Monday, 30 November 2009

I'm not dead

I haven't written anything because i don't do anything. I have been writing my research paper, which is close to the end, I'm just finishing my forth off road article (i need diesel money for December), I've just bought some artist canvas on some pretty basic stretchers which have been coated with liquid emulsion today and on which I'll be exposing Wednesday. Other tna that, for the past week I've only gone out of the house twice and i'm sleeping on half a bed because the other half is generally filled with research material, pictures, books and ... stuff.

So, I'll keep you posted.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Paris Photo 2009

For the second time this year, i visit Paris. The first time, in May, i was showing my work at an arts festival organized and curated by Ioana and now we just went to see the Paris Photo. The festival was an interesting experience, certainly one which will become a yearly habit from now on. I also visited a Iranian photography series on the banks of the Seine. Art wise we roamed around the Louvre and saw a Titian exhibition - stunning play of light throughout the show...

As expected, we lived on cheese, baguettes and much too much red wine. Great nights out, fun long drive and dare i say excellent company. Random shots from walking around the city ...

Monday, 16 November 2009

Second batch of experiments

Here's the second batch of liquid emulsion experiments, exposed on Friday and left to dry until today. I shall try to manufacture a system of keeping them straight (since they get really wobbly after being dunked in water for about an hour and a half) and if i can't manage (which i probably won't) i shall start exposing on artist canvases. But for now, here's the tests

Sunday, 15 November 2009

19th Century Photography, Theprintspace and Tim Flach

Last week we had a day out in London. Which was absolutely brilliant. We met in victoria, much as usual, and decided to split in groups. I happened to choose the gropu being at Theprintspace at 2 PM so i had plenty of time before that to go and see some new work. I was supposed to go and see the T.W. Portrait Prize displayed at the National Gallery, but in the tube i had an epiphany. It wasn't really an epiphany, it was just a huge poster reading: "Points of View: Photography in the 19th Century"

I will say this: for anyone and everyone who is fond of film photography, that exhibition is a must. Everything i researched for my final work, E.S. Curtis, Duchenne, Talbot, Daguerre, they're all there. Duchenne's first edition book, huge prints from expeditions in Asia and amazing alternative process prints. Not to mention all the cameras, text and fun facts that are all over the place. (or .com - don't care)

We went there to chat with the guys doing digital C41 printing. They probably have the lowest prices on the market because they have very basic walkthroughs, that teach you how to resize your image so they won't have to pay anyone to do it for you. They also provide a large selection of papers, of which my personal favorite is most certainly the Kodak Metallic...

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Later on, in the evening, we had a talk from one of the photographers who managed to combine art with high end commercial: Tim Flach. See Tim knows people. He knows how people think, what they want and how they react to various things and he's learned to be a people person. He's images for SKY, BBC or any other commercial contract are just as cared for as his artist book Equus. We've been told that a second book is coming out soon and saw some unreleased images. He also told us about how, when he goes and shoots something, he documents very carefully about the topic. Say if he'll shoot a horse, he will research the breed, see what their strong points are, see what they're used for, and other useful information that only a connoisseur would be aware of, so that when he shoots, not only does he know exactly what he wants, but also he shows that he's interested. And he really is. I've rarely seen a man more interested in anything than Tim.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

On the way home

I always walk on the field next to the uni, usually in the evening and i've always loved how the lights from the skate park look. Not much to it, just a snapshot on my way home.

Friday, 6 November 2009

The wonder that is silver

Today i have managed, for the first time in a long period of time, to surprise myself. I was hunting down messy processes to work with for my final exhibition. I eventually settled for using liquid emulsion on watercolor paper and see how that goes. Which i managed to do indeed. Despite Mr. Chris Coekin's witty and intelligent observation: "see i ... i think ... it's not getting through to me. I can't feel it", i went ahead with my ideas and got the emulsion, the paper and got down to business.

To my surprise, the emulsion is, as Mr. Colin Jackson would put it "what happens to rice pudding when it gets cold". Indeed, it's like a thick rubber thing. It requires heating before it becomes liquid again. Not a lot of heat - placing the recipient in a tank with boiled water for about 10-15 minutes should do the trick. For a brush, i decided to go with the best available and got a Jiaban wood brush made from goat hair. Brilliant for most alternative processes, courtesy of

The paper was coated and left overnight. The deed had been done. I came back today and got down to business, trying to expose some shots i took of a skull on it. I got the skull from the Design Department and i had a bit of fun sitting in the cafeteria having a sandwich and talking to it. Freaks people out. Ah.. these little things make my day.

Test strips, quite a few of them. And then ... the MOT (moment of truth). I exposed the paper, took a deep breath and lovingly pushed it under the surface of the developer, hoping for the best but expecting the usual...

I turned it and i must say i am rather impressed. It does what it says on the tin, and more. It's somewhat grobian in nature but masks my inability to take care of my negatives in the most wonderful way possible. More experiments will be done, more portraits will be taken and we'll see how it all goes.

More fashion shoots

for some reason i started enjoying studio work and messing around with lights. It's a tad bleak, concept wise but so is my tutor's work and he's still teaching. I decided i was going to try to work with fashion people and see how that went - and shoot my Canon exclusively.

I tried to use my Ds Mark 2 as little as possible because it's more practical to wear out a uni Hasselblad than my own equipment. Sadly, i have to shoot my camera because it's the only way to start to understand and feel it properly. So most of the stuff here, if not everything was shot on an 85 mm lens or the 70-200. For light i used Bron packs as well as Bowens.

Practice is the best way to understand light and lighting techniques and it always comes as a surprise when i see the final images and figure just how it went. There's still bits and bobs to be sorted out, like proper sync and stuff, but those are details. One of the things i have about my process is that i always do a hit and miss thing before shooting. The intelligent thing would be to use what is otherwise known as an exposure meter rather than fire away 10 useless frames to test the light. I would go so far as to say that it also gets your brain going as well, measuring and imagining. But these are the downsides of digital - commodity.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Fashion Shoots and Complaints

Right. We're in between two shoots, slightly worn out, both inside and outside, feeling like my shoes. Cracked around the edges but still functional. I just finished a shoot for Gemma, which was one of the organized fashion people. Her ideas were ok, very well prepared and nice to work with. Like most fashion students, there has been a lot of reflective golden stuff on the clothes, which apparently is "in" these days. Just quoting a living classic "people seem to like clothes they can see themselves in, much like mirrors". I found that to be quite true as well, surprisingly enough.

On a similar note, yesterday i had quite a fun shoot with a couple of third years for their fashion magazine thing. The final images were for the front cover, rear cover and a few shots for one theme inside. If i'm not mistaking, my cabaret shooting a while back is part of the same magazine as well. Anyway, here's one of the images from the theme. I decided i wasn't going to put too many just yet. Because i am lazy and can't be asked to do so.

In the complaints and grievances department, i am still unbelievably annoyed at how the internet in the university works. I would have thought that two months would be plenty of time for anyone to fix it. I was apparently wrong. Also in that department, i have discovered a new thing that annoys me. People who take the elevator to the first floor. I gave it a lot of though and i guess that everyone from fashion, with big bags and such has so many books, their tiny arms could rip from the shoulders and fall to the ground on that long, winding staircase. Not to mention the fear of heights, when you look between the railing. Or the health and safety issues of actually falling on the stairs with all that paper, braking and subsequently swallowing a tooth. Oh yes, i forgot. If it's coming out ironic and condescending, you're probably getting the point.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

My Articles

I must admit that, in the last weeks, i began posting too many images and writing too little text. The main reason for that is partly because I've been working on my final research paper and partly because i've been fairly busy publishing some off road articles.

Here's a link to my latest article, in case anyone's interested:

Photography wise, i am still trying to find my way into the strange but unbelievably interesting world of experimental photography, which I've done quite a bit of - some experiments more successful than others. I've been looking at Warhol and an interesting book by Mark and Doug Starn, "Attracted to light". For now, i am working on linking the work of Duchenne de Boulogne with that of the Starns and that of Warhol perhaps, in what is to be my final work - photography wise, there will be quite a bit of change in the whole thing, as I'm considering building cameras to expose on 8x10 or 9 1/2 x 12 photo paper and then ... surprise ... contact print it on larger papers i coated myself. It's a process and it hasn't got much sense to it now. But it will, mind you.

More experiments

Thursday i had a go at cutting down photo paper and shooting directly onto it, instead of 4x5 films. I was trying to get a feel for how my series for the dissertation is starting to look like. These are some really rough sketches of what came out - exposures guessed more often than not, the light meter didn't do a very good job there.