The Gum Wall

Today is the day that gum wall is coming down. Even though it will still be receiving chewed bits of gum from many more people in the future, it will be starting from scratch. The work being done to the famous gum wall in Seattle will take it down to a bare brick wall, a blank canvas for the collective artistic endeavor to plaster a wall in flavored wads of saliva. 

The Gum Wall next to the entrance to the Market Theatre

I am glad that in my time in Seattle I have been able to see the gum wall a few times and seen the progression of the last year and a half. I will have to make another journey down there to experience what it will be like to walk down Post Alley without my feet sticking to the road or the smell of thousands of soggy pieces of gum baking in the sunlight. I will share some of my pictures from June 7, 2014 when I first took in the sensory assault of the Seattle Gum Wall. It is a very unusual and revolting experience to see and smell Post Alley, and one that I will not soon forget. 

I am confident that it will not take long for the people of Seattle, along with tourists, to cover the walls of the Market Theatre once again.

 

My Sitacon ST-3

This past summer (2015) I traveled to Ohio to meet my family at my Grandparents old house. We spent time going through the closets and storage areas looking for important family items and things that we didn't want sitting hidden in closets. Naturally, I spent most of my time looking through old photography equipment and slides from my mom's childhood. Then I would get the stories from my mom about Grandpa making them pose while he would fiddle with settings and try to set up the perfect family photo (minus himself of course).

Accidental Double Exposure - Second Beach, La Push, WA

One of my finds was a Sitacon ST-3 camera. It is an old 35mm camera similar to the Holga but with a little more substance (and some metal construction). I threw a roll of film into it and started shooting. It is a fun little point-and-shoot that has three different light level settings from cloudy to direct sun light. The most interesting thing about the camera is that the focal plane that the film sits on is NOT flat. The film is held for exposure in a curved position that results some interesting distortion on the edges of the frame. 

One thing that was surprising is the large number of double exposures caused by failed winding. It seems like winding too fast can cause some slippage and results in a partial wind of the frame. But, now I know the risk and it gave me some interesting shots of Second Beach in La Push, WA.

It is a cool little camera that I always have in my bag and randomly pull it out to take a few shots wherever I am. I really enjoyed what I got on my first role from the camera, and am looking forward to my future results from this little camera. 

Snoqualmie Falls, WA

Seattle Ferris Wheel

At Second Beach, La Push, WA

On the Pier Seattle, WA

Second Beach, La Push, WA

The Magic of Film

Today I received my copy of Interstellar in the mail. I pre-ordered the Blu-ray because I knew that it was a movie I would own as soon as the credits started rolling when I saw it in the theaters.

I loved this movie from the beginning, all the way through. Many people thought it was too long but I was so drawn in by the story that I wanted more the second the credits began. The story, the music, the visuals, the characters, the science- Interstellar captured my imagination and passion in a significant way.

The promotional videos for Interstellar leading up to the release of the film were focused on the use of IMAX cameras and the large format film native to the IMAX. Through ingenuity and pure brawn they were able to create hand held rigs for the large and extremely heavy IMAX cameras. I enjoyed the pleasure of watching this in IMAX and getting the full experience that Director, Christopher Nolan, intended.

The reason I go into all of this rambling about the movie is that when I got my copy in the mail it contained a special item, one that I did not even know about when I ordered it. Lets face it; I was going to buy this with or without some promotional gimmick. In the Blu-ray case was a single frame of the movie, on IMAX film. I guess they chopped up a copy of the film to yield the huge amount of pieces of film of the movie to be given away. Even though I did not know this was going to be included I was very happy to receive it. I am happy with the piece that I got and think that it is actually a cool little freeze frame from the movie (maybe they were selective about the frames to keep people from getting a frame of motion blur or all black screen).

My piece of IMAX film from Interstellar

Anyway, the thing about this is that there is some mystery and magic surrounding this shot from the film. It is a little piece of the movie that I now have, and I was excited to see that people are selling the their pieces on ebay (maybe I’ll keep an eye out for a really great freeze frame from the movie that I might be interested in buying). If I had the money I would be buying all that I could, I mean, how cool would it be to have a big collection of the little pieces of IMAX film of this movie. It was interesting to me to get this after my last blog post about being captivated by old negatives and film. While this piece of film is far from old it still has some special qualities of sentimentality that I was very happy to receive.

 

 

 

 

If you bought a copy of Interstellar and got a piece of the film I would be happy to hear your thoughts about this and even see what frame you got from the movie.

The Draw of the Archive

Regarding my love for old photographs:

So I have come to the realization over the last few years that I have a real passion for old photographs. I have always loved art and going to museums, and have even had a general fascination of ancient cultures (especially ancient Egypt). I have discovered so much about my interest in old photographs in large part from the collection of glass plate negatives passed down through my family from my Great Great Great Uncle Elmer Harrold. Many of these negative were created in the early 1900s and I was just entranced with them and the fact that many of them were taken over 100 years ago.

This collection mixed with my newly acquired access to a darkroom and my new-found passion for working with film and making prints made for a perfect situation where I was able to truly understand the magic of these photographs from the early years of photography.

Making prints from these glass plates was really an experience that I find it difficult to explain how exciting and significant it was for me. I was enjoying so many aspects of the task before me. It was a piece of family history. It was a looking glass through time. It was working in the darkroom. And it was beautiful photography. Creating prints of something that probably had not been printed (or even seriously looked at) in my lifetime, really gripped my love for dipping into history. I have always been interested in archives and historical photographic records. These days, I go to estate sales and buy negative and slides, because I have this curiosity when it comes to photographs being these little windows to the past that transport my mind and my creativity to that time. For some people it is in reading Jane Austen novels,  watching movies, or going to museums, but for me this excitement is fully accessed by viewing old photographs. The black and white tones of old photography is just something that cannot be beat.

There are few things in life that make me want to be able to wax eloquent regarding them, but this idea of being steeped in photographic nostalgia is right there. I find that I am fully transported to another time, weather that is 30 years ago or 130 to the time when photography was just catching on.  My Uncle Elmer’s photos are simply amazing to look at but then those feelings rocket to another level when I hold a glass plate in my hands, read his handwriting on the paper envelope, and know that this photo was created in 1901.

Working with old photographs and making prints of them is an exciting way to step into history and preserve that window to the past. I love that other projects are going viral and getting some traction when it comes to public interest. The recent success of the “Rescued Film Project” has been very exciting to watch. I love to see other people finding a way to fulfill this passion and to preserve and view history through photography.

Hopefully I will be able to continue working on the Elmer Harrold Project in the future and be able to share many more of those incredible glimpses at the world in the early 1900s.

Developing my film again!

WP_20150203_002.jpg

Since moving to Seattle I lost my ability to develop film. Taking classes at Belhaven University was allowing me to access the darkroom on campus where I was able to develop film and make prints. After about a year and a half I finally got the last few pieces in order to develop film from home. It was a slow process of acquiring gallon jugs, chemicals, reels, and a tank. Now I have gotten it all going and have gone through the process of finally developing my film from when I drove out to Seattle. 

I was able to look at my photos from the Grand Canyon and the rest of my journey from Orlando to Seattle. 

The upside to getting all of this set up is that I now have more motivation to shoot film again! Since I got everything ready to go I have shot more than 4 rolls of 36 exposures. So it has really lit the fire under me to get out and shoot more film.