Archive | rangefinder camera

Post time…Vienna…

I haven’t posted in quite a while.  I’ll give the short-story to catch up and then expound a bit…

The student exhibition for the Fall 2012 Aegean Center was lovely.  The students worked hard, expressed their individual talents and it showed.  That’s all I have to say really, except well done to all!  I am looking forward to the spring session and all that it may hold.  Challenges, rewards, hard work, hikes, frustrations and solutions.  It all makes up the rich pageant that is the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts.

I traveled to Athens and stayed there for two days.  While I was there I was able to see an exhibit from the photographer Helmut Newton.  I was surprised.  I have seen much of his work over the years, in books mostly, so to see full-sized prints was stunning.  There was also a movie, made by his wife of almost 50 years, June Newton.  It portrayed a man severely maligned by the press and the photo-world as being a pervert and a weirdo.  The truth was eye-opening.  He worked hard, used incredible skill with no trickery and produced some of the more iconic images in fashion I have ever seen.  His CV reads like a who’s-who of the fashion world: Vogue, Elle, Yves St. Laurent…the list goes on.  His commentary was clear and the filmed interactions with his models proved beyond a doubt the level of respect for their professionalism and grace.  At one point he said that his goal was to make a fashion shoot not look like a fashion shoot, but rather something from a movie.  He also talked about the gear he uses, i.e. not much: a Hasselblad 500 and a Polaroid for the light tests.  He switched to a basic canon EOS digital later on his career for the lighting tests.  Very few exterior lights and almost no studios that looked like studios.  His eye captured the realities behind the shoot as well as the focus.   I left the show feeling like it was a good two hours spent in the afternoon. The next day I flew to Vienna and was greeted by the lights of a city in Christmas season and the weather to match.  It’s cold here, folks.  Last night it went down to 18*F.  Today was cloudy and chilly and snow is predicted for tomorrow night.

I visited the Albertina Museum today to see the Albrecht Durer show.  It was a huge event focusing on his work during the reign of Emperor Maximilian I.  Many of the works mentioned in the Wiki article were on display for the first time in decades.   I have to leave descriptions of those for the next post since I will include many links.

Tonight I dine on tafelspitz and then walk down to the Burg Kino Theater and watch ‘The Third man’.



Some Robert Henri-isms…

Here are some quotes from Robert Henri, from his book ‘The Art Spirit’.  It has given me great joy and pleasure in the past 24 hours.  His words, I feel,  are meditations…

“An art student should read, or talk a great deal with those who have read.  His conversations with his intimate fellows should be more about his life and less of paint.”

“He should be careful of the influence of those with whom he consorts, and he runs a great risk in becoming a member of a large society, for large bodies tend toward the leveling of individuality to a common consent, the forming of adherence to a creed.”

“An artist who does not use his imagination is a mechanic.”

“All things change according to the state we are in.  Nothing is fixed.”

“There is nothing in all the world more beautiful or significant of the laws of the universe than the nude human body. In fact it is not only among the artists but among all people that a greater appreciation and respect for the human body should develop. When we respect the nude we will no longer have any shame about it.”

“The art student of these days is a pioneer. He lives in a decidedly colorless, materialistic age…Sometimes in the past we shot ahead, in certain ways, ahead of where we are now…We have yet as a body to come up to the art of living.”

“If a man has the soul of an artist he needs mastery of all the means of expression so that he may command them, for with his soul in activity he has much to say.”

“It is a splendid thing to live in the environment of great students. To have them about you in person if you can. If not in person, in their works. To live with them. Great students agree and disagree. They stir the waters.”

“If you want to know how to do a thing you must first have a complete desire to do that thing. Then go to kindred spirits–others who have wanted to do that thing–and study their ways and means, learn from their successes and failures and add your quota. Thus you may acquire from the experience of the race. And with this technical knowledge you may go forward, expressing through the play of forms the music that is in you and which is very personal to you.”

“Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.”



Paros news, part II, and travel ahead…

Once again I find myself at Mikro Cafe updating this electronic epistle, free to whomever wishes to read it and in doing so, please respond.  I arrived after my 12 day island-hop with fifteen rolls of exposed 120 film and I have developed it all.  This is important because it means that I may not have to bring my heavy medium format camera to Italy in the fall, which also means no tripod, no film, etc…What a literal load off my shoulders!  I can concentrate on digital color and get to know my new Leica M8 during the Italian session.  There was an issue in the darkroom, however, dealing with the near-tropical conditions. In short the water coming out of the tap was 24-25C  and I need the chemistry to be 20C.  The ambient room temperature was also 24-25C which meant that all the metal canisters and film reels were all 24-25C.  The upshot is that even if I drop the chemistry temp to 20C the second I put the soup in the can, the temp will rise 2 degrees at least, thus dropping the developing time.  This was my solution:

I made the initial film rinse at 16C, thus dropping the can/reel/ temp to 20C.  Then I can add the 20C soup and it will at least be stable for a couple of minutes before the ambient room temperature raises the can of soup a degree or so.  Now, since I have been under developing my PlusX by N-2 anyway in this darkroom I have to adjust the time again, this time for ambient temperature.  For this round of work I dropped the time to N-5 and the effects are very nice indeed: good separation in the shadows, nice highlights that are not overexposed and a balanced contrast.  Considering that many of the images were made in the height of the Greek sun (10:00-15:00, or 5800K) I am very pleased with the results.

Paros is much the same.  The Watercolor Workshop and the Digital Photography Bootcamp finished and hung a small exhibition last Friday which was lovely.  I was impressed by the photographers and enchanted by the watercolorists.  Some of the photographers had never worked in this kind of digital dynamic before and their work was terrific: all illustrated an excellent use of negative space, lovely light/shadow, texture and elegant composition in the work.  The watercolors were ethereal and splashed with colors, bright and soft.  There were some students who had never worked in this medium as well but that wasn’t apparent.  This is a testament to both their innate skill and that of their instructor.  There are more tourists on the island, but it is not crammed with people.  I am sure this is making some business owners nervous about their futures, but the summer hasn’t really arrived and the July and August crowds will write the book on this piece of marble in the blue sea.

I leave Paros for the USA in about a week.  I would like to think I will have a relaxing time back in New York but my time will be short and I have much to do, many people to see and commitments to keep.  I will be off-island and out of the EU for a month and then return at the very beginning of August.  As the plan goes I have about three weeks here and then I am off to visit a friend in England for a couple of days and then head to Italy, Ravenna and finally Pistoia and the Villa Rospigliosi where I meet up with the rest of the school for the Italian Session.  I have a lot of work to do for the fall.  My portrait project must continue and I need to push that a bit if I am to stay on schedule for the beginning of printing in October.  I am thankful for all the work I have done so far and I am a little ahead of schedule in the darkroom, but I must not rest on my laurels.  My role as student/intern is unwritten but the future looks bright, at least from this vantage point.