Project final: gallery installation – Advanced Photography (redux)

We had a pop-up show for one night, this was what I had printed and installed.  It’s hard to sequence them exactly linearly but the last picture gives you an idea what I had in mind.  Final sequence can be glimpsed among my exhibition photos here.

Artist Statement:

Yee-haw State – Joseph Irvin

Coming from Ohio, all I originally knew about Colorado were the stereotypes: mountains, skiing, Coors, and cowboys (this was pre-marijuana).  I was initially forced to embrace the Western aesthetic when taking a job as a Jeep tour guide around Colorado Springs, but I’ve gotten into the spirit over time, to the point where it is now a lifestyle.  Every time I go to a thrift store I’m looking for more western shirts and cowboy hats to wear on tours.  I’m paid to present a certain aspect of Colorado culture/history to visitors and new arrivals, and the boss’s mantra is “Make it like Disneyland!”  While it might not have happened quite like that in real life, we live in a postmodern settler society, where the cowboys have traded in their horses for 4x4s.  We’re driving them on old wagon trails and railroads.  A lot of my time is spent in Garden of the Gods, now the #1 visited park in the country (and it’s being loved to death).  In a state that is experiencing massive population increase and a rapidly growing tourism industry, what is it that makes Colorado unique, and what about that are we selling?  A lot of people say that they hope I never take this landscape for granted, and I didn’t…back when I moved here.  But one does get used to it over time: now it has the familiarity of Home.

Everything was printed on Ilford fiber paper at a custom size of 15×10.  I’d got my usual box of Oriental 8×10 but my photo instructor insisted I go bigger which was frustrating because I’d bought this paper months ago in preparation and now had to find something last minute.  Thankfully Cameraworks came to my rescue cutting me a deal with some 16×20 Ilford they’d had for a while.  I had less than 2 weeks before the show and had to print like mad all day everyday and still didn’t get everything finished, but enough to display at least.  I suppose that printing on 11×14 paper would have been easier to frame (I just hung everything with putty) but I had to come up with a plan fast to print as much as possible and use the entire frame.  So I cut my 16×20 paper in half, trimmed an extra inch, and made a custom taped-off template.  I had a negative holder which showed the edges of the frame so I tried as much as possible to give every print a black border, a nice differentiation to the usual white.  I think I’ve ranted before about cropping the side of a 35mm film frame when printing to a 5:4 aspect ratio, something else my photo instructor insisted on was seeing my entire frame.  Thankfully everything worked out.

What happened? Pt. III

My guess is he didn’t stay on his side of the road and had to overcompensate when he encountered oncoming traffic.  I could have held this a little bit steadier, and part of the problem was I didn’t want to risk having only one side of the frame exposed, so this was 1/60sec and taken really quickly.  It’s a shot I’ve been hoping to get for a while and hopefully I’ll get a better shot next time this happens.

This was my first experience with Rollei film (the last remnants of the once-great AGFA, manufactured in Belgium) and really it was a mistake to use it for anything work/project-related because the speed just isn’t what I need.  The rest of this roll was used for still-life work, a bit more controlled environment.  I’m not complaining, it’s a great film for what it is, but not what I need for my regular applications.  Like the name suggests, this is an old-fashioned-looking film, rather contrasty like Double-X or Ferrania P30.

This was a roll generously given to me by Mark Ewanchuk who’s a really great guy and a wonderful photographer.  I want to say that we had a conversation about Retro 80S not working with the Pakon scanners because the polyester base, and we talked about this a very long time ago.  Mark, sorry it took so long, this roll was in my mom’s freezer forever.  I had no problems whatever with scanning with the Pakon F335, as you can see.  I hope you aren’t having the same problems with your new(ish) Noritsu!

Project Part 4 – Advanced Photography (redux)

(…And it’s a big one!)

We had an online critique and then for the exhibition I had to decide which images to print from this series as well as the other three critiques.  This is 11 rolls of film here, I asked my instructor to look through what I had and pick out the strongest images, so these are all the ones that work best (she said my hit ratio’s getting better).  No particular order besides chronological, except that there are several images that go together as a sequence.

The first four rolls were developed at the same time as this roll, and as the darkroom tech left out paper developer instead of film developer, they’re extremely high-contrast and difficult to print or get right in Photoshop.  Once I was on a roll I kept going and by the time the semester was over I’d shot about 150ft of Tri-X, around 30 rolls of film.  Then I shot another 20-25 rolls of film over the Summer during the height of the tourist season, and about 75 sheets of 4×5 in the Fall ’19 semester through February in the semester that technically is still in session.  By the time I get everything compiled I hope to have enough for an exhibition and a book but current events have put that on hold a bit.

Project Part 3 Outtakes – Advanced Photography (redux)

This bunch fits into two categories:

Ones I printed that we decided didn’t fit into the main themes/categories of the project, or were not as strong/have technical issues, but are still nice.

Ones my instructor had liked but I decided not to print because I’d already printed 25 images and only needed 15.

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Project Part 3 – Advanced Photography (redux)

This is when things really started to come together.  After meeting with my instructor for a one-on-one critique we were able to separate most of the pictures into three categories:

Cast of Characters

Shots from the Road

Gawkers as Spectacle

What also helped is that by this time tours had picked up a lot.  I was working more and had more opportunities for great photos.  One of the suggestions from last student critique was that I needed to ride along on other drivers’ tours and that accounted for four of the shots, in all three categories.