I believe they were something on the order of $300 apiece.

The Belair with the 114mm lens
The Belair with the 114mm lens

After having used the Belair with the plastic lens for a while, I got the itch to try and find the glass lenses. That’s when I discovered that they had all been sold, and nobody had any old stock sitting around. They didn’t show up with any frequency on Ebay either. I had particularly wanted to find the 90mm, but no dice. Then along came someone selling their 114mm. The price was good, so I jumped on it rather than take a chance on missing out.

Front view, the Belair with the 114mm lens
Front view, the Belair with the 114mm lens

In addition to the primary reason for getting the glass lens – the glass in the lens with its exceptional sharpness and flare resistance – the ability to precisely control focus is another benefit. The plastic lenses have four distances marked on the barrel – infinity, 3 meters, 1.5 meters and 1 meter (infinity, 9 feet, 4.5 feet and 3 feet for the metrically challenged). If you wanted to focus in between, you had to guess at the distance and hope the depth of field would carry the day. The Zenit-made 114mm and 90mm lenses have many intermediate distances marked on the focusing ring, which is silky smooth without being loose. The ability to much more precisely place your focus means that you can intentionally place objects in or out of focus. This is a major artistic control and a very welcome addition.

The Zenit Belairgon 114mm, and its controls
The Zenit Belairgon 114mm, and its controls

I’m including this scan of a negative made by the 114 so you can see the sharpness and particularly the flare resistance – I’ve had more flare on my Rolleiflex with the lens hood attached with the sun NOT in the picture. While Russian camera bodies may have been shall we say quality-control challenged (particularly in the Soviet era), their optics are truly outstanding. This should be proof enough to put doubt to rest that Russian lenses are up to par with their German and Japanese peers.

Hampton House, Towson, Maryland
Hampton House, Towson, Maryland

The image was shot on ten year out of date Ilford FP4+, and developed in Pyrocat HD.

Sinister Idyll: Historical Slavery in the Modern Pastoral Landscape – Hampton Estate

Here are the first two from my visit to Hampton National Historic Site, in Towson, Maryland (just north of Baltimore). More will be forthcoming, but I wanted to get these two posted right away. Hampton was at its peak, a several thousand acre estate. It was built as the country home for the Ridgely family, who made their early wealth through ironworks. One Ridgely would be governor of Maryland. The house itself was famous for being a centerpiece of entertainment and gracious living, having greenhouses and a subterranean icehouse on the property, providing the Ridgelys and their guests with seasonal fruits, ice water and chilled beverages year-round, an extreme rarity in 1790 when the house was built. The main house has thirteen bedrooms on three floors, a sitting room, great hall, dining room, parlor, library/music room, kitchen and laundry.

House Slave Quarters
House Slave Quarters

This octagonal garden, roughly 8 feet on a side, is built inside the foundations of the house slave quarters. It was a two-story structure, and some three families of house servants shared it. While the US Park Service guides (who give outstanding tours of the property) tell you explicitly about the structure and its purpose, no marker in the garden indicates its history.

Park Road, Hampton
Park Road, Hampton

Today, Hampton Lane divides the Hampton historical site. What is remarkable about the property is that so many of the farm structures remain – the dairy with its spring-water-fed cold water bath for the milk and butter, the horse stables (the Ridgelys were big horse racing fans, and kept the stables within eyesight of the mansion, another unusual feature, as well as a no-longer-surviving racetrack of their own), the overseer’s house and slave quarters for the skilled labor (stable hands, dairy workers, etc).

You can see the overseer’s house inside the white picket fence to the right of the scene. Hampton is open as a public park, and many people come there to ride their bikes and exercise their dogs. Today it is a beautifully maintained pastoral landscape in suburban Baltimore. While again, the Park Service does yeoman’s work in interpreting the space, and has provided outstanding documentation on the website for Hampton, the interpretation of the site requires you to actually go inside the structures and talk to the park service guides. It is possible to visit, and if you don’t engage, be completely oblivious to the fact that the parkland you are walking through exists by and for slave labor.

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

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