Arizona

Depth of Field

Last week I returned from a five day trip to Arizona for the opening of the Rfotofolio show Depth of Field. This was held at the beautiful non-profit photo-center Art Intersection, in Gilbert, AZ.

 

The show and the associated events were so well organised by Connie and Jerry of Rfotofolio and Alan Fitzgerald and his team at Art Intersection.

 

On the Friday evening there was a roundtable discussion between many of the photographers in the show, gallery directors and curators, around the theme of professional sustainability, moderated by Becky Senf of the Center for Creative Photography. Saturday evening was the opening which was great fun, but tiring. Lots of wonderful questions were asked of everyone’s work, and we got to meet old friends and new.

 

©Rfotofolio AI Show 2015

Photo by Rfotofolio.

 

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Photo by Rfotofolio.

 

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Jennifer Schlesinger and myself — Photo by Rfotofolio.

 

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Impending Storm, Saguaro National Park.

 

Saguaro National Park

On Sunday I drove down to Saguaro National Park, near Tucson. After hiking halfway up a mountain trail in the heat, I decided that the thunderstorm I could see developing in the far distance was indeed getting closer. The lightning was the turning point for me. Within minutes of getting back to the car and driving I got caught up in a small dust storm but then the torrential rain started. After making it back slowly to Gilbert via flooded roads and slow moving freeways, I was ready to meet up with the others for a drink and dinner. We made it into the restaurant just as the rain and wind started again. Monsoon season in Arizona.

 

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Dust storm, near Saguaro National Park.

 

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Dust storm, near Saguaro National Park.

 

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Rain storm, Saguaro National Park.

 

Center for Creative Photography

On the Monday a small group of us drove down to the Center for Creative Photography, in Tucson. We met with an assistant curator, Andrew Kensett, and Jennifer Jae Gutierrez, a conservator at the center, to look at about 40 prints – iconic images of photography – that had been pulled from the archives.

 

In no preferential order there were prints by Edward Weston, Brett Weston, Ansel Adams, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Ruth Bernard, André Kertész, Margrethe Mather and Sonya Noskowiak.

 

Seeing these prints, unglazed and in some cases with the mat lifted to reveal the entire print and its support, and under nice soft lighting, was amazing. Two prints stood out for me that I hadn’t expected to. One by Edward Weston, Contraband Bayou, Louisiana, 1941 and the other by Brett Weston, Cities Service Refinery, 1956Both these prints I had seen before, but only in books. The print by Edward Weston has so much depth and detail that is lost in books and the refinery image by Brett is so luminous and metallic. Spectacular. And the intimate Harry Callahan prints, Eleanor, Chicago, 1949 and Cattails Against Sky, 1948 renewed my love for his work.

 

The one print that did disappoint (can I even say that about one of the masters?) was Aaron Siskind’s Jerome, Arizona 21, 1949. At just over 18″ x 13″, it was the largest print there and much softer, greyer and flatter than I would have imagined it to be. Exactly the reverse experience of the Weston’s.

 

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The Center for Creative Photography print room. Yes, I did ask permission to take photographs!

 

So for making it a fun time thanks must go to Connie and Jerry Rosenthal of Rfotofolio, Alan Fitzgerald and the team at Art Intersection, Dana and Josh Rosenthal, Norm Snyder, Willie Osterman, Joanne Teasdale, Jennifer SchlesingerDavid Emett Adams, Claire A. Warden and the many, many more that were there for the opening and made the trip out to the gallery.

Shot in the Dark

One of the jobs I’ve been most fortunate to print over the past few months has been an exhibition for Joe Donnelly.

The images were all shot digitally, using a Leica M Monochrom digital camera and the world’s fastest aspherical lens, the Leica 50mm Noctilux‑M f/0.95. A typical image in the series would have been made with the lens wide open at f/0.95, approximately a 2 second exposure and the camera set to ISO 10,000. All the images were captured in virtually no light or just one candle.

The majority of the images were printed in gelatin-silver while several were printed in polymergravure.

After I had edited the files in Photoshop, I made either negatives (for silver prints) or positives (for the photogravures).

The silver prints were made in a darkroom, using traditional methods, gelatin-silver paper and chemistry on two different papers – Foma for its warmth or Adox for cooler, more neutral tones. For the polymer gravures I used Hahnemühle Copperplate paper and Charbonnel inks.

Left: After John Singer Sargent — gelatin-silver print
Right: Black, Brown and Beige (Melissa in Shawl) — photogravure

 

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FlakPhoto Digest

flakphoto-digest

Over the years FlakPhoto has done an amazing job at promoting the work of photographers, whether known or unknown, emerging or established and from all around the world. Now Andy‘s put together a new project – FlakPhoto Digest. Sign up and each week you’ll get a well-crafted newsletter drop into your InBox at the weekend.

For the past ten years I’ve been supporting imagemakers and their work using digital media. I’m excited to announce a new project that will build on and expand upon those efforts. It’s called FlakPhoto Digest: a weekly email newsletter focused on photography + visual culture recommendations carefully curated from across the Web.

 

The Digest is a weekend reader: something you can spend time with when the work week slows down — an opportunity to sit back and relax with a handful of photo/arts links on your mobile or tablet. Email arrives on Saturdays so you can enjoy over a hot cup of coffee (or tea) when you have a moment by yourself. It’s the perfect thing for a lazy Sunday morning.

 

— Andy Adams

For the past few months I’ve been one of the lucky few receiving the FlakPhoto Digest each week while it was in closed beta, but now it’s close to being opened up to the public. For me, this is the perfect way to discover new photographers as Andy’s doing all the hard work and research! And it’s not just about showcasing photographers. It includes photo news, opportunities and calls for work. To give you an idea, FlakPhoto Digest #11, from May 2015, can be found here.

More information and the signup form can be found on the FlakPhoto website.