Monday, July 29, 2013

Darkroom Purchase Bonuses, More Darkroom Time, Film Buys

The extra photo paper I got looks to be working out nicely, the paper even the really old stuff will be useful, some of the fibre stuff I plan on using in shows. I am also quite happy with my 2000 ml handled graduate and one of the lens an older silver Componon 150mm Schneider lens I used to print the Nit 4x5 negative, it looks to be very sharp and might become my first choice lens to enlarge 4x5. I also took a nice 100mm Schneider Componon-S lens off the old 4x5 enlarger today, it looks promising.  The bonus of the paper, lens, timer and graduate along with the reason I did this buy the trays and sink makes this a very nice purchase, it will give me equipment I will happily use for years to come.

I will try to put in more darkroom time, this coming work week. I want to do at least 2 hours of darkroom work a day after my 12 hour nightshift is over. If I can manage to do this it will put me 14 hours closer to finishing my PhotoNOLA prints, I can complete the work early and ship it off before I return to Thailand.

I will put all my show money into the 2nd part of my outdated film buy tomorrow. I will use the $200 I got from "The Train Is Coming" show and the $75 I will get for the Alberta Open "Nit 51 Thai Sex Worker, Bangkok Thailand 2012" photograph. I will make a payment of $1054USD for the last 20 rolls of this film in about 1 weeks time. Even if Kodak goes completely belly up, I will be OK film wise for a decade plus. I hope to also buy some new Tri-x bulk from B&H in the coming months, shipping for 4 boxes is the same cost as 1 box so I will go with the 4 box option.

If I include all my 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10 Tri-x (and other films I have frozen) I probably have enough film now or close to enough to last 20 years, I am 49 so that puts me safely to about 70 years old. Soon I will no longer have to worry about film, I will have enough to last me the rest of my shooting life. Knowing I do not need more film will be very comforting, just like the purchase of first rate film cameras has, it put my gear buying worries into neutral (I now have the best film cameras/lens in the world and they are no longer making better ones). Having all the film I will ever need will allow me to relax as Kodak continues to have its problems, I can concentrate on the one and only thing that matters, MAKING PICTURES!

Printing The PhotoNOLA Show

I have decided to print my 20 images for the New Orleans PhotoNOLA show on Ilford 16x20 paper (normal neutral tone paper not the warmtone). I had a few opened 50 sheet opened boxes of this paper along with some 10 sheet packages and recently I got a bunch more with this weeks Kijiji $100 used darkroom purchase. The paper I have was made at different times, in different years but so far the stuff I got this last week second hand seems fine, I should be able to get similar tonality from these different year papers as the product is the same brand-surface etc. Hopefully I will have enough paper to do all 20 fine prints.

Doing things this way will help me a lot with costs, I will not have to buy more paper and can just use what I have, it should look great and be a win-win. Tonight I am working a a portrait I quite like of a ladyboy named Ray from the 2012 sessions.

This image was also the lead photo in the Hardzine online photo story about Thai ladyboys.

Ray 25 Ladyboy Sex Worker, Thailand 2012

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Klong Toey Muay Thai Gym Boxers 1600ASA Stand Development Negs

Here are some Tri-x negs exposed at 1600ASA and then developed in Stand development, 1/50 for 2 hours at 20C. Some of these negs are completely out of focus but I still like the feel of them.

Alberta Photo Open 2013 Print

Took time off from printing my PhotoNOLA show to do the one print I have in the Alberta Open Photo this year. The photograph is of "Nit 51 Thai Freelance Sex Worker". I am printing this image 16x20 on Silver Eagle fibre based paper, in Dectol 1/1 for 2 minutes. The negative is a high contrast direct flash shot made outdoors in a parking lot with the Banarama Razzle 4x5 conversion camera. The Silver Eagle paper is a higher contrast cold tone paper that I think will work well with this rather harsh negative and subject. I need to have this print completed and dropped off by my next week off work the show opens the end of August, it might be traveling to Calgary as well. Those photographers accepted into the open get $75 per print, I will reinvest the money in part of a box of 35mm bulk Tri-x film.

Nit 51 Thai Freelance Sex Worker, Bangkok 2012

Window Into The Past

I developed this film about 1 month ago along with the 1600 ASA stuff I shot in the Klong Toey gym. This film has been sitting in my darkroom undeveloped since 1996 about 17 years. It was a roll of Tmax 3200 (some fogging on the film), I had nothing written on the cassette about the ASA used, it seems to be underexposed. Here is a scan of one of the images, the neg is probably unprintable or at best a very difficult to print image, and is extremely contrasty and grainy. Still it is exciting to see these people that were a part of my life, we have all moved on, its a bit like bringing a memory back to life. Coincidently I remember thinking of this time a year or so ago and wondering what ever happened to the film I shot in Jo's room.

Jo and Nui gogo bar workers in Jo's room, Bangkok 1996

Darkroom Discipline

I need to improve my darkroom discipline. I have hundreds maybe thousands of negs I should try to print but often I find myself lacking in the discipline required to get in there and print them. My darkroom is state of the art, I have more enlargers than most people have children, the room is covered from floor to roof with negatives, photo papers and chemistry yet I do not print as much as I should. I need to focus more, I need to work harder in the darkroom. Brett Weston has to be an inspiration for me, an example I must follow.

Quote: Brett Weston
"All my energy goes into my work. That's why I'm prolific. I work 8 days a week. I get up and print at 3:00 in the morning. I 've always done this, for the last 40 years."

Come on Gerry, work harder, don't make excuses, creation of new work is all that matters, time is running out. My goal should be to print photos or develop film every remaining day of my life.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Used Darkroom Equipment Buy

Did another darkroom equipment buy got the following

1) Old 4x5 wall mounted enlarger (will try to sell this as I already have 7 enlargers-2 in storage)
2) 3 20x24 trays
3) 3 16x20 trays
4) 2 11x14 trays
5) 6 foot plastic darkroom sink.
6) 300 Grab Lab timer
7) 20x24 RC Ilford glossy paper, 50 sheet box (opened)
8) 20x24 RC Ilford pearl paper, 10 sheet
9) 16x20 FB Ilford matt paper, 10 sheet
10) 16x20 FB Ilford glossy paper, 10 sheet (opened)
11) 16x20 FB Ilford warmtone glossy, 10 sheet (my favourite paper)
12) 16x20 FB Kodak Ektalure lustre, 10 sheet (opened)
13) 16x20 RC Ilford pearl paper, 10 sheet
14) 16x20 RC Ilford multigrade III paper, 50 sheet (opened)
15) 2000ml plastic handle graduate (same company/style as the 2-1000ml graduates I got last time)
16) 3 different types of small safe lights
17) 8x10 Soligor paper safe
18) 2 Polaroid Type 55 film pails (one missing a lid)
19) 1 box of unopened Type 55 film,  1 1/2 boxes Type 59 (probably no good, expired in 1993, 1997)
20) 3 negative carriers (35mm, 6x6 and 4x5)
21) Ilford filter set, nice Kostiner brush, metal and Paterson film tanks, Kodak rubber tanks, 4x5 metal sheet holders, focusing device, squee-jee, plastic and metal film reels.
22) 5 enlarger lens various sizes
23) Polaroid 4x5 film holder
24) 8x10 RC Ilford glossy paper, 250 sheet box (opened)
25) contact printing frame

Cost = $100

The enlarger was a throw in (maybe a throw out also!), what I was mostly interested in were the trays, my 16x20 trays are all cracked and broken up so I needed to get replacements. The 20x24 trays will be nice to have as backups or I could use them in my 2nd darkroom (still to be built)
for alternative process work. The sink is also nice, its old but in perfect working condition and is a professionally produced job not a home made thing. Not sure if any of the photo paper is still good (its quite old) but at worst I will use it to do contact sheets and to make masks for my larger fibre prints.

The type 55 film is probably all dried up but I will give it a shot, the lens carriers might be useful to try some filing on (you file the edges of the neg frame which gives interesting effects when printing the work). I hope the warmtone Ilford fibre paper is good, I paid $320 for a box of 50 sheets recently when I was printing my show, that would be a nice bonus that I could use to print the New Orleans PhotoNOLA work with I plan to use the brush, timer, paper, paper safe, trays, and maybe some of the lens immediately, most of the equipment doubles have gone into storage to use in the 2nd darkroom if  and when that happens.

I am quite happy with this purchase, I will use many of these new things daily/weekly for years to come, thanks Dan it was nice to meet you.

Update* Just washed all the trays and new gear, my darkroom count is 11-16x20 (some cracked and broken up) and 10-20x24. I now  have enough trays to last me the rest of my printing life. Lets go make some pics, I will use the 3 new 16x20 trays in tonight's darkroom session.

I thought of another option for the extra trays and equipment. In the future I hope to do very large format work in Thailand up to 20x24 inch gelatin silver contact prints and or wet plates up to 20x24. If I am doing negs and plates that big I will need to have 20x24 size trays in Thailand. This is all very what if-ish but I think there is a pretty decent chance it could happen but only if I end up buying a condo in Thailand and a 16x20 or 20x24 wet plate/film camera. Those same large trays could be used in Canada to do 20x24 wetplate if the Thai condo thing never happens.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

2012 Bulk Tri-x First Shipment Is Here!

I got my first 17 - 100 foot rolls of Tri-x bulk film today, I have another 20 awaiting payment for me in the USA. The film looks to be in good shape, I ran 1 roll through quickly to confirm all was OK. There was an additional GST/Duty charge of $54CAD.  Hopefully when I get the additional 20 boxes next month I will be set up for a long time in regards to my 35mm Tri-x I will have 37 boxes of this most recent purchase plus the large purchase of 2014 outdated bulk film I made last year (forget how many boxes). All this film should make a 10-12 year supply of film, 8 years for sure! I am quite happy I decided to spend money on film over some other more commonplace concerns, now lets make some pics!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Secondary Darkroom?

I am thinking of building a 2nd darkroom. I have enough gear to set up a smaller 2nd space so I might try to do that in the coming years. My current darkroom is large and very well suited to my needs, its bigger than any other darkroom I have visited in Edmonton but its getting very crowded in there now. Since I have everything that's necessary why not build a secondary space. I could use the 2nd space for alternative processes, like wet plate, platinum printing, salt prints etc. It would be cool to have a second room I could work in and only do alternative process stuff, I could also set up a computer to do ink jet enlarged transparency negs, digi colour prints, mat cutting etc. I would need to buy a expensive ($2000-$4000) good quality UV light source exposure device for some of the alternative process stuff but for the most part I have everything I need for another darkroom, enlargers, timers, safelights, trays, sinks.

Its something that warrants more thought. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wait A Minute! Jeez I Got To Work On My Spanish More

For the last year or so I have been looking for the Sebastia Salgado's book "Migrations" these things are expensive $200 plus so I have not not bought one. Today I was reading another Salgado book I own called Exodus (a Spanish language book) when it occurred to me, Exodus? Migrations? Hey wait a minute!!, turns out I had the book all the time, Migrations in English equals Exodus in Spanish. I even got the book for a cheaper price, a hard cover version (with one page loose) for $125USD, I bought it last year in San Francisco. My confusion serves me right, I should have worked harder on my Spanish lessons.

VIDEO: Gerry Yaum: Photo Stories #1

This first photo stories video ran longer than I wanted it to, I think next time I will go to 3 - 4 photos down from 5.  I hope to produce these things faster and be much more eloquent in the future, heck this is my first one, we can't all speak as beautifully as Morgan Freeman over night. Next time less photos and less babbling on my part.

Nice Night Out With The Boys And Thai Thoughts

Had a nice night out with a couple of friends, Larry and Arda, we ended up eating at a family owned Persian restaurant. Its always fun to go out and talk photos, to look at photographs and browse through photo books, we did that before the meal which was very tasty, thanks Arda.

Larry and I are talking about doing a joint trip next year, not sure this will happen but it would be fun to shoot in some of different places, Nepal, Bangladesh or the Philippines.

Am really thinking a lot about the coming trip to Thai, I need to bare down, work hard and come back with with some good work. I want to continue to shoot in the slum and the with the boxers but I need more subjects, maybe at a drug abuse temple or behind the scenes of a ladyboy cabaret. I am also thinking of going down to the South of Thailand near Malaysia and photographing the fishing industry.

Gerry Yaum: Photo Stories

Been thinking for a while I would like to do a series of videos on various photographs. The idea would be to have 3-5 photos per  5-6 minute video and tell stories about the people in the photo, the back story, making of the image etc. This idea was inspired by a similar videos Daniel Milnor is doing on (he does 1 image for video I would do more). Thanks for your help with this Dan and thanks for coming up with this idea first.

Here is a link to one of his vids that got me thinking of doing this:

I also opened up a Vimeo account and will post these vids on both my YouTube and Vimeo channels. It should be fun to do this, hopefully it will help me learn to express myself better in regards to my work (to become more verbal), it might also inspire some folks out there. Another bonus to making these things is that it should raise awareness, open some doors, allow the work to be seen by a wider audience.

Here is my Vimeo channel:

Monday, July 22, 2013

250 000 Pageviews

Well today I hit a big number in blog pageviews, 250 000. I get lots of hits from guys searching out ladyboys, prostitution and the like but I also get lots from photo people which is my target audience. Thanks everyone who visits the site, especially those that click on an advertisement when they're here. With my first $100+ check from the blog ads I bought 2 boxes of  25 sheet HP5 8x10 (partly paid for by the blog money and partly by my security guard check).The ad money is currently up to around $60, when it hits $100 another check will be sent to me, I will use it to buy more film. With this next bit of ad money I plan on buying 2 boxes of 100 foot Tri-x bulk film. I have 37 boxes of this stuff coming in from the USA over the next while (outdated from 2012) but I figure while its around I want to continue to buy as much as I can. B&H photo in the States has the best price on new Kodak film, Tri-x 100 foot bulk goes for $70 a roll plus shipping/border charges, so I will buy from them. The $100 blog check will not cover everything but it will pay for 1 box and maybe part of the second box. 
Once again thanks to all of you who click on the advertising, the money I receive goes directly back into my photography.

Dog Meat-Abuse Photo Story?

I read an extremely sad CNN report last night on dog smuggling in Thailand, the dogs are sold for their meat to Vietnam. I want to look into this animal abuse story more, maybe I can do a series of photos on it, am not sure I could gain access to make pics but I think its a important story that needs telling.

Here is photo capture from a video story that upset me:

Week Off Thoughts

Well my 7 day 12 hour shift work week if over with and now I have a week off to devote to my photography. I have lots of things to do starting with plenty of darkroom work. I need to print my single Alberta Open Photography Show print "Nit Thai Sex Worker"which is due mid August. I also need to dive head first into printing my PhotoNOLA show, this show has a shipping deadline of the end of October. I need to finish before I fly back to Thai to continue my photo projects. I will ship the photos out, then go to Thai for 5 weeks to photograph there, after my return to Canada I will work for 1 week before flying to New Orleans for the show opening. I might also have to do an artist talk in New Orleans not sure if that will happen or not (make up a powerpoint presentation like my friend Larry has?).

I have been carrying around my 35mm gear in my new bag to see how heavy things are and working out any problems (annoying clanging metal clasp now taped up). After carrying this gear for a short time I already know I will do without a 4th body (to heavy), I am wondering now if I can also do without the 4th lens? I plan on carrying the following:

-Leica R6 with 60mm
-Leica M6 with 35mm F1.4
-Leica M6 with 28mm F2
-Small portable flash for bouncing light
- Very small carbon fiber tripod?

I am wondering if I should take the 21mm F2.8. I got several  shots I liked last trip with this lens, currently its being cleaned and repaired. I think I will probably just take this lens in a side pocket, it will only add minimal weight and might be a very important tool in certain situations.

The other thing I have decided to do starting this week off is work on the Edmonton At Night project and also a project of close up work (not sure on the title for that series). I will use only the 35mm equipment I want to take to Thai for these photos, this will allow me more time with the equipment which will help things flow better when I am in Asia. I will use the ancient Tri-x and newer HP5 films, these are not life and death photos for me so if I screw up a bit its no biggy. Doing things this way will allow me to hit the ground running in Bangkok in 3 months. 

I will try to carry my 35mm gear back with me everywhere I go over the next 3 months. I want to just make picture after picture with it in all kinds of situations, different light etc. The only way you really become good at something is constantly working at it and I need more hands on time with these cameras/lens before I am in the dump, Klong Toey or somewhere else in Asia making pics.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Quotes: Mary Ellen Mark

"I think the most important thing is to do work that you believe in so that when your are seventy-five or eighty years old you can look back at what you've done and say "I've accomplished something." If you are interested photography because you love it and are obsessed with it, you must be self-motivated, a perfectionist, and relentless."

"I photograph people in difficult social situations, people who have difficult lives, but I never feel threatened by the people I photograph. They have a story to be told, I want to tell it, I want to be a voice for the unfamous people. Those are the people who interest me. Whether it's a guy in Miami Beach who goes to a dance or it's someone who's dying in Ethiopia, they're the unfamous people that I care about. I feel a certain purity in them that's real, and I want to document their lives."

"I want to make the magazine work I do, the documentary work I do, add up to something. At the end of my life I want to look back at what I've done and say 'This hasn't been for nothing', I don't want my work to be empty...."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Following Your Heart

Today I got an email reconfirming my coming show in New Orleans as part of the PhotoNOLA photograhy festival, the email got me thinking back to the long development of this work. I had been making photos of sex workers in Thailand for several years, I was struggling at times finding my way. I was working in a foreign country, speaking a different language and in potentially dangerous situations, that and the fact I was fumbling my way around trying to find my  own vision drew everything out, it extended my learning curve by a few years. Several of the people I know from various photo clubs I belonged to had seen this slow evolution, these people got bored with the work and at times advised me to move on to other things. I felt thou that in my heart it was important to continue, that these were important stories I was telling. I was sort of spinning my wheels but I kept at it and as a result of that hard work and dedication the photos became better and the photoNOLA and Toot Yung Gallery shows are a result. If I had listened to my friends and given up on this series earlier I would not have gotten these international shows.

The point I am trying to make is that it is important to follow your own heart, make pictures that you think are important, if your sure your right ignore the crowd and try to find your own unique path. It is important to remember that anyone commenting on your photography is doing it from their own very personal perspective, so take what they say with a big grain of salt. You need to follow your own feelings, your own convictions first, be open to what others say but if you feel your right then disgard their opinions and move forward as your heart-mind tells you to. It is much easier to be part of a crowd or group, to join in and be accepted by the majority, but to be unique, by yourself, and to say something that no one else is saying, now that's special!

Just wanted to add this to the blog after getting a email from a Clive a friend. I mildly criticized some friends for trying to get me off the sex worker photos early on, I also need to give them some credit . My friends opinions even thou I did not agree with them made me think more about the way I was making pictures and what I was trying to say, they not only helped me focus the night life work but they also helped lead me to my current series of photographs in Klong Toey slum, the boxing gym and the dump in Mae Sot. That's why its important to listen to all points of view, you learn, change, fight, argue, debate your work and their work, its a great learning tool and something that's very important to the artistic process.

Thanks guys and gals for all your thoughts and feedback through the years.