Crown Graphic | 4x5 | Atomic-X 100 ISO Still Life, January snowflakes on the front porch cat curled against window pane neglected cobwebs caramelized onions in coconut oil water stained film the lilies he gave me +++++ I recently bought a large format camera and after my first trek out with the Crown Graphic, tripod, loaded 4x5 film holders, and dark cloth, I was hooked. My hands froze in the bitter New England wind. Among the snow flurries, bitter cold, setting sun, I hiked around a reservoir, metered two shots, and crossed my fingers for the best. I noted exposure settings for each shot on my phone as reference. The first two shots were made on expired Velvia 50 which meant not only did I have to nail the mechanics of setting up the camera, but also exposing the film since chrome, like black and white, needs a dead on exposure. I waited to shoot the remaining 8 sheets of chrome film that came with the camera before moving onto black and white. The first two sheets of film mailed back from the lab had a magenta shift and good tones. I shot the last of the film then bought chemistry and film to set up a minimal black and white film darkroom at home. I questioned the decision the entire time. Bathroom, chemistry, equipment...did I really want to slow my work down that much? Frame by frame then developing and scanning and . . . once I processed my first sheets of 4x5 film I couldn't repeat the process soon enough so it's back into the darkroom with gloves, goggles, and a diy exhaust system, aka box fan.
A few weekends ago, we set off for Misquamicut Beach in Rhode Island just to see the ocean waves roll in and to feel the grit of sand. It was worth every blustery second. Seems like the negatives were scratched in camera or in processing (I won't know until I get the negatives back), either way it gives them a handled look that's growing on me.
Over the past year, I worked on two art projects that recently ended and left me wondering what's next. You've likely caught a glimpse of the first, A Year of Us, a 365 day photo project documenting my daily stories, posted here. For the second project, Taos Weirs, Todd Lynch and I created an art installation about the social and geographic impact on ecological communities. Todd wove a fence from native branches and materials (known as Weirs which were historically used for fishing) and I shot a film over the course of a year to document the Eastern woodlands and waterways. One side of the fence was open so you could walk through. The other side displayed the film projection. We exhibited the installation in two drastically different environments. The first was in Williamsburg, Massachusetts where we received a grant from the MCC to show the installation at Meekins Library with accompanying sketches, models, sculptures, and photographs of the making of the Weirs Project. The second was at the Paseo Art Festival in Taos, New Mexico where the installation held another layer of context within the desert environment. Thanks to all who helped support the Weirs project (including Todd Lynch, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Meekins Library, Taos Paseo, Enos Garcia Elementary School, Taos Land Trust, my Mister and boys) and to those of you who followed along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Beyond showing my work, I found the daily practice of telling a story in words and images to transform my work the most. Being part of the Paseo in Taos along with a number of gallery shows helped me see a larger vision for new work that includes travel and large format photography. I'll write more about our New Mexico trip soon. Until then, wishing you a safe travels. Happy Thanksgiving.
day 365 The dream lingered past lunch then faded with the turning season. No school for the day, so both boys came to the grocery store with me. Things were calm to start, singing of course but no screeching or torn kale leaves or squeezed bananas. By the second loop around the store, the muzak and holiday decorations and desire for colored confections completely unnerved them, and the race to gather the last item, a sweet potato was on.
day 364 Then one day she looked at her eldest child and recognized the mirror image. Not in all aspects of course. The shape of his face, eyes, chin all matched her own. Beyond the physical similarities, she heard confident intonations in his voice that matched her own when of things she held close, such as books, films, and the merits of pumpkin cheesecake.
day 362 Sunday: coffee, yoga, baked pecan pie and made cinnamon vanilla ice cream, walked down to the old school building then the river, listened to the radio: American Routes with Kris Kristofferson on how he wrote Me and Bobby McGee from a title Fred Foster gave him and scenes from Fellini’s movie La Strada.