Monday, December 08, 2008

Last batch of Polaroid will be February 2009

CNN's front page Monday night, December 8, 2008 has an story and iReport about Polaroid's sunset coming up in two months. Very sad. They interviewed a few people who run some of the Polaroid enthusiast websites, like Save Polaroid.

I'm just glad I picked up several hundred boxes a while ago! I keep them in a wine cooler I purchased specifically for this occasion. A lot more is in my pantry, mainly the black and white which keeps much longer than color.

Monday, June 02, 2008

I'm famous in Holland

My Viewbook non-commercial photography portfolio has just been featured in Viewbook's blog as part of their "Uncovering Portfolios" series. Check it out!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Massachusetts Model Mayhem Meet & Greet Wow That's a Lot of M's

A very large New England contingent of the Model Mayhem community descended upon a picturesque mansion in northern Massachusetts to meet, shoot and network.

The photographers were there from the very beginning, most just milling about eyeing the lone one or two models like vultures to carrion. If we weren't all joking about it, it might have been awkward. However, within an hour or two, at least twenty more people arrived and by the evening the place started looking like a party at the Playboy Mansion. Beautiful people galore.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Viewbook is awesome and free

I've decided to use Viewbook for my non-commercial work. It's a good idea to separate work that disparate channels might see. When you combine your artwork with your commercial work, you tend to dilute, defocus and confuse your viewers. Viewbook doesn't offer unique domains, however I don't think this is necessarily a big problem for me at this point. For now, Viewbook is a great resource, it looks just as good as Livebooks or Foliolink, it has very minimal limitations, and it's easy to use. The only drawback is that there aren't really many templates, but who cares when one third look like this:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

$399 for fifteen sheets of Polaroid 809???

I've noticed ever since Polaroid announced they're stopping production of all instant films, people think they can sell their Polaroid and 8x10 stuff for ridiculous prices. I really want to know who is buying this stuff. Honestly, these people on eBay are trying to sell a box of 809 for $399, and the stuff expired in 2001! You know damn well that it's going to be totally washed out colorwise... especially anything that ends in "9" from Polaroid. It's made for emulsion lifting and image transfer. The color isn't pro color and it gets even worse with time. And you also know these people were NOT keeping it cool... the boxes are too big. They sat at room temperature... for years.

I'm seeing people trying to sell a Polaroid 545 sheet holder for $85.

I've seen trends come and go with Polaroid stuff. You used to be able to get an old Polaroid 110b camera modified to shoot 6xx for about $225. About a year or two ago, prices went up people are trying to sell them for $500+. More insanity. Now these people that bought them for $500 six to 18 months ago are trying to dump their cameras on eBay with the Polaroid news and they're trying to get even more.


Don't be a sucker. This stuff is perishable. It's not like Polaroid film lasts forever. Don't get crazy on the equipment either. It will be dumped on the market eventually because nobody is going to buy these things at these prices except the absolutely desperate.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Leap Into Spring Fashion

So I just shot a crazy hectic and exciting event on the 29th. The wonderful Aileen Benson organized a runway show at Vinalia's in Downtown Crossing for the Children's Trust Fund. The show was called "Leap into Spring Fashion" and I was asked to shoot the event. Now, when Aileen asks if I want to shoot something, I usually just automatically agree to it, and unfortunately I didn't read the details. I thought it was just going to be a runway event and then photographing people for with some of her male models from Tonn Model Management for a $5 donation to CTF. Well, it turned out that didn't really happen as it was so hectic, but also I failed to remember that there were actually three runway acts, and it involved photographing all of the models wearing the designs in between the events.

All I can say is this: RTFM! (Read the ____ Manual!), ie, read what people send you! Luckily I had brought my friend and and trusty photographer Carlton SooHoo who helped me with lighting and shooting and even running down the street to Macy's to get a sheet for our makeshift "backdrop". Yeah, yeah, you can see the creases, but that's what Photoshop will be used for. The funny thing is that Aileen sent off one of the guys to find a steamer but the guy disappeared and apparently got lost or something. Nevertheless, the show had to begin.

One of the original reasons why I wanted an extra person was that I wanted to do something different in terms of small-venue runway photos. They always look the same to me, and my theory is that it's because there's horrible lighting, and the photographer ends up using on-board flash (real big runway events usually don't have flash because photographers are far away with telephoto lenses). What I thought of was backlighting.... having some light coming from behind the model standing at the end of the runway. So I had Carlton standing near the steps to the runway and when the model arrived at the end and my flash unit tripped Carlton's flash unit behind the model, the result was a runway photo with some nice back-lighting and depth.

Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one using flash. I hadn't counted on everyone else whipping out their Sureshots and blazing the models with flash (usually there are rules against that!) but sure enough within just a few minutes, Carlton's SB-800 had gone on the fritz. Ouch. So there goes that idea... at least not with using Pocket Wizards. Next time, definitely use Pocket Wizards.

As I mentioned, in between the runway shows, we photographed the models wearing the designs. My favorites were of Fiona wearing this piece from Nirva. I don't know, I just like these shots. I always tend to like imperfect shots. Snapshot DIY look.... dark and dusky "'70s" look... Polaroid look. I dig it. Anyway, Nirva was actually one of the designers at the Gamble Mansion shoot last year. It was nice to see her again.

After the event, Aileen made me take pictures of her doing the twist while wearing one of JP Amolat's (Pinkblue Hollywood) designs. After about 40 photos, we finally agreed this one was the best. She also probably burned 500 calories doing it. Modeling is hard work.

Lastly, we had a special guest: Jacqueline Bruno, Miss Massachusetts. She was great, posing with lots of people including some of the models and us.

To see all the photos of the runway event, the models, the designers, and some behind-the-scenes pictures, visit my Smugmug page.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Erik Hansen's photos of brilliance and wonder

As the crowd was thinning out and leaving the opening reception of Ballad of Life, I noticed a lone gentleman studying my photos. Naveed, our curator, asked me to speak to him and so I went over and introduced myself. We got to talking about photography and our own goals and ideals in the medium. Turns out, we had a lot in common. We exchanged cards and I promised I'd take a look at his work.

You gotta check this guy's work out.

I-Scape 12 "The Wolf Grows Up in the Woods" by Erik Hansen

It's really stunning. He creates these landscapes that seem to capture time and space with a masterful control of light and composition. However, this technical description betrays the actual aesthetic of his work. His compositions evoke something within me, a sense of wonder and curiosity. I feel like I'm looking at how children or Zen monks view the world.

Erik calls his artwork "I-Scapes". Says Erik:
I-Scapes (IMAGINARY TIMESCAPES) represent mysterious places and states of mind that exist somewhere beyond the ordinary conscious world. Humans, animals, or their spirits may have recently passed within their borders.
This might be one of the reasons why Erik and I have a similar aesthetic appreciation. It's clear to me that we have a similar need to express some of these concepts in our work.

He also does a lot of prep work for his photos. Keep in mind, none of his photos are digitally altered.
I sculpt pieces and paint props and backgrounds. I also gather and reassemble found objects. The hands-on, tactile part of the process is particularly satisfying.
I couldn't agree more. While I have nothing against working in Photoshop to alter and manipulate images, it is my opinion that there is something special about being able to create the world you are trying to capture in the camera frame itself. It's a great sense of accomplishment, and it does translate to your audience.

Photo © Erik Hansen

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ballad of Life, Opening Reception

The opening reception was amazing. I couldn't have imagined a larger turnout. This isn't about bragging, this is about my bewilderment and being absolutely grateful for the fact that between 200 and 300 people were interested in checking out our work between 2 and 4 pm last Sunday. In reality, there were already about 50 people in the gallery at 1:45.

In case you didn't know, I am in a group exhibition right now called The Ballad of Life. It closes February 29th. You can check it out on the third floor Contemporary Art Gallery located at, of all places, the Armenian Library & Museum of America in Watertown, MA.

360ยบ VR Panospin™ of me talking to Erik Hansen in front of my work
Photo © 2008 Carlton SooHoo

I have six pieces in the show from an ongoing series I call Personal Mythology. However, for this show, I call this initial group of photos "What I Remember". The work is related to dreams and memories from childhood up to recent time. My focus is primarily on how we tend to romanticize and dramatize events, and sometimes treat dreams as real events as well. This mixture of dreams and events become real concepts to us and become a part of our personal lexicon, but more importantly personal mythology.

The name of our group is PhotoEmerge. It was founded by our curator Naveed Nour and officially began in early 2007 as a workshop in the business of photography. I'm proud to say I'm a member of the "first class" so-to-speak, as PhotoEmerge will continue as a group collaborative with old members leaving and new members renewing its existence.

Other members that also showed were Kate Russell-Jones, George Libbares, Jason Jedrusiak, Melanie Thornton and Marcus Stern.