It seems that each festival I go to is a better experience than the last, but I don’t know that Durango can be topped. They treated the filmmakers so nicely there, and it being 6 hours away from me, I decided to stay for the entire thing, which was definitely worth it. I stayed in the General Palmer Hotel (living in Colorado Springs for so long, I could stay nowhere else) which looked largely untouched by time. There were lots of activities I to do around town (like a trip on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad), plus a special filmmakers only-lounge in the basement of the local Irish pub…assuming you didn’t watch films, and I did try to catch as many programs as I could. The best part though, was that the entire festival took place in the space of two blocks in downtown Durango, making everything nice and easy to get to. I forged some great relationships with people and will definitely be going back in the future.
Well actually, my brother was the train buff when we were growing up, but my fascination with old technology has worked its way to these wonderful contraptions. Especially steam locomotives: properly maintained, they can work for centuries and besides that they look wonderful. Engine 169 from the Denver & Rio Grande railroad is a good candidate for restoration, and had been saved and preserved in Alamosa, CO.
William Jackson Palmer was born and raised a Quaker in Pennsylvania, went into the railroad business, but felt so strongly about the cause of Abolition that he joined the Union Army during the Civil War, and suffered consequences of that from his family and church. He served with distinction, rose to the rank of General, and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Lincoln himself. After the war, he went back into railroads, came out West, and founded his own railroad running North-South. The D&RG intersected most other railroads there at the time, and connected many mining towns along the Front Range that had sprung up supplying miners going into the Rockies looking for gold. General Palmer founded the town of Colorado Springs and lived there the rest of his life. I was happy to see a Springs connection in Alamosa when I went there for the Southern Colorado Film Festival.
There was a railroad that I considered riding after the festival, but ended up not having time for unfortunately. I did go into their yard and take a few pics of some of their engines and cars; some are in better condition than others. What I didn’t see and wish I had was a mid-century diesel engine, though there were later electric engines, though perhaps they were in a different spot. Alamosa seems to be a repository of old train cars and I hope these will end up being preserved as well.
One of the requirements for the Advanced Photography class was to enter our work in an exhibition. I was so busy that I didn’t even want to think about this for the longest time, and ultimately decided to enter a single picture in the semi-annual Photographers’ Forum Magazine photo contest (you’ve seen it already). Not only did I not have to worry about editing the massive body of work I’d been assembling, but the PF Magazine entry cost me a whole $5 and I was done with that requirement.
Of course now that I’m not nearly as stressed out I feel a bit more like submitting to exhibitions, and this has been an encouraging reminder for me. I’m happy to say it’s one of the 13% that go on to the next round and will be judged by a group of college-level photography instructors.
I’ve complained about them before. I wondered if my scanner was at fault, if the sensor was dusty. I wondered if it were possibly the film itself. As it turns out though, the most likely culprit is the darkroom’s new film squeegee, which looks an awful lot like this one. At this point, I’d almost wish that it was my scanner. When I wet printed some of these photos below for my exhibition, I could see the marks on the prints and knew then that those marks were on my film and are likely permanent now. Sadly, they can also be seen in Overwhelming Majority as well, though I’m sure it’s not as noticeable as I think it is. But they’re there…
The problem? Over-aggression. I was clamping that squeegee on my film as hard as I could, and I’m told that’s what’s led to those lines (you’ll notice they’re not present in my recent color film which was not developed by me). Live and learn, I suppose.
Completing Advanced Photography and especially the end of the exhibition sort of feels like the end of a chapter. I don’t really know where I’m going next, except now that my photo minor is out of the way, I can concentrate on my minor in film studies, as well as getting around to graduating sooner or later. I had a series of backed-up posts that I’ve strung out as long as I could (since April, in fact), but while I’m still shooting, I haven’t been gotten anything developed recently, so this might be my last post for a month or two. Then again, I might be back in just a couple weeks; nothing has been planned in advance.