I hope I’m doing this right…this next class proposes a new challenge for me: create new work weekly, whereas I’ve been going back to old habits. I’ll admit, it’s a bit of a scary concept for me, as I’d like to think that I’m thrifty in how I shoot, but also, I just didn’t do a lot of shooting this summer. I just developed Thursday a roll that has been in my camera since mid-June. Can I shoot a roll of film a week, and, in being forced to present at least three new images weekly, how much will my quality suffer, especially if I’m pressed for time elsewhere? I’m halfway through a roll of Provia, but I don’t want to waste that roll to the needs of expediency, plus it would take nearly a week just to get it processed. I’ve thought about cutting 36-exposure rolls in half, I’ve thought about a 100ft bulk roll of Fomapan or Kentmere, I’ve been comparing prices back and forth. A 100ft roll of Tri-X is $50 more than a roll of HP5. Wow. With Tri-X, it’s almost exactly the same price between a 100ft roll and the same number of feet in 24-exposure rolls, 36-exposure rolls are cheaper than a bulk roll; and you don’t have to load the cartridges yourself. I eventually found some newly-expired T-Max 400 in 24-exposure rolls for not too bad a price, since it was there I decided to go with it; I don’t think I’ll feel as bad burning through rolls of T-Max.
I was trying to figure out just how I got a light leak across four out of the first five exposures, I think that it must have happened after I took that fifth picture, and it must have happened on the right (take-up) side of the camera: the light leak is in the same spot on each picture and the effect is lighter counting back from #5. I’d be disappointed (and probably should find some gaffers’ tape anyway), except that it literally happened only on the pinhole shots, and I suppose that gives them just a bit more of that authentic lo-fi aesthetic. As for the others, some friends of ours from Ohio were in town, and I like taking pictures of my friends, especially when I haven’t seen some of them for 6-7 years.
Someone else who likes making pictures of his friends is artist and photographer Chuck Close (at least according to this site), and so I give you his daguerreotype portrait of minimalist composer Philip Glass:
Philip Glass, Stage II – Chuck Close
Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass…
I remember seeing the documentary of Close working with the 20×24 Polaroid, but I’m not sure I’d seen his daguerreotypes before, that was a real treat for me looking at them in class. I love to see the old photographic processes alive and well after 150+ years: it’s a ray of hope that the most tedious and expensive (and best-looking) photographic processes still survive in the modern blink-and-it’s-gone digital world. I chose the Philip Glass portrait because being a composer myself, I like seeing the masters of my craft celebrated in a larger sense, by those outside the music world, and Philip Glass is one of the only living composers who is fairly well-known and recognizable to a lot of non-musicians.
Close’s work is meaningful to me also because it is transformative: here is a man who started out started out as a painter focusing on portraits, who has embraced the more modern world by using technology, yet he chose the most outdated process of them all. As his paintings were gigantic, so too can these large format images be increased to truly tremendous size with almost infinite detail. It’s also a redemptive concept how physical limitations and life circumstances don’t have to end who we are.
Close has been presenting portraits of Glass for some 35 years now, and it’s fascinating to see how he’s physically changed over the years. Max Reger once said that pigs and composers only come into their own after they’re dead. Glass is now nearly 80 years old, and while he’s not quite there yet, looking at this new portrait while remembering the old one makes me more conscious of the fact that no one is here forever. Yet here is a composer whose style is instantly recognizable and oft-imitated, one of the most successful modern classical composers, and here is his image preserved for future generations, just as we have portraits of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and countless others. May the music last in people’s memories even longer than his image. In Close’s portrait, I see a man approaching immortality.
This post was written while listening to Songs from Liquid Days.