The power of the latent image

I was helping my mom rearrange some things in her house and came across a roll of film that had been in a basket just lying around the house.  I thought it might have been a roll that I shot when I first moved to Colorado, maybe a good 7-8 years old now, as I still have one roll unaccounted for.  It turned out to be something much more precious:

This was our home in Ohio which we had to sell back in 2002 which means that these pics are at least 15 years old, and judging by the way my brother looks, are probably closer to 20.  While mostly different angles of the front of our house, I also managed to capture our dog Pinto that my mom brought out to Colorado, and who sadly didn’t survive long after that.  Also in the background is a straw barn that we spent many an afternoon playing in back in the day.  These were taken by me, with my Kodak Cameo Focus Free point & shoot camera, picked up at a thrift store at some point and probably still in my top drawer in the chest at my dad’s.

I bumped up the contrast a bit but that was all, and am pretty impressed with how good the images held up, even if they do now look a bit vintage.  Knowing from experience how reluctant people are to drop off old film at a camera store these days, I recently had a single-use camera processed for a friend of mine and they were at least this usable.  If people you know have film lying around undeveloped, please encourage them to make a trip to their local camera store, or barring that, offer to do it for them: it’s a nice favor and can bring back some great memories.


Family Gathering 2016

The main event.  A much more joyous occasion than two years ago, we met in Manassas, VA for my cousin’s wedding.  He’s the last cousin to get married, which probably means my brother’s and my days are numbered…

At least we’ll be able to put them through a long plane flight like the ones I’ve had to endure the last few years!

The trial and error continues.  Since last spring I’ve made it a point to shoot and get the hang of Ektar 100…it still hasn’t happened yet.  Maybe it’s the lack of sunlight that skews the color temperature, or the fact that with a manual camera I’m not getting a proper exposure, or that I didn’t perform a whole lot of color correction in post.  Whatever the reason, the unsatisfying results are just one more reason that I’ll shoot keep shooting the consumer-variety films.


Down in the San Luis Valley on SR17 between Moffatt and Hooper, is a center for extraterrestrial enthusiasts, a place that has a reputation for being frequented by UFOs.  People flock from all over America, perhaps the world, to sit on the observation deck at night looking for spacecraft.

According to the lady that runs it, Spanish conquistadors wrote in their diaries about witnessing UFOs landing on the plain when they were first traveling through this area in the 16th century.  I have not corroborated this claim, but just pass it along.  There is a garden that psychics say contains powerful energy spots, and it is traditional to leave something behind after visiting.  Walking the garden is said to heal you of diseases.

I stopped there after attending the Southern Colorado Film Festival, as a good place to use up two rolls of Fuji Reala (expired 1993) that were kindly given to me by a lady in a thrift store in Alamosa, CO.  I thought that in keeping with the always grainy, out of focus and generally crappy images of supposed flying saucers, 25-year-old film would be a good choice.  The only saucers I saw though, were grounded.

On the festival circuit

First, an updated banner.  As is evident, Overwhelming Majority is having a pretty favorable response so far.


This sort of continues my Advanced Photo project.  Now the show’s on the road.  Here are a few pictures from Blissfest333 in August and the Southern Colorado Film Festival in October.

I’ve met some pretty cool people, had some good discussions, and seen some interesting films.  Can’t wait to see what’s next.

Washington by moonlight

Don’t know if I’ve mentioned my new job but I drive jeep tours in Colorado Springs.  While we were in Manassas, VA for a wedding, I and a few relatives took the opportunity to go into Washington, DC and get a bus tour of the nation’s capital, by moonlight.  As I was halfway through a roll of T-Max 400 (and not pushing it), I didn’t have too high hopes for these pictures shooting 1/2 and 1 second exposures.  Still, I quite like the ghostly quality of the results…

Just a reminder: don’t be asshole cheapskates like my relatives, tip your tour guides well!

Masters study of William Klein: Project 2 – Intermediate Photography

Starting with his book Life is Good & Good for You in New York (New York, 1954-1955), William Klein introduced a very new style of street photography: gritty, in your face, out of focus, blurred.  He looked at people, usually in large groups, and there is an amazing depth to his photos, with crowds of faces stretching off into the distance, and while most of them will be watching something going on out of shot, there are always one or two people looking straight into the camera.  Klein is known for interacting with his subjects as well, giving them subtle directions about how to act, and then photographing the result (think of Gun 1).

Klein had no formal training in photography.  After getting out of the Army, he settled in Paris and studied painting under the cubist master Fernand Leger.  From his paintings in the late-1940s, he moved into abstract photography, painting with light.  This brought him to the attention of Vogue Magazine.  Vogue funded Klein’s trips abroad, and over the space of about a decade, he released four seminal photobooks: New York (1956), Rome (1958), Tokyo (1964), and Moscow (1964).  During this time, Klein was working for Vogue as a fashion photographer, something he did until 1965 when he was let go due to his burgeoning career as a filmmaker.  His reaction was to make the film Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?, a hidden gem of the French New Wave and scathing insider’s look at the French fashion scene at the time, and the nature of celebrity.  Klein has directed two other features, as well as many sorts and documentaries, the most recent of which was released in 1999.

Klein returned to photography in 1990 with Torino ’90, as well as releasing retrospective books like Close Up and In and Out of Fashion.  The cover for Torino ’90 featured a glimpse of Klein’s new direction in art, that of printing his contact sheets and turning them into colorful paintings, mimicking the way photographers have chosen pictures to print by marking up their own contact sheets.  In 2012, the BBC made a documentary, The Many Lives of William Klein, featuring new interviews, and footage of him in action as on old man.  I don’t know what he’s up to currently, but it’s good to know he’s still alive and kicking.

For my own attempts to capture the essence of William Klein, I returned to that fogged and expired 100′ roll of Tri-X from Y2K, and (with the exception of one picture that was taken earlier, no. 6) used the Olympus Trip 35, using its technological limitations to my advantage.  It opts for smaller apertures for better focusing, but is still zone focusing; the shutter defaults to 1/40sec below a certain light level, allowing me to incorporate blur as well, when needed, and the 40mm lens allowed me to take in a larger scene.  The camera itself is compact and very quiet, easy to take with you anywhere you feel like, grocery stores, thrift stores, class, concerts.  I even took it to the Denver Art Museum.

Was I successful?  I’d say not entirely, but I’ll continue to work on it, by extending the masters study into my final project.  There’s a definite difference between people who live here compared to a big city like New York, Tokyo, etc; they respect personal space a lot more, and it makes it harder to get many people in the frame.  I think I could work on interacting with the people more, and I need to shoot outdoors to a greater extent as well.  So those are the goals, and I need to get back out there now…