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Showing posts from September, 2013

80gm paper translucency

As the 'big little book' turns out to be far bigger than I expected it was going to be I have had to make repeated trips to Staples to stock up on paper.  Originally I picked a kind that I hope they will still stock in a couple of years so I can maintain continuity if it (or I) go on that long.  Part of the plan was for a lo-fi ethic and regular HP 80gm paper seemed the minimum to be able to both mop up the ink and also have a slight cheap transulency which I quite like.  I had previously bought greaseproof paper to either print on (unfortunately the ink forms clusters of small dots and smears easily long afterwards) or lay it over images to diffuse them (which would probably be a bit annoying after two pages let alone several hundreds).

(I've darkened this a bit to emphasise how images merge a little through the paper)

The washing up situation

The 'big little book' turned out to be bigger than I thought, it's well over a thousand pages now.   The washing up is stacked up in the kitchen, having reached emergency level four days ago.  It's worse than just rinsing food off plates and wiping knives clean immediately before use, yesterday I had to resort to tea in my two special cups (ones with pictures of high heeled shoes and handbags on them). No!!!!!!!!

I think I have also missed out on lots of crummy but entertaining reality TV (including most of Strictly Come Dancing), and the lovely sunshine.  Just sitting occasionally outside while soaking the print-heads in J-cloth dampened with window cleaner spray, reading more of Edward Weston's diary.  I keep telling myself not to judge him harshly - after all the values lived by in the 1920's must have been different from today - but nevertheless!

Interestingly when he got word that Steiglitz had seen some of his recent work and while admiring the technique…

Oliver Chanarin and Adam Broomberg: Holy Bible

Photo-eye link

Archive photographs pasted into a bible, inspired by underlined text in Bertolt Brecht's copy.

Lieko Shiga: Rasen Kaigan

photo-eye link

Zachary Quinto

The last Star Trek film I saw on TV was unbalanced by having Zachary Quinto in the role of a young Mr Spock - he was so mesmerising that Captain Kirk and the whole foolish plot with him at its centre suddenly seemed incidental.  After the first rushes the script should have been immediately re-written so as to capitalise on Quinto.  An opportunity missed.

Reading about his 'coming out' in his blog was interesting, he wrote "it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it - is simply not enough to make any significant contribution".  Most people who don't have anything to come out about probably feel in this day and age that there's no longer an issue -  just get on with it.  Strangely the reality is somewhat different, I think, for many people facing any personal disclosure that may result in possible rejection or ridicule.  It turns out that Quinto was spurred to make his admission by a spate of young gay suici…

Francesco Bearzatti: Suite for Tina Modotti

Magnum, with almonds

Gohar Dashti: Me, she and the others, 2009

Her website and on part 2 of current MAN podcast



Moon and excavator

When I went to do an evening shoot yesterday I found my new easy way in was blocked off.  Some guys saw me in there shooting last week and after shouting 'you're tresspassing' at me for a bit decided to do the same and climbed in over the fence.  They left me alone but looked like they were up to no good. They may have nicked or damaged stuff, which might explain the increased security now.  I did consider phoning the police but having to explain what I'd been doing there I didn't, and feel a bit bad about it. Last night was the first clear night after the full moon and so I went to take photographs along the outer fence until about midnight when the moon disappeared behind clouds.  I folded up my tripod and was walking away out of the darkness into the streetlights as a police car showed up.  Surprisingly they watched me and followed for a short distance but didn't stop me to 'discuss' what I was doing.  What am I doing?  I sometimes wonder myself…

Sun and wire

There's a site about a mile and a half away I finally rode to today. A former depot that has been demolished and mostly cleared already, presumably to make way for a few hundred homes.  The fencing was the usual rectangular frames of wire, clipped together, about six feet high.  Not too difficult to climb over except that there were extremely busy main roads on two sides (with traffic lights) making it impossible to make an inconspicuous entrance.  After a preliminary walk around the other two sides were almost totally inaccessible, being closed off by houses on one side and small industrial units on the other.  The only apparent gap in the fencing was through a car wash so I nervously walked through to the back and was able to sneak in through a gap in the barbed wire, hopping over a narrow dry ditch.  I got the impression this was the place the local kids used for access.

The demolition of the former buildings had been completed and there were only a few mounds of rubble left to…


Viewing distance

The full moon is but a gleam in an overcast sky tonight so I've been last minute PHOTOBOXING instead.  There were a few hours left on one of their occasional offers - £4.99 for 100 cm wide prints.  I'm not into big but sometimes find it hard to resist and with two hours to go tried to pick some photographs to upload.  Nothing seems to measure up when it comes to the crunch but after a lot of umming and ahhing I prepped and uploaded and ordered three, with 15 minutes to spare.

The home-made big LITTLE BOOK I'm making has six inch wide prints and I've entered photos into a couple of opens that are small, too.  (They might find room for them if they are tiny.)  And small is bound to be the new big.  Eventually.

Ordering big prints of oneself is peculiar, not that I'm going to be looking at them, but all the same I'm not really sure what I want them for.  At least they will one day serve as some kind of evidence.  Decades from now, discovered in a cardboard tube tu…

Edward Weston: Tina Modotti (1921)

Lewis Baltz: 'Park City' (1981)

All the way from the Vincent Borelli bookstore in Albequerque, the biggest photography book ever.

Diana Ross's gaze


I think I've done the first 400 pages of THE LITTLE BOOK so far.  This segment is Part II, as it was easier to start with Part II:  Part III is not done yet and will involve more site visits (50-200?) over the next two years; and the jpegs for Part I are on another hard drive - the images I want are somewhere among 300 folders of photos from the last two or three years.  So rather than starting to look for them I'm prevaricating and have spent the last two and a half hours trying to sort out the order of the pages I've printed, into chronological chapters with specific time and date and frame number info cover sheets for each.  Simply choosing a preliminary font, its shade and a standardised format for the text components and their placement took an hour.  I should have had this system in place right at the start, it would have saved a lot of work - but at least I did scribble some notes as I went along which helped, when I managed to find those pieces of paper... 



who you are

Andrej Pejic and Casey Legler. One male who models female styles, and the other female and who models male attire.

big little book printing

One of the advantages of a having a good camera is wide dynamic range. To quote Snapsort, 'Cameras with more dynamic range can capture more variation in tone from light to dark'.

Dxomark specifically compares cameras on their capability in this area. The top cameras manage fouteen stops but even a £50 cheapo camera from Argos would manage nine or ten - and the photos would look great.

The prints I've been making from my camera, on plain white office paper with unbranded eBay inks, have seen the dynamic range crumple to probably less than half that, maybe four or five stops at most -  it's tricky to take a photo of what they look like; muted with dim shadows, washy highlights and just a couple of flattish shades in between, with much of the 80gm paper rippling from being soaked by too much ink.  It's surprising to find that despite everything the colours still look fairly decent and there's modest levels of detail.

I have a ream

I have my eBay inks and cheap copier paper and have started testing printer settings.  I think I can produce a 500 page lo-fi photo book for less than £10 in materials, including the nuts and bolts to screw the pages together at the end. would do a fabulous job but in an era of austerity there's something appealing about an 'economy' feeling book.  And regardless of the value of the photo content it might just feel like a pleasantly tactile object, unopened, the pictures elevated in the imagination.

and again, later in the day

Specifications of clouds and other ephemeral objects

The sky is stupidly beautiful today, a fine blue with clouds as white as icebergs.  Before breakfast I returned to photograph the building site fence that has preoccupied me for a long time.  As well as a camera I brought along a compass, tape measure and pen and paper to make a few notes, as a Topographic photographer would do.

My original guestimate of about 100m was a bit out, as the fence is actually 325m in length.  It runs in a 220 degrees south-westerly direction, as viewed from the main road  end, towards the canal.  It runs parallel to a ditch (recently busy with dragonflies, sweeping back and forth chasing off white butterflies).  And parallel to this is a narrow strip of grass and a copse of trees and brambles which obscures everything from a golf course.

To prepare for measuring I had taken a sample ten good paces from my camera bag near the start point and was crawling back along the ground with a tape measure to see how far that actually was, just as several early mornin…

Fra Angelico: Annunciatory Angel & Diego Rivera: The Detroit Industry Murals

Detroit is appraising its public art collection as it looks at possible ways to pay down over $15 billion of indebtedness

Cheap paper, the wrong way round

The ink jets of my old Epson Stylus printer were pretty clogged up after years of minimal use (the occasional discount coupon), but an online tip of parking the heads over strips of J-cloth soaked with window cleaner spray has helped unblock them.  So in a lo-fi photography way I might make a low-tech home-made photo book, using just plain copier paper and cheap, non-archival inks (off eBay).

The colour management seems to have taken care of itself (well, it's sort of nearly right) and after seeing a few test prints I'm thinking of reversing the convention of looking at pictures 'the right way around'.

The thin 80gm paper is hardly able to hold and absorb the quantity of ink dumped onto it during printing, and flipping the pages over a faint reversed image is visible.  The paper also shows some crumpling from the over-wetting followed by protracted drying.

Albuquerque, NM 87101

I recently ordered a copy of 'Park City' by Lewis Baltz from Vincent Borelli in America.  His bookstore has several copies, the shabbiest of the bunch and unsigned, was on sale, and (after some email negotiation on postage costs) I could just about afford it.  $200 is a lot more than I usually pay for a book, but 'Park City' is THE BIG ONE, for me, and they usually go for $400 - $1000.  It was published in 1981, and Baltz toured it around Europe. I saw him present the work in slide-show form at Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham.

I got a dispatch email yesterday with a tracking link and can now watch it's progress halfway around the world over the next few days.  It's currently at the  USPS Sort Facility, which appears to be just off Lewis Avenue in Albuquerque, NM 87101.

One thing that I will probably fail to negotiate when it arrives is that it comes in the remnants of its original shrink wrap.  Usually if a photo book arrives shrink wrapped I shrink from removi…

Richard Ansett: Bather #5

Bather #5, from series Bathers, UKR/IZOLYATSIA 2011 © Richard Ansett. Acquired by Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BnF), 2013

Frank Gohlke

Frank Gohlke was one of the photographers included in the 1975 New Topographics (thanks I.T.) exhibition at Rochester House, New York. Curated by William Jenkins it was visited by few, hardly reviewed and yet its re-invigoration of the landscape genre is still felt today.  A couple of days ago a copy of Gohlke's 'Landscapes From The Middle World' arrived from America.  It's in great condition despite only costing a few dollars and despite being a softcover book printed in 1988 the images still look fabulous, with wide tonality and super detail.  Gohlke may be the one of the lesser known of the group but his images and his relentlessness (or should that be 'restlessness'?) are impressive.  I find the minimal look with its quiet, careful restraint to be thrilling.  The images are often laden with a pensive awareness of the presence of transformative forces, both, as here, with the presence of mankind in city and countryside, but also, in his other catastrophe pro…