Sunday, January 18, 2009

New Polaroid Pieces

I returned to teaching this week after a semester break that was shorter than usual (and felt like it). While on break, I kept busy by making some Polaroid lifts and transfers. I tried something different with these. I took clippings from various magazines and comic books, stuck them in a slide mount, and used these as the slides I made my Polaroid prints from. I must admit that’s not my original idea. An independent study student of mine was doing the same thing last year while learning how to do Polaroid processes. I will say, however, that I’ve done a pretty similar thing for years. When I’m between projects, I take old magazines and comics, throw them on a light table, and photograph what I see. Here’s a page from a magazine I shot back in 2005.

While making these manipulated Polaroid prints, I tried doing both lifts and transfers with the same images. Here’s a Polaroid lift:

and here’s the same image done as a Polaroid transfer:

I expected the differences in the surface between the two pieces. What I wasn’t anticipating was the difference in color between them.

Here’s another lift:

and the same image done as a transfer:

Again, there’s a big difference in color between the two.
I think I know why this occurs. Polaroid lifts start with a fully developed Polaroid print. The photographic emulsion is removed from it’s original backing, and placed onto a new surface. Because the print is fully developed, the color is pretty accurate (for a Polaroid, that is. Polaroid prints aren’t known for having good color).

Polaroid transfers, on the other hand, are made from the negative half of a peel apart Polaroid print. The negative is peeled before the print fully develops. Because the color layers of the film transfer one at a time, depending on how long you wait before pulling the negative off, some of the color layers may have transferred to the print surface, and therefore won’t show up in the transfer.

Here’s one more set of prints. The Polaroid lift is first, followed by the transfer.

While this was fun and kept me busy for a few days, I’m a little ambivalent about the results. I like them, but I’m not sure how much I like them. I made about fifteen prints total, and I’m not sure if I’ll be doing any more like this. My favorite is the Polaroid lift you see above of the face with text on it. I’m considering trying a gum bichromate print of that image. If that turns out, I might make more of these (provided I can get Polaroid film, which just stopped being manufactured).

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Words Of Advice

I was surfing the web just now and found this, purportedly a quote by filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. I liked the message, and given what it says, it seemed appropriate to take it and post it here.
Click on the image to see a larger version.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Facebook Fan Page

I've just set up a fan page on Facebook. My intent is for it to be similar to this blog, a place to post examples of my work. There will likely be more work there (including some older work) and less discussion of work in progress.
Check it out! You don't need to be on Facebook to look at it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More Holiday Postcards

Here's a few more of the postcards I made while visiting family over the holidays.

Don't read too much into them, they were done quickly without any pre-planning or much thought.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Zombie JPG

It looks like JPG magazine might be back from the dead (more accurately saved from impending death, but I really wanted to title this post "The Zombie JPG"). After my previous post, my friend Brady sent me an email with some interesting information: Apparently, the news on JPG's impending demise generated enough interest that some interested buyers came forward. According to the JPG blog, which you can access on their site, they "are hopeful that something can be worked out with a number of potential last minute acquirers who want to help the JPG community live on...The good news is that this interest has bought us a little more time, so we are now looking to keep the site open at least through next week".

If you're interested in following this more closely, a new blog, Save JPG, has just opened.

Meanwhile, I've found another photo blog that has the potential to be interesting. Aiming to combat the widespread belief that all emerging artists are young and fresh out of art school, Expiration Notice will showcase work by photographers worldwide over age 35 and with no current gallery representation. There's nothing up on their site at the moment, they are currently taking submissions for the first edition which will go live in February. I've submitted some work, specifically images from a series of cyanotypes made a couple of years ago of photos of architectural models (one of them is at the top of this post). I'll be sure to let you know if they use them.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Goodbye JPG

I received an e-mail yesterday informing me that JPG magazine is ceasing publication and shutting down it’s website effective 1/5/09. They cite the current economic mess as their reason.

What I admired about JPG is also what drove me nuts about it: As a site dedicated to creative photography where anyone could join and post their photos, it leveled the playing field by avoiding distinctions between professionals and amateurs, commercial and fine art photographers, etc. Unfortunately, that philosophy resulted in an incredible number of trite, unoriginal photos being submitted.

I had some disagreements with JPG’s curatorial choices. While they claimed to be looking for unique and creative work, much of what was chosen for publication seemed pretty tame and expected to me. Also, they were capricious at best with how they enforced their policy banning digital manipulation. That said, I saw a great deal of really good work by unknown photographers on that site, and it will be missed.

Luckily, online photo sites appear to be on the increase. I’ve found several over the past few months that I like. None of these sites allow unmoderated uploading of images, and so are not as egalitarian as JPG, although several are dedicated to showing emerging artists. Having a more active curatorial role seems to largely eliminate the trite, uninteresting work that made up so much of what was found on JPG.

Fraction is a bi-monthly online photo magazine that shows work from established and emerging artists side by side. They also publish a blog.

F-Stop is also an online bi-monthly photography magazine featuring contemporary photography from established and emerging photographers from around the world.

Shots Magazine is an independent, reader-supported, quarterly journal of fine art photography, which presents work by a variety of photographers from around the world. Published online as well as in paper form.

Lenscratch is an interesting blog showcasing contemporary photography and photographers.

Notpaper is a blog about collage. Lots of interesting collage work, both digital and traditional, is featured.