It has proved interesting to fit all my photographic work into my residence after being thrown out of Building 11 at SFCC. To be fair Building 11 was razed to make way for a new building that will house the Photography and Fine Arts programs. Finally all of the processes that I practice are set-up at my home. That means that I can take students in WetPlate, DryPlate, Silver Gelatin processes. All these with the intention of teaching students how to work from home. Also I can teach a number of printing techniques: Salt, Cyanotype, VanDyke and Silver gelatin. I take students either individually or in up to four. Students must be vaccinated. Prices anywhere from $50 per hour to longer courses. Here is an image of my set-up for dry plate in my garage. 509-389-5147. Headghillie Enterprises.
Yesterday I went on a hike with Jack Nesbit and several others who were interested in the ecology of forest fires. Among the items we talk about was Mica. I remembered that it was used for windows and wondered if there was any photographic use. I started a search and found no evidence that it was used in photographic work. However, as I continued to search I ran across MICA (Maryland Institute of College of Art). They appear to have a robust photographic program. I became fascinated in reading the descriptions of their program and its courses. Here's one that should interest us:
Alchemy of Light
This course will introduce the student to historical techniques in photography and consider how these approaches can augment contemporary vision. The student will explore the concept of light and time as they work with the properties of hand-coated emulsions. Students will work in digital and analogue spaces and develop a command of the cyanotype and van dyke processes with an introduction to palladium, cliche verre and lumens print. Working with camera-less and pinhole photography, as well as film and digital negative output, the student will gain a broader understanding of experimental possibilities of imagemaking.
Imagine my surprise when I found an image of me next to John Coffer. Yes, I was there and yes, Katie took the image for us. The Hand Magazine features art works made by hand and are reproducible. Adam Finkelston & James Meara are the originators of this wonderful contribution to the world of images. I’ve been fortunate to have had some images published in their magazine.
The image of John and me was taken at the 2021 Tintype Jamboree in upstate New York.
Each year many “wet heads” (a term used for wet plate practitioners) assemble in Dundee NY at Camp Tintype to exchange ideas, solutions and inventions in the world of collodion. This year I was fortunate to meet up with April Williamson, a graduate of our program at SFCC.
The Hand Magazine is a wonderful source of ideas and a way of keeping track of what is going on out there in the alternative world. I strongly recommend it to you. If you look at the bottom of the image you will see a link to John’s website. It is full of all sorts of wonderful information, videos etc.
Almost every morning I view some article, etc. about photography. I've done that for many years. Photography should be a medium of communication. As I tell anyone who asks: "Photography is about making a statement". It's at this point that I begin to sound like the philosopher/photographer I am. Yesterday in Melissa's 101 class I was asked about the relationship of photography and philosophy. My comment was that photography is about making a statement/claim and philosophy is about searching for the truth value of that claim. Every photographer should be a philosopher.
Today I ran across an interview of a photographer who made several comments with which I agree. Brooke DiDonato might be a realist, perhaps a surrealist? In many of her images the humor comes through as the important claim. In some of her images there is a darkness. I particularly related to her use of the human body (frequently her own) in various places. Heres one:
I have to admit it resonates with me as a scholar. I've always too many books or files to get to them all. Here are some of the sites I looked at while learning about her work: https://www.thisiscolossal.com/interviews/interview-brooke-didonato/
'The last century has seen the development of
photography, and photographic process [become]
one of the most important means of making visual
records that has ever been known. Today available
to all the world and so common and so cheap that
it is taken as a matter of course and without
thought, photography has become as integral a
part of our actual life as printing (with which
socially and economically it is so closely allied). It
is hardly overstating the case to say that it has
brought about an even greater revolution in our
visual knowledge and practice than printing did in
our verbal knowledge and practice.' William M.
Ivins, Jr. - 1929
This statement from 1929 is more true today than then. My friend and colleague Ira has bugged me about blogging more. He's right I should do that. OK let's see if I can work it into my day.
A few days ago I was commenting on the local coffee place. This place has a sign that says "Topless—Seven days a week". I've seldom found that this is true. Many times when I go by I see cars/truck etc that block any view of the barista. When I can see the barista she is not topless. BUT a few days ago one of the baristas was leaning out of the window and was topless. She had some black tape on her breast. I was horrified in that she was like a striper in a show. Later I was relating this to a female colleague (not my wife) and she put it in perspective. She said about the tape: "They made something very beautiful tawdry." And she went on to comment that "what is natural is beautiful." I have to agree that what is natural presented in the right way is always beautiful. My experience is that few breasts come with black tape on them.
How beautiful that barista could have been, but how tawdry she was.
Sometimes it’s fun to play with image-making. Here my model and I are playing with photographing each other. I’ve learned over time that if you and your model can trust each other enough to relax and play the images are much better.
"Everything that gives birth is female. When men begin to understand the relationship of the universe as women have always known, the world will begin to change for the better".
Lorainne Canoe (Mowhawk) 1993. From Edward S. Curtis, The Women edited by Christopher Cardozo.
This is a quote from a native American. When I first read it I realized that one of the reasons I like to create narrative in photographs by using images of women is because I'm very aware of how different the world might be if humans could widen their view of what it is to be a human. I, as a male, am there in the choices made to create the image. But narrative requires dialogue, and dialogue, to be true, requires openness to an other. I need her image to complete the dialogue.
This is true if both women and men broadened their view of how complete human nature might be.
A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. ~Henry David Thoreau.
When we look into a lake do we see our own human nature? Are we even capable of setting aside the Narcissistic nature of our time? Can we see the beauty of human nature or only the commercial clothing that obscures our selves?