Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Medium Format Work!

Here's a few recent photographs I made with my Pentax 6x7. I used a 105mm f/2.4 lens and Kodak TMax 400 film. Scanned and edited in Photoshop and Lightroom. A continuation of my recent obsession with time and light. It was nice to get out and shoot with the Pentax; it had been sitting dormant on my shelf for much too long!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Print: Looming Shadow

Made with my Nikon Df and 50mm f/1.4 D Nikkor lens. Edited in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

D I G I T A L ? ! ? !

The past few months I've been debating with myself about whether or not I should begin to include digital photography in A Fistful of Brass. Shocked? Believe me, a year ago I would have scoffed at the very idea. I used to hate digital; to me it wasn't real photography (or at least real ART photography). However, during my first semester here in graduate art school at UNO, I began to see how using digital technologies could enhance my artistic vision. I started to scan and edit my negatives in Photoshop and Lightroom. I learned how to use my school's massive Epson printer and made my own inkjet prints for the first time. At my final critique of the semester, I even showed a series of prints I shot completely digitally on my Nikon Df.

I still believe printing in the darkroom from a negative takes more skill, and is much more satisfying when you are able to create a successful photograph. But I'll be totally honest when I say it's almost always a complete pain in the ass. The hours of failed attempts at producing satisfactory grey tones and contrast. The chemical stains on my clothes and fixer stank on my fingers. The endless dust, scratches, and water-marks on my negatives. IT ALL DRIVES ME FUCKING INSANE!

Sorry. I apologize for that outburst.

I don't plan on giving up on film. Not by a long shot. As crazy as it makes me sometimes, film photography is my passion. However, I have begun and will continue to make serious digital work. After many sleepless nights, I have also decided to display these digital photographs here, on A Fistful of Brass (hence the subtle subtitle change in the banner above). I love how with digital I can just focus on creating the image, and not have to worry about all the technical nightmares that come with shooting film. Digital photography is also a hell of a lot cheaper than film; once you buy the camera, it's essentially free until you decide to make a print. At any rate, in a strange way, it's brought me back to the basics of photography.

The basics of photography, light and time, are what I focused on for my new body of digital work. I have a lot more to say about it, but I'll save that for later. I feel like I've rambled on enough for one post. All I'll say for now is that it's a beginning of a new ongoing series. All of these images below were created with my Nikon Df and 50mm f/1.4 D lens. The physical prints for my critique were 18"x12". I plan on continuing to shoot this series digitally, but I have also shot a few rolls of medium format that I plan on making darkroom prints from in the near future. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Project: 5 Days

5 Days (Working Title) is a project I started in mid-October, and only just recently completed for my last grad-school critique of the semester.

I was first inspired one afternoon by the fact that I could not remember what I had eaten for dinner the night before, nor could I recall much else from the preceding day. I started to think about all the little things we see and do in our lives that we give no thought, and forget about mere hours, minutes, or seconds later. I then (rather impulsively) used my Olympus Pen FT half-frame camera to photograph whatever I was looking at every 20 minutes, 24 hours a day, for 5 days straight.

The Olympus Pen FT gets slightly more than double the standard amount of shots on a roll of 35mm film (73 pictures on a roll of 36).  I calculated that 73 shots per day, ranging from midnight to midnight, came out to one photograph every 20 minutes. So I set an alarm to go off on my phone at twenty minute intervals, and photographed whatever I was focused on when it went off, no matter how boring, stupid, or embarrassing it was (Even during the night... I didn't get much sleep). My most important rule was that I could not adjust or change what I was doing in the slightest. I wanted to be as close to 100% honest as I could get.

When the five days were up, I developed, scanned, edited, arranged, and printed the photographs in the order you see above. Each day is a separate printed strip of its 73 images, and comes out to a total of 9 inches by 33 feet when you include the border. Yes, they took a while to print (about 3 1/2 hours each), and hanging all five on the wall for critique was gigantic pain that took up the better part of a day.

I think the end result was worth all the trouble. It's abstract, voyeuristic, autobiographical, and overwhelming. It's my life, for 5 days, 20 minutes at a time.

Close-up of one section. (I wish I could post complete digital versions of each day, but the files are simply too large!)

Yes, I photographed EVERYTHING I was looking at. (Censored)

5 Days gave me some much needed insight into my own life. It made me stop to appreciate all the small, seemingly insignificant moments that make up a large portion of my life's grand narrative. Seeing all the television, computer, and cell phone screens in the final product makes me sad, and is driving me to spend my time more wisely. I'd like to do this project again sometime in the future, and see the possible changes in my life.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Roll: Buttermilk Drop Bakery

Last week, the local Buttermilk Drop Bakery burned down in the middle of the night. I rushed over the next day and made some photographs of the rubble using my Nikon F, 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor lens, and Ilford FP4+ film. Here they are! 

I might make some actual darkroom prints of these in the future. TBD! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Roll: Louisiana Renaissance Festival

On Sunday, Katie and I journeyed to the Village of Albright (otherwise known as the Louisiana Renaissance Festival in Hammond, Louisiana). 

We're huge fans of the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin, so we were super excited about exploring Louisiana's own festival. While much smaller than Bristol, Albright still has a lot to do, see and taste. The landscape is quite pleasant, with the entire village surrounding a large pond. We had fun just eating snacks by the water and watching the scores of interesting people walk by. One gigantic advantage to the Louisiana Festival is that it takes place later in the year, so the weather is much nicer than the sweltering August days of Wisconsin's faire, where temperatures have been around 100 degrees on some weekends. Sunday was probably the first time I actually felt comfortable wearing my Renaissance outfit outdoors!

Here are some photos I took during our time in Albright. I used my Pentax LX with a 50mm f/1.4 Lens and Kodak T-Max 400 film. 

Katie in Costume

Costume Contest

Wedding between two employees at the end of the day. :)


"Kill Me"

We look forward to many more trips to Albright in future!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Roll: Atlanta Trip

Last weekend my MFA seminar class took a trip to Atlanta to look at a bunch of cool galleries. The highlight of the trip for me was getting to see some original Duane Michals prints. It was also just really great to hang out with and get to know my fellow grad students. Here are some photos I took during our trip with my Nikon F2 camera, 50mm f/1.8 lens, and Kodak TMax 400 film.

 "Misery Loves Company"

 "The Dance of the Damned"