UPDATE! I made it ! My submission got posted TODAY on JAPANCAMERAHUNTER.com !!!! (16.04.24)
My 7th assignment (from my mentor legend) was to submit my camera bag to the JAPANCAMERAHUNTER who features photographers' bag contents on his website!
I didn't even know this existed! I am shy to say this, but it's true and how do you ever start somewhere knowing everything? You don't.
So I did this with great excitement and verve! I was very hopeful that my photo and story would make his site, but it was not selected. (This is why I'm only posting this now...for weeks I was hopeful that I could post that it "made it!" -alas- it did not.
In my bag? Lots of great stuff special to a f-i-l-m photographer. (YES, do not worry, I do digital too...it's just that film is so much more fun!) Anyway, the item that surprises most people in-my-bag is my blind cane. Often people mistake it for a tripod. LOL. In fact, it is a blind cane and YES, in fact, I still need it. When it's very bright, or there are patterns or textures on the ground that I am unfamiliar with, I still need it. I went blind a little over 2 and 1/2 years ago and even thought I never knew I would see again, surgeries saved my vision and I see (almost whole) again! After this experience, I picked up a camera and have found endless fascination and joy in translating my "vision" into images. I carry my blind cane folded up in a side-pocket of my backpack. Yes, a backpack is my camera bag and without thinking about this until after composing the photo and realizing it, this is probably the most outwardly recognizable feature to me. My blind cane. It means a lot to me.
The training of using the cane. The conscious choice to NOT BE AFRAID or be unjoyful as the reality unfolded. The realizations of -at the same time- how terrible and wonderful people could be...I LIKE that I carry it with me. It was a formative experience in which I knew I could still be my joyful self and be "scarily different." That certain senses took off and those capabilities have never left me, even after regaining almost full vision!
And one more decidedly fun note ** Rosenthal, the famous photographer who shot the also-famous Iwo Jima solders raising the flag photo? He was vision-impaired. In fact, the story goes, that when he went to enlist for WWII, in the marines - they would not let him in because his vision was too impaired! He said, "Ok. I'll just be a photographer then." (LOVE IT!) --AND BOY WAS HE A PHOTOGRAPHER!--
So, I din't make JAPANCAMERAHUNTER's website with the image of my bag below. But..
(1) It was a fun experience and assignment
(2) I learned about JAPANCAMERAHUNTER ! And now he has a new film out that I'm going to try (will report back later) !! And maybe, who knows, maybe later in life I will enlist his services to find a far and away rare film camera.
I am so excited.
I have completed the first conceptual shoot (one of four) with a talented and beautiful transgender model - and the work is good - and I'm excited!
All the photos are being taken on 120mm medium-format film...
On a Holga camera, no less.
MORE SOON --
I want to follow-up on the pinhole camera assignment..
I finished it.
I developed eight 4x5 negatives from the pinhole camera!!
FIRST, I developed 2 negatives at home, in my "bathroom" darkroom. This was extraordinarily difficult because I had to develop each negative separately in its own tray. But worthwhile..! It was only agonizingly slow. (And everyone knows I have trouble with S-L-O-W.)
SECOND, I developed the rest of the negatives in a special 4x5 holder that is extraordinarily difficult to load. -AND- Two of the negatives got stuck together because the slats are so close together. Yikes! But excellent learning experience. I feel much more experienced at loading this holder and know I will only risk loading it with four 4x5 negatives from this point forward.
THIRD, the shoot above was at the downtown Portland's Central Library. I love the first photo because it shows the ghosts of people walk across the street. The pinhole camera has to expose for a much longer time than a normal point and shoot camera (as many of you may use). I exposed these for 8 seconds each. You can also see a car movement blur in the second photo above.
FOURTH - The photos of myself, above, were attempted self portraits...WALKING into the photos. I had to expose for 50 seconds each. Inside, no matter if there is total window light, there needs to be added light or VERY long exposure times. Thus, the softness in some of them. I had to blink, and I definitely moved.
The two beneath those self-portrait experiments were one of the local liquor store and the local park. In the park photo, there is a ghost of a child playing.
FIFTH - The last two photos, above, are of a cloudy skyline off the deck. The contrast in the cloudy shadows was pushed as far as possible in processing -and- still didn't meet my hopeful expectations. This was still a highly interesting experiment in shooting clouds. I want more of this! Yes PLEASE!
SHOOT ON. NEVER STOP SEARCHING. I AM STILL LEARNING TO SEE.
Since my mentor, Mike, knew I was headed to NYC for the Krappy Kamera gala...
He assigned me a "Special Assignment" just for the trip.
821 Sixth Avenue
Look it up. Google: The Jazz Loft Project
Famous photographer Gene Smith lived there (4th floor).
Famous painter David X Young painted and lived (and made it habitable) there.
Famous jazz musicians gathered and played and felt comfortable and happy to jam there.
Right in the flower district.
My assignment was to check it out. Photograph around it. "Listen to see if you can hear the music." I did not necessarily have to go inside...
But I DID.
I saw a door up to the second floor retail space - which is what most of the building is now.
....And I just kept going up the stairs until I couldn't anymore. I got to the FIFTH floor. The top rooms are just storage for boxes. The fourth floor door (picture below) - was that Gene Smith's actual studio door???! Did that door never get changed in 50 years???! Did that very door lead to Gene Smith's darkroom and studio?!
The shop owners found me as I was coming down, at about the third floor. I was exuberant about the history of their building and I got NICELY chased away.
But I did it. I got in and had a blast.
It's true, walking around with a camera - being a photographer makes me feel like I have a license to investigate. To more openly observe and record. What a fun, enterprising, educational and inspirational assignment!
(*As an interesting sidenote, I ran out of film half way up the stairs and had to use my iPhone for the last most important shots. OY. That was fun admitting that to my film and darkroom mentor. ((Grins.))
I LOVE NEW YORK CITY! (I love Portland too!!)
Shoot on - Learning to See - Never Stop Searching
Two more photos to add to this assignment! Stairs going up as I walked in off the street. They continue up to a 2nd floor landing (more store space) and then up to the 3rd floor (still more store space). That's when I saw no locked doors or "no tresspassing" signs, so I continued up to the 4th and 5th floors.
No. It's true.
I, myself, modeled for a window light workshop yesterday and while it was fun - It was also hard work.
What did it teach me? So much compassion for models - whom I will be working with in the very near future.
1.) It's exhausting to hold a pose. (Vital to the photographer, but exhausting.)
2.) Lots of mini breaks to let the model move her or his face around and stretch their body. Kinks and cramps often happen and it enlivens everything to be able to stretch and move.
3.) As a photographer, I do not want to be too forceful. I think personality is everything in working with models and I learned (as the model), that a soft approach - a laid back approach - A FUN APPROACH is everything.
4.) Stay professional. Especially when directing the model and certain body parts need to be in view or out of view - staying professional and direct is extremely helpful for the model!
I have some upcoming conceptual shoots in which I will be working closely with models and I am so glad I had this experience beforehand! Fantastico.
Be gentle. Be loving. Be strong. Be original -- Be yourself.
(Still working on finishing my pinhole camera assignment - and two other assignments! More soon.)
This photo is from picturecorrect.com which gives some good basic tips on working with models as well!
What a fun night!
This ONE piece now showing in SoHo Gallery in NYC is the ultimate "fruit of my labors" to date!
I'm so excited. It was such a moving, learning, -and fun- experience. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone there and finding more about the SoHo Gallery. It is truly a mecca for artists! Inspired! -to say the least- Moved to the roots in my shoes -for sure-. #filmisnotdead
Here is one photo taken of me this last Tuesday at the Artists' Reception. I am pictured here alongside my accepted piece/photograph!
(now I'm really going to be working in the darkroom. Major conceptual shoots ahead for this month as well as a local show and a local gala night at Blackbird Wine Shop & Atomic Cheese on Fremont in NE Portland!) ONWARD! Marching into March..
Once in awhile, well, BAM!