Friday, May 31, 2013

Honolulu Museum of Art visit

I'm looking forward to checking out this exhibition tomorrow as it may have some ties to my current research. Hawaii: The Mythic Landscape by Stephan Brigidi Here's a quote from the Honolulu Museum of Art website:

"A connection between the natural world and human history are central to the artistic intent of photographer Stephan Brigidi. This body of work was primarily created from 1980 to 1990, while the artist lived in Hawai’i exploring and discovering the uniqueness of the islands. The deep connection to place is intended to highlight the importance of environmental and cultural stewardship. By manipulating each print, often with paint, the natural and the human world can become a place of the mythic and the spiritual."

I'm also planning to stop by the exhibition Landscape in the New World which may serve as a supplement to my research on nature, the sublime, and the new American frontier.

I hope to have time to see Little Worlds: Video Sculptures by Tony Oursler as well!

In July, I'm even more excited to view an upcoming exhibition titled Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams: Hawaii Pictures. Check out the link for more info, should be really fascinating to view depictions of Hawaii by O'Keefe and Adams.

New work

In the last month, I've started to shoot at an earlier period of dusk which is opening up results in my long exposure seascapes. The image below represents a recent capture. Besides basic raw processing, there is no fancy Photoshop work here. I am asked the Photoshop question frequently and although I have no issue with Photoshop (in fact I am a huge fan) I have not found it necessary with the current series. I'm more interested in creating surreal scenes within the camera not in post-processing. In the photo below, I'm interested in how the water begins to melt away and renders as a white landscape.  I also find the numerous signs, flattened by my 70-200mm lens, enhance the depiction of this other-wordly environment. Does this place really exist? Where are we? How does this photograph relate (or not) to the rest of the series taken mainly at night?

To be continued...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Peter Bialobrzeski's "The Raw and the Cooked" (2011)

Peter Bialobrzeski's "The Raw and the Cooked" (2011)

Check out this body of work here:

Quote from site:
“'The Raw and the Cooked'(2011) is Bialobrzeski’s most recent body of work and continues on the footsteps of his interest in Asian cities and their vertiginous growth. With photographs taken in fourteen countries across Asia, this newest work is a conti-nuation of his study of urbanization and globalization trends in different countries around the world. Enigmatic photographs of glowing cityscapes present an ubiquitous contrast of humble old structures standing besides the shiny high
-rises that will ultimately replace them in a frenzied rhythm of accelerated growth. With his characteristic combination of photo-journalism and artistic mastery, Bialobrzeski draws attention to the often wasteful nature of urban development and its persis-tent aim to destroy the old to give way to the new."

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Camera Maintenance, the Digital Print, & Archival Storage My camera was recently shipped to the mainland for repair. The image sensor was malfunctioning on my 5D. I also sent 3 lenses for cleaning and checkup. Luckily Canon is honoring all of this under warranty and in the case of one older lens, they simply extended my warranty as a courtesy. Thank you Canon Hawaii!

As a result, I have stepped away from shooting these past few weeks and spent my time printing at the Pacific New Media digital lab with the large format Canon 8100. On May 1st, I met with mentor Scott Groeniger for our 5th meeting to show new prints and discuss progress. It was a good meeting on the direction of my work and we also discussed at length the printing process, handling archival prints, long-term photographic archival storage (especially important in Hawaii's tropical environment), and options for traveling with large (over 36in prints) to Boston in June. So much to consider both in the short term and long term!

Archival Photographic Paper
For the past year, I have been printing on Canon Polished Rag, 300 gsm paper and have grown to enjoy its luster, texture, and wide color gamut. It works especially well for my current horizon images. However, my boxes of this paper have run out and it is getting more difficult to find both locally and online. After much consideration, I decided it was time to make a switch. I bought a test box of Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Baryta paper from Kaimuki Camera (Thanks Neil for your help!) and I have to say so far it is love at first sight. The Baryta paper truly makes luscious prints and because of its extremely wide color gamut, the transition from digital image (reading light projected out from a screen) to a print (light reflected off paper) is much easier than any paper I've worked with prior. The Baryta paper is extremely fragile however. In fact, within minutes of my meeting with Scott, he quickly pointed out a few bends/kinks in the test prints due to the way I was handling it. Luckily, I learned this lesson with proofing prints... archival inkjet prints on  paper like the Baryta (or Polished Rag) prints are expensive to produce. One might ask why make test prints on expensive "good stuff" and the answer is (regrettably) you have to make tests using the paper/ink you plan on eventually using. There's no other way to see how the image is being translated on the paper substrate. In any event, the Baryta Photo Rag does have some glare which may be problematic depending on where the images is eventually used but overall, I think it works very well. In the next month or so, I am hoping to purchase sample boxes from 2 paper companies (Crane Museo and Somerset) to test out new options. Even if I end up coming right back to the Baryta paper for this current project, I think it is important that I become more knowledgable as to what papers/fibers are out there and how it effects each print.

Archival Print Storage
Since my enrollment in AIB's MFA program, I have been creating more and more work that requires storage. In the past, I would create work for a specific show or client. Of course, I have remnants of old projects, framed images, test prints around the house but the issue of correct, safe, and smart photographic storage is something I haven't really dealt with head on. Now is the time to get on board. After lots of research this month, I recently purchased a massive portfolio carrying case, 2 archival ph balanced print boxes, interleaving paper, and cotton white gloves to handle the fragile Baryta paper. In the long run, all of these items are smart investments in that the prints (simply the paper and ink alone) are incredibly valuable resources. It would irresponsible (both economically and environmentally) to not store them properly. Here's to happy and healthy storage.

Traveling to Boston
I'm currently making 17x22 in prints. For June's residency, I'm planning to bring around 10-12 17x22 prints and a few larger 24x30 or 36x40 prints. I'm looking forward to bringing bigger prints but these aspirations require careful planning and logistics. I'm currently weighing the cost of photographic paper, ink, shipping and handling, and the high likelihood of traveling prints getting damaged along the way or during the residency week. I have a number of options on the table but I'm still working on my final game plan.