Jazz, cook-outs and leaky tanks…

My schedule is settling down and I have a very busy load. The two primary courses are the Digital Printing and the Silver Darkroom classes. These both meet, officially, twice a week, but as a student I have keys to all the labs, so I can go in there any time of the day or night and work. This is very nice. In the digital realm we are working with RAW, but in such a way I have never encountered. The secret is to over-expose the image in RAW to capture as much information as possible, then process on one of the Macs. First rate gear here…none of that buggy PC junk. The b/w darkroom is a real test of my abilities and patience. I am fine tuning so many variables it is hard to list, but ultimately it comes down to being precise with temperatures, times, and note-taking. We are using all Ilford chemistry, film and paper, which keeps developing as close to consistent as possible. The four lovely enlargers are all imprecise in their own way, so consistency is a must. As one fellow student reminded me, “We are doing fine art photography here…” So right, so true. Am I up for that task or am I the equivalent to a shoe-maker in the kitchen?

The rest of the course load is a series of hour-long lectures that run throughout the week. These are, in order, Creative Writing Workshop (twice a week), The History of Photography, The Camera (a tech course), Art History, Classical Greek Literature, and Documentary Photography. As a school, we all go on a hike on Fridays. This is the Socratic method at work, with time to not practice out crafts, but to have time for the self as well while we absorb the knowledge that is heaped upon us all week. There are other courses such as painting, figure studies, vocal ensemble and basic drawing, but that will have to wait until next time. At this point I want there to be a next time.

I was in the darkroom the other day I developed a roll of film and the metal tank leaked, not light, but developer. So this teaches me to check my gear before I work. Last night we all got together and had an amazing bar-b-que/cook-out/grill. A real potluck for 20 and it was a blast. I made grilled Dorado marinated in garlic, rosemary and olive oil. Others brought salads, kebabs, sausages, peppers stuffed with feta and oregano…Super! After that a few of us went out to see a jazz duo (piano and baritone sax) from Athens. What a great time we had. I was able to close my eyes and let the music just flow through my head, savoring every note and movement. As I listened I wrote the second half of a short story I am writing, but in my head. When I returned to my studio apartment I put most of it on paper and revised this morning. I’m doing pretty well.

The director of the Center, John Pack, had a meeting with us all the other day and he reminded us that for whatever reason, we all ended up here. I was directed here by a friend, and so many others are here due to some other twist of fate or fortune. We are all woven together like a creative fabric.


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One Response to Jazz, cook-outs and leaky tanks…

  1. Aravis March 18, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    Beautifully said.

    From what you’ve written it seems like a wonderful place, and absolutely perfect for you. You’re obviously soaking it all in and taking as much from the experience as you can; you’re wasting nothing. I hope you continue to enjoy every minute of it.