There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer. -Ansel Adams
I am a graphic artist. That is to say, I express via imagery. I don’t perform on stage. I don’t write. I am not a composer of music. I paint. I draw. But mostly I take one of my cameras and go for these little strolls around my world. I am a photographer. Not a professional nor a recognized artist, but a serious amateur. I have some galleries up here on the web site you can peruse if you like. They’re typical of what I do. Photography as been a passion of mine ever since I was in grade school. I think I can say after all these years of doing it, that I have a distinctive voice.
I don’t like a lot of what I produce. That is to say, I would rather be producing something a tad more cheerful, or sensuous maybe, or beautiful. But I have this urge to produce a lot of this…
…that I can’t turn away from. I have to make these images. It’s what I do. I take a camera, decide if I’m in a color or black and white frame of mind just then, and go for a wander. Sooner or later something I’ve never been able to put words to tugs me over to something, and then I am exploring a subject. Snap…circle it a bit…snap…circle some more…snap…snap…snap… It’s what I do when I get a camera in my hands. Oh yes…sometimes I get a chance to do a little of this…
I love this one…but even this, if you look at it carefully, has a sense of the other stuff in it just below the surface.
For almost a decade I gave up taking photographs because I couldn’t stand to look at what was coming out of me anymore. This is hard for some folks of a…shall we say…religious right persuasion…to get about the artsy tofu and brie types they just love to loath…let alone liberals in general. It isn’t so much If it feels good do it, as You do what you must. As a matter of fact yes, it is entirely possible to be consumed with a subject matter you don’t much like, and still feel absolutely compelled to approach it with fierce honesty. But honesty is even less welcome then art in the mega-mall cathedrals of the heartland.
My first preview of at photographer Jona Frank’s book of portraits about Patrick Henry College occurred through Mother Jones, where it appeared alongside image galleries on phone sex operators, Aryan outfitters, and women in Afghanistan. (Mother Jones’ photo galleries reflect a wide variety of topics, but I’m mentioning the ones it promoted alongside the photos from Frank’s second book, Right: Portraits from the Evangelical Ivy League.)
The students of Patrick Henry College, the nation’s first residential college designed for young people who grew up as homeschoolers, looked awfully stiff and serious. I asked Ed Veith, a professor of literature and provost of the college, for his thoughts. Veith sent along a memo that he wrote to Patrick Henry students when he saw the book:
I was greatly angered when I saw the book Right: Portraits from the Evangelical Ivy League by the photographer Jona Frank. The book features pictures of many of you — portrayed in the [worst] way possible — with an accompanying text that plays to all the leftwing stereotypes about Christians and conservatives. The dishonesty of the artist is staggering: she posed you in stiff and awkward positions and told you not to smile; then she caricatured you as stiff, awkward, and without a sense of humor. In reality, I know that you PHC students are lively and interesting, with vibrant and highly-individualistic personalities. I think that Ms. Frank, who hung around campus for months and who even visited some of your families, betrayed your trust, violated your privacy, and distorted your identity.
Since writing to Veith, I’ve found another collection of Frank’s PHC images at Newsweek. That collection includes a narration by Frank, in which she speaks with clear affection for these students. Newsweek’s gallery is well worth a visit, as Frank’s narration is so warm and engaging.
If the photographer was any good…and Frank’s photos can put you in mind of another Frank in their straightforwardness…then her images are honest representations of what she saw, what she found when she went to Patrick Henry. But you have to understand what Adams is saying in that quote I put at the top of this post. The photographer is always present in every image. But so are you, the viewer. Frank didn’t set out to preach and not seeing the sermon he expected out of her, Veith got angry. But not every negative review, is a bad review.
[Update…] So I bought a copy of Frank’s photo book. It’s good…but I wouldn’t put her in the same class as Robert Frank. Most of the photos are posed. Few are the kind of beautiful human moments frozen out of time shots that Frank did so astonishingly well. But Robert Frank casts a large shadow over all of us. He’s one of Photography’s perfect masters. Jona Frank’s work here is good, she works well with her subjects and all her photographs are taken in their environment. You get the sense of how they fit together, how the people and their environment are each expressions of the other. But she is not a beachcomber searching for the stray seashell, the random pebble that tells stories of the open sea. She does environmental portraiture and she’s good at it. Robert Frank did moments in time. Different stuff.
I’d been thinking about the self-publishing options available to folks now (see my post below), and I found myself that morning scanning through some web links about photo book publishing. I’ve wanted to put together a book of my art photography too. I began scanning pages of comment about how well Apple’s online photo book publishing mechanism works with Aperture…the Apple photographer work flow software I use.
I discovered several insights into the problem of color management I’ve been wrestling with, ever since I got a request, that came with a promise of actual money, for a print of one of my Puerto Valarta images. It took me so many test prints to get the colors right off the printer, that I actually lost money on it. But it was worth it to me, just for the satisfaction of knowing I had a fan of my art photography out there who was willing to give me good money for a print they’d particularly liked.
Here’s the image that gave me so much trouble:
This is off the Puerto Vallarta gallery. You can’t really see it in this JPEG, but the actual image is rich with delicate detail in the floor tile and brick work, and there are so many beautifully subtle colors and gradients. I love it myself. But getting what I saw on Bagheera’s screen (Bagheera is my art room Mac) to match what I got from my printer, a very nice Epson R1800, turned out to be a royal hassle. This JPEG doesn’t do it much justice either…but I wouldn’t expect much fidelity from a JPEG. The printer was another story. I spent a lot of money on it to get something I could produce art quality prints with and I had no idea it would turn out to be so hard.
The worst…and you may find this hard to imagine…was that damn beige wall around the brick archway. I could not for the life of me get it right out of the printer. I could get the tile floor. I could get the brickwork. I could get the lovely wood in the shadows, and in the bright golden light of the morning sun in Puerto Vallarta. I could get the dog perfect…just perfect. I could not get that goddamned beige wall. It starts out with a distinctly reddish cast at the far end, and gradates over the stucco to the lighter, paler beige in the near end. It is just lovely if you get it right. But I kept getting a yellowish wall, or an orange-ish wall or some puke colored wall. I was having fits until finally, just by accident, I hit on a combination of Aperture output settings and printer color settings that got it right, and I was able to give my customer a good print of it.
This…I thought…cannot be right. I’d taken a profusion of notes during my struggle to get a good print of this image and looking through them the only thing I could say for sure is I had a combination of settings that would work on That One Photo and probably I’d have to do it all over again for any others. I knew there was this thing called "color management" you could enforce…somehow…which was supposed to use the color profiles of your printer and monitor to make sure that what you see on the screen is exactly the same as what you see in the final print. But whenever I looked into any of these color management systems they were all horribly expensive to buy and more complicated to install and use then I had the money or the time to fool with. There had to be an easier way.
Last summer I was asked at the last minute to do the photography for a relative’s wedding. Some of the photos I took were with the Canon 30D digital SLR. But some shots, the critical couple and family portraits were done with the Hasselblad. I’ve been hemming and hawing for months now about getting them prints because I knew it was going to be a massive effort to get each individual print right. They’ve been very patient, but it’s been embarrassing.
So I’m reading this article online about using Aperture to publish photobooks via Apple’s photobook service, and I see a simple, straightforward explanation of how Apple’s own internal color management system works that I’d never been able to find while I was struggling with the Puerto Vallarta photo…and suddenly everything snapped together for me.
I had only a vague idea that Apple even had color management built into the operating system. And there it was, laid out for me in an simple step-by-step process, to set it up in Aperture. Apple’s system is called "ColorSync", and since it was built-in to the OS, it Was as simple as I thought it had to be. Just a matter of getting the latest color profiles for my printer installed and then, in Aperture, switching on the onscreen proofing and making sure it was using the printer profiles. The default is the Apple RGB space. On the printer side instead of trying to set up a third-party color management system, I just switched on ColorSync. When Aperture printed, I just had to make sure it was using the printer profile for the particular kind of paper I had in it when it sent output to the printer. That was all I needed to do.
I ran a test print of the image above through it and it came out…perfectly. Then I got into the wedding photos I’d taken last summer. The wedding portraits were all taken outdoors under a tree with a little lake behind it and the lighting conditions kept varying because the bright puffy beautiful clouds in the background kept passing in front of it. I picked out an image of the couple that needed some adjustments in the light levels and tweaked until I got everything to my satisfaction. Then instead of making a test proof print, I just sent it directly to the printer using the ColorSync setup and the expensive high gloss paper. I wanted to see the final product right up front. It came out exactly right.
I was thrilled. Now I could make as many art prints as I wanted and not have to worry too much about wasting paper and spinning my wheels searching for the right combination of printer settings to get something to print the way I wanted it to print. I started work on the wedding prints I’d been promising my family…the southern Baptist side down in southern Virgina…for so long. It was great. Everything was coming off the printer perfectly. Just perfectly. I was delighted.
I’d printed up a nice 13" by 19" print of the couple’s wedding portrait, and thinking to myself with that sense of completeness and inner satisfaction an artist gets when you have a head of steam up and it all comes together and its all perfect that, Hey…They’re really going to like this… Hopefully it’ll make up for the delay in getting it all to them… And then I realized what I was doing.
It’s Valentine’s Day, I’m 55, I’ve been single almost all my life except for maybe that short affair I had with Keith ten years ago and even that was more a roller coaster of yes we are no we’re not yes we are no we’re not until he dumped me…I’m sick, absolutely sick with loneliness and despair is settling in to keep me company in my old age…and here I am happily, cheerfully even, working on other people’s wedding photos. Like…this is what my life was always meant to be after all. I exist, to serve other people’s happiness. I was born to watch other people get a love life and settle down. Keith settled down. My first high school crush is happily settled down and has been for over thirty years now with the person he calls his soulmate. And a certain heartless jackass I know in Arlington Virginia keeps telling me my problem is I just don’t work at it enough, like a sanctimonious billionaire who thinks the only reason people are poor is because they are lazy and just don’t want to work.
I get to watch it all…the parade of life. I get to point my camera at it. I get to make drawings and paintings of it. I have the skill…and the eye. I get to document it all as it passes me by. That’s why I was put here on this earth I guess. I think I saw it, finally, last night.
How I spent my Valentine’s day: I made other people’s wedding prints. Trust me, it wasn’t what I’d planned on doing. If someone had even suggested it I’d have laughed in their face. I’ll do them later…just not Valentine’s Day. Not when I’m so lonely while the whole fucking world celebrates being in love. And it just…happened. Like an omen. Like a tap on the shoulder reminding me I have a place in this world, and that’s not it. How I spent my Valentine’s day: I made other people’s wedding prints.
Well…I need to go get some more photo paper. And…ink.
[Edited a tad…]
by Bruce |
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January 23rd, 2009
One reason I started this blog once upon a time, was as a way of journaling. I hadn’t kept a diary since I was a teenager, and I thought it would be useful to have a journal I could reference from time to time. I note here, that back in March of 2007 I wrote a series of posts about upgrading Bagheera’s (my art room Mac) data drive from 200 gig to 500.
This was back when my Big Scan Project (wherein I am running all the film I’ve ever shot through the Uber nice Nikon Coolscan 5000 ED film scanner I bought back in December of 2006) was starting to really fill Bagheera’s data drive. The plan was that, hopefully, the price of disk storage would keep going down, so rather then buy several terribytes of hard disk space upfront I would just replace the data drive when it got full and hopefully the next step up would be affordable by then.
I further note in my blog archives that I bought Bagheera back in October of 2004, from the local Apple store in the Towson Town Mall. Bagheera as I recall didn’t have a second hard drive in it when I bought it. I added the 2 gig drive at a later date but I don’t see it noted in my blog posts when I installed it, just a first reference to it on November 2005. I started the Big Scan in December of 2006. By March of 2007 I needed to upgrade the 200 gig drive to 500. It’s January 2009, and the 500 gig drive is almost full. Time to buy more.
I was going to go for 2 terabytes but I couldn’t find 2 locally and my favorite online computer parts store, Directron, didn’t have any for sale, surprisingly, because I know I saw them selling 2 terabyte drives a couple months ago when I was noticing I was getting close to the line on the 500. But I am up against the line now and I have some projects I can’t do without more disk space so I went to Best Buy and bought a 1 terrabyte Western Digital SATA for Bagheera.
It’s down in the art room now. Some things have changed since the last time I did this. For one thing, I’m using SuperDuper as my backup software now, not Retrospect. Retrospect put everything into one great big backup file with a companion index file…similar to the way a lot of backup programs work. SuperDuper simply makes a straight file copy of everything onto whatever other drive you point it to, making the backup drive’s file system identical to the one you’re backing up. What I like about that is that if my data drive fails for whatever reason, I can just plug in the backup drive (after making a safety copy) and I can get right back to work. Or I can just pull off files directly from the backup drive if and when I need to revert back to a previous copy of something.
But Retrospect had one feature that SuperDuper does not and that’s it does a verification pass after it’s done backing up. So I’m currently doing a Unix diff command on the two drives to make sure everything on the backup drive is good before I pull the old data drive out.
I use two Western Digital USB/Firewire external drives for my backups and keep one in my desk at work and the other here and rotate them weekly. I do this with Bagheera’s system drive too. The nice thing about Apple computers is that you can make a bootable copy of your system drive onto a Firewire external drive and if your system drive ever fails you can boot directly off the backup drive. I love that…it gives you much peace of mind.
The other thing that’s changed is I’m running Aperture 2 now. In my previous post I wrote about how Aperature made upgrading the data drive difficult because it would not use the volume name to get the path back to its referenced image files. So after I copied over my image library back over to the new drive, Aperture complained that it couldn’t find its reference files and I had to manually "reattach" the masters. Hopefully Aperture 2 does all that a little more elegantly now. We’ll see.
So right now Bagheera is doing a ‘diff’ on the data drive and the backup drive. I expect that to take most of the rest of the night. When that’s done, if the diff found no problems, I’ll start doing the drive swap. After I get that taken care of, the plan is to upgrade Bagheera’s system drive and upgrade to Mac OSX 1.5 (Leopard). I’m still at Tiger, largely because I am not sure how well Leopard will run on the only single processor G5 Mac Pro Apple ever made.
It took two months shy of two years to use up the 300 gig of extra space I bought back in 2007, but I’ve been spotty about sticking to the Big Scan. If I’d run Bagheera and the scanner constantly it would have probably taken less time, but I have other things I want to use Bagheera for besides scanning in old (and new) film, so the Big Scan is an off and on project.
Sometime this coming year I may well purchase a more powerful Mac Pro for the art room. Four years is pretty old in computer years, and already I’m seeing Mac software out there that won’t run on Tiger. But upgrading Bagheera is budget and work status dependent. If I’m looking for another job by the end of this year, like a lot of other Americans already are, I may be worried about more then how slow my art room Mac is getting. If I do it though, I’ll make the old machine into a dedicated film scanner and then just keep running film through it.
by Bruce |
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November 19th, 2008
On The Road…
A few images from South Of The Border, where I spent the night last night. I love that place. Besides the fact that all its motel rooms have their own carports, which make it easy to unpack the car for the night and repack it the next morning, it’s delightfully pure tacky roadside Americana…
I seem to get the biggest kick out of photographing amusement parks in their off season. It’s like…when all the people are gone you can hear the all the fiberglass and wood structures speaking for themselves…
I’m in Orlando now…at the Radisson just outside the entrance to Disneyworld. My Disneyworld hotel reservations aren’t until tomorrow, and check-in time is 3PM. Not sure if my Disneyworld hotel will have Internet or not. If not it may be a while before I post here again.
This memo was reportedly sent from a LDS General Authority to a member of the Quorum of the Twelve.
It deals with the issue of same-sex marriage and it is dated, March 4, 1997.
This eleven-year-old memo gives a glimpse into President Gordon B. Hinckley’s strategy for dealing with same-sex marriage.
It talks of a meeting with President Hinckley who reportedly said to "move ahead" with the church’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
This memo also discusses joining forces with the Catholic Church, saying:
"…the public image of the Catholic Church is higher than our Church. In other words, if we get into this, they are the ones with which to join."
But President Hinckley apparently urged caution as the memo makes clear, "he (President Hinckley) also said the (LDS) Church should be in a coalition and not out front by itself.
And this is a key point…
You best believe it is. They’ve been waging a semi-stealth campaign against gay people for a decade now, and probably much longer then that. It’s not surprising in the least, coming from a religion that declared black skinned people got their skin color because their spirit ancestors defied God. The mindset that the different ‘other’ wasn’t really human was there right from the beginning.
by Bruce |
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October 12th, 2008
Sometimes the images just leap out at you as you’re strolling down the street…
This was taken by a Blockbuster Video store that’s downsizing. They used to put current release posters up in the windows on that side of the store. Now they’ve vacated that side and the posters are in tatters.
So I just now put up a new gallery of shots I took at Ocean City, New Jersey yesterday. Labor Day weekend kind of snuck up on me this year, and I hadn’t made any plans at all. I had a lot of housework I could do, but I could just let the weekend slid by without doing Something. So I thought of going to Ocean City.
Ocean City is where I went with mom on her summer vacations, back when I was a young teen. I’d been taken to a variety of east coast beach towns when I was small, but in my early adolescence we settled on Ocean City, and went back year after year. And OC is where most of my best memories of vacationing by the seashore are. You can see some of the shots I took way back in the 1970s in Gallery Three – The Shadows and Light Sessions.
It was probably too late to reserve a room at the beach…and anyway I am saving for a couple trips I want to take later this year…One to Key West on New Year’s Eve, and the other to Disneyworld…maybe…during the week the Hubble servicing mission launches. Disneyworld could end up costing a lot, and for sure Key West will as the rates just go through the roof there that week (as I found out last year!). So I have to save for all that. But Ocean City New Jersey is only about a three and a half hour drive from Casa del Garrett. So yesterday morning I basically just jumped in the car with only my Canon digital SLR and a zoom lens and drove to Ocean City for a day trip.
It’s a short drive…first up I-95 to the Delaware Memorial Bridge, and then basically follow US Route 40 almost to the coast. At Harding Lakes you take road 559 to Great Egg Harbor Bay and across to Ocean City. It’s one of those Jersey Shore barrier island beach towns. From the north end of the island you can see the Atlantic City Casinos, which I’ve never had the slightest urge to visit. Ocean City has a nice beach, a great boardwalk and a friendly atmosphere…in part I’m convinced because it is one of the few "dry" beach towns on the east coast. Meaning they don’t serve alcohol there and you can’t buy it in any store. I think that probably keeps the rowdiness factor down. If you really want it, you can buy it at the huge liquor store right across the bridge on the mainland and bring it back, and drink to your heart’s content in your room. Just don’t take it outside or go wandering around drunk because you Will get noticed by the police.
When I got there I drove to my OC point of reference…the Port O Call hotel, which is a really nice 60s design six floor hotel right on the boardwalk…the only high rise they ever allowed to be built there. This time I wasn’t getting a room…my plan was to just find a parking space and stroll the boardwalk with my camera for the afternoon, and maybe take in a good boardwalk restaurant. At first it looked like I might not be able to find any street parking at all. Most of the streets near the beach are lined with individual guest houses, many of which have little to no parking of their own. So everyone parks on the street. When the guest houses are full, so are the streets. I drove up and down for a while, and then went to where the all day lots are, and as it turned out, there were spaces available there after all. It was twenty bucks for all day parking…but that was a lot less then the cost of a room and the boardwalk would provide all I needed for the day in terms of food and drink and clean restrooms.
Now I know I can have a good time at OC for an afternoon on the spur of the moment with just my camera and a few bucks. The only drawback was that I didn’t want to go home and kept putting it off until late. So consequently I didn’t get back until very late. But for just the cost of gasoline and parking and beach food it was worth it.
I may go back on my birthday week. I asked around and it turns out nowadays the boardwalk doesn’t start closing down until October. The big Wonderland amusment park at the north end of the boardwalk doesn’t close for the season until October 15th.
by Bruce |
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June 29th, 2008
Why Are Bruce’s Photographs Like Hitler’s Watercolors…
Answer: They have no people in them.
So…it’s come to my attention that certain folks seem to think my photography is notable for absence of people. That’s not exactly true, or I probably wouldn’t be invited to take pictures so often of things like weddings and prom dates. Oh…and drag performer award ceremonies. But I’ll admit it’s true that I don’t often spotlight my people pictures in my art photography galleries. Sad but true…what you mostly get there is this kind of thing…
That’s from the Puerto Vallarta gallery. People were asking the other day where the hell the people were. I’d depopulated the entire city, they joked. I’d posted a private gallery with a bunch of snapshots of the friends who took me there, but I elected to omit those from the published gallery for two reasons. First, those were private. But the gallery was intended for my art photography, and yes, that stuff tends to run in this direction…
That’s a typical specimen from the Shadows and Light gallery. I do that sort of thing. And…this sort of thing too…
And this sort of thing…
Lots and lots of that sort of thing, actually. It’s what comes out of me most of the time. And for what it’s worth…I hate it. I hate it so much that for just over a decade I put my cameras down and refused to take any more pictures because I was so sick of looking at it. Even when I was trying to be playful, I kept seeing it…
They say there’s a fine line between artistic and crazy. After just over a decade of not even so much as touching my cameras, I picked them up again because I just had to. It sounds insufferably arrogant to stick the ‘artist’ label onto yourself, but if one symptom of it is you do it because you have to, even if you hate what you’re doing, because something deep down inside of you just keeps pushing you into it and you could stop breathing before you could stop making your art, well then that’s me.
But…well…I don’t hate everything I do. I really like my people pictures. Back in high school, and my college years, back when the camera bug really got me, I actually did a lot more people stuff then shadows and light stuff. I really got into it as a matter of fact. Really, really into it…
And…somehow…I stopped doing that kind of thing. I just can’t imagine what happened. Nobody who knows me seems to be able to figure it out either. All they know is Bruce doesn’t take people pictures.
Well…Actually…yes I do. When I get the chance. When it’s something that strikes at my heart. People I find doing noble work, and I just have to document it, because it’s so beautiful to see…
People I know…creative people…doing noble work…
People taking a stand for life’s beauty…becoming beautiful themselves in the doing of it…
People… Yes…I take pictures of them…
But…you know…sometimes it’s the artifacts we leave behind, the marks made on the earth by the human hand…by the human heart…those ephemeral footsteps along the shore we leave behind…that speak so profoundly to the human condition…to existence…
And that’s what keeps calling to me. That’s what I have to go find. And bring back. These are my little footsteps in the sand.
There’s a difference between the carefree snaps I take of my friends when we go here and there, and my art photography. And my artwork isn’t entirely devoid of people. Furthermore, if you look closely, carefully, you can still see a spark of that sense of life I used to have…back when I could still be certain I would find my soulmate…back when I could still be certain beauty made life worth living. At least I can still see it. A little bit.
Yes, actually, I Can do people. If all you can see in my photo imagery is the lack of people, you’re not really looking at it. On the other hand, I really really wish my friends would quit thoughtlessly blaming me for the solitary, emotionally isolated life I’ve lived for so long, that I hate the sight of whenever I look at the brutalist imagery. Particularly the friends in a position to at least try to help me out of here. If I fucking hear "You just need to get out more" one more fucking time I swear I will go nuclear. Yes, as a matter of fact, there Are people in my photos, and yes, as a matter of fact, I Do go out from time to time. Just not into gay bars looking for this week’s trick every Friday night. Does that make me a recluse?
So…some months ago we all went to this bar we’d never gone to because our usual hangout had been invaded by bears. And yeah…you all noticed how immediately taken I became by the bartender that night. You started joking about it. That’s Bruce’s type all right… And there I was…gawking away like a schoolboy again. Somebody did me a really big favor that night. A favor nobody else had ever done for me before. They got his name for me. Sweet. And then I was able to talk to him. And some of you may have noticed that I put some effort into getting to know him a bit more in the weeks and months afterward. Yeah…nothing eventually came of it. But to the guy who did me that favor…Thank You! I had a chance I wouldn’t otherwise have had because of your kindness. Nobody ever did that sort of thing for me before. I am not kidding. That was the first time in my life someone ever did that for me…and I note that you not only didn’t think twice about it when you sized up the situation, but that you enjoyed doing it. Wow. Never mind a boyfriend…where were You all my life!
For a while there, I didn’t feel so disconnected from…people. It’s nice to feel like you’re a part of the world from time to time. I really don’t want the brutalist imagery to define me. You know what I really hate more then the thought of dying alone? It’s the thought of people picking over the body of my work after I’m gone from this earth and going "Oh how tragic that he was so lonely…but Such Wonderful Artwork that tragedy produced! No. Please. I’m going to put it in my will that if I die never having found that intimate other in my life, my executor is to burn it all. All the film and prints and hard drives with the digital library. All the paintings and drawings. Take down the web galleries and the cartoon pages. No collector’s joy in my desolation…please. One way or another, I will not be defined in death by my sorrow.
Walter Grio’s Waiting (2008), framed digital print on Kodak quality paper, 16 by 20 inches
…on Kodak quality paper. They’re talking about inkjet printer paper there. The same stuff I run through my Epson R1800 when I want to make a nice print for somebody. They don’t have to be silver prints anymore to be gallery quality. That’s how far the technology has come.
My dream of home ownership had always included space for a full function darkroom. I’d have needed space for both a "dry" and "wet" side, the dry side having enough space for a nice Beseler enlarger setup and the wet side would have had to have had space enough for a darkroom sink I could put 16 x 20 paper processing trays in plus the washing equipment. I figured it would have to be the size of a small bedroom. When I bought my little Baltimore rowhouse half its basement was already finished as a knotty pine den with a bar and I fretted about whether or not I wanted to demolish that and put the darkroom in it’s place. Thing was, I also wanted space to put in an art room, plus an office/computer room space.
Well…the front bedroom became my office and the basement den became the art room and as it turns out, all I need for a darkroom is just the little bathroom in the back of the basement which I can make light proof enough to use for loading my film tanks. I develop my film at the bar and when the negatives are dry I run them through my Nikon film scanner and into Bagheera, the art room G5 Mac and I don’t need a paper darkroom anymore which is great. I can’t make 16 x 20 prints here at Casa del Garrett, but the Epson will handle paper up to 13 inches wide and at some point, when I can find it in the budget, I intend to replace it with something like the Epson 3800 that actually will do 16 inch wide paper.
And then I can make gallery quality prints right here at home, and I don’t need that big darkroom anymore. And I don’t have to mix up gallons and gallons of chemicals and then clean it all up after I’m done and waste one sheet of paper after another to pinpoint exactly the right mix of paper contrast, exposure and development. Not only is the digital darkroom cleaner, it is more, far, far more, productive. I get it right once on the computer, either in Aperture or Photoshop, and it’s right every time I send it to the printer. And I’m here to tell you that touching out dust specks is a heck of a lot easier in Photoshop then with a brush and dye on one print after another. Oh…and dodging and burning? I do it once in the computer and get the identical results for every print I make from then on.
I still like working with black and white photographic film, and color slide film and I’ll probably never stop taking my film cameras with me places I go. But I am so glad I don’t have to deal with having a paper darkroom anymore.
by Bruce |
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December 31st, 2007
More from my wee stroll though Downtown Disney…
by Bruce |
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December 30th, 2007
A Night In Disneyworld
A few images from my wander around Downtown Disney and Paradise Island…
by Bruce |
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December 26th, 2007
…taken just a few moments ago while I strolled around the area by my hotel just before dawn. And brought to your computer through the magic of digital photography and the World Wide Web. Seriously…an old friend of mine called me on his cell phone late last night as he was driving south through Wilmington Deleware, and there I was chatting with him on my cell phone while I was strolling around U.S. Route 1 in Key Largo and you have to appreciate that we both grew up in an era when telephones had wires connecting to them to the wall and a long distance call to just the next state over was a lot of money, and there we were chatting to each other with little devices that just fit in our pockets, he in Wilmington and I in Key Largo. And we haven’t really lived all that long.
Via Slog… Geeze…if you want to see what the end of the world would look like…the island of “Gunkanjima” is probably the place to go…
Off the westernmost coast of Japan, is an island called “Gunkanjima” that is hardly known even to the Japanese. Long ago, the island was nothing more than a small reef. Then in 1810, the chance discovery of coal drastically changed the fate of this reef. As reclamation began, people came to live here, and through coal mining the reef started to expand continuously. Befor long, the reef had grown into an artificial island of one kilometer (three quarters of a mile) in perimeter, with a population of 5300. Looming above the ocean, it appeared a concrete labyrinth of many-storied apartment houses and mining structures built closely together. Seen from the ocean, the silhouette of the island closely resembled a battleship – so, the island came to be called Gunkanjima, or Battleship island.
Eventually, the mines faced an end, and in 1974 the world’s once most densely populated island become totally deserted. The island, after all its inhabitants departed leaving behind their belongings, became an empty shell of a city where all its peopl disappeared overnight, as if by some mysterious act of God.
Wow. Check out the photos. Man…my cameras and I could have a grand old time there…
by Bruce |
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December 16th, 2007
Photo Gallery Number Four
Hey guys…let’s all go on a road trip…!
Photo Gallery Number Four, Road Trip, now available for your viewing pleasure in the Photo Gallery. Also Gallery One, Philadelphia 2004 and Two, Rehoboth Beach 2007 are back up, and Three, The Shadows and Light Sessions, is still there. I have enough space on the web now that I think I can just keep these galleries online as I keep putting them up, so that people can keep wandering through.
When I get back from my own little holiday road trip later this month, I’m going to start making a push to try and sell some artwork to help raise funds for Morgan Jon Fox’s documentary, This Is What Love In Action Looks Like. I’ll likely also be offering to sell high resolution signed 11 x 17 prints from any of my photo galleries. 100 percent of the proceeds will go to Morgan to help him finish his documentary. More on that next month…
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