Thursday, 15 November 2012

Facing Up to a project

More experiments from the summer. I was doing rather a lot of lumen prints and while at a festival had been looking at all the tents around me and I was chatting with friends.

I had been looking at someone quite intently for some time and then I looked away and stared at the side of the bell tent, I had a 'vision' an afterimage so clear that since we had been discussing the Turin shroud and how the oils etc may have created the image on the cloth it seemed only fitting that I would try and recreate this apparition as a lumen print. 

I don't have particularly oily skin but seeing as it was high summer and we were slathered in sun cream I thought this would act as a suitable barrier.

The second image has just been auto corrected in PS to bring out the image more nothing else was done. I do actually like the original image and I was quite pleased with the way the face appeared.

So I used grade 1 Ilford paper and got my subjects to start on one side of their face and roll the paper to the other, much like the cloth would be if draped over a face. These were then put out into the sun for four hours under glass. My subject for the first image had a moustache and beard and this can clearly be seen on the paper.  The dark areas are where the sun has managed to reach the surface of the paper and it started to change quite quickly. 

 The first image was not as strong as hoped for but this was also of a child and quite small on the paper, once it was corrected it was only slightly more visible.

I did however discover that sun cream and emulsion doesn't do great things to your skin, it was a bit like kissing a battery and so I didn't redo the childs face!


This is an image of my face, it was rolled and so looks enormous,  the image was stronger before it was fixed but I managed to pull out some of the contrasts when corrected. I like the ghostly image though. It is just easier to see the results in the corrected ones.

The last images of this series from the festival are again mine but I shall endeavour to capture more from willing subjects!

This last image I think has really worked, though not necessarily very complimentary, it clearly has form.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Deceased Experiment Unexpectedly Terminated!

Over the summer I started doing a number of experiments using the process of Lumen Printing.I have been doing Lumens for some time and also doing small workshops but this summer I got the opportunity to do some experiments for myself. One of them was a rather spontaneous affair. I was presented one day with a mouse, a dead one, our cat is young and doesn't quite get the hunter thing and so has only just started using his 'skills'

This poor little corpse had been placed in quite a ceremonious way in the centre of a circular patch of earth in our garden(post paddling pool)

Well, what was I supposed to do with this gift, It seemed only fitting and appropriate that it joined the selection of flowers and moths and other ephemera being Lumen Printed in the garden. The little body was laid out on a sheet of BW Ilford Ilfospeed grade 1 paper and a sheet of glass laid upon it's delicate little form, much like the lid on a coffin made for Snow White!

The first image was set out for a day, I don't really know why I just didn't do the normal few hours but I think the sky was a little dull. Subsequent images varied form a day to actually being left for ten of them as I forgot and went on Holiday. It did not seem to do that one any harm.

Each time the mouse was moved it was carefully slid across onto another piece of paper so as not to damage it, though after the second day it was more like a popsicle on its very stiff tale than I would have imagined.

My original intent was to record the whole process of decomposition from day one, until it became skeletal and the print would have just had a selection of bones surrounded by flora, unfortunately this has been cut short by the intervention of some rather desperate and inconsiderate animal with a serious lack of discerning taste buds. One morning I came out to find that after almost four weeks or so of work the contact frames that had been lying out in the sun had all been turned over and the photo paper was strewn all over the garden. It wasn't the wind, as no interest had been paid to the other prints as they were not containing rather smelly decaying 'meat' believe me I searched around for them but they had gone.

I was a little dismayed as the body was reducing and it would have been great to see the intact skeleton but maybe this is too macabre. I was so focused on producing the prints and creating a series, anyway I have ten images of this mouse.

I had also been 'given' another to work with but that too had gone and so it was back to the flora and fauna and insect world for me until I am graced with another one from my mad cat.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Fun With Ficcus!

Patience can be a virtue sometimes, especially when you are waiting for a particular image to develop and develop it does, very very slowly. I was cutting back the plant jungle in my front garden one morning during the summer and looking down I could see the beautiful remains of the leaves on the concrete and surrounding these were black stains. These stains were from the Ficcus plant, which was hanging over the wall and above the pavement.This got me thinking that if the concrete was a suitable substrate for the juice and it seemed pretty difficult to remove with water then what would it be like if it was on paper!

 I removed some of the berries which form in interesting bunches. The berries were hard and black, difficult to crush under ones fingers and so I used a pestle and mortar and started pulping them. It takes some time to get a bunch of these berries crushed enough, they are rich in colour but need to have a liquid added in order to carry that colour.

I used rainwater which was there in front of me, lazy I know but I wanted to keep it as natural as possible. I made enough to push through a small sieve and remove any of the grittier bits that were from the husks and the seeds.

I suppose I got enough liquid to cover approximately an A4 piece a couple of times. I coated an A6 watercolour paper from a Windsor and Newton pad and did this twice allowing the first layer to dry in the dark and then I let the second layer dry in the dark as well.

 I made a digital negative from a Sprocket Rocket picture of a Tree that I had used before and the contrast was quite high on this so the image is quite graphic. This was quite a dense image and I used OHP transparency paper for the substrate.I only used one layer as the black seemed opaque enough.

 Now here comes the long part. Once in the contact frame, it was placed outside for about a week and then the weather wasn't so favourable, so it got moved around indoors wherever the sun was shining through the large french windows, until it made it up to the studio where it sat in front of the doors there for at least another three weeks sunbathing!

 In all I think it was in the frame exposing for about eight weeks. I did check halfway through this period and there didn't seem to be that much definition so I left it. I'm quite happy with the results and I do wonder what they would have been like if we had had more of a sun filled summer in the U.K. but I don't mind waiting. I'm going to try a different paper this time and see what that is like.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Black and White Photography magazine!

It's still just about August so I suppose I can legitimately talk about the inclusion of my work in this months (August) edition of Black and White Photography magazine. I was asked a while back to supply images to support an article on the Pinhole Blender 120 made by Chris Peregoy. I have been using the blender, both the large and small versions for some time and Chris had seen some of my work via Flickr and I'm grateful that he considered it of sufficient standard to be used to represent the camera.
The images I sent in were amongst the earlier ones I have taken with the 120. The larger 120 format has three pinholes situated around the cylinder and it was with a combination of these that I made the images. The softness that you get from the curved film plane means that the blending is subtle and the images can be quite abstract if you so wish. Employing unusual juxtapositions within one image. I had made a number of images in the series that these were taken from and they were based around a local nature reserve. The used image is called Dandelion.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Thoughts on the pinhole workshop

It's July and the sun is just peeking through the leaden clouds, the U.K hasn't seen much of the glowing orb this summer and while it has been hiding away I have been busy preparing for shows. Across April and May I had an exhibition at Alhambra Home and Garden, the private view went very well and I sold work and had a lot of interest to the point where I was 'subjected' to an impromptu filming session and had to answer questions about my work, there is nothing like that for making you think on your feet. On Saturday 28th April,in advance of World Pinhole Photography Day on the 29th I did a Pinhole Workshop for adults, it was an intimate affair using the small back room of the gallery space and we certainly had a laugh while making cylinder pinhole cams from card. I am reviewing my expectations about manual dexterity and the way adults use power tools as a result!I still haven't seen the results but I am hoping they used their cams which despite gluing issues went together well enough to get an image and do some initial experimentation.I intend to do some more with adults, there seems to be a lot of interest and I think it will be good to keep the momentum going. There are also The Alhambra show eventually came down after a nice two to three week extension. During this time I think someone used the books that I had on show as a catalogue and decided to order from one of them. I hadn't considered them for that purpose but I may do in future.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

As I write this I imagine that the Plastic Fantastic III artists reception and exhibition opening is in full swing at Lightbox and I just wish I was there to meet everyone! Congratulations to all those who are also exhibiting.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Tree!

I love it when a print that you wouldn't really expect to sell starts to acquire interest from diverse corners and the enthusiasm for its unusual qualities is the thing that is selling it. The Tree was made with a Lomo Sprocket Rocket and was multiple exposed in Ruskin park in South London. I was doing a shoot for some locations and it was still early spring, the trees were not yet wearing their leaves and the wonderful branches and twigs were a tangle against the sky. It seemed only appropriate to look up and make pictures of the silhouettes and of course to turn the camera a number of ways to give me layers of twig upon branch, the textures that resulted were very much like a batik or some cloth, I love the way this one turned out and there are a couple more like it.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Plastic Fantastic III Acceptance!!

I almost forgot to say, I've been so busy with exhibitions, submissions and planning for the next wave of festival work that my Plastic Fantastic III acceptance seems like ages ago now. I am absolutely chuffed to bits though to tell you that two of my submissions, Not Pandora's Box and Sharing the Moment, were chosen by juror Susan Burnstine. I have no idea how many submissions she had to look through but I am utterly gobsmacked to have both in this exhibiton and do not envy her having to make that difficult decision. Not Pandora's Box is currently on show at Photoplace Vermont for the 'In Your Dreams' exhibition so I'm doubly honoured to have that showing in two places. Sharing the Moment is also on show in London at the Alhambra show and I'm pleased it's getting a new audience in the USA, though it has been shown at the Curious Camera show as well.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

New Exhibition for April at the Alhambra South London

I have one week, A new exhibition is going up at the Alhambra Home and Garden, a lovely Spanish themed shop with exhibition space and tea room.The shop can be found in what is now known as Kirkdale Village at 148 Kirkdale Sydenham South London I'm going to do a mixed theme for this one as it was sort of sprung on me and I'm currently working on a new series that will hopefully be ready to show in a couple of months. I have also been asked by the proprietor Rebecca to do a workshop and as it is World Pinhole Photography Day I thought it would be ideal to show some budding pinholers how to convert the most mundane items of rubbish into cameras. There is nothing quite like the focus of pulling together some images for a show to make you wonder what direction you are taking. It's all a bit hazy and I'm still pondering!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Pinhole Lomokino Films

I got the Lomokino when it came out, sucker for the moving image I suppose but I figured out what they were making and couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I have made a few short test films over the past few months, nothing that I would assign any grander title to really but I am working towards better ideas that have been brewing since I started to get back the various results from my endeavours. Once I established that my Lomokino wasn't functioning as well as could be expected and I adjusted that it made a vast difference to the flow of the film.Always check the springs on the reverse of the front of your cam, the ones that are supposed to hold the film down, if they are not proud of the casing they will be redundant. I was asked by Lomography to produce two pinhole films for them, maybe it was due to the pinhole reputation I have but believe me making a film is a whole different ball game. After doing the modifications to the Lomokino(see below) I then went ahead with making some mad films. An extremely long process and the most important thing to remember with the Kino would be a tripod as having three hands is essential!
I made a basic shutter from a film can cap and used the ubiquitous black insulation tape to hold it on. So it was a case of with tripod, lift the flap, count, close the flap, wind on,it takes a little while to get into the rhythm of it but once you do you are away. My pinhole worked out at f450 a little too small for short indoor exposures and so on one of my films my poor subject was rather numb with pain! The ideal f-stop should be more in the region of f98 I believe, so I shall be remaking that one in due course.
"Myopic Tree Moments" was named to reflect the lack of sharpness with this particular pinhole, though it seems getting a really pinsharp image with this may be problematic. My little helper was very obliging and considerate of the slow process, each frame was about three seconds in the dull, snowy light and as we neared the end she remarked, "I can't feel my adult toes" we called it a day after this! "Crime of passion" came about as an idea I had had to do with another camera but I thought it would be fun for this, unfortunately the definition I wanted with the image showing all the different cameras and what they were upto was not quite there. I do think the general impression is okay though... consumed with a passion for cameras and film!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

In Your Dreams Exhibition

The title for this one is highly appropriate, I entered "In Your Dreams" at the last minute (as usual) because I wasn't sure it was the right time for me to enter anything at the moment. I'm too distracted, I have been making crazy 35mm films and spending time trying to get the new allotment plot in order as well as attempting to go through the ridiculous back log of negatives that are unprocessed. To my great surprise and honour I had a pinhole accepted into the show and thank you to Susan Burnstine juror for choosing "Not Pandora's Box"
Going with your gut feeling is sometimes well worth the risk!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Hello 2012!

It's half way through January and today was supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday! well I survived and in fact thought it was rather beautiful with a crisp winter blue sky and lots to do. I have been busily absorbed scanning, what seems like millions of frames of the Lomography Lomokino 35mm Film camera, I have taken about ten films so far and processed, using various methods just three. It takes an age to do one film but I am not complaining it is so much fun to see the final film. I have not used iMovie much before now and so the learning curve has been steep. I have plans for many more films, themes that are not particularly apparent in any of these early tests. At the moment it would be fair to say that I'm still getting to grips with its little inconsistencies and temperamental nature.I'm not sure if other people find that their Kino misfires which is extrremely annoying and makes playing it back manually through the Kinoscope pointless as the frames slip and all you ever see is the interframe spacing. Anyway I have an idea for a longer film something that has been part of a still project. Many years ago in my former life as an illustrator and printmaker I illustrated a book, an old tale of a journey, it is this that I shall revisit but in film and photographic form. Pinholes and hand cranked film!