Monday, February 25, 2013

The Concrete Muse/ Week of 02/25/2013: All Mechanical, All Analog Capture

One of my drawing teachers, Charles Eldred, used to say, “What’s bothering you will find its way into the work.” I do believe this. Lately, the seemingly nonsensical has been tugging on my shirttail.

Location: Near Broad and Chestnut
Image Size: 14.4” x 9.7” @240 DPI
Camera: Nikon F without meter
Exposure: Guesstimate, f8 @ 1/125
Lens: Nikkor 35-70 Zoom
Film: Tri-X @ISO 200
Dev. HC110 1:49 one stop pull—6.5 minutes at 68F

Buy this print on Etsy: Click Here

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Concrete Muse, Week of 02/18/2013

Location: 22nd and South
Camera:    Canon SD600 Digital Elph
Image Size: 9” x 12” @240 dpi
Conversion from color jpeg done in Photoshop
Proof: Quadtone Rip, Epson 3880 on Canon Pixma II paper,

The essential question this week has been how many layers can I put on, still move, and maintain an ongoing concentration? I really enjoy studying the subject and considering the options. Its not unusual for me to use my fingers to make a frame to see what kind of composition something might make, or I casually raise the camera to my eye just to see how the lens frames things, but not necessarily to snap an image. However, sometimes working quickly, impulsively and without conscious mediation is an advantage. In this case it was. I saw the Leonardo, the gargoyle and the reflections in the window of an oriental carpet store that is in my neighborhood. I pulled out the point-n-shoot digital I sometimes carry, took a quick shot and headed home. I had been out for hours and was blind to my subject, at least consciously. 

When I made the print, I was both intrigued and put a bit on edge. I kept on telling myself I should have shot it with more care and consideration and I should have pulled out the superior film camera. Even though I think most modern photographs are over-sharp, I always want more depth and detail in my images. Attempts to revisit the “crime” scene proved fruitless; what I had captured was a one-time event.

I think there are many lessons to be learned from this. For one, anything worth photographing is worth doing with best instrument possible. I have since banished the little point-n-shoot from my camera bag. Photographs are, for the most part, moments of convergence that are not repeatable. This is a large reason why they interest me. Too, one has to learn to let go and move forward. Philadelphia is full of fascinating things that await a visual conversation.

Purchase on Etsy: Click Here

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Week of 02/11/2013: The Last of Ortlieb's Brewery

Location: Site of former Orlieb’s Brewery, near 3rd and American Streets.
Camera: Superheadz Black Slim Devil
Lens: 22mm
Film: Tri-X
Develop: HCll0 1:49 for 200 ISO rating-6.5 minutes
Scan: Epson V500
Proof: Epson 3880 using Quad-Tone Rip*
Paper: Canon Pixma II Gloss for proof, Museo Silver Rag for final.

Part of the mysterious power that the urban landscape possesses for the camera is that it is ephemeral and ever changing. I knew this site would soon be seeing the wrecker’s ball to remove the last structures, so back in October I got my licks in. Desolate spots hold for me a special photographic appeal and there was nary a soul around.

*Quad-Tone Rip is a program I’m really enjoying. It controls the printer directly for black and white printing and allows the user to bypass all the mumbo-jumbo of the Epson print procedure. Common printer profiles are built in, others you can create them. (Something, which I haven’t done as yet.)  The software will work with conventional Epson cartridges but it was designed for Cone Piezographic (archival carbon) inks, something that I am planning on setting up in the near future. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

02 04 2013: The Space In-Between

Location: 22nd and Pine Street vicinity
Camera: Superheadz Black Slim Devil
Lens: Superfat 22mm, plastic, most likely a doublet.
Exposure: f8@ 1/125 approx
Film: Tri-X 35mm
Develop: HCll0 1:49, 6.5min at 68F
Scan: Epson V500
Proof: Epson 3880 on Canon Photo Glossy II

This shot was in many ways un-meditated. I had framed the scene zooming out to 35mm and it just didn't seem to cut it. Though I could tell the light was far from optimal for a toy camera with a slow lens and high shutter speed, I took a chance.  What happens at the point of capture is fairly incomprehensible and, as I’ve found, like lightening, it rarely strikes twice in the same place. The moments captured by the camera are not just optical phenomena. I’m not even sure exactly where this was taken, but chances are I won’t get to re-shoot. It’s the fine surprises, like this one, when the unconscious and the capture device have entered into cahoots, which keep me shooting day in and day out and walking miles in the cold.