Friday, December 6, 2013

My Favorite Albums 2013

A funny year for music. Records that kinda sneak up on you and linger instead of smacking you right in the face. So here goes:

1) Johnny Marr - The Messenger
2) The Besnard Lakes - Until in Excess
3) Laura Marling - Once I Was an Eagle
4) The Dead Tongues - Desert
5) Shearwater - Fellow Travelers
6) His Golden Messenger - Haw
7) Scout Niblet - It's up to Emma
8) Angel Olsen - Half Way Home
9) Arcade Fire - Reflektor
10) The Love Language - Ruby Red

Next Few Down:
Don Dixon - High, Filthy and Borderline
Michael Rank - Mermaids
Sarah Jarosz - Build Me Up From Bones

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ebb and Flow, Raleigh Arts Commission Exhibit

I recently applied for a call to show work in the Block Gallery which is owned by the City of Raleigh. I am happy to report I was selected for a show in this space on West Martin Street in downtown Raleigh. The theme of the show is "Ebb & Flow." It is described here:
The artists of Ebb & Flow channel the beauty of the world around us through the lens of nature. Sacred belief, personal struggle and the essence of time and place form the conceptual framework of three distinct and powerful bodies of work.
The selection of the images was done by the director of the gallery, but I was quite pleased with her choices.
She wanted alot of  larger, new work which I am pleased to now have framed and presented for the first time. There are a set of photographs from Fort Macon State Park, and the rest being from areas in and around Orange and Alamance county. The images are all traditionally darkroom-printed silver-gelatin photographs. As part of the show we were interviewed:


Prepping for a show is never easy. I will readily admit I do not like framing as its hard work to do correctly. I did frame these with the help of photographer friend Doug Van de Zande. After a long, hot afternoon of asselmbly they were finally ready to go.



The opening was Thursday, September 5th and the presentation of the 12 images I had selected was left to the gallery to decide. Turns out my images were first in que to be seen and looked great on the wall.


I am grateful to Annah Lee and the Raleigh Arts Commission for a chance to show this work for the next 30 days! Also, I was lucky enough to have two of my photographs purchased by the city of Raleigh for their permanent collection!


Ak-sar-ben 8x10 Camera, 1897


Ak-sar-ben, (Nebraska), 1897


www.piercevaubel.com/cam/misc/aksarben.htm says:

This camera has so far only been found to be advertised in the catalog of R. Dempster, Omaha, Nebraska, c.1897. The large, wooden side plates are quite distinctive and unique, as are the folded brass springs holding the ground glass frame, which probably means that this camera was a Dempster product manufactured locally. In case you were wondering, Ak-Sar-Ben is the name of a certain state spelled backwards.

References:
Hand Cameras, Kodaks and Supplies, R. Dempster (Omaha, NE), 1897, p. 39

I have been lucky enough to find one of these cameras for sale and have been fitting it out.


This is the 126 year old Ak-sar-ben shown as it is ready to use!  There are two lenses I have for it to date.
One is an Eskofot 150mm, which actually covers 8x10! This camera has a very short rail so the rail showing up in the frame  is not a problem. I have installed a yellow filter and have a lenscap ready to go. The other lens is a  Rank, Taylor and Hobson 8 1/2" (225mm) that has a lowest aperture of 4.5! It should make for some interesting possibilities in limited light.

The back of this lens is threaded so I could mount a yellow filter on the back , lenscap on the front which I have done before.  To put the quick release on this non standard camera I had to buy a longer that usual screw for it and file it down at the base so it would fit into the shoe mount. Took about 2 days to do all the lens mounting and camera prepping. Lets hope this thing works!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Social Media Goals Ignore the (Formerly) Flickr Community

Flickr's recent stats are still headed south. But truthfully they have been headed south for a couple years. What they failed to see was that the people actually using flickr were committed, paying customers who built community, not commodity. The inability to monetize the community aspects of flickr meant that model was destined for the scrap heap.



Jealous of the rising popularity of quick photo sharing services like instagram, flickr was not a player in the evolving arena of social media. The redesign squarely focuses on turning flickr into an endless photo stream generator. Look! pretty colors! maybe you'll click. The new format cannot measure "visits" as visiting the photo is no longer necessary so viewer metrics are out the window. Favourites can still be clicked but clicking into the photo page is no longer necessary. The photo viewsa are now justified endless scrolling lines of images vs. nicely paginated presentations. Its as if someone loaded your photos in a cannon and just splat them on a screen with out regard for space or context.

Part of the communication that has been lost in a design like the new flickr is the description aspect of the photograph. Descriptions are no longer immediately viewable simultaneously with the photograph. Process is critical to film photographers. We rely on the "research" of others constantly. Saves us time and money. Someone discovers a method, it is shared. I cannot count the number of times I have researched lenses, film or darkroom printing materials just searching flickr for examples. Flickr search is now not only an endlessly justified mess, its unpredictable-not delivering the same result twice.

Flickr is an ARK of film photo knowledge in the rising sea of digital. So much good information resides in the forums and dark corners of that site it should be a national landmark for film shooters. The new management fails to see this. The lack of respect for community and continuity has cost us much. I am very happy to see so many of my film photographer contacts and friends here at ipernity. I am equally pleased to see the sane, controllable layouts to present the work.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

2012 Top 10 Records

Here without too much comment are the 10 records I enjoyed most in 2012. I will qualify that Poor Moon actually was released in 2011, but to only 500 lucky people with turntables. So this year's CD was the first mass release of this fine record.


1) Hiss Golden Messenger - Poor Moon
2) Wintersleep - Hello Hum
3) Other Lives - Dark Horse
4) Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
5) Shearwater - Animal Joy
6) The Tallest Man on Earth - Theres No Leaving Now
7) Japandroids – Celebration Rock
8) Spider Bags - Shake My Head
9) Lost in the Trees - A Church That Fits Our Needs
10) The Mountain Goats - Transcendental Youth

Next 10:

The dB's - Falling Off the Sky
The Small Cities - With Fire
Some Army - Some Army
Balmorhea - Stranger
Kenny Roby - Memories and Dreams
Allo Darlin' - Europe
Bowerbirds - The Clearing
Midtown Dickens - Home

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hello, Goodbye

So there's a reason they call them Albums, because when you make one,they become one, full of memory, life and and pure joy. So many nuanced memories I have connected to music, I have been so lucky. One record I made I did with no fewer than 13 people and included Paul Price, Wes Lachot, Ed Butler, Parthenon Huxley, Chris Stamey, Stacy Guess, Bobby Patterson, Nancy Middleton, Bill Newton, Scott Sawyer, Jack Campbell, Jeff Hart and Brent Lambert. Been reliving some of that tonight.


Paul and I at the Cat's Cradle in the mid 80's 

It breaks my heart to write that my longtime musical conspirator Paul Price passed away last Sunday peacefully and at home. He was surrounded by a cadre of true friends who cared for him till the last breath. There was soft guitar playing, and the laying on of hands, meditative prayer and tears.  Paul was one of my musical idols, my mentor, and a very good friend to me. He always told the truth. He often said "straight ahead" when parting, meaning be true, be straight on your path and implying that he damn sure was going to be. I was so happy and pleased to reconnect in a deep way with Paul again. It was a trying and all too short three and a half weeks but we got alot of heavy lifting done and left nothing but clarity around our friendship. I miss him already. Godspeed.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Coffee Plus X-Rays Equals Art!

I recently began photographing with an 110 year old 8x10 camera. Its a lovely heavy beast which requires rather expensive sheet film. I really enjoy using it and have been actively seeking economical ways to make this camera usable on a weekly basis.  One thing that Large Format photographers have been using instead of costly film is X-Ray film. It comes in most sizes, even more commonly 8x10. So here is a readymade orthochromatic film that can be used cheaply! The problem is there are no specifications toward using it as a photographic film. So a good bit of experimentation is required.

8x10 X-Ray Film image by Holden Richards

The main problem is developer/development time. Which developer gets the best results. I tried several with the outcome usually being that the negative was uneven or blotched in some way. After a few near-hits I stumbled across a Flickr user who was experimenting with Caffenol (an instant coffee and vitamin c based homebrew film developer) and it seemed to yield a smooth perfect negative. So now when I develop X-Ray film I'm in the darkroom mixing kitchen safe materials into film developer. The recipes for caffenol can be found at caffenol.blogspot.com.