Friday, October 31, 2014
Last Friday, American Football posted a photo on their Facebook that was taken by Mike Kinsella from my camera. Having a camera at all the time sure helps.
This is the evidence
What a crazy night.
I had recently purchased a Polaroid SX-70 at a consignment shop in Tewksbury, Ma. I debated the thought of getting it just because it wasn't something I was interested in at the time. It was sitting at this shop for a couple of months with anyone having the interest nor idea of coming across a gem like this. I decided to pick it up. I have no regrets.
I want to take more pictures that require no negative cleanup, no color adjustments and no fooling around tonal curves. Don't get me wrong I love doing all of the above, but there are times I just need that image to look good straight from a camera. I'm still not ready to shoot digital again so this is the closest thing to instant gratification that I'm going to get (I do photograph with my phone periodically so I'm not that far away from the medium).
I do have a Polaroid camera already, but shooting in squares seems more enticing. I could keep my Land Camera or just gift it to someone who would appreciate it more than I would. I can always find a camera like that at a thrift shop or consignment store.
Getting the camera meant thinking of a possible project for next year. I've been playing around the idea of doing a monthly project for 2015. It stems from the ROLL CALL series I did last year, but with stricter rules. I've been jotting down ideas and made some conclusions, but retract and add different angles to it. So, it's taking a little bit to decide, but I'm sure something will ring.
Let's hope that this one won't be a failure.
I'm guessing the picture taking will start to slow down in the next few months. This means rain, fucked up snow, overcasts and maybe all three. I haven't been motivated to go out and photograph things very much lately. So, editing will have to take over for the next few months.
Okay... I admit. I'm editing more than shooting, but the constant back up sucks. I'm in no rush to fixing them, however, but I'm annoyed at myself for letting it pile up. I do this to myself all the time.
This screenshot is a little old since all the photographs you see here have already been edited. They're going to be featured in the next few weeks. I'm supposed to print them out and make a scrapbook for my wife. Looking at them now I can't help, but feel like it could potentially be something of a small zine.
There's so much work to be done. The next few months will hopefully be dedicated to updating my portfolio site. I've been looking at it constantly gathering as much ideas as I can. I don't know what to take away, add, or if there's a theme I can by, but I'm writing a lot of shit down and figuring out what will work and what won't. Since my shooting has changed drastically a lot of photographs are being questioned whether to post or let it stay still and rot.
Hana Haley is a fashion photographer from the Portland, OR who now resides in San Francisco, CA. Her work is amazing. There's a lot of love in work and that's what stands out to me. I had the opportunity to interview her via email with a new mindset of her work. I'm stoked what she's going to bring to us next year.
1. There was someone on your tumblr awhile back that had asked about the people you chose to photograph. The question was asked by an anonymous person who had said "do you only photograph thin women?". In your reply you stated that you photograph women in various sizes. Does it bug you that the standards have stayed the same all these years and has not changed? And by straying away from modeling agencies is this a rebellion against the fashion industry as a whole?
Yeah, I'd like to see the industry embrace more types of women in the future. I believe it's possible but it will take a lot of hinting. It really bothers me that this industry tells me my work isn't professional because I'm not shooting with "real" models. I'd rather just shoot with humans I like as people and not care about their hip measurements.
2. Your images have a very classic feel to them. Before this interview you had told me it was because of your Grandfather had exposed you in an early age the classics of Alfred Hitchcock, murder shows, and 1950's musicals. Could you tell me a particular movie that you think could identify your style the most and what were some of those aesthetics that you took away from it?
I'd say the film 'Vertigo' has cast a long-lasting spell on me... I remember going to the same San Francisco locations the main characters go to and seeing how crass and uninspiring reality looked but understood I could change that with some 35 mm. The coloring, hazy filters, and general melancholy of that movie always appealed to me and I'm probably subconsciously trying to add it to my own works.
3. This movement in shooting film has skyrocketed over the years (I just got back into again 3 years ago). Was there a certain reason why you chose to shoot film? Was it to bring the nostalgia of your youth to your work or was it just a conscience decision you made?
Ahaha, to be honest I started shooting with film because I had a crazy crush on another photographer who only shot with film, and he suggested I switch. I realized though that it was a much better feeling because it came with a lot of mystery and heightened my concentration. Now I really can't stand digital because it looks really cheap to me.
4. Are there any photographers of the modern age that have influenced you? If so who are they and what was it that was so inspiring?
Wendy Bevan was one of the first fashion photographers I ever saw and her photos have always stuck with me... I wasn't really exposed to any other sort of photography, such as lifestyle or documentary, until I was older. But because I was 14 years old and my mind was like a little sponge I really soaked up her dreamy, haunting vintage polaroid aesthetic. They were inspiring because they were like anything I had ever seen before and somehow I connected to the nostalgic feeling in them.
5. What are some of the characteristics that you’re drawn by when photographing these women? Innocence? Strength? Emotion?
Emotion and a sense of solitude is really important. I can't stand girls who are overtly self-aware and shoving their persona at me. I like a little modesty.
6. Do you have a favorite camera? Pair of shoes? Pants? Hat?
My baby Canon AE-1 (which I actually gifted to a friend!). The pink pair of converse my dad gave me when I was 13. I don't really wear pants or hats, but they'd probably be high-wasited and black.
7. Who are your favorite fashion bloggers right now?
Permanently calivintage and the cherry blossom girl.
8. Last question. I know you have a short film coming out, a book, and a new project in the works. What should we expect from Hana Haley in 2015?
More films, more acting and more photos!
This new segment just opened up awhile back and I wanted to sort of talk about this particular episode. Bruce Gilden is noted as one of the most aggressive street photographers of all time (well... next to Mark Cohen in his prime). This particular episode, however, focuses on art photography, so, the images showcased are more set up than candid.
Towards the end of the episode he critiqued Elena Montemurro's pictures. I'm a big fan of her work and seeing this had me excited. It was awesome to see Bruce understanding Elena's concept. There was a shot he critiqued of 3 girls looking inside the trunk of a car. He liked the expressions, the line that slightly cuts off the face, and the way it was cinematically composed.
It was great to see her work. It was great to see that Bruce Gilden critique it.
I will be watching more of these segments when they come around. For now check out Elena Montemurro's work.
If this didn't exist I could only imagine the kind of person I would be today. American Football was such a iconic figure in my life. I could get lost in this album so easily that popping it in would have me listen from beginning to end. At points where past relationships went down in turmoil I could go back to these sets of songs and cope with whatever I felt at the time. Musically the songs share simple concepts that develop into 4 minute stories of the young who have a hard time controlling their fates. The emotional palette and structure introduce a color that's both calm and quiet most listeners can relate to. Lyrics that say:
"so let's just pretend
everything and anything
between you and me
was never meant"
In my opinion the real street photographers are the ones who skate. Not to say photographers such as Winogrand, Kertesz, and Davidson weren't very good, but in the modern age I feel these individuals are the ones who put in the most work. It's a culture that I can relate to.
At one point I did skate. For 2-in-a-half years actually. It was in my early teens when there wasn't really much to do in a small town. Your imagination had to run wild in order to feel sane in such a shitty place. So, discovering skating I was able to look at things differently. The sidewalks and roads seemed so interesting and they become an imaginary park. It was fun especially when you had a pack of people skating with you.
And that drove me to learn other things. Because of skating I was inspired by music which led to learning how to play guitar. Then photography became interesting since most of the best shots I saw were on album covers or intense shows. This led to my inception as a photographer. And I have to give credit to skateboarding for this. It helped me broaden my imagination on other interests.
There are days I forget why I do what I do. And then I look at these individuals. These skate photographers. They continue to create bodies of work not matter what. And that's what inspires me. They hustle. They create. They make work whether people like it or not.
Their approach is direct. Much like skating where they see something and figure out a way to make it look cool their art translates the same way. They see a composition unfolding they take picture. Group of drunk dudes pissing on the wall, take a picture. An interesting look at a piece of trash on the ground? Take a picture. They find inspiration from lots of things whether big or small.
The volumes of work they produce in books, zines, and gallery shows are just a figment of what they can do. Honestly, skate photographers have such a hard work ethic. It's just nice that people who have the same interests are out their getting noticed for their hustle.
I'm trying to take up skating again. Yeah I know. I'm a little old to be doing something like this, but I don't care. I want to be able to create that broad imagination like I did when I was young. I still have it, but skating may help inspire me to look at things differently.
If you want to know what I'm talking about check out these photographers here.
Remember that this is just a sample of the many that are out there making it happen. These are just my favorites.
I share a special place in my heart for the Get Up Kids. At a time where I didn't feel okay about things I could pop this song into my stereo and allow the pain to go away. And because these songs exist I'm more emotionally driven to things I'm passionate about. The words seem to help me see compositions cinematically rather direclty. I mean words like:
"sing a long goodnight, forfeit any fight
refuse to rest assured
it comes with no reply
hold on too tight
i hang on every word"
I've always found myself having limitations. These limitations have become a piece of who I am and where I belong in the world. But when it comes to art I find myself looking for those kinds of limitations.
Technology is changing our world everyday and it's making the art industry become worse and worse. Professional photographers need to get their hands on all the new software and gear to make the easy dollar. The advancement of technology has many people in the tip of the fingers and they're all dependent on it.
Photography, in my opinion, has gotten worse and worse over the last decade. People seem to think that having top quality equipment and expensive software will help them create "amazing" work. But they forget it's the image they should look at and not the quality of gear they buy. This dependency get's me irritated. And it get's me irritated because this perception of photography has people spinning.
So, I call this the "four year photographer." It happens all the time. A photographer buys great equipment, finds pretty models, gets under paid commissions, tries to make it big moving to the city, can't find work, use their savings to pay rent, go back to their hometown, attempt to recollect their fame, and completely lose interest in photography because they're frustrated.
All the crap they have, couldn't reclaim their fame, got bored and quit completely. And it happens all the time. As far as I see it I'm glad these cycles come around. It's a reminder that I'm not that kind of photographer.
My start was a Pentax ME Super my father owned with a 35mm lens and black & white film. I was introduced to this medium in a Photo 101 type class Thom Halls was teaching. He taught us the basics. You know. Those things you need to learn before you can go out and take decent pictures like:
- exposure dials
- correct exposure
- shutter speeds
- black & white development
- black & white printing
I was persistent at learning these basics. And when digital photography emerged into the photo program I learned the basics and advancements to make decent photographs in camera and in software.
After years of shooting digital I started getting bored with photography. I wanted to challenge myself and decided on doing a 365 project. Shooting, producing and blogging everyday was key to completing this project and made me think of photographs a different way.
It helped me obtain an incredibly large skill set. However, with the software knowledge I gained, the ability to produce digital images in a small amount of time, and knowing I can salvage a badly exposed picture made photography not as challenging.
So, I made the conscience decision and went back to the basics. I started shooting film again and sold all my digital equipment. I stick to one ASA speed, have no light meter built into my cameras (well.. the medium format is an exception) and take selective pictures.
The shooting, the scanning and working them on Photoshop (cleaning dust and scratches, curves, and sharpening images for possible print) is a slow process, but a rewarding one. The images sort of sits for awhile until it has some relevance to something.
And the fact that I decided to limit myself to something like this makes photography more of a challenge. I don't know why this is, but I'm forced to know if I have the right exposure measurements, if the lens is in focus, if the composition is decent, and if I have enough shots on a 36 exposure rol.
I guess I'm tired of seeing these mother fuckers with loads of money buy all this garbage and think they can make easy bucks. That they think the crap that they have makes them "professional photographers". And those assholes are the ones who are tainting our reputation as artists. As photographers. As the ones who don't have the kind of money and are limited to the small tools they have. But they still continue to make beautiful pictures.
I know I'm ranting, but I think the photographers who continue to hustle with what little they have deserve more respect. They're the ones who should be noticed for their hard work and beautiful pictures. I hope that this whole "Professional Photographers who buy a bunch of shit because they think it will make them Professional" thing will fade. But I doubt that will happen considering how all these companies sell all this crap and it doesn't even fucking work half the time.
This week I'm going to focus on some bands that I've been listening to for awhile. The three bands featured are not limited to the number of bands that have affected my way of how I look at the world. To tell you the truth punk, emo, and hardcore have been an important asset to my life and had helped me cope with life in times I felt it difficult to live.
I just recently discovered this song through the Run For Cover Records bandcamp. I remembered listening to it the first time while at work and I was taken away by the dynamics, the driving melody, and just the classic hardcore sound I'm so familiar with. But the lyrical content is what strikes me:
"This is the park where you fell asleep, and couldnt tell if it was a dream,
when you opened your eyes and saw the man hiding in the trees.
This is the street where the woman died,
she had the problem of being too sweet,
and how naive of me to think I couldnt get homesick in a week."
So, I have a print up at the Zeitgeist Gallery in Lowell, Ma. The opening is in October 2nd - 26th. The reception is October 4th an starts at 6 - 9pm. I'll most likely be there to check out the exhibit, so if you're around come to the gallery and hang out.
I wanted to get in more of what's been going on in politics lately. I'm sure a majority of you have been updated with the Islamic State story in Iraq and the current decision that Obama has made by training Syrian rebels. There have been a few reports of the beheadings of journalists and massive amount of killings since the Islamic State inception.
But I'm more into talking about the ideology of the whole Isis thing. Vice News did a documentary on the Islamic State awhile back. Most of the people who are involved in the group go around taking charge on making sure everything is in order for their so called "Allah". But watching the footage it just seemed like a bunch of people had this crazy vision and decided that it was okay to enforce this "vision" to the public. The women still opressed, people can't really drink, you still have to pray a certain amount of times in a day, and you're now under a rule of people who believe this is the way you should live. Seriously these guys don't have fun at all. They think having fun does not support "Allah".
And I think this is why we have so many wars. People's ideology is so off the wall that anyone that's crazy enough to follow will have others follow. Sort of brainwashing. I know that most of these religious people who find that religion has helped them follow through life as what they think should be. And those are the people who actually have a genuine heart about what they believe. But this... this shit... this is just horrible. I mean you're teaching young kids to protect "Allah" with an AK47. Who the fuck does that?
It's sad. It really is. And I hope this whole thing can be resolved. And idea cannot be thrown away when you have so many supporters backing it up. But you can indeed do what you can to stop something that could get worse.