Tag Archives: Mad Momos

Finished!!!

After a LOONG weekend of playing with my printer to get it to cooperate (running out of four different inks @ $60/cartridge, figuring out how to solve problems with head strikes on my prints, running out of paper at $115/box thanks to the aforementioned ink shortages and head strikes), I now have my show completely printed. Eight prints are already framed and ready to go, the remaining 12 are going to be framed tomorrow, and the show hung on Tuesday after work. I’ve done shows before, and of course it’s always hard work, but this is the biggest show I’ve done in terms of volume. Even my biggest past Artomatic was probably 12 prints. I’m very psyched about the show. Here’s a recap for those who can’t make it to the opening (REMINDER: August 2, 7-10 PM, Mad Momos Restaurant, 3605 14th Street NW, Washington DC). This exhibit pays tribute to the parts of Washington I pass through on a regular if not daily basis. I want to show what this town looks like to a resident, as well as showing it in an unfamiliar way even to those folks who do see these things all the time. As I mentioned in my blurb about the reception, I love the way color distorts and transforms at night because we no longer have a single, unidirectional light source of uniform color and quality. I’ve started these photos with late evening/sunset/twilight and progress into deep night to capture the feeling of that time of day. I hope these photos express that sense of drawn out time and transformed space, be it through blurred motion or the interplay of lights.

Crane, Traffic, 14th Street, Dusk
Crane, Traffic, 14th Street, Dusk
Nellies Sports Bar, From 9th Street
Nellies Sports Bar, From 9th Street
Ghibellina
Ghibellina
Le Diplomate
Le Diplomate
Pan Lourdes, in color
Pan Lourdes, in color
Cavalier Liquor
Cavalier Liquor
U Street Evening
U Street Evening
National Portrait Gallery, Twilight
National Portrait Gallery, Twilight
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, Vespa, 14th Street
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, Vespa, 14th Street
14th & Rhode Island Avenue, Moon
14th & Rhode Island Avenue, Moon
Barrel House Liquors
Barrel House Liquors
Studio Theater, from P Street
Studio Theater, from P Street
Studio Theater, from 14th Street
Studio Theater, from 14th Street
Under the Whitehurst Freeway
Under the Whitehurst Freeway
Kennedy Center, Potomac River, Night
Kennedy Center, Potomac River, Night
Water Street, Georgetown
Water Street, Georgetown
Washington Harbor, Cherry Blossoms, Taxi
Washington Harbor, Cherry Blossoms, Taxi
Cyclist returning his Bikeshare, National Portrait Gallery, Sunset
Cyclist returning his Bikeshare, National Portrait Gallery, Sunset
U Street Platform, Oncoming Train
U Street Platform, Oncoming Train
Steps, National Portrait Gallery
Steps, National Portrait Gallery

If any of you have ever produced a photography exhibit, or any other art exhibit for that matter, you’ll have an understanding of just how complicated an effort this is. I’m lucky in that I am able to do my promotional work online for the most part (this blog, email blasts, internet forums, etc), and I already have promotional postcards printed from the last time I exhibited some of this work. It would not surprise me if I did a truly serious accounting of what it cost to put this show up on the wall and the bill came in somewhere north of $2500. I know the framing bill alone is in the region of $1100-$1200. Postcards? about $200 for good quality printing from Modern Postcard. Paper and ink? $300. And that’s just the obvious, not counting the two years it took to shoot the images, the film and processing, the editing process, the dinner bribe for my friend who helped with the editing, and all the hardware and software (21.5″ iMac, Epson V750 scanner, Epson 3880 printer, Photoshop CS5, SilverFast AI 8, Gretag-Macbeth EyeOne calibration software and hockey-puck). To say nothing of 20 years of accumulated experience required to produce images like these.

Opening Reception Invitation – Friday August 2, 7-10pm

I’m having an opening reception for my exhibit, “The Colors of Night” on Friday, August 2, from 7-10pm at Mad Momos Restaurant, 3605 14th Street NW. The exhibit runs from August 2 to the end of October.

From the Mad Momos invite:

Mad Momos is proud to present photographs by DC area photographer, Scott Davis. Please join us for the opening reception to enjoy the photos, meet the photogrpaher and sip on complimentary California Champagne.

What is the color of night? It is indigo, it is fluorescent cyan, it is neon reds, yellows and blues. It is sodium-vapor pink, and glowing incandescent orange. It is all of the above, filled in with the colors of your imagination. It is the color of time slowed down, motion blurred, things and people half-seen through their background, perceptions distorted.

Le Diplomate
Le Diplomate

I have been shooting a lot of night-time work both in black-and-white and color, for several years now. Photographing long exposures at night gives you a creative freedom to accept serendipitous happenstance in your work that you would reject if caught in 1/60th of a second. Blurred motion becomes a good thing. People become icons. Cars are ghostly, their tail lights and headlights reduced to abstractions and records of things that were, like handwriting on paper. Colors become incredibly rich and even more important, since sometimes it is only by color that you can define and understand an object. The mixed lighting you find in a photograph of a night scene changes our perception of mood in a way you aren’t aware of when you are there – your brain color-corrects light sources automatically so things look “right”, but capturing them on film, which can only record what’s actually there without interpretation, reminds us that we do in a manner of fashion walk through the world with rose-colored glasses.

More Columbia Heights

Here are the outside shots of Mad Momos Restaurant and Beer Deck.

This is the entrance, as viewed from under the awning. When they bought the building, the structure was partially renovated with the intent to turn it into a restaurant. They followed through and finished it out, leaving the awning frame up but not getting a canvas/vinyl cover. Instead, they are training a vining plant in barrels, which will take a couple years to fill in (visible in the second photo of the awning). I just liked the structure of the awning and thought it would be an interesting frame to contrast its geometric structure against the decoration of the building behind it.

Mad Momos Entrance
Mad Momos Entrance

I don’t recall if the paper cutout figure over the door ever had a head or not, but in any case, it’s a little girl holding an iPhone like a handgun.

Here is the facade of the building. In case you’re wondering, the paper figures plastered to the wall are Osama Bin Laden giving Honey Boo-Boo a piggy back ride, whilst she’s holding a molotov cocktail. Yeah, the guys have a quirky sense of humor.

Mad Momos
Mad Momos

Another view of the awning structure, dappled with sunlight filtered through the tree above.

Awning, Mad Momos
Awning, Mad Momos

Chrome chairs on the patio at Mad Momos:

Patio Chairs, Mad Momos
Patio Chairs, Mad Momos
Patio Chairs #2
Patio Chairs #2

The chairs were still stacked from having been stored the night before. I loved the repetition of the shapes of the chairs.

Handrail14thStreet

In contrast to the modern awning frame and handrail around the front patio, this 1910s/20s wrought iron hand rail frames the steps on the house next door to their building.

All these photos were taken on a Tuesday – the slowest day of the week, thus the absence of customers. I’m going back there tomorrow after work with some color film to take some night shots – the place gets packed!

Portraits of a friend, and street photos

Here are two portraits I took of my friend Wanchuk, who is co-owner with Sam Huang (photo posted previously) of Mad Momos Restaurant & Beer Deck. I’ve known Wanchuk for nearly a decade. He’s from Sikkim, which is now a province of India in the Himalayas between Nepal and Bhutan, but used to be an independent kingdom with close ties to Bhutan.

Wanchuk T., at Mad Momos
Wanchuk T., at Mad Momos
Wanchuk T., Close-up
Wanchuk T., Close-up

We met through a common love of photography – at the time he was still in post-college bum-around-the-world mode, and wanted advice on how to take better pictures in the places he was going. Now he’s running a restaurant and giving me a show of my photos. The exhibit will open on August 2nd and run through the end of October. Details about the opening reception will be posted separately.

I took those photos of him after we finished a meeting about the exhibit, then went for a 15 minute walkabout in the neighborhood around the restaurant to see what I could find. There’s an old bar/club across the street called “The Pinch” – I so want to photograph the front door because it has cool architectural detailing and some nifty graffiti, but from the looks of the folks hanging out by the front door, I may have to come back and shoot that early in the morning when they’re closed -their patrons may not take too kindly to being photographed.

Here’s their logo on the wall facing the side street – it has a very 70’s look to it, but the paint seems very recent.

The Pinch
The Pinch

Pivoting to the left of the Pinch logo, I saw this lovely vanishing-point perspective of the building walls, dappled in evening sunlight. As I was composing the shot, this man hauling a gigantic cardboard box over his shoulder walked into the frame. Taking advantage of the serendipitous perspective-giving presence of the man, I waited until he was about 2/3 of the way in the frame before shooting.

Walking WIth Boxes
Walking WIth Boxes

Portrait, Sam Huang, Mad Momo’s Restaurant

Sam Huang
Sam Huang

This is my friend Sam Huang, one of the owners of Mad Momo’s, a Himalayan/fusion cuisine restaurant and beer deck in the Columbia Heights neighborhood here in Washington DC. He and another friend of mine took over a partially renovated space, finished the build-out, and turned it into this really cool restaurant with sidewalk seating, a dining room, lounge space, two bars, and front and rear roof decks. The food is inspired by traditional Himalayan dumplings, called momos, thus the name of the restaurant. I took this portrait of him in the front window of the main room using my Rolleiflex. Someone commented to me elsewhere seeing how much I’ve been using the Rollei lately that I’d better not wear it out… well, it’s only 57 years old now, so I figure as long as I do proper maintenance on it, it will outlast me.

Shot with Kodak Tri-X, developed in Pyrocat HD.

Busy weeks ahead

When it rains it pours… I’m going to have several busy weeks ahead getting ready for three (THREE!!!) shows at the same time. I’m going to have work in a group show of large format photography at the River Road Unitarian Church, an alternative process show at the ArtDC Gallery, and a solo show at Mad Momos, a restaurant here in DC. Fortunately the Mad Momos show won’t be until the end of June, so I’ll have more time to prepare for it.

For the group show at the Unitarian church, I’m contributing some of my color nighttime shots of DC –

Georgetown in a Rainstorm
Georgetown in a Rainstorm
Burma Restaurant, Chinatown, DC
Burma Restaurant, Chinatown, DC
Secession Sushi - The Wok 'n Roll in the Surratt House
Secession Sushi – The Wok ‘n Roll in the Surratt House
Fountain, Georgetown Waterfront, Kennedy Center
Fountain, Georgetown Waterfront, Kennedy Center

The ArtDC gallery show will have my 14×17 palladium prints from Eastern State Penitentiary (don’t have them printed yet so I can’t show them – the negs are too big to scan).

Mad Momos will feature my “street” photography I think – mostly my documentary stuff from around DC. Probably all color work, but I haven’t decided yet.