day 30: self-portrait challenge
It is done.
This last and final photograph (yes, it's a real film developed and printed photograph) is of me and my great mentor Mike Riches. This is just outside the darkroom, "on the bench" as we call it -- WHERE ALL THE MAGIC HAPPENS. I set up my tripod and clicked my remote, and developed the film (in HC) and then printed a print - filter 3 on f5.6 for 8 seconds - Ilford pearl, standard paper.
This is me in my usual askance stance and paying attention as he explains and gives advice on increasing a filter, adding time or opening up a stop (or to burn or dodge also) on a particular photograph.
He has taught me that only film can produce real photographs.
In this I agree.
Digital images really have no soul. And are just not as beautiful. When a good black and white print is made and dry and you hold it in your hands, there is nothing so capturing and magnetic.
He has taught me more than this and I couldn't have been luckier to walk into PCC's SE campus and darkroom to find such a mentor. Almost as if my steps were guided. Hahahaha!
I will begin a list of daily "assignments" (from Mike) to shoot for my next 30-day challenge. I will begin this January - so check back!
Photo gods be with me..
day 29: self-portrait challenge
Zombie in the air. Higher than the trees.
Good god, is this thing over yet?!
I intentionally overexposed this image and took it in color format for the very reason that I could keep the color data when turn this image black and white and push the red and orange hues to the extreme.
(I also overexposed it to further accentuate the foggy day and blend out the trees behind me.)
I feel like I'm really able to try new things - and understand different techniques and styles now.
I am in a creationist's flow.
Yes, I'm a photographer, but I'm also a technician and artist.
I am hanging around with fellow photographers and artists and I feel like a writer who burns at getting the words down on paper. I am loving the zone.
When one project idea closes down and finishes, more pop up.
Must shoot. Keep shooting. Loving. Absolutely LOVING life. (Memories of terribleness -even recent ones- become great laughing moments. Tears of mirth, my friends.)
Tomorrow will be my last self-portrait challenge post (image) and then I will take a break.
Only to start afresh with a new challenge.
Evolve. Grow. Learn. LOVE and LIVE -and- ever with a twinkle in the eye:
Give 'em hell.
day 28: self-portrait challenge
Hug when you hurt. You'll feel better.
Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. I lost 100+ photographs -- REAL PHOTOGRAPHS -- in darkroom last night. Well -- the negatives. It kills me. Someone had poured A into B or B into A of the diafine, two-part developer, and it ruined every single negative. Nothing to save. Nothing to see....like it was never there. I DID the WORK. I saw the frames. It was three weeks of walking the city and shooting sublime moments. Moments where I combined all I'd learned: exposure, lighting, framing, balance, composition, geometry, shapes -- AND WORST OF ALL -- the elusive moments in street photography where it all comes together with people doing the unexpected, looking fabulous and interesting in one confluence of events. All the above and the fortune of the moment. Over 100 of those -- LOST.
This was my first loss like this. Everyone in darkroom seemed to help me hold my funeral moment. And then their jokes and comradery pulled me through and I continued to print from older negatives.
This portrait was taken, hoping for a wide angle view. I got as far away from the camera with the remote as possible and I found the biggest, most grand tree surrounded by color and landscape that I could find. Hug a tree. It's mystical.
After my experience in the darkroom last night. I went home and hugged my partner and my cat and it made me feel better, just hold onto the best people and love in my life.
So, please, hug when you hurt. Don't lash out and hurt when you are hurt. Gather your inner strength and hold it close - only for you in those moments and hug full of love. The massive wretchedness will pass more quickly.
"Love what this soft animal body loves." -unknown
day 26: self-portrait challenge
Light Down the Stairs.
This is my attempt to capture the light falling on the wet, wet stairs behind me -- in the dark.
Jady, where WAS your light meter??!
I had to pull every trick in the book to even get this image to show. I pushed the ISO to 1600 - as far as my Nikon D40 will set and well -- There just wasn't enough light needed. Look at the digital noise. (But it's also kinda cool and I like it.)
Once inside, out of the freezing rain at 5am, I tried a regular light down the stairs INSIDE shot. Here's what I got...
And...here's one of the cat..
What is interesting to note in the two images above, is that I was able to abstract the photo A LOT in black and white. My walls are not nearly that white...but I could adjust using the "Color" adjustments for black and white. That's right. If the image is taken in color and then adjusted to black and white post-production, you can alter the "color hue" in the black and white image to highlight and darken certain parts of the image in relation to its original "sensor" input. PRETTY INTERESTING!
CAPA, a famous photographer once told a young photographer how to get good photos and he replied, "Make a plan. Follow the plan. Get out and go. No matter what. The pictures will follow.
Ok then. My plan today, is to get out in this soaking wet rain, with my plastic back camera-covering with cardboard taped over the whole lot. SHOOT FILM. I'm committed. Let's go.
3 more days.
day 25: self-portrait challenge
In this image, I taped cling-wrap over the camera lens with a tiny little pinhole in the middle.
You can see the foggy-ness from the wrap, and how the image has this smudged effect.
Pretty neat. I never would have thought of trying this on my own.
It would be cool to try this out on the street without myself as the subject!
The corner of the white-ish walls doesn't look as good as a backdrop as I thought they would. This is cloudy daylight, and while this is nice...overall - this photo looks flat.
FIVE MORE DAYS TO GO..
day 24: self-portrait challenge
A Merry Christmas Candle
Oh this one strikes me funny.
I learned that more ambient light is needed when really shooting from candlelight.
I had this candle so close to my nose that I felt like I was breathing the flame in and out.
It was hot and uncomfortable. Ha.
You know how they say, to newcomers filming on TV, "Stand closer together, it will not look as close as it feels."
Well, that is true with still images too.
I think the color is important o this photo.
Be careful when filming with candles. (It feels like you're actually on fire.)
Be cozy everyone!
--I only have six days to go!--
day 23: self-portrait challenge
I have long wanted to take a photo playing with the light streaming through the windows at Multnomah County Library's central location.
I hiked in with my tripod and went straight to my favorite photography row. Perfect. A window right behind the stack. I grabbed a fantastic, large, beautiful photography book, set my exposure and went for it.
I really had to push the ISO on my digital camera, which adds to the digital noise. This bums me out a little bit. I think I need to upgrade my digital camera! (Shooting now with a Nikon D40, which is a sturdy camera that I could learn the art with...but now I'm ready to upgrade.)
I like the reflection off the books. I like the light coming in from the window. I think this photo would be better in black and white because the wood color distracts from the subject standing in the stacks. It also takes your eye toward the wood, when I'd really rather your eye be drawn to the light and the silhouette.
Let's try putting this in black and white...
I really like this better, for this particular image. Now the background colors do not distract from the light on the books or the subject. YES, color is beautiful and really works in some images. But it doesn't work best for all images.
You know, I love taking photos of people more than anything else. I studied emotion up the wazoo in school and I think I enjoy photos of people because it fascinates me how the human face shows micro-musculature expression -AND- how the light plays on this in choosing exposure. Also, all of us can always tell when an expression isn't a true one. The tiniest facial muscles used (or not used) will make all the difference when capturing sincerity. That is elusive and hard to capture and I love this about what I do, as well.
What do you do?
I'm a photographer, I said.
How can you not love the love you surround yourself with.
LOVE and JOY.
I shoot on. Let's see what's we gots.
day 22: self-portrait challenge
Same window light...With Glitter.
This image is the same angle, same window, same time of day, and same exposure on the camera as yesterday's image.. but TWO things were added..
1) A reflective surface on the wall (silver glitter wrapping paper) -and-
2) A back/sidelight onto the back of my hair
LESSON LEARNED IN THIS IMAGE: Never underestimate the power of a reflector. Whether this be a naturally occurring white van across from your busy urban scene, or a white wall in just the right place. It can make ALL the difference in bouncing lovely, diffused daylight onto the face. (And a daylight sidebulb doesn't hurt either.)
I also got some great catch lights in the subject's eyes. All the color tones and the light match here, and it almost gives an Instagrammy filter effect.
I must say, this challenge is pushing me and growing me well - in photography.
I feel like I'm in a sublime space and dancing with art. (So crazy and true!)
After being an office administrator for so long - It's wild to be pursuing something I can get lost in. Something I'm endlessly fascinated by. Something that calls a passion I never knew existed before. An art that I identify with so tightly that I can call it "my work," not as a have-to, but as a need-to for my soul. IS THAT NOT CRAZY?! I feel like I can actually say it out loud now:
Someone: What do you do?
Me: I'm a photographer.
AS FOR THE UNIVERSE: "I'm here and ready for now's word."
Let's paint with light in total delight.
day 21: self-portrait challenge
I LOVE this window light.
This is NE overcast daylight.
There are no reflectors, no added backlight, sidelight or any other enhancement but the light coming in the window, directly in front of me. (Also, this is all the scarves I own.)
1. Why I never wear any of these scarves, but apparently bought them intending to, is beyond me.
2. Why haven't I made more use of this window light? This changes NOW.
I can suddenly see why people swoon over paintings with lifelike light. Beautiful, lilting, soft and natural light. It's like a liquid, intangible magic.
I originally took one term of darkroom (Last fall - one year ago) because I wanted to learn about light in photography and I know I am a tactile learner. I learn by reading and listening, but mostly by "doing." I only intended to take one term. But it's kind of a thing. And now I know an art form, black and white photography, intimately. I feel like I'm dancing with my understanding now, not struggling. I am in love and slightly obsessed with black and white. After this challenge ends, I will show more of my personal work. Black and white is a beautiful abstraction of reality. It can make it more dramatic, more stylish, more beautiful.
Back in the 70's, when color film really started to be widely used, and well-known photographers were having to make the decision to start shooting in color, one quote sticks with me - because I feel a real truth to it. As beautiful and realistic as color is...It's also a great distraction.
"Walker Evans made the not-very-clever adaptation of Lord Acton's 'Power tends to corrupt...' as 'Color tends to corrupt photography and absolute color corrupts absolutely... There are four simple words for the matter which must be whispered. Color photography is vulgar.'"
--Excerpt from Michael Freeman's Black and White Photography Field Guide
day 20: self-portrait challenge
Layers upon Layers of complexity. (tongue in cheek)
Every self-portrait challenge has to have one shadow picture.
But it need not be ordinary, eh?
This is me, holding a color transparency film slide of me taking a photo of my shadow against a colorful viney-berry wall!
AND...there's bokah (blurred out background, almost with swirls) background to this image as well.
Fantastico! This was my first roll of color transparency film. It is positive film. Meaning that when it is developed, it is not the inverse of light and black, it is as the image was taken. I am learning how to put these slides on polaroid film (see image below) and then transfer that polaroid image to paper (or brass, or copper, or something arty). The end result will be to make cards and send these out just for fun. The transfer portion, I hear, is infinitely more taxing, as it is precisely like working with a glob of wet toilet paper - except that it's your film image.
WISH ME LUCK!
(Some of you will soon be getting cards in the mail - No matter how terrible this whole thing turns out.)
LESSON FOR THIS IMAGE: I learned to shoot for color. I learned to light meter FOR the light spots (highlights). So different than shooting for black and white.
AS FOR THE UNIVERSE: Life is aMAYzing, like my cat.
Once in awhile, well, BAM!