Archive | darkroom work

An American Thanksgiving in Greece…the session draws to a close…

Tomorrow is the American Thanksgiving, but here on Paros at the Aegean Center we celebrate the Feast of Thanks on Friday evening, not Thursday.  This is mostly so we do not interrupt the class schedule at a point in the term when everyone is either scrambling to wrap things up or just feeling the crunch.  I have conducted an inventory of my darkroom work and I only need to reprint two pieces and then I can begin the selenium toning process, then I matte them.  My digital work is half-way done.  So I am in good shape.  I cannot speak for any of the others.

I have found an apartment, or rather one was found for me, and I am looking forward to the move in late February.  It is actually the former apartment of an Aegean Center faculty member and in spring of 2010 I visited it and loved it immediately.  It is on the second floor with two small balconies.  There is a large living room, a separate bedroom, a small but full kitchen and a bathroom.  Good windows, lots of light and the price is right.  It is also adjacent to the school, so I will be within shouting distance of whatever work I will be doing.

In regards to that, I will be taking the painting course this spring as a student plus working one-on-one with the maestro in the digital lab.  This means that I have to bow out of the darkroom as a formal student, but I am pretty sure I will be doing some work in there as well.  I know nothing of painting, or how to do it, which is hat they like here.  Jane and Jun would rather work with a blank canvas than try to re-teach someone.

John says the turkeys are in the brine.  I have to make a shopping list of goods to buy for glazed carrots as well as a normal style stuffing.  This means onions, celery, sage and veggie broth.  I also need to buy bread, cube it up and let it dry.  Perhaps I’ll toast it in the oven to facilitate that drying process, or else it might just mold.

I am so thankful for this life that I cannot figure out where to start.  This morning I was up early and out working with the 4×5.  The light was soft and lovely and there is no wind today.  This will change, I know, and that’s alright, but for now I am feeling pretty good about what is happening.   There is a sadness in the air, though.  In two weeks the student show opens and then we all go our separate ways.  Most of us will never see each other again and although it is a small planet and connections can be strong at the beginning, the ties will thin and eventually fade out.  I have experienced this firsthand in my life.  Yes, you may say, there are social networking sites and the internet, but truth be told there is nothing really very strong about them.  They cannot hold a candle to a strong network built on real communication and true friendship.  Clicking a series of buttons does not make you my friend.  Commitment, contact and honesty does, however.  There is at least one student here who I will miss terribly but she has made a commitment to her family and I respect that.  I have to believe that the time she has spent here has altered her life for the better, and forever.




Much needed rain and fall in the Aegean…

It is raining outside and has been since yesterday.  We do need the rain here on Paros.  The island had become so dry in the past few weeks.  The wind from the north has been blowing at Force 7,8 and 9 on the Beaufort scale but today it has seemed to have quieted somewhat.  This will end tonight, but the winds will continue to whip the water back into the sky for the next few days even though the sun will be out.  Autumn in the Aegean is very different than in the Northeastern area of the US.  The fall colors fade from the burned gold and silver of summer into a rich caramel amber and finally as the rains come in, more green, crocuses and smaller blooms accompanying the cooler air.  In the local gardens there is spinach, broccoli and cauliflower.  This morning I received a treat of fresh oranges, right off the trees.  Anyone who says there are no seasons here in the Kyklades have obviously never stayed here for long.

We have 26 days until the student show and 31 until I arrive back in New York.  My two portfolios are filling up as I slowly create more prints in the darkroom and digital lab.  If one were to look at them right now they would seem to lack cohesiveness, but really this is an academic regiment and not relevant to the Aegean Center, its philosophy or even my own thinking.  Relevance and structure are all around me and integral in my thinking.  At the very least the fact that I am making these pieces is a glue that holds them together.  That the silver pieces are all, with few exceptions, all of Italy in September and the digital are all 4×5 scans of Paros are also two values that assign a consistency to these two projects.

Upstairs students are drawing in the figure study class.  Still others are meeting with Liz Carson in the darkroom (I just came from there myself) and planning the week’s work.  John Pack is readying himself for another day of digital printing and wrangling the kinds of wild horses that only the director of a small arts center on an island in Greece can possibly ride.  Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we will celebrate here on Paros in grand style.  I am supplying the glazed carrots.



4×5 work, landscape portraiture, good weather and bad…

Much has happened since my last post.  The figure study project I had been working on came to naught, both by my hand and outside forces.  Thankfully I have the knowledge that I cancelled the shoots due to artistic apathy and ennui before there were complaints from some parents about “possible improprieties” in the studio.  Although the models are all over 18 and therefore legally able to make up their own minds (and vote and die for their country) whether to pose nude or semi-nude  and that there has never been any complaints or actual difficulties is apparently besides the point.  I was told that I should stop the project. Like I said I am happy that I decided to end it before I heard that news.  What’s over and one with is just that.  I must admit however that these revelations left me feeling as if my integrity and honor as a man and a photographer had been questioned when really it is a matter of politics for the Center and the director.  Once again art and politics clash and the outcome is predictable.

My new work is exclusively 4×5 film, scanning them in the digital lab and then working on them in RAW, PhotoShop and finally printing them on one of the big Epsons.  The large format camera is a steep learning curve itself.  So far I am achieving some lovely results.  The portfolio will be a series of’ “Paros Portraits-People, Places and Things.”  I am taking my time with this, although the actual time is limited.  12 pieces need to be finished by December 7th.  The same holds true for my darkroom work–12 pieces of MF based on the Italian session and these also have to be matted–all by   December 7th.  The student show is the 9th and I leave Paros on the 12th to return to the USA on the 15th.

The weather has been up and down.  Cool at night, dry and sunny during the day with a north wind that whips all the warmth from the stones.  We are expecting tough weather this weekend with rain, Force 9 winds and temperatures in the low 40s F.

There are other things to blog about but as of now they are vague.  When I can speak of them with surety, I will.  Right now, mums the word!



Promotional work, silver darkroom, boat strikes…and more…

I suppose the first thing to report would be the horrendous economic situation here in Greece.  This is not really news, since the trouble is worldwide and everyone has been watching this little country sink lower and lower into disaster.  On the island, however, the situation takes on a different flavor.  Much of the protesting in Greece against the austerity measures has been in the transport industries.  Trucks, taxis, buses, train and boats all strike periodically.  Recently the dock workers and shipping crews have gone on strike, halting almost all boat travel through the Aegean Sea.  This cripples a seafaring nation like Greece with its outlying island and archipelagoes.  Paros is affected, obviously.  The current boat strike began last Monday and was supposed to be lifted today, just shy of a week.  Yesterday we received news that the strike had been extended to Wednesday, possibly Thursday. This is bad tidings for a small island dependent on the outside mainland for goods and service.  We are lucky to have local farmers selling vegetables and grocery stores that still have some goods, but meat markets are running out of product and I am concerned that petrol stations will run short in the next couple of days, especially if people make a run for fuel.  As my father told me, I am at the crux of history, so I shall keep my eyes open, my mouth shut and watch the intersections.

The promotional work I am photographing for a friend is moving along.  She only needs three or four pieces for her website, but that still means the same amount of work for me.  It is excellent experience and although I do not do this type of work often, I can see how my own aesthetic plays a large part in how I view the event.  I suppose everyone brings their own vision to this kind of work.  The results will reveal how I view this kind of labor.  So far, so good, actually.  Perhaps she’ll let me use one of these for the blog as an example.

The darkroom moves along and I hope to expose a roll of MF this afternoon and develop it as well.  I am scheduled to be working in there tonight but I have forgotten when I signed up.  I think 22:00hrs.  I have to print at least one piece from the Villa, maybe two if I am lucky, so I can show them to Liz and see how she wishes me to proceed.

I have picked an odd time to move to Greece.  I haven’t looked at any apartments yet, but that will be this week.  I have two, maybe three to check out.  One is a very humble flat in the middle of Paroikia and the other is a bit more lavish old house, I think, not quite on the outskirts of town. I don’t know the prices for either.

More to come…