PEOPLE v. PLACES

People Vs. Places (2 of 6)

Last fall, on Twitter, we came across Stephanie Bassos and Timothy Burkhart collaborators on People vs Places. In this double exposure project, Stephanie exposes a full roll of 35mm film of only “people,” and Timothy reloads the film again into the same camera, to imprint only “places” and locations to the same roll. These images are all the end result of their ongoing series and are unedited negatives straight from the camera. After seeing their project on Tumblr, we wanted to know more.

People Vs. Places (3 of 6)

What prompted your project?  

Stephanie Bassos: We both meet at our full time job, where we both work on various photographic projects at an online-based startup. We do a range of things from basic photo editing to smaller studio shoots. Our friendship sparked from casual conversation about our love for photography and the projects we were both currently working on outside of work, as well as other artists we were into at the moment.  Our styles seemed to come from opposite ends of the photographic spectrum, and we had an admiration for what the other was doing.

I prefer working with people and shooting portraits, while Tim shoots mostly landscapes and places that don’t directly include people. We had entertained the idea of collaborating on a photo shoot or project, but we couldn’t really nail down how to make it happen. Tim had been shooting with some older film cameras at the time and had an instance where he unknowingly double exposed a roll of film resulting in double exposures. He then realized that his camera wasn’t rewinding film all the way and allowed the same roll to be loaded again fairly easily. This occurrence seemed to be the perfect vehicle for us to bring our two styles together into one image as well as series. We have been shooting for around nine months now and sticking to the formula of me shooting only people and Tim shooting only places, although we each don’t know the specifics outside of that.

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How do you choose your subjects and the order in which you shoot?

SB: The order we shoot is completely random.  We don’t have a specific way (people first, or places first.)  We were originally passing the same camera back and forth after we finished shooting our respective subject, but that slowed the process significantly.  If we both had a trip planned at the same time and only one had the camera, it seemed counter productive. To solve the issue we bought another one of the cameras we were using and tested it to find that it had the same rewind issue as the original. This allowed us both to shoot simultaneously.  Now we both have a roll in our cameras at all times, and whoever finishes first gives it to the other to re-load.

Timothy Burkhart: We choose our subjects by observing our surroundings and just going about our daily lives. The people Stephanie shoots are mostly her friends, or candid strangers. The places I shoot are in transit or traveling.  The project definitely has a point and shoot aesthetic and vibe to it.  It’s rare that we go out to a specific place or find a specific person to shoot with-shoots aren’t premeditated.  The camera is always on us, so we just constantly have it in the back of our minds and we shoot our life as it happens.

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Why did you choose Kodak film for this project?

TB: When we first started shooting we used what was most available. Lots of camera shops have been closing up around us in Chicago, so we were picking up Kodak Gold 200 at the local pharmacy or corner store, which fit our needs of availability.  Kodak films in general always have a bit more saturation and warmer color tones than other manufacturers and this was something we both liked aesthetically. After we shot on Kodak Gold for a bit to get a feel for the project we switched to Portra 400, which gave us a little less grain and even better tones.  Now we go back and forth between those two and shoot whatever we have available. People Vs. Places (6 of 6)

 How does this fit in with your overall photography work/style? 

SB: It’s a pretty perfect project for both of us to do outside of our own freelance. It gives us a chance to focus on what we love shooting most, and also comes with an element of surprise when the film is finally developed. It keeps us constantly creating and observing and thinking about photography in a different way.  Rather than focusing on composition and style to create the photo we want constantly, we surrender some of those decisions and leave it up to fate and cross our fingers hoping the great “people” shot was overlaid by a perfect “places” shot.

TB: It throws us both out of our comfort zones a little because we are not able control the frame in it’s entirety… but that’s good for us because it forces us to not think too much about one specific shot. The project looks a lot different than anything we both do.  We both shoot in our own ways and have a cleaner shooting style, so doing this project is a way to break away from our own personal process and have some fun with an old camera and some film.

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The Majestic Oak

Today’s blog post comes from Kyle Ford. Kyle Ford is an artist and educator currently residing in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate, NY. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design and has been published an exhibited worldwide. Kyle’s work investigates ideas of perception, representation, and interaction surrounding the natural world. For more information and insight into his work please visit: www.kylefordphotography.com

Portrait of Kyle with 8x10

It was a hazy Monday morning in early May 2007. A forest fire had been burning in the Okefenokee Swamp since the weekend and thick smoke had begun to descend upon the coastal city of Savannah, Georgia. That morning I had set out to make a portrait of one of the oldest living things east of the Mississippi: The Majestic Oak.

I first came in contact with the tree a week before. Back then, my friend Jarrid Spicer – a great photographer in his own right – and I would often take trips to seek out these ancient sentinels of our country. Our expeditions, more often than not, would end up in forest preserves or state-run parks. Because of their strict environmental regulations and separation from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, these sanctuaries proved to harbor many beautiful old specimens. But this time was different. We found ourselves smack in the middle of a suburban housing development just a few miles southeast of Savannah proper. The development, aptly named Majestic Oaks, was somewhat of an over blown cul-de-sac. At the center of the giant turnaround stood our living relic.

The Majestic Oak, Majestic Oaks Housing Development

With a branch span of over 165 feet and a base girth of 27 feet 8 inches, this 300-plus- year-old tree was enormous. Its trunk alone was wider than I was tall. Its symmetrically shaped branches hung effortlessly, like a cloud descending upon the surrounding landscape. Strands of soft gray Spanish moss draped evenly throughout the tree, while patches of red and green lichen modeled the branches with splashes of texture and color. I instantly thought to myself, “I’m going to need a bigger camera.” Somehow, the prosumer DSLR that I traveled with (mostly for note taking) just wasn’t going to cut it. So much texture, gradation, and detail would be lost to the APS-C sized sensor. I knew to do it justice I would need to capture it in large format on Kodak film.

I returned the following week with my 4×5 K.B. Canham field camera and twelve sheets of Kodak Portra 160NC. This was before the marrying of VC and NC film types. As luck would have it, the haze of smoke from the fire burning in Okenfenokee Swamp had created a beautiful warm diffusion of the morning light. As I stood there setting up my camera, I heard a voice. About 200 feet behind me, a person emerged from a screen door on the back porch of a townhouse. It was the owner of the home on her way to work. She stood behind a waste high stonewall, waving a piece of paper. As I approached her she said, “This is the Majestic Oak,” indicating the paper in her hand. On the paper was an artist’s rendering of the tree. In pen and ink, the tree floated there, isolated on the soft white base of the paper. Absent of background and surrounding context, this “tree” she presented me with looked more like a symbol or an icon of the majestic tree.

We had a short chat about the artist, the history of the ancient oak, and the neighborhood. Before the owner left, she informed me that I was standing right where the artist made the illustration. As I turned to face the tree, from where I stood, I could almost take it all in in one glance. From that distance, The Majestic Oak seemed more like a perfect sculpture than a tree. As I looked around at the surrounding houses I began to realize that similar to the artist’s drawing, this tree itself was an icon.

Separated from the forests that once surrounded it, this tree stands isolated in the center of the cul-de-sac. Akin to a great work of art, it adds value to all the surrounding homes that gaze uponit. A plaque to the left of the tree indicates its title and estimated age. The neighborhood even installed lights to illuminate the treasure year round. At that time, I realized the artist’s rendering hadn’t done something new by isolating and iconizing the tree; that happened long ago, when a decision was made to preserve it.

Its intrepid strength as a living organism aside, The Majestic Oak still stands today for one reason: its aesthetic characteristics. Without those traits, the tree might have fallen the way of the forest that once surrounded it. The Majestic Oak survives as a reminder of a decision made long ago to preserve an aesthetic. Somehow, by photographing the tree, I feel a connection to the countless others who along the way chose to preserve its beauty, iconizing it in one form or another – be it pen and ink, poetry, photography, or even the seemingly small, yet lasting decision, not to let the tree fall subject to human development.

I knew I had to take my photograph from the exact spot where I stood and where I’m sure so many have stood before me. I had to create an image that would consume the viewer the way the tree consumed me.

I set up my camera once more. Originally, I had intended to use a wide-angle 90mm lens (roughly equivalent to a 28mm lens in 35mm) but upon looking at the ground glass I realized that the aspect ratio and detail in texture still left a lot to be desired. I needed the final image to have a large enough native resolution to produce a print the size of the wall with tack sharp detail you could get lost in. So I decided to transfer a technique that was common in digital photography to my view camera practice. I would shoot several negatives and stitch them together digitally to make one seamless photograph. This is one of the many reasons why I religiously shoot Kodak. The Kodak Portra series has a phenomenal film grain that produces unparalleled depth in tonal gradation and texture when scanning. Shooting Kodak allows me to practice a kind of hybrid technique of shooting film and scanning for digital process and output.

I switched lenses and grabbed my Symmar-S 210mm. At that distance, distortion caused by rotating the angle of the camera would be minimized, and I could easily set my aperture to the middle (f22) and sharpest point of the lens, still obtaining the full depth of field I required in the shot. I then divided the tree into six different quadrants and made an identical exposure of each, leaving a small amount of overlap to line up the negatives in  post. I returned to the lab, processed the film, scanned each sheet in 16 bit at 2400 dpi resolution, and began the week long stitching process. I opted not use any automated stitching programs to minimize any distortion automation might create and instead used layer masks and blending modes to stitch the negatives.

In technical terms, the end result was a 4GB file that could produce a seamless mural sized print of up to 10ft x 5ft at a resolution of 300dpi. For me, the final image was a small tribute to the beauty of The Majestic Oak and the simple decision made long ago to preserve it.

 

Film Photography Day 2013

Tomorrow is Film Photography Day!

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Lomo created Film Photography Day to celebrate analogue! My colleague, Lars Fiedler, over in Germany chatted with Lomo and we are happy to support the day with Kodak film!

April 12 will be filled with parties, events and workshops across the world. You can search for or start your own Film Photography Day celebration using Meetup. Lomo even provided a downloadable party kit! We have sent Kodak film to Lomo to include in their “Analogue Goodie Packs” they are sending out to events with more than 30 participants.

For those of you that can’t make it to a meetup, don’t worry! We have something planned!

Tomorrow, Friday, April 12 we have enlisted photographers around the world to give away Kodak film on Twitter for 12 hours!

Each photographer has one Kodak film goody bag to give away. It is an assortment of 12 different kinds and formats. Each person will have their own way to enter. You have one hour to enter for each photographer and they will announce the winner at the end of the hour.

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Sorting through some of the Kodak film for prizes

Below are the photographer’s twitter links and the times (All Eastern Standard Time) they will be giving away their film goody bag.

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6 am to 7 am – @jonaspeterson
Jonas Peterson – Brisbane, Australia | http://jonaspeterson.com

7 am to 8 am – @micmojo
Jan Scholz – Brussels, Belgium | http://www.micmojo.com

8 am to 9 am- @filmsnotdead
Film’s Not Dead – London, UK | http://filmsnotdead.com

9 am to 10 am- @stillshootfilm
Rachel Rebibo – Paris, France | http://istillshootfilm.org

10 am to 11 am- @ctwphoto
Tim Massie – Albany, NY | http://www.timmassie.com

11 am to noon – @rnmphotography
Ryan Muirhead – Utah | http://www.ryanmuirhead.com

12 pm to 1 pm – @shawnhoke
Shawn Hoke – Brooklyn, NY, US | http://shawnhoke.com

1 pm to 2 pm – @kylebcool
Kyle Bromley – Jacksonville, FL | http://www.kbromleyphoto.com

2 pm to 3 pm – @JosephPrezioso
Joeseph Prezioso – New England/Las Vegas | http://www.josephprezioso.com

3 pm to 4 pm- @hanlonfiske
Hanlon Fiske Studio – Rochester, NY | http://hanlon-fiske.com

4 pm to 5 pm- @jonathancanlas
Jonathan Canlas – Lehi, UT | http://filmisnotdead.com

5 pm to 6 pm- @juliagaldo
Julia Galdo – Los Angeles, CA | http://www.jucophoto.com

6 pm to 7 pm- @erickimphoto
Eric Kim – Los Angeles, CA | http://erickimphotography.com/blog

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Be sure to follow all these awesome film photographers and watch their twitter feeds on April 12!

As for us here in Rochester, we are having a Film Photography Day meet-up too! Hosted by the fine folks at Hanlon Fiske Studio, we will get together to look at photos we have all taken and enjoy some analogue camaraderie.

I am taking prints of these photos I shot on Kodak film in the abandoned Rochester Subway.

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I hope everyone has big plans for this year’s Film Photography Day!

A Celebration of Film

As the director of World Wide Photographer Relationships, my job has so many cool aspects. One of the best?  The world renowned photographers with whom we have unbelievable relationships, like Steve McCurry, John Sexton, Joyce Tenneson, Matthew Jordan Smith and Mary Ellen Mark and emerging photographers, like the ones we get to meet through groups like The Society for Photographic Education, PDN 30, and the [F] Network. We hope that their work will inspire you – to grab your camera, try a new film, shoot a new subject. And what better time than next week’s World Film Day. On April 12, the team from Lomography will host events, including a series of Meet-Ups, around the globe to celebrate all things analogue.

Meanwhile, in the coming weeks and months here on Film Fridays, we’ll give you a chance to hear from some of these mind-blowingly talented men and women who take our films and create those photographs that make you smile, laugh, cry, think, remember and dream.

First up – Eliot Dudik. We first met Dudik as part of the 2010 PDN Emerging Photographers. Based in Charleston, SC, Dudik shoots large format, using cameras like a Korona View Camera. His monograph, ROAD ENDS IN WATER, first published in 2010, celebrates the culture and landscape of rural South Carolina, specifically between Savannah and Charleston.

Battle of Aiken 150th

Battle of Aiken 150th

Battle of Allatoona Pass

Battle of Allatoona Pass

Battle of Antietam

Battle of Antietam

Battle of Bull Run

Battle of Bull Run

Battle of Congaree Creek

Battle of Congaree Creek

Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

Battle of Monocacy

Battle of Monocacy

Battle of South Mountain at Foxs Gap

Battle of South Mountain at Foxs Gap

Battle of Stones River at McFaddens Ford

Battle of Stones River at McFaddens Ford

We loved it when he shared this video, produced by Virginia Cinema Films, showing some behind the scenes work on his current project, shooting Civil War re-enactments, using 8×10 PORTRA 160. Enjoy!

Guest blogger: Holly Hughes, Editor, Photo District News

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Photo District News recently announced our 2013 PDN’s 30 new and emerging photographers to watch. Now in its 14th year, this special issue and online gallery, http://pdn30.pdnevents.com/gallery/2013/ celebrates 30 photographers who have worked as professionals for five years or less, selected by PDN’s editors from more than 300 portfolios submitted from around the world.  The announcement of our selection elicited the reaction we’ve come to expect: excitement, curiosity, warm congratulations for the selected photographers and some grumblings, mostly from veteran photographers, about all the attention lavished on upstarts. But PDN’s 30 is more than a showcase for new talent. It also has an educational mission.

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Our profiles of the PDN’s 30 include details about how they honed their photographic vision, the challenges they’ve faced in launching their photographic careers and the most valuable lessons they’ve learned so far. With the support of sponsors like Kodak and other companies committed to helping professional photographers succeed, PDN holds panels at photo schools and workshops around the country. During these panels, some of the PDN’s 30 photographers share with students and aspiring professionals their real-world experience of getting started in today’s competitive and rapidly evolving business. Not so long ago, the PDN’s 30 photographers sat where these students are now: Uncertain how to approach clients or galleries, unaware how much to charge for their work or where to turn for advice. It’s encouraging for students to hear how these emerging photographers learned the ropes, what they use, how they found their own voice and style, how they shoot. The majority of this year’s PDN’s 30 say they shoot film, in fact. But what I think what makes their stories interesting is not only the technical information they share, but the inspiration they offer to photographers at every stage of their careers.

It's Not What She Said, It's How She Said It…

Spread of food and homemade pretzels at Easy Tiger in Austin, Texas

How are the PDN’s 30 chosen? Based on the recommendations of photo editors, gallery directors, curators, art directors, photographers and educators, as well as suggestions made by PDN’s editors based on work we’ve seen throughout the year, we invite photographers to submit work that we review (and re-review) and debate. We look for the qualities that are essential for a long and creative career—a distinctive vision, versatility, and a proven ability to experiment and to complete interesting, enterprising projects. We strive to represent a mix of subjects and genres, including portraiture, fashion, photojournalism, fine art, editorial and commercial work. Once we’ve made our selections, the fun begins. As PDN’s senior editor Conor Risch writes in his letter introducing the 2013 PDN’s 30, “One of the satisfying aspects of working on the PDN’s 30 feature each year is the opportunity we have to get to know the people behind the portfolios of images that stood out to us.” No two photographers have shared the same path to success, but they are all share a passion for photography that is infectious.

The North Corrida

When I prep photographers to speak on PDN’s 30 panels, I always tell them that the students appreciate candid talk about setbacks and mistakes. What’s impressed me most, however, about the enterprising PDN’s 30 photographers of the last two to three years, is their ingenuity. In covering the professional photography market today for PDN, we hear a lot about how the traditional business models are changing. Fewer clients underwrite assignments; the gallery world has contracted; advertisers are cautious about taking risks on new talent or new ideas. In a rapidly changing marketplace, many established photographers are scrambling to adapt. But photographers who got their start within the last five years have no preconceived notions about how the business is “supposed to work.” They’re coming up with new ways to fund their projects and get their work seen.  They’re open-minded about the media, platforms and techniques they use to tell their stories. They don’t let categories like fine art or commercial photography define who they are.

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PDN’s 30 photographers may be newcomers, but they’ve put a lot of work into finding something interesting to say and crafting an original way to say it. They’re deeply committed to sharing the stories they want to tell and they’re confident that if they stay true to themselves, someone will pay attention. If you want an idea of where the photo industry is headed, you could do worse than to look to these future stars who are reinventing the business as they go.

Hogslop String Band, Harpeth River, TN

Melissa Niu: Kodak and [F] Network partner for Film Season 2

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[F] Network is an educational platform stocked full of inspirational shows and resources for photographers.  And with the ever-changing photography industry that is rapidly shifting to bigger tools and slicker cameras, it’s easy to push and educate to the rising digital world.

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But within the industry, there is a group that has fallen back in love with history.  They have fallen back in love with film.

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Shooting with film has been described by our viewership as a pure, simplistic and actual art form that has taken hold of and awakened their inner artist.  And with the film crowd rising with incredible talent, we couldn’t resist producing a show featuring talented film shooters that is real, relatable and educational for the industry.  We call the show, “Film”.

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Starting in 2012 with Film Season 1 and back again by popular demand, we now are in post-production for Film Season 2 featuring the talented Jan Scholz, Ryan Muirhead, Tanja Lippert, Tia Reagan and Jonas Peterson.  Filmed in the bright lights of Las Vegas, the episodes will be everything analog complete with educational, inspirational and of course, with the unique personalities on the show, moments of relatable and laughable entertainment.

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Kodak film is undeniably the most used and highly favored by each of the hosts featured in Film Season 2.  At any given time, we would see rolls and sheets of PORTRA 160, PORTRA 400, TRI-X, EKTAR 100 and BWCN400 being loaded into the cameras of this talented group. They rave about the smoothness, quality and richness that the Kodak products provide.  This show is about film.  And put quite plainly, it is a must to showcase the film that the hosts love, the film that is a necessity to their art, and most importantly, the film that launched the start and history of image making. See behind the scenes shots on Instagram at http://instagram.com/framednetwork.

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Our partnership with Kodak is indeed an exciting co-branding opportunity to properly educate the beauty and possibilities of the analog art.  With the Kodak products in the hands of Film Season 2’s talented photographers and the episodes that are soon to hit [F] Network mid 2013, you’ll feel the love and complete passion that these artists have for film photography.  So if you’re a photography fan and want to watch a few episodes of Film, consider yourself warned.  You, too, just might fall in love with film.

Melissa Niu, CEO [F] Network

Photo by Ashely Wall

Holly Gordon: My Ode to Kodak or “Owed” to Kodak

My origins are rooted with Kodak. To say that I was born with a Kodak reflex camera around my neck is a hyperbole, but when I was five years old, my father placed a Kodak Reflex camera around my neck, who said, “ Hold it against your belly, look into the viewfinder and when you are ready to take a picture hold your breath and snap.” I walked around with that camera, constantly documenting my world…and sometimes I even had film in it. There was such a thrill of anticipation as my little fingers split the paper wrapper and threaded the film onto the sprocket…what joy!

That camera is a most cherished possession and sits close to me in my office today. It looks so much smaller than it did when I was five.  I wish I could still get film for it – my T-Max just doesn’t fit. But no matter…Kodak is inexorably woven in my being. My dad set up a darkroom in our bathroom. Oh, the aroma of those Kodak chemicals and viewing the contact strips he made was pure magic…and those sensations led me into every darkroom I have worked in! I wish those early photographs survived….but the camera and memories do.

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Years later, in 1991 to be exact, I took a two-week black and white photography course at the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport, Maine with Steve Bliss, the now-head of photography, at Savannah School of Art and Design. I created a self-portrait with an assemblage of Kodak film and developing reels. I called it The Kodak Smile….and that was at least 10 years before Kodak saw my Antarctica photographs printed on Kodak Metallic paper and invited me to become a Kodak Professional Partner.

To add to the serendipitous events in my life, during the summer of 2011, I ran into Steve Bliss in Provence where Savannah School of Art and Design has a satellite program. That’s how I discovered he had been made head of the photography department… and to think that 20 years later our paths intersected….like magic!

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Kodak is integrally woven into my creative roots, was instrumental in defining me as an artist and will always be part of me.

The words of T.S Eliot from The Four Quartets sum up, so appropriately, my relationship with Kodak:

“We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.”

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In my early years of photography my subjects were flowers and butterflies and I searched for perfect specimen. Unconsciously or subconsciously, I composed beyond the flower or butterfly, aiming and focusing on the entire frame because the background had to complement the subject to make the image work.  How I chose to see and compose resonated with others because it was those early butterflies that brought attention from the press and the public.

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As I travel the world Kodak, film fills my camera bag…to the Falkland Islands and Antarctica and to Australia and New Zealand, Europe, South America….

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Wanting to wiggle my way into a newspaper project, I purchased my first digital camera and began shooting with it so I could say I was experienced….but Kodak film, especially T-MAX 100 and TMAX 400 continue to dominate my camera bags.

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I am still running as fast as I can…and so is my slide and film scanner…translating my precious chromes and negs into digital files for printing purposes.  Kodak is ever-present in my heart, viewfinder and printed image.

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Every time I see the Kodak brand, be it in China, France…anywhere…it gets documented…and I smile knowing that all is well with the world of photography because I am not alone. Photographers world-wide still choose to shoot with film.

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Kodak is part of my past, present and future and photography, for me, is the synthesis of my love-affair with life. Thank you, Kodak, for providing me with the means to capture, document, and share my journey.

www.hollygordonphotographer.com

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Josh Moates and Indie Film Lab

Josh Moates, photographer and founder of Indie Film Lab in Montgomery, shares why he got into the film processing game and how a business decision has impacted his art.

I’ve been taking pictures since my mom gave me a 35mm camera for Christmas when I was in high school and for the last 10 years, it’s how I’ve made my living. When I re-discovered film in 2004, it changed the way I thought about photography, and then it changed my business.

A big chunk of my work is weddings, which I love shooting. But in Alabama, I couldn’t charge enough to make shooting film for my clients a truly cost effective option.

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Still, I couldn’t shake my belief that shooting film for an occasion as special as a wedding was important to me and to my clients. We all know the quality of film photos outshines that of digital, and for me, the quality of my composition is better when I’m shooting film.  It stokes my creativity, and not just when shooting happy couples. I have been a 100% Kodak shooter for years because of the new PORTRA line and the classic look of TRI-X.

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When shooting weddings, I use Kodak’s PORTRA color negative films because how easily they scan and how amazing the colors are. The skin tones are truly the best of all the other film brands I have shot. Especially the new Portra 800 – it’s super awesome for lower light situations.  Thank goodness for that film, it has saved me in so many hard to shoot situations.

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And I love, love love TRI-X for black and white; it has the most classic look of any black and white film. When I look at a TRI-X photograph, it almost looks like it has a soul. I keep it loaded in my Leica M6. Not to mention it is the most versatile film ever. It can be shot at pretty much any speed. I mainly push it to 1600, but I have shot it at 3200 with great results.

I enjoy photographing anything that relates to Southern culture and history—landscapes, architecture and people. But my favorite subjects are always people. Trying to capture someone’s personality in a split second and then share that moment is a challenge that keeps me coming back.

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When I look into the faces of my portrait photos done on film, I see an added layer of depth, a layer that enhances and underscores what I’m trying to express.

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The point is I wasn’t going to stop shooting film. Instead, I decided to find a way to make it work for me. So I took a leap, gathered some partners, and we bought our own lab equipment and scanner. Kim Box, my partner in my photography company, came onboard, as did my shooting assistant, Asheley Willet, who is absolutely integral to the process. He has a degree in chemistry from the University of Alabama and is the technical guru who makes everything come out just right.

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The original intent was to just process our own film and let the equipment pay for itself. Once we started, we were really happy with the results and shared some shots on a Facebook film shooters’ group. “Who did your lab work?” kept popping up in response to our posts. When I told those asking that we did, they wanted us to process their film too. The light bulb turned on overhead, and I saw a void in the film-processing market just waiting to be filled.

To process the film, we use Kodak Flexicolor chemistry in our color processors and Duraflo RT in the BW machines. The chemistry has been consistent and very stable and we depend on it to deliver top notch negatives for our clients day in and day out. We figure why not use the best chemistry we can get.

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In response, in 2012, we created Indie Film Lab, and in less than a year, it has grown into one of the largest film-processing labs of its type in the world. We had some growing pains initially, but we’re moving full-steam ahead.

Indie Film Lab is more than a successful start-up company. It began as a business decision, but it has moved far beyond that for me. Now, it is my way to play a part in the film community and in the renaissance of film, and as a huge film fan, that’s just cool.

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Shooting film again has re-awakened my passion for photography, and I suspect it has done the same for many others who started in photography when digital was “king”. I love that now my company is a resource for other artists that shoot film and that we give them a great product. There aren’t many things that give me more satisfaction than doing what I love, on my terms, and being successful doing it.

So I guess the morals of my story if you’re looking for some, are: Don’t be afraid to walk through the doors life opens for you; if you’ve got a great idea, push to make it happen; and never underestimate the value of good partners.

Indie Film Labs road tripped to Vegas and WPPI the 2nd week in March, documenting their adventures with Kodak film. You can see the team’s journey on Instagram, Facebook and on Twitter @IndieFilmLab1

Click here to find more information on Indie Film Lab online.

Guest blog post: Keith Canham & Large Format Photography

Kodak Professional is in Chicago, IL for the annual Society of Photographic Education conference. You can find Tim Ryugo, our national sales manager for professional film, in our Booth #44. along with Keith Canham, owner of K.B. Canham Cameras. Keith tells us how he partnered with Kodak to deliver large format film to the market.KB Canham 7 X 17 3/4 rear view<br />wood large format field cameraLet me introduce myself: I am Keith Canham, owner of K. B. Canham Cameras, Inc. I have built large format cameras for more than 30 years.  I did not start building camera with the intent of owning a camera business. I just wanted a large format camera. I had been photographing for more than 10 years when I had my first opportunity to use a 4×5 camera. Up until that time I had used medium format. It was love at first sight with the 4×5. Not the camera, but the image made with it. The detail and tonal range -just stunning. The topic of the image was not great. It was an assignment shot for a photography course I was taking at the university, but I was hooked. As they say, the rest is history.

I still do all the design work on the cameras. As the owner of the business, I seem to do some of just about everything else, too. We make the wooden parts in our own shop in Arizona. Most of the metal parts are made by two machine shops, also in Arizona. All of the metal parts are machined from solid billets of 6061 aluminum. My company builds everything from 4×5 to 20×24 and will do special one off cameras as well. But enough of the techy stuff.

KB Canham 20X24 3/4 front view with film holder<br /><br /><br />metal ultra large format cameraThe environment of photography today is very exciting. Digital has changed my customers from a large percentage of commercial photographers to a large percentage of fine arts photographers. People with a discerning eye know that digital does not look like traditional. Both can be beautiful in their own right. The artist needs to decide which method or combination of methods best produces the final work of art.

Four years ago I approached Kodak about selling special order films. I had seen others put together groups to order film from Kodak that was not a standard size listed in the Kodak catalog. They would do this only once. Photographers didn’t know whether there would ever be another order put together or even how they could put together such an order. Kodak is a big company and it can be daunting for an individual to figure out how to place a special order. It is also a significant amount of work for Kodak when every special order is from someone new who doesn’t know how it all works. I wanted to make it easy for photographers to acquire film in sizes not listed in Kodak’s catalog. Kodak agreed. Now if you want one of Kodak’s emulsions in any sheet film size, I can get it for you. There is one footnote here. I should say that I can get any size so long as one of the dimensions is 40 inches or smaller. In fact, right now I have an order placed for 6″x7″ Ektar 100, a size that I have never heard of. Over these four years, the film sales have increased. I can tell you from talking to people I know in the film industry that film sales are strong.

No matter what some people say, film is not dead. In fact, it’s very much alive. People were convinced when photography became possible that painting was doomed. Who would paint a picture when a camera could capture it in seconds? Look around – there are still many artists that paint. Why should we believe that film photography is over?

If you want to learn more about us a K. B. Canham Cameras, Inc. take a look at our web page www.canhamcameras.com or like us on Facebook.

Stereo Photography – Retro and Still Cool

I was fascinated by Viewmaster reels as a little boy because I never understood what magic made the images look 3D.

I started finding old stereopticon cards in antique stores and discovered that stereo photography was a big rage in the late 1800′s. I figured out how to take my own stereo images when I found a Kodak stereo camera on eBay made in the 1950′s.

stereoCamera

Before there was radio in the late 1800′s, people would view stereopticon cards in their parlors. Individual stereopticon cards could be purchased at popular tourist destinations such as Niagara Falls. Boxed sets consisting of hundreds of cards were also sold. These sets would show people scenes from all around the world, in a day when travel to a distant land would take weeks or months and was impractical for most people.

A stereo camera takes two pictures at the same time with two lenses, separated just like your eyes. You see them in 3D because you have two eyes looking at the same image from two different vantage points. Closer subjects appear in different spots, subjects farther away appear in the same spot. If there is a larger difference in location, your brain tells you it is closer. If you close one eye for a while, you can’t judge how far away something is.

I shoot on slide film and mount the slides so they can be viewed in a special stereo viewer, but you can view the image below in stereo too if you follow these instructions on how to do parallel freeviewing.

Your eyes normally get closer together when looking at something up close.

  • The trick with freeviewing is to look at something in the distance so your eyes don’t converge, and then look at the stereo view about 2 or three feet away, not letting your eyes converge.
  • Once you start getting close to seeing 3D, you will start to see 3 images. You will want to concentrate on the virtual “middle” image and make it converge. It will first appear as two images, one floating on top of the other until they properly register and suddenly pop into 3D.
  • Pick a spot in the middle of the images and use your eyes to bring those spots together. Once you bring that spot together, you should see the middle image in 3D.
  • Make sure your head is level with the image. If you are having trouble, try moving the image farther away.

Try it with these four sets of pictures. Click to see the larger view and give it a whirl!

belle-small british-museum-smallflower-smalltower-of-london-small

Were you able to make it work? It is easier with a viewer.

Some companies are still making stereo cameras, both film and digital, and there are lots of vintage stereo cameras available on ebay.

I’ve taken stereo pictures everywhere I go – China, Europe, Alaska, weddings, etc. Everyone asks me what it is and how it works. It’s always the talk of the train, cafe, sampan, or wherever I am making stereo images!.