Tag Archives: Glen Echo Photoworks

The Primitive Eye: Learning to See Through a Pinhole September 12-October 24

Do you want to improve your photographic vision, but find yourself frustrated with your images? The Primitive Eye is a six-week guided exercise in seeing. The course meets on Tuesdays from 7-9pm, September 12 to October 24th. The only requirements are that you are ready and willing to tackle some challenging assignments, and that you obtain a pinhole objective for your camera. This could be a pinhole in a body cap, it could be a custom pinhole objective, or it could be a dedicated pinhole camera that shoots film or photographic paper. It could be a digital camera or it could be a Quaker Oats tube.

By stripping down your gear to the most basic of photographic tools, the pinhole lens, you will be forced to contend with the three fundamental components of a photograph – light, composition, and time.

Foggy Bottom Metro, Waiting
Foggy Bottom Metro, Waiting

Light: light itself, with directionality, quality, and quantity, must be critically accounted for in pinhole photography. There’s no gaming the system with a fast lens.

KeyBridgeFlagsPinhole
Key Bridge, Georgetown

Composition:

Typically, pinhole objectives are wide-angle. Because they are so small, composing through the objective is difficult at best. You have to carefully plan your composition, or you have to open yourself up to serendipity. Either way, you have to know how your camera sees before you set it up, or you’ll have no control over what you get.

Pan-American Health Organization HQ
Pan-American Health Organization HQ

Time:

Pinhole objectives force a recognition of the importance of time in a photo. With modern, automated cameras that have mechanical shutters that freeze slices of time as small as 1/8000th of a second, and electronic ones much faster, we are used to thinking of photographs as truly static objects, and movement and blur are objectionable. With pinhole photography where a 1 second exposure is quite fast, you must carefully plan for how movement will be captured by your camera, because it will. It will also force you to re-think the notion of a photograph as being time-less and two-dimensional, and being time-ful and four-dimensional.

The Primitive Eye: Learning to See Through a Pinhole is a six-week class on how to develop your vision through simplification. Strip away all the bells and whistles of technology, and you have to concentrate on the fundamentals of photography: light, composition, and time. To register, go to the Photoworks website or click here:

Register for: The Primitive Lens

Pinhole Resources

Where to find:

Pinhole Pro – multi-aperture pinhole for various DSLR/Mirrorless mounts

B&H Photo – pinhole cameras

B&H Photo- Pinhole Body Caps

eBay – pinhole

Work to Inspire:

Pinhole.org

FslashD – Pinhole Photography (my work was published in their inaugural anthology volume)

 

Labor Day Art Show, Glen Echo Park

Everyone-

 I want to invite you all to come see the Labor Day Art Show at Glen Echo. I have two pieces in the show, and it would be great to see you all at the opening reception on Friday, September 1st. I will be there on Friday evening to meet attendees and talk about my work. I’m showing two of my miniature prints from Rome. Each print is made using the historic platinum/palladium photographic process that requires preparation of the paper by hand, applying the light-sensitive metal salts (in this case palladium) with a brush, then sandwiching the negative with the sensitized paper and exposing it to a UV-rich light source to form the image, and then processing the print in a series of chemical baths to develop and make the photograph permanent.
Platinum/palladium printing was developed in the 1870s as another alternative to silver-based processes. It peaked in popularity in the early 1900s, but fell out after 1917 when world supply of platinum dropped in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution (Russia was at the time the world’s largest producer of platinum). It is notable not only for the extremely long tonal range it provides, but also its long-term stability and permanence. With a properly processed print, your platinum/palladium photograph will last as long as the paper it’s printed on lasts.
All work is for sale, and people come to this show to buy, so if you see something you like, don’t hesitate, or it may not be available when you turn around. This is a great show to support local artists, as park takes only a small commission, and 100% of the commissions go to support Glen Echo Park, which is a truly unique gem in the National Capital Region.
Exhibition Dates: Saturday, September 2 – Monday, September 4, 12 – 6 pm
Public Opening Reception: Friday, September 1, 7:30 – 9 pm
 LDAS_2017_header_only
 
Spanish Ballroom, Glen Echo Park 
7300 MacArthur Blvd, Glen Echo MD 20812
The 47th Annual Labor Day Art Show at Glen Echo Park will be held in the historic Spanish Ballroom from Saturday, September 2 through Monday, September 4, 2017 from 12 pm – 6 pm each day.
Sponsored by the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, the
exhibition and sale runs from 12 pm to 6 pm each day. Admission is free.
The exhibition features the work of more than 200 artists from the mid-Atlantic region. The show includes works in a wide range of artistic media, including:
• sculpture
• painting and drawing
• ceramics
• glass
• jewelry
• fiber arts
• photography
• furniture
• works on paper
Public Opening Reception
Friday, September 1, from 7:30 pm to 9 pm
Spanish Ballroom
Light refreshments

U Street Graffiti – Palladium Print

In my latest iteration of my Intro to Platinum/Palladium printing class, I dug up some old negatives I had made, since my student this time was sufficiently skilled with wet darkroom processes and not interested in getting into shooting large format (in my standard group class, we take my Canham 5×7 out around Glen Echo and make a dozen or so negatives for students to work from). This was a print from that session.

UStreetGraffitiPtPd

It’s a memorial to the transitions on U Street. This is graffiti art that has since been obliterated by gentrification and re-development – the alley where this was has been re-graffiti’d, but with “sanctioned” artwork a bit more sanitized and easier to interpret.

This print is a 5×7 palladium print. The usual chocolate-brown color is missing because I gave this emulsion mix a shot of NA2 contrast agent to give it a bit more snap. The NA2 contains platinum, which is what cools off the image and makes it more neutral. If you’d like to learn how to print this way, contact me through the blog and we can schedule a class, either one-on-one or I can fit you in to an upcoming class at Glen Echo Photoworks.

Photoworks Introduction to Platinum/Palladium Printing- sponsored by Hahnemuhle!

hm-logo

I have some very exciting news to announce – my upcoming Introduction to Platinum/Palladium Printing class is now sponsored by Hahnemuhle, makers of fine art printing papers since 1584. They recently introduced a new paper specially formulated for alternative process printing, specifically platinum/palladium, and are graciously supplying the class with a very generous stock of paper for the students to use. I hope this will be the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership.

photoworks40years

Portrait with Lotus Seed Pod
Portrait with Lotus Seed Pod

Rendering The Spirit: Interview with Hendrik Faure

Could you tell me your name?
Hendrik Faure

Where are you from?
Germany

How did you get into photography as an art medium (as opposed to casual or professional use)?
I do not remember for sure, I have a darkroom since 1966 and soon was interested in fine art printing, made solarisations and lith-printing. Later I hand-coloured my still life photographs.

Which alternative processes do you practice?
copperplate photogravure following method of Talbot/Klic.

What attracted you to alternative processes in general?
Interest in photohistory and in aesthetic well composed pictures.

What drew you to the specific media you practice?
Pictorialistic photogravures in literature and museums.

How does the choice of media influence your choice of subject matter (or vice versa)?
The medium fits the message.

In today’s mobile, electronic world of instant communication and virtual sharing of images, how important is it to you to create hand-made images?
Important enough to spend three days work per print edition

Is your choice to practice alternative, hand-made photography a reaction to, a complement to, or not influenced by the world of digital media?
When I began photography, there was no digital. Later I had my first computer. It was a Tandy TRS 80 model 3 and already had a mouse. She crawled through the floppy drive slot and tragically died within. I suppose, then the mouse did not like computers. I made some stills with dead mice. This was the strongest influence of digital media to my work.

Do you incorporate digital media into your alternative process work?
Photogravures need an inter-positiv, which I make chemical-based on document-film or digital on pictorio ohp. Digital so-called full frame cameras give freehand a quality like 24x36mm film cameras on tripod, but tend to have no soul.
I use digital capture sometimes if film is not possible. In the scrap project I captured pictures as well electrical as film-based (middle-format to 8x10inch).

If so, how do you incorporate it? Is it limited to mechanical reproduction technique, or does it inform/shape/influence the content of your work?
I use digital media for inferior photowork and seldom for multimedia projects.

What role do you see for hand-made/alternative process work in the art world of today? Where do you see yourself in that world?
This may be decided some 50 years later

Scrap Yard, Winter, by Hendrik Faure
Scrap Yard, Winter, by Hendrik Faure

Curating Rendering The Spirit

If you’ve never curated a group show before, especially one with international reach, it’s hard to imagine the level of effort that goes into putting on an art exhibit. You have to put out the call for entries, manage the publicity to make sure you get enough work submitted to fill the walls even after reviewing and editing, and then handle the acceptance emails and collect the accepted work.

Oh, and be prepared for things not working out as planned. I feel extremely lucky we had only two hiccups with submitted work. One was minor – one piece of work came off its mounting in transit. With a quick email to the artist, I got his permission to open the frame and re-mount the work properly so it would present well on the wall. In the process, I also replaced the source of the problem (gummy adhesive squares that were NOT archival) with water-activated linen tape loops using acid-free wheat paste for adhesive. No artist’s work is going to be damaged by me on my watch!

The second hiccup was totally beyond anyone’s control, which is what made it so maddening. Yugo Ito’s photograph coming from Japan was shipped in plenty of time to arrive at the gallery. However, it got stuck in customs in New York for almost two weeks. There was nothing to be done but to wait, as customs is a black hole into which things enter and exit at their own pace and there is no transparency or communications possible beyond checking the tracking number on the USPS website. Creativity saved the day, though – since the actual work was not in the gallery for the opening, I took the JPEG of the work from the submission and printed it, mounting it to the wall with a sheet of glass and some L-pins. It would be represented in spirit even if not in actuality.

Once all the work has arrived, you have to plan how you’re going to hang it. You can look at JPEGs all you want, and generally gauge which artist’s works should hang next to which other artist, but the actual sequencing and spacing can’t really be figured out until you have the actual framed work in hand at the gallery. Next it’s measure, measure, measure, and then plan, and re-measure, before driving the first nail into the wall. Having gallery interns to help with the hanging makes life so much easier (Shout-out to my interns! Thank you!!).

Now the work is all hung, you can relax, right? NO. Then it’s plan the reception, send out the invites, send out the press releases, buy too much cheese and crackers at Costco, and then throw a party. There’s the curator’s remarks to prepare, and handouts about the work to write. Oh, and blogging about it all the while!

At some point during the show, ideally right after you’ve hung the work but before the public comes in to see it, you document the exhibit. Below are a few excerpts from the show as hung. One of the great challenges of curating a show is that once you have it up on the wall, what might look good in the space presents a wicked challenge to document. Trying to photograph pieces in corners where you can’t get a light on them from the other side means that you’ll either have dramatic falloff in the scene from one side to the other, or you’ll have a hideous reflection of your umbrella or other diffuser in the picture glass. I opted for a bit of falloff rather than reflections where possible because the falloff can be compensated for to a degree in Photoshop – a big blinding white reflection of an umbrella cannot.

Atalie Brown
Atalie Brown
Barbara Maloney
Barbara Maloney
Bruce Schultz
Bruce Schultz
Eddie Hirschfield
Eddie Hirschfield
Erik Larsen
Erik Larsen
Ian Leake
Ian Leake
Marek Matusz
Marek Matusz
Yugo Ito
Yugo Ito

You’re not done until the show is over, the work taken down, and the artists have picked up their work or you’ve shipped it off to hither and yon. Then you get to relax for a day or two, and if you’re a busy curator, it’s back to the process all over again!

Rendering The Spirit: Interview with Marek Matusz

Could you tell me your name?

Marek Matusz

Where are you from?

Residing and working in Houston, TX

How did you get into photography as an art medium (as opposed to casual or professional use)?

That went hand-in -in hand with the discovery of alternate processes

Which alternative processes do you practice?

Just about anything: platinum/palladium, silver/iron processes, chrysotype (gold), gum bichromate

What attracted you to alternative processes in general?

I was attracted to the chemistry at first and then the aspect of creating one of a kind hand made images

What drew you to the specific media you practice?

Platinum and palladium prints were are of the technically most accomplished and able to produce most delicate highlights and deep shadows. Seeing great examples of early XX century work in museums and galleries made mu pursue the process . I have started over 25 years ago and the information back then was scant and confusing

How does the choice of media influence your choice of subject matter (or vice versa)?

When taking and composing a picture I try to visualize which alternative process would fit, whether I wand process edges showing, etc.

In today’s mobile, electronic world of instant communication and virtual sharing of images, how important is it to you to create hand-made images?

Two aspects are important. Education of consumer in the existence and quality of hand made images and history of photography through a practice of XIX century processes. The second is keeping and enlarging patron/collector market. Real collector wants something to be touched and held in hand, not a shared digital image.

Is your choice to practice alternative, hand-made photography a reaction to, a complement to, or not influenced by the world of digital media?

It would be totally silly to ignore the digital world. It exists regardless of our feelings about it (good, bad??). SO with that respect it is just a complement. But it is also a strong protests against huge color enhanced digital prints that have invaded galleries.

Do you incorporate digital media into your alternative process work?

Yes, I use the technology as a toll. Some of my captures are digital, most of my negatives are created with digital processes. I am also not against digital alterations of the photograph in the process of creating a picture

What role do you see for hand-made/alternative process work in the art world of today? Where do you see yourself in that world?

I see myself as a part of alternative photography movement. A small (by digital standards) but growing group of practitioners and educators that shares information, practices and the word of photography at its roots

GMC by Marek Matusz
GMC by Marek Matusz