Tag Archives | medium format

Halfway through and coming down to the crunch…

This weekend is the Easter celebration. both for the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic churches.  This means that Paros is jammed with holiday travelers as well as those returning to the island for a traditional family get-together.  I could do without all the traffic, throngs of tourists and everything that comes along with it, but let’s face it–religion is Big Business and Bug Business needs money.  I have always been uncomfortable with any group or ideology that tells me what to do.  Big Religion is just as bad as Big Government.  More shady deals based on power, money and the acquisition of More.  But I digress…The events will be colorful and ancient, full of meaning for many.

My photography is progressing.  I have several lovely images from the figure sessions (both film and digital) and will be cranking out more in the next two weeks.  In the past few weeks the digital lab has increased its output and a couple of people who had been spinning their wheels seem to have had a fire lighted under them.  This is good.  To be honest I was growing disillusioned with the student body (my problem, not theirs), but hey, they are young and full of beans.  Everyone is working at their own pace and they will all receive a wonderful gift of having been here.   I can focus on my own work from here on and finish my portfolios.  The group show is on June 3rd or 4th, which isn’t a lot of time…

More to come…JDCM


The Aegean Center, my work and the future…

It has been 25 days since I last blogged.  So much has happened, so many paths have been established through the possible wilderness of my life and the future I have before me, but first a basic update:  Paros is wonderful and the Aegean Center isboth challenging and warm.  The weather the first few weeks was very much like the end of winter anywhere-changeable.  It rained, became downright cold, even snowed but there were brilliant sunny days interspersed with the gloom and clouds as they rolled over the hills into Paroikia.  There has been a shift in the past few days and the sun has been shining with highs in the mid-60s F.  I jumped into the cool blue water the other day and paddled about for a bit then beachcombed for a spell.  This was time off and I have been working very hard in both the darkroom and the digital lab.  The big surprie has been in Basic and Figure Drawing.  I have been enjoying both immensely and learning more about ‘seing’ than I knew I could.  It has already paid off in my photographic work.

Other big news:  I have been offered a chance to return in the fall for the fall term here, which begins in Tuscany for September and then returns to Paros in October for another 2 1/2 months.  This is something I wanted to do last year but could not let go of my responsibilities at home, emotionally speaking.  Now I can and I am grabbing hold of this chance with both hands.  This term will be more historical in nature and will obviously focus a great deal on the Italian Renaissance. So I will return  to America on June 22nd and turn around and leave again on September 1st or close to it.

More to come…



Packing it up, shutting it down…

The day I fly to Greece approaches.  In less than a month I’ll be back in Athens and in a world I am much more comfortable with.  For some reason Europe always makes me feel more at home and relaxed than here in the US.

I have begun packing.  I am mailing two boxes ahead of my arrival on Paros.  One contains sheet film for my 4×5 and b/w paper.  It is still cheaper to by European paper here in the US and mail it to Europe.  It’s because of the VAT.  The other box, which is much bigger, will have my 4×5 and medium format cameras coddled in bubble-wrap as well as some bulkier clothing and books.  March and early April can be wet and cool in the Kyklades.  This should lighten my carry-on and checked baggage loads a lot.

I have two shows this month:  the first I hang on Sunday and it is at the Rhinecliff Hotel and open with an artist’s reception on February 11th.  I am sharing the space with three other visual artists and I think the show will be up for a while after I leave.  The second show is the CCCA show I have already blogged about.  That reception is February 19th from 5-7PM and should be quite the time.  The third group show is at a nearby assisted living venue called Noble Horizons.  It will be a 14th Colony event and consist of small works.  I’ll have a nice b/w silver print for that one ready to go and in the hands of a close friend.

After tomorrow night I’ll be shutting down the dark room until I return in June.  I may still develop a roll or two of film, but the printing activity will cease.  I’ll discard any chemistry that won’t last and cover the enlarger.  Paper will go into the fridge.  My sisters will come and go through out the month and I have already delegated tasks to the caregivers for my mother’s well-being.  All is as it should be.



Getting down to brass tacks….

47 days until I leave for Greece.  I was lying in bed last night and realized, again, that my goals for the next 5 years are not as formed as the previous set.  I’ll ask around and see what people think.  I feel like the path I am on is correct, but where does it lead?  I suppose I have little choice but enjoy the journey.

I have to begin some test packing today.  I am able to bring one camera bag on the plane with me and it will be pretty well loaded.  I’ll have a 4×5 press camera and the film holders, a medium format TLR, my Canon 5D Mk II with the two lenses, my Voigtlander R4m and one lens, and my Canon G11 and my iPod and its speakers . Add into that two boxes of 4×5 sheet film, batteries, cables, cleaning gear, some roll film (120 and 35), a book or two, charging dock (iPod) and assorted paperwork for the trip and it’s full.  I’ll pack my tripod in the checked baggage.  Since I am traveling Business Class there are no weight restrictions so I am OK with packing as much stuff in the backpack as I can but I need to test pack the camera bag and see how I can best use the space.

OK.  Time to shovel snow off of my roof.



A new year begins…

Happy New Year to all!  Please let this new year be a bit kinder and warmer than the last, with all of its fears and worries over what people felt to be really important.  Money.  What we need to do is act a little kinder towards one another and stay away from Belarus!  No a place to go these days for a vacation.


I leave for Athens in 59 days.  I am going back to the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts for another term.  I have been courted by both the digital printing guru and the darkroom sorceress and have chosen the ways of the darkroom for my work-study program.  I will be working with my 4×5 and medium format primarily.  I’ll bring my new digital–oh yes, I have upgraded to a Canon 5D MkII.  It is lovely and full-frame which finally allows me to use the L-Series lenses to their full effect.

I have submitted 5 pieces for a juried show in Hudson, NY to be exhibited in the old Opera House in February.  I hope that at least one is chosen and they give it a good space to see it.  The pieces are all 11″x14″.  As you can see by the image, it is following the abstract path I have been on for the past year.  Whether I stay there, I don’t know.  The Aegean Center will see to that.  If this spring is half the catharsis that last spring was, then I should be in good shape for whatever the arts world throws at me.

I recently had the chance to visit a friend’s home and look at his art collection.  I was unimpressed.  Yes, it was all “very important” art and the artists were all “very important” but the work itself left me cold and uninspired: Modern art devoid of warmth, life and verve.  It left me grateful that I love the work that I love and this work varies throughput the ages.  Trust me, there is some very modern work that blows my mind as well as some older pieces that find dull and insipid.  I think that actually it was the collector that I found dull, with his repetitive phrases of “important” and which museum wanted which pieces when he died. Very tacky.

The light is very flat today, but I hope to get out and shoot a roll or two.  Tomorrow is supposed to be sunnier and I will take the 4×5 out and make some exposures.  I am working on farm images these days.  I have to call a nearby farmer and get permission to shoot on his property.  That’s all I’m saying about it.



Finally…an update…and ideas…

Forgive me Cyber Readers, for it has been too long since my last blog entry…

August 20th seems a long time ago, and I suppose in the minds of the Facebook addicted eejits, it is, but really it isn’t even the imagining of a drop in the bucket of time.  Let’s not even talk geological passages, here.  Face it folks…A lot has happened and not much time has passed.

The 14th Colony is swinging along.  I was well received in the first group show and both my digital pieces looked lovely on the wall.  I didn’t sell anything, but exposure is what I need these days. I have some misgivings concerning the co-op concept, however.  Granted, I feel that that if a person wants to hang their work, a space should be available.  This is regardless to style or skill.  If they need the outlet, it should be provided somehow.  But…should “naive” art be hung next to more skilled and professional work, thus diminishing one or both of the pieces?  In a democratic/anarchic co-op system, shouldn’t there be criteria when exhibition is involved?  I don’t know.

Right now The Photo Show is up.  This was a show conceived by the “leader” of the co-op and myself.  Originally it was going to be a documentary piece, but that was ruled to be too exclusive so opened up the event and I dropped any leadership role I had assumed.  Suddenly there were 30 photographers signed up.  I didn’t know the group had 30 photographers.  In the end about 20 delivered work to hang and it looks really lovely.  It is a very diverse group show illustrating the many talents of those of us looking through a viewfinder.  Some I like better than others, but that’s to be expected.  I brought 6 medium format silver prints to the show and they all went up, which was a great relief since I had shot, processed, matted and framed all 6 for this show specifically.  I didn’t want to break up the flow based on available wall space.  They are also priced to sell…

The concept of criteria brings me to my next idea.  Using the 14th Colony as an umbrella, I am going to start a small rebellion.  I am going to found what I will call “The Monochrome Collective.”  This will be a small group of photographers (digital and film) who work only in black and white.  Heavy Photo-shopping will not be allowed.  We will deal with fundamentals of b/w work, namely the Zone System. This criterion will weed out many people and, hopefully, allow for a professional edge to emerge.  I wish to keep the Collective small, allowing for more intimate meetings, shows, etc…Like the 14 Colony, it will be a place to exchange ideas, network and support each other’s art.

That being said, let’s clear something up about labels.  ‘Silver print’ is the same thing as ‘silver gelatin print’.  Exactly the same thing.  The idea was coined by museum currators who felt that ‘silver gelatin print’ sounded more important  than ‘black and white’ or just plain ‘silver’.  This is in the same vein as those who try to make a real difference between ‘giclee’ and ‘inkjet’.  They are the same thing, except that ‘giclee’ is used to make a statement regarding paper and inks, which are better, yes, but no different than commercial inks, i.e. more expensive.  Check the web, folks.  The illusion has been shattered.

I’m off to the showers and then getting ready for the opening of the show this afternoon at 3PM.