Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Little More About the China Photos

1988: 3 cameras, 4-5 lenses, 30 rolls 35mm film, 10 rolls 120 film, film guard bags for x-rays, Domke bag with back pack straps, Texas state press pass.Nothing digital. No autofocus. No autoexposure. No motor drives. This is what I brought to China.

Smart film shooters are more protective of their film returning from a trip than when they first departed. The first sign of success is hanging the film to dry and seeing well defined negatives just out of the wetting agent. Then you know that you have work to do.

The film developing began in June and and probably took a week or two. The printing came next. Somehow I decided to print diptychs, merging the frame borders together, pairing a Chinese photo from the US with a Chinese photo from China. Looking for similarities and contrasts, flow from one image to its partner. Test stripping one image, expose on half a sheet of paper, set registration marks on the easel and put the sheet in a box. Test strip the other image, pull out the sheet and print on the other half. Print on the same half and end up screaming obscenities.

These pictures were starting to work and I was somewhere in the middle of July 1988. A month later was the deadline for the Illinois Arts Council grants which became my target for the year. Having been rejected twice previously, I knew that this new work was better and I would give it a shot. The process for making these prints was time consuming, technically rigorous, but it was my game and i set or broke the rules as i went along.

1988 was a time when I was able to make these pictures. In September of that year I opened a letter saying I was awarded an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for photography.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A little about the China photos

My China photos were actually preceded by my Chinese photos. Sometime during the 1980's I started documenting family events. I also figured out how to photograph firecrackers going off during Argyle's New Year festivities. A thick leather jacket, face mask, motorcycle goggles, earplugs from my days on the shooting range, I would walk in and start shooting. With all the noise, smoke, explosions and red paper flying around it was hard to focus and exposure was preset.

The first time in China was 1988 and I still remember it as a magical time. Landing in the old Hong Kong airport with high rise buildings on either side to taking the train to Guangzhou and crossing into a Communist land, waiting for an evil but it did not appear. Meeting relatives, relatives of relatives, their friends and relatives of their friends, it went on forever. But for me, I was the observer. The trip was for my mother, it was her homecoming after more than 40 years away and one of her brightest moments.

Monday, September 4, 2017

January 1976 Ice Photos at Gillson Park in Wilmette

The ice photos began during the winter of 1975-1976. A few months earlier I had quit my job as an industrial photographer at Motorola and hoped to go to grad school to study more photo. My influences at that time were photographers who worked with alternative processes to produce their images, work that was not mainstream, at least not in technique. My chosen process was Kwik Print, a 3 color proofing system made in New York. You will not find much information on the process, also known as Kwik Proof, as the production of Kwik Print ended in 2000. I thought it was gone before that.

On a ate afternoon in January 1976 I went to Gillson Park looking for a photo with my 35mm Mamiya and B&W film. What I saw looked like a miniature version of Cape Cod's sand dunes, but covered in snow and ice. Mounds of ice, ridges of ice, sheets of ice, all frozen together, with only the Lake Michigan waves moving. I immediately thought of shooting blue, green, red color separations to be combined into one image, printed with Kwik-Print. The ice would be one image in register, but the water would be three images, out of register. I went back home to get the gear ready that I would need to shot this the next day, An aluminum Tiltall tripod, camera, filter holder, #25 red filter, #58 green filter, #47B blue. The metal tripod felt like a frozen iron pipe after five minutes on the ice. The gel filters were as flimsy as Kleenex in that Lake Michigan wind. I made sure not to be on the windward side of the ice - there was no one around to fish me out.

The one thought that kept in my mind was that I could make a portfolio out of this work.That would happen four decades later.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

Civic Opera Building - Chicago - April 17, 2017

Monday Morning, 4/17/2017.
The morning sun reflected off skyscraper windows onto the CIVIC OPERA BVILDING.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Kerouac Alley. April 1, 2017

Saturday night, 4/1/2017. Jack Kerouac Alley

San Francisco, April 2, 2017. Eva in SOMA

Sunday afternoon, 4/2/2017. Eva in SOMA. Mission near 3rd.

San Francisco. April 2, 2017. Jackson Street in Chinatown.

Sunday evening on Jackson Street, 4/1/2017. Waiting for our carryout order from the restaurant next door.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Lake Michigan - Evanston - Northwestern University February 19, 2017

Sunday afternoon around 4 pm. February 19, 2017. 60°

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lake Michigan Ice at Sun Set

Wednesday evening about 7pm. 03/15/17