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 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Full Color Depression

With the loss of many types of film to the dustbin of history, there are certain things that endure about some of these photographic emulsions that are gone. Not the least of which is that Kodachrome in all its incarnations was one of the finest, most detailed colour films ever made. The development process was complex and based on a subtractive development process (the mixing of paints, dyes, inks and natural colorants to create a full range of color, each caused by absorbing some wavelengths of light  and reflecting the others). Sounds complex, mostly its just beautiful to look at. The fact that such complex colour film existed in 1930's even more amazing. A show at Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies showcases this film at a pivotal point in American history.

Commisioned by the Library of Congress’s Farm Security Administration, photographers like Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Russell Lee, and others, took some of the most indelible images of the Great Depression. Some  images were taken using a new film called Kodachrome. Because they had to be processed by Kodak the photographers of these images never got to see them. These photographs were rediscovered by a student researcher doing a dissertation in 1978 in the Library of Congress Archives.