Thursday, June 25, 2009

Recent Experiments

I’ve been having a relaxing summer, and probably not putting in as much studio time as I should be. I am working on a couple of different things, mainly trying to print alternative process photos on different surfaces. Not a lot of success yet, as you’ll see, but I’ve got more things to try.

Recently, I’ve been working at making cyanotype prints on pieces of plywood. I swear I’ve seen that done before, but can’t seem to find any examples in any of my books on alternative processes.

Here’s one of the images I’m working with, printed on paper. While it needs a little work, I can get a decent print fom the negative I printed. The image, by the way, is something I shot a couple of years ago. I have a bunch of old magazines from the 50’s in my studio, and this part of a page from one of them shot on a light table, so that the images on both sides of the page show.

For my first attempt attempt at cyanotype printing on plywood, I just coated the wood, let it dry (it seemed to take a long time to dry, similar to coating fabric for printing), and exposed the negative. As you can see below, it didn’t work out so well.

It looks a little underexposed (again, like printing on fabric, which I’ve found takes longer to expose than paper). It’s also difficult to read the image. Part of that is from is the roughness of the wood, so I sanded a piece, coated it (the sanded piece dried more quickly) and exposed it. I increased exposure by a couple of minutes as well.

This one came out better than the first one, but still not that great. While it’s easier to see the image here than on the first one I did, it’s nowhere close to where I want it. I’m going to try sizing the wood next, probably with gelatin. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vacation Photos

I’ve got at least three different ideas I’m (kind of) working on right now, and will post some of them here once they’ve progressed to a point where it makes sense to show them.

In the meantime, here’s some pieces from a small project I just completed. I was asked (in a semi-joking way) to hang vacation photos in the showcases in the Fine and Performing Arts Center of Moraine Valley Community College, where I teach. I agreed, then had to come up with something interesting, so that the cases weren’t filled with a bunch of boring photos.
I decided to enlarge some panoramic or joined photo pieces, and print them on several pieces of 13 X 19 inch paper, and surround them with more typical scenic photos.

I’ve played with these ‘panoramas’ for several years, shooting them while on vacation, and sometimes close to home as well. I always do them quickly, and while I try to line things up, I don’t aim for perfection. I like the spatial distortions that occur, as well as the changes in exposure in the different individual photos that make up a panoramic image. The one at the top of this post was taken at Zion National Park in Utah in 2001. That one was shot using a film camera. The individual prints were pieced together then scanned.

This one was shot in The Netherlands in 2005. I like how the blades of the windmill are not lined up in the various shots that make this piece. The movement of the blades becomes evident as a result.

I shot this from the 15th floor balcony of a hotel room in San Francisco's Japantown in 2003. The overlapping photos seem to increase the busyness of the urban scene.

These vacation photos, along with several non panoramic shots, are currently on display in the showcases in the atrium of the Fine and Performing Arts Center of Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, IL. They should remain up for most of the summer.