Fresh Artists...

Here is an interesting and unique program that helps deal with the problem of reduced public funding for art programs in schools. Fresh Artists has found a way to network young student artists who donate their work in exchange for corporate funding and display of the works of art. From the Fresh Artists web site...

"Fresh Artists is an innovative concept of student-centric philanthropy. Children create art, donate images, and meet their financial benefactors in highly visible "corporate spaces of success". Fresh Artists is a new model of civic engagement where recipients of corporate generosity are full and equal partners in the common goal: to save access to art making for all children".

Art is Not a Luxury
For the second year in a row I am participating in a photography exhibit at the annual conference of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. The photographic theme for this year is Loving your Mother: Farming as if the Earth Matters, 2009.. Throughout the 2008 growing season I made portraits of my harvest. These are all seed grown, 100% organic produce photographed within minutes of being picked from the garden.

"The time is past to think of this as a hobby for enthusiasts; it is a fundamental part of human life."

Those words were written 30 years ago by Christopher Alexander in his book A Pattern Language in the chapter on vegetable gardening, and they echo my own reasons for growing organic vegetables at home, from seed. Alexander warned of the disconnection that people have from their food sources, and the resulting insecurities and imbalances that follow. I firmly believe that we are now almost past the point of no return for most of American society in the loss of connection to the soil and our food sources. We make ourselves feel warm and fuzzy by buying organic foods at the Supermarket, and yet we have no idea where these foods were grown or how they were processed and packaged.

It is only by growing at least some of our own foods in soils that we have dug and prepared with our own hands, and in sharing that produce with our friends and neighbors, can we truly get back to the fundamental organic security that we all need as humans. It is this philosophy that prompted me to join PASA, and for the 2009 season I have now joined a local Community Supported Agriculture program at Pennypack Farm in Horsham , Pa. My goal is to consume only produce from my own garden or from the CSA during the entire 2009 growing season, as well as harvest as much produce as I can for storage into the Fall & Winter.

PASA Mission Statement...

Promoting profitable farms which produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment.

PASA works to increase the number of farms and the economic viability of existing farms in Pennsylvania through farm-based educational programs, organizing an annual conference, publishing a quarterly newsletter, networking to build markets for local and sustainably produced food, providing educational programs and opportunities for new farmers, and providing information and education on farmer-developed value-added products.

PASA works to provide healthy food for people in both rural and urban locations. PASA increases consumer awareness about health and safe food through advocating, educating, and networking with hunger and food advocacy groups throughout the state.

PASA creates a thriving natural environment by promoting and providing educational programs about sustainable agricultural practices, building coalitions with environmental and statewide organizations, and promoting policies that support a positive relationship between agriculture and the natural environment.

Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

Pennypack Farm

Where I get my Seeds
The Tao Project continues...

After several months hiatus, the Tao Project continues on Wabi Blogi. A photography project based on the Tao te Ching ... we will attempt to interpret the 81 chapters of the Tao te Ching through photography, a collaboration between artists who share a similar sense of spiritual connection to the earth, the water, the skies, and the Way.

Please visit the project link below. We welcome submissions and suggestions.

Un certain jour pluvieux #1

photo above by moonchild1111

Wabi Blogi

Tao Project photo pool
I have been in love with the incredible portrait work of Sanders McNew for several years now. He is a pure film guy who uses a variety of Rolleiflex cameras to shoot an ongoing study of real women, including his wife Melanie (first photo below). I don't like to use the term real women...obviously all women are real... but McNew's photo study is of everyday working women as opposed to professional models. Check out the link to his work below, and you will get the idea.

Last Night

Research Assistant, New York

Seamstress, Milwaukee

Sanders McNew
Wrestling sequence in Black & White...

100mm Zuiko lens on Canon 5D body

Wrestlers Series
The photographs below are some of the most amazing images I have ever seen. That sounds like quite a dramatic statement, but when you see them after reading the following context, I think you will at least agree that they are pretty cool, if not at the top of your all time amazing list.

My friend J Randall Updegrove, who has been mentioned several times on this blog, recently told me that he had sent in some film to be developed that he thought was 6 years old. He didn't even know what was on the film. He just wanted to get it developed so he could work with his flat bed scanner.

What ended up on the negatives blew our minds. These are unintentional double exposures. Somehow the same roll of film was used in what he believes was two different cameras. One exposure was made on a trip to New York City. The film must have been somehow not fully rewound, and then re-used in the same or most likely a different camera because the second exposure, taken at Yellowstone National Park, is flipped 180 degrees from the first exposure. Again... completely unintentional, and Randall has been going nuts trying to figure out how it even happened.

The film is not 6 years old. As you can see, the Twin Towers can be seen in both of these images. Randall can remember being in New York City in the Spring of 2001, six months or so before 9/11. So that is 8 years ago, and he can not recall if the Yellowstone exposures were made before or after the New York exposures.

These images are unaltered scans directly from the negatives...dust included.

New York City with Yellowstone #1

When you see the Twin Towers mirrored against the unsettled landscape of Yellowstone, and especially hanging from the heavens in the image below, amidst the steam and clouds and dust, and knowing that this was a mere couple of months before these buildings were gone forever, it begins to sink in how freaky these images are. If someone showed me these images and told me they were photoshopped, I would probably still think they were pretty remarkable. But the fact that these are completely random compositions from analog film that sat in a desk drawer for 8 years is just stunning.

New York City with Yellowstone #2

There are about twenty images from this magical roll of film, and Randall is putting them together on his photo blog along with his thoughts about what these images mean to him in the context of environmental and economic issues. As soon as he completes the project I will add a link to it. Stay tuned...

Here is the link to the full set of images...

The Earth Reclaims It

"For the artist photographer, much of his sense of reality and much of his sense of craft or stucture are anonymous and untraceable gifts from photography itself"

John Szarkowsky
The Photographer's Eye
Let me first say, I love Nadav Kander's work...

But his portraits of Obama's People , part of a special inauguration issue of the New York Times Magazine for January 18, 2009... there is something really odd about these images as they appear in the magazine. Odd as in most of these people look like they are suffering from jaundice. There is just the strangest skin tone in most of these images, and I'm wondering if this is intentional (?). The photographs do look better to me on the New York Times web site gallery, so maybe it is just a poor reproduction job by the magazine.

I think I'm just getting tired of this style of portaiture, especially photographs like the one of Communications Director Ellen Moran. (lower left, above). The zombie like, expressionless face that seems to be in so many art portraits the past few years. Ugh. We voted for change.... this is just more of the same old, same old. (artistically speaking)

Nadav Kander

Obama's People Gallery

Jaundice Information
I stumbled upon a web based application that mimics a Tilt Shift effect, allowing you to transform an existing photo into your own Vincent Laforet look-a-like. Laforet is the photographer who created some amazing images at the 2008 Olympic summer games using a tilt shift lens on his Canon digital camera. The results are what looks like a strange miniaturized world...

Vincent Laforet

It took me a bit of searching to find a file that would work with this application, but here is a before and after of one that finally gave me the correct look. It's a crowd at Broad & Washington Streets watching the Greater Kensington String Band on New Year's Day a few weeks ago.

Tilt Shift Maker
Sean Tubridy is a Minnesota based graphic designer with a passion for vintage toys and Polaroid photography who combines both into spectacular and fascinating works of art. His series Toys on Roids has been exhibited as a gallery show as well as a published book. I love the surreal quality Tubridy achieves with the use of a simple SX-70 camera. These images are far from snapshots though. They take very careful preparation and lighting to coax an extra level of magic from the creaminess of this film. These are carefully composed little gems and just the perfect combination of medium and message...

all images by Sean Tubridy

Toys on Roids book
Tuesday night in the darkroom at Abington Art Center...

Onward: A journey for Emerging Photographers
Project Basho
1305 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, Pa
Through February 22nd, 2009

The gallery was packed and full of excitement on Saturday for the opening reception of Onward 09 at Project Basho in the Old Kensington section of Philadelphia. I would guess that most of the 59 selected photographers were in attendance along with numerous friends, family, and other interested photography lovers, including Stephen Perloff, editor of The Photo Review. The only downside to a crowded gallery is the difficulty in a careful review of all of the work. The crowds did thin out somewhat as the reception ended and I was able to take in the beautifully arranged and presented photography works selected by this year’s juror, Peter Barberie, curator of photography at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The shining star of this year’s show is Sarah Kaufman. Born and raised in Philadelphia and now living in New York, Kaufman has two photographs in the Onward show, “Untitled, Blue Smoke” and “Untitled, Orange Sofa”, and both received the top Juror Award. Kaufman’s beautiful and very large 40” X 40” C-Prints could have easily dominated a gallery full of mostly much smaller prints. This was not the case thanks to masterful wall arranging by gallery curator Tsuyoshi Ito. Still, they command attention, and rightly so. My eyes lit up when Sarah told me this work was shot with her vintage Rolleiflex, and she eagerly explained the lengthy and expensive process of drum scanning the negatives and working with her printing vendor to ensure the gorgeous color tones and final results in her work. The two works she has in the Onward show are part of her series, Moments of Absorption.

"Untitled, Blue Smoke" by Sarah Kaufman

"Untitled, Orange Sofa" by Sarah Kaufman

Other work in the show that caught my attention…

“Davis with Deer, Upstate NY 2007” by Phil Jackson.
Jackson is about to embark on a Winter road trip to Arizona via Florida in a 1986 Grand Prix. Once in Arizona he plans to rent someone’s back yard and live in a tree house or shed he will build himself. I can’t wait to see the photos he brings back from this trip. Good travels Phil!

“My Dream is to Realize Who I Truly Am” by Tealia Ellis-Ritter
Best portrait in a show that contains a surprisingly small number of portraits.

“After They Left” by Joetta Maue
At 4” X 4”, this little jewel was the smallest print in the show, and I wish I could have seen more of this series as a grouping.

"After They Left" by Joetta Maue

Names of all Onward 09 selected photographers

Peter Barberie
From my continuing high school wrestling series... these are the first attempts at using medium format film instead of digital. I printed these in the darkroom this morning, and the actual prints look much better than these scans...

wrestling series
blur faced dog photos....

this is the first test shot from a $5 Automatic 100 I just got on Ebay...

and this is with a 35mm Zuiko lens on my Canon 5D...

Philly Photo Scene is happening!

This is a big weekend in Philadelphia for photography openings and receptions. All of these events are sure things...

Thursday, January 8th, 5:30-7:30PM
Reception for Tales of the Beginning
Photography by Julia Blaukopf and Elizabeth Crisman
The Felicity R. (Bebe) Benoliel Gallery
The Center for Emerging Visual Artists
237 S. 18th Street
The Barclay Suite 3A
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Julia Blaukopf's web site

Elizabeth Crisman's web site

photo below by Julia Blaukopf...

Friday, January 9th, 6-9PM
Opening Reception
Living Rooms: Photographs by Laura Kicey
Cafe Estelle
444 n 4th Street
(between Callowhill & Spring Garden)
Philadelphia, Pa

Laura Kicey's web site

Friday, January 9th, 7-9PM
Opening Reception
David Graham: A Maine Island Life
Allens Lane Art Center
601 West Allens Lane
Philadelphia, Pa

David Graham's web site

photo below by David Graham...

Saturday, January 10th, 2-5PM
Opening Reception
Onward: A journey for Emerging Photographers
Project Basho
1305 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, Pa

Onward 09 details

Join Philly Photo Scene on Facebook
I rarely discuss technical subjects on this blog, but this exception is being made because it is all about a way to re-use vintage lenses on new digital cameras. So call it Old School technology.

Here's my beloved Canon 5D that I bought a year ago along with the incredible L series 50mm 1.2 lens. This combination has served me quite well, and has resulted in some stunning images. The 50mm is the only lens I have for my 5D and while I would love to get more of these L series lenses, most of them start at $1000+ and that is just not happening in this economy.

To the rescue is a company called Fotodiox, who manufactures lens adapter rings that allow photographers to mount virtually any older analog lens on a new digital SLR. The simple conversion mounting ring below allows me to mount my collection of Olympus OM series Zuiko lenses to my EOS based Canon 5D.

Here is a 35mm Zuiko lens mounted on the Canon 5D...

...and a 135mm Zuiko I just bought on Ebay for $59...

These old Zuiko lenses are outstanding and will serve me well for years to come. There are thousands and thousands of older high quality lenses out there for very low prices in thrift stores and on the internet. Last year my buddy J Randall Updegrove found me a 28mm Zuiko lens in perfect condition at the Goodwill for $8.

I should mention that when using these older lenses on a digital SLR there is obviously a loss of auto focus function, as well as automatic metering. The way to go is Aperture Priority and a simple twist of the wrist for focusing. Once you go back to manual focusing you will love it, I promise!

Here's a great article from the New York Times about this subject...
Vintage Lenses on Digital Cameras
I just discovered a fascinating and beautiful blog called Grass Doe. It appears to be a photo journal of rural farm life in Maine. I say appears to be because this blog contains only images. It is gorgeous and mysterious in it's Zen-like simplicity. No text, no explanations, no archives, no links or blog rolls, no mention of who the photographer is.... just a long series of subtly connected images, beautifully presenting the cycles of life and death, the seasons of the year, and daily living. I highly recommend taking a look and scrolling through all of the images.

and it kept snowing

inside goat

bread bowl

urine town
Mid-Winter Photography wish list... here is my hot list of shows to see on a day trip to New York City to beat the mid winter blahs.

Emmet Gowin
Pace/MacGill Gallery
32 East 57th Street, NYC
February 19- March 21

Emmet Gowin

Contradictions in Black & White
Hasted Hunt Gallery
529 West 20th Street, NYC
January 8- February 28

Margaret Bourke-White
Harry Callahan
Michael Flomen
Adam Fuss
Nathan Harger
Idris Kahn
Vera Lutter
Raymond K Metzker
Irving Penn
Horacio Salinas

Ray K Metzker

Shinichi Maruyama: Kusho
Aaron Siskind: Recurrence

Bruce Silverstein
535 West 24th Street, NYC
January 15-February 21

Shinichi Maruyama

Edward Steichen: In High Fashion
The Conde Nast Years 1923-1937
International Center of Photography
January 16- March 3

Rachel Papo: Desperately Perfect
Clamp Art Gallery
February 12- March 14

Sepia Gallery
January 9- February 21
Good Bye JPG Magazine....

Sad news today in an email message from JPG Magazine...

"We've spent the last few months trying to make the business behind JPG sustain itself, and we've reached the end of the line. We all deeply believe in everything JPG represents, but we just weren't able to raise the money needed to keep JPG alive in these extraordinary economic times. We sought out buyers, spoke with numerous potential investors, and pitched several last-ditch creative efforts, all without success. As a result, will shut down on Monday, January 5, 2009.

The one thing we've been the most proud of: your amazing talent. We feel honored and humbled to have been able to share with such a dynamic, warm, and wonderful community of nearly 200,000 photographers. The photography on the website and in the magazine was adored by many, leaving no doubt that this community created work of the highest caliber. The kindness, generosity, and support shared among members made it a community in the truest sense of the word, and one that we have loved being a part of for these past two years.We wish we could have found a way to leave the site running for the benefit of the amazing folks who have made JPG what it is, and we have spent sleepless nights trying to figure something out, all to no avail."

I am proud to have been a part of the short but sweet JPG Magazine history. I had the photo below and a short story about my Polaroid SX-70 published in issue 12. It was exciting to be published in a national magazine for the first time.