Friday, July 31, 2015

Different View Camera For Refugee Camp?

After reading the email from my contact detailing how difficult it will be to get my 5x7 Linhof and large tripod into the camp (too professional looking). I have been weighing some other camera options that might allow me to do large format portraits without being too obvious.

Since I buy and own every camera ever made I have 2 options that might work.

1) The Banarama Razzle Polaroid conversion camera made by Dean Jones with 135mm f5.6 lens.
2) The Graflex Super RB with Kodak 190mm lens f 5.6 lens.

Both these cameras are quite a bit smaller, and less conspicuous (especially the Razzle) than a large expensive looking Linhof on a tripod. With these tools I might be able to shoot hand held portraits at f5.6 or f8 onto 4x5 film. This would of course mean more film to carry, and another camera to lug all the way to Asia. This time if I do take the Razzle, it will come in my carry on bag, not my check in to avoid theft. 

I have not shot many portraits with these cameras at wide open apertures handheld in available light, maybe something I should work on in the next bit. The other much easier options would be just to shoot 35mm and 120 film and not try large format at Mae La.

The Goal

To create photographs that speak to the universality, the commonality and the shared humanity of all peoples, regardless of country, race, culture or language.

Working On Dad Prints, Hard To Do

Today after my security night shift I did the secondary printing on 2 photos of my father. Both photos were shot near the end of his life, in the last 2 weeks. One picture is of him in pain, the other is the eye in barred light photogragh. Damn hard to print these, I could not look too long at the prints or I would start to tear up. Try bleaching, fixing, hypo clearing and toning a print, WITHOUT looking at it!

Anyway it had to be done so I did it, a sad morning. I have a color photograph of dads smiling face over my darkroom sink, me and him standing side by side on our shared birthday, and in the the toner tray print he is hours from his death. Tough shit, will have to dry, flatten, spot and frame these images yet, it will not be fun. One of the print is do next Friday by 4pm at the VAA gallery. Need to get this work done, I promised the galleries I would get the photos there on time. I also want dad's voice to be heard again through the work. He continues to live in through this difficult series.

These photos are for 2 different exhibitions, one is for the Open Digital 2015 at the Calgary and Edmonton Jubilee Auditoriums, two others are for a large show of around 30 prints at the Akokiniskway Gallery in Rosebud Alberta.

3 of the 7 prints I worked on today drying on screens

Mae Sot Photography Options, Mae La Regee Camp

When I return to Mae Sot Thailand to continue work on "Families of the Dump" and to start work on "Forgotten Laughter" I plan on staying in the area for around 30 days. If I do stay that long I will need other subjects to photograph. I have been researching a refugee camp called Mae La which is around 40 minutes to an 1 hour North of Mae Sot. This camp has been around for decades since 1984. I could travel there once or twice a week make donations and photographs. Who knows maybe even teach some English like I did in Cambodia a couple of times. I could make photos there for a Mae La stand alone project and also for "Forgotten Laughter".
Wikipedia Link To Mae La Refugee Camp

The trick is to get access to the camp, am researching how difficult that might be. I know that Rot Song Tao's (Thai truck-bus transport) go North past the camp. I can speak enough Thai to get there, and when in the camps both the Thai and bits of Burmese I know should allow me to make friends with my subjects (they will not be native Burmans but should know some Burmese). The problem with these places is not the people your photographing but the authorities. The police/military at the gate might not allow me to pass. Plus all the NGO folks and self righteous missionary types who do not want you in their territory, or who assume the worst in your intentions.  Many times when I visit remote places the only other white person around all of a sudden comes up to you and starts INTERROGATING you, asking why your there, filled with suspicion and mistrust. The locals welcome you but the foreigners don't, sort of a weird dynamic. The refugees I know will be great people to be around, to make friends with, to do photos of and to help. The other types are the ones I worry about.

Update* Just got an update from a new friend online who has photographed in the camps. I guess access is difficult, and that if you are not part of an NGO you probably cannot get in. The gates are guarded, if you do sneak in or bribe your way in there is a chance of being arrested.

I wonder if I could do something like shoot from the road that runs parallel to the camp? Do portraits of the people on the other side of the barbed wire fencing or have them come out to the roadway on their own. This way technically I would be on a public roadway when making the photos not inside the prohibited camp. Not sure that distinction will work that well for those folks carrying the guns thou! From what I have been told the government wants to keep down the publicity regarding these refugee camps. If I go in or near there stirring the pot, I could face detainment or even an arrest.

Mae La Refugee Camp, Thailand

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Link: LENSWORK's New Submission Process

There is new submission process for LENSWORK photography magazine. They have gone away from all hardcopy paper submissions, to a online system for both colour (new) and black and white work. I might try these boys next year with the new work as well. It is nice to see them go simpler and green, I have been promoting 100% online submissions for a few years now.

Here is the link:
LENSWORK Submissions

The Next Trip

I have started to plan my next trip, m first trip of 2016. This photography op will probably happen sometime in February, March and April and will last 5 weeks. Did some flight prices for 3 new possible destinations. It will be strange to fly to South East Asia and not land in Bangkok but the 3 alternative "Forgotten Laughter" locations are

1) Rangoon (Yangon), Burma
2) Phnom Penh, Cambodia
3) Manila, Philippines

All 3 of these major cities have flights from Edmonton with 2 or 3 stops. The pricing varies from around $1020 to Manila to $1710 for Rangoon. It is nice to know I can get on the plane in Edmonton and jump off the plane at my chosen destination without making further arrangements from inside Thailand. I think I can get a cheaper Rangoon Burma flight, if I travel at a different time of year (around $1355 with a October departure).

Am starting my planning now as I might be buying the ticket when I'm overseas. I usually buy my ticket 2-3 months in advance, which means I could still be in Thailand somewhere.

Update* Just thought of something. With the 2 trips so close to each other I should have "Forgotten Laughter" portraits from two distinct countries to show David at DC3.

"Forgotten Laughter" Movie Clip For Exhibitions?

I just had an idea, why not try and make a short movie clip about the making of the "Forgotten Laughter" photographic series? I could show the film at the opening night of the exhibition. I have gotten pretty good at shooting and editing together little films. For my last show at the Larry Louie Gallery I had a video of the Mae Sot Garbage dump that was a big hit with the guests, crowds of folks hovered and watched the short dump film. I also plan on showing this same film for my next exhibition (September 18 to October 23) at the Akokiniskway Gallery in Rosebud Alberta.
"Families of the Dump" Mae Sot Garbage Dump Exhibition Film

Why not try and do something similar for "Forgotten Laughter"? A similar film might work well. I would have to try and include more footage of my subjects, myself (not keen on that part) along with the making of the pictures, gear shots and the like, in difficult Asian environments.

Something to think of, I am already going to do the daybook project, adding a film to the mix might be a bit to much for 1 person to do himself. I do after all have to make the photographic portraits!! Can't be too sidelined with all this periphery stuff.

DC3 Possibilities

I have a exhibition site possibility for the "Forgotten Laughter" photographs. I still have to make the work : ) so am getting ahead of myself here but I am already thinking about where the photos might be shown. I have contacted the curator of the DC3 Projects gallery here in Edmonton. We have talked many times in the past year or so both via email and on the phone. We have agreed to a meeting post photo trip sometime in 2016. I will show him the children living in poverty portraits from the "Forgotten Laughter" project.

It is nice to have potential gallery interest for a series before I even make the pictures. I will have this meeting in 2016 to look forward, once I shoot, process the film and print the photographs into a cohesive portfolio. If the curator David C likes the work, the photos will be shown at DC3. This will push me all that much harder to get this series of photos done right. I now have so many motivations to work my tail off, and do this work properly:

1) The desire to tell an important story about the lives of forgotten people, letting people here see and learn about the lives there. As well as the opportunity to give monetary and food donations to my subjects.
2) Keeping my promise to my dying father to make work I could dedicate to him in book and exhibition form.
3) The simple joy and pleasure of creating photographs, the wonder and beauty of photography.
4) The DC3 Projects Gallery Curator meeting in 2016, which might lead to an important Edmonton exhibition.
5) The need to complete the photo book project and as well as create solid work for future gallery submissions to non Edmonton locations.

Link to DC3 Projects website:
DC3 Art Projects

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Beauty Of Family Groups

I keep thinking today about two great photographs of family groups, one by Paul Strand and one by Walker Evans. I need to try and do some family group portrait shots when I return to Asia. I think it is important to make photographs that speak to the need, importance and strength of the family in traditional Asian cultures.

Below are the two all time great family group photos mentioned along with my attempt at a family shot from 2013. I need to get family names for this part of the project, not sure that works with Burmese folks thou as their naming systems are a bit different. Hopefully I can do at least 10 of these group style portraits with the 5x7 next trip. I think I will take 2 lens with me, the 120mm and the 210mm along with extra 5x7 film. The 5x7 has to be my main camera next trip. The success or failure of the trip will correspond with how many good 5x7 negs I get.

The Lusetti Family, Luzzana Italy 1953 By Paul Strand
Bud Fields With His Family , August 1936 By Walker Evans
Karen Family In Mae Sot Dump, 2013

Quote: Paul Strand

"I like to photograph people who have strength and dignity in their faces, whatever life has done to them, it hasn't destroyed them. I gravitate to people like that."

More OT

Well the OT is coming fast and furious here in security. I now have another 3 1/2 days of OT next week and and extra 6 1/2 hours of STAT pay. For OT we make time and 1/2 for STAT double time and 1/2. I will be working my regular 7 nights in a row followed by an additional 4.

I have been putting in a ton of work time over the last month. I have already done 11-12 hour shifts in a row, followed by 2 days off and then a photo workshop. Now I am going to work another 11-12 hour shifts in a row followed by 3 off then 7 on again. That's a lot! Still with the stolen bike, and the coming trips in November/December this year and February/March and probably July next year I need the money. I will have more money to spend on accommodations, renting a motorbike, transportation and donations. Maybe I can also buy a new bike at the end of the summer when they are likely to go on sale.

This will be a long long working haul but I think it will be worth it. It is against my nature to turn down work, so I will keep at it. Dad never missed a chance to make some extra money, he was the hardest working person I ever met, not a lazy bone in his body. I need to work harder and follow his good example. The person I am is a result of my father, whenever I get lazy I think about how hard he worked and I redouble my efforts, get off my ass and get things done.

The only difficulty that I can see is that I still need to print for the coming shows. The Open Digital photo needs to be in to Visual Arts Alberta by the 7th of August. I have the print made but still need to do secondary printing on it (bleaching, re-fixing, hypo clear, toning and final archival washing). I will have to manage that after my 12 hour shifts over the next 10 days. I can take it in to the VAA on the deadline day which I have off work. I will have to sleep less over the coming weeks, but it is necessary. This will all work out for the best in the end.

New Passport On The Way

Dropped off my passport renewal today at a local Canadian Government Office. It was a very convenient and efficient procedure. I spent about 15 minutes waiting for the 830am opening and then another 5 or so minutes inside with the gentleman who helped me and it was done! In 4 to 6 weeks I should have my new 10 year passport. The cost was $160 CAD, which is high but acceptable. The new passport as well as my old passport will be delivered to my home by September 1.

The next step is to get a visa from the local (Edmonton) Royal Thai Consulate. I am lucky because there is an Thai office in my city, which makes getting the visa fast and easy with no shipping costs or worries. The price for a 1 entry tourist visa is $40 CAD (cash). What I was surprised to learn last night is that you can get up to 3 re-entry tourist visa's at one time (I knew you could get 2 not 3). I will file that away as important information for a longer later Thai trip. For each tourist visa you get 60 days in country, so a 3 visas would allow me 6 months in Thailand without the need to visit a Thai embassy in Laos, Cambodia or Malaysia. I would still have to do a visa run across the border and back but it would save me the pain of spending a day getting a visa at an embassy, waiting in line with dozens and dozens of folks. I would have them ready to go in my passport! I think I could go across the border and then back into Thailand on the same day if I wanted to.

Next year if I leave my job to pursue making social documentary photographs full time I will probably get the Thai triple entry tourist visas. I could do something like 2 months in Thai, then 1 month in Cambodia, 2 more months in Thai,  2 weeks in Laos and a final 2 months in Thai. Both Laos and Cambodia allow you to get visas on entry, with the 3 Thai visas already in my passport, I would never have to visit an embassy.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Eyes

On my first security round of the week, the eyes came to me. I kept remembering the eyes of the people I have met during my photographic experiences. The young Vietnamese brothel workers in Poipet Cambodia, the damaged young lady in the dump in Mae Sot Thailand, the child boxers in Bangkok's Klong Toey slum, the young street kids in Kathmandu Nepal and of course the photo I am preparing for 2 shows of dad on one of the last days of his life. I can still remember so clearly being with my father that day, his eyes looking so big, sad and scared.

I keep seeing all their eyes, they flow through my mind today and other days, quite often, sometimes too often. It is haunting, I cannot forget them. I feel I am not living up to my responsibilities to tell their stories, these important stories maybe only I know about. Not sure why I feel I have that responsibility but I do, I feel it deeply. Every day that I am pissing away my time and not making pictures is lost forever.

Dad watching me, February 2014 a week or so before he died.

Quote: Jackson Pollock

"Every good painter paints what he is."

A Swimming Goal

After last nights long delayed return to the swimming pool I have decided to set myself a long term goal. I want to do 1 km (50 meter pool length times 20) front crawl only swim.

For this swim I will be doing a new type of front crawl, one I have never done before, I will be breathing from both sides on every fourth stroke. I have watched people do this 4th stroke both side breathing front crawl for years but never did learn it myself. Another thing I want to include in my kilometre swim will be swimming rolls (not sure what they are called) at each end of the pool, so there would be no stopping.

I will have to go to YouTube and practise lots to get these new swimming techniques down. I swam 1 km quite often when I was young, even did 1 mile when I was a lad of 13 or so. With all those longer swims I would do a mixture of breast stroke and front crawl. This time round I want to do for the first time in my life ALL front crawl (which is MUCH more tiring) along with the four stroke style of breathing and the swimming rolls. This should be fun and quite a challenge, I will be entering new territory. It will probably take several years to accomplish, but I will start slowly be working towards this goal.

I also am trying to recover my ability to swim 25 meters under water which I could do before, but not yesterday. I need to be-careful as I am older and am carrying more weight than before, but slow and steady should win this race.

I love swimming! This is going to be fun!! And the best thing is it will help my photography, being in better shape will lead to better photographs.

Latest Rolleiflex Tessar Shots

Here are a few practise shots from the last rolls of work with the Rollie Tessar (my 3 other Rollies are being repaired).

Clouds from earlier this week
School Outhouse

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Today's Day!

Had a busy day today. First I spent 5 hours with Stu in the darkroom doing the workshop. It was a fun time. I got to teach/learn with Stu and also did some testing of a dad neg. We worked on 2 different enlargers, Stu on the Durst 8x10 with his 5x7 negative and me on the Dust 4x5 condenser with my 35mm neg. As a bonus I earned $180 for my airline ticket to Thailand. We should be doing another advanced photography workshop in a month or two again. Next time we will do fibre printing, bleaching, and final processing including toning and an archival wash. Money from that session will also go towards paying for my airline ticket. Doing photography teaching, earning money, buying a ticket with that money and then making more photos is quite wonderful.

After the darkroom session I went and did my first swim in a long long time (over 10 years?). I was huffing and puffing pretty strongly, my old heart a beating away. Like anything with more practise I will get better. I plan on going swimming every 2 weeks now (on my week off), 1 or 2 times. I also did a bit of work in the fitness gym on a treadmill and a bit on the tennis court. I would rather been biking tonight but that is not an option for me after the theft, so I did the best I could do. Tomorrow night I am back to work on my regular nigh shift, not much time off this week! I plan to return to the darkroom and print the rest of the evening. It was a good day!

Three more months or so of training then I will be in Thai making photos everyday.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Photo Story: Dad In Bed #2

Leica M6 35mm, Summer 2014
I like the intelligence in dads face in this photograph. He was a man with a grade 6 education and yet he achieved so much in life, his intelligence, dedication and extreme hard work I am benefitting from now.

That last summer it was very hot in his home. He would like in bed, shirtless and think about things. The bandage was to cover up the tubing for the flow of bile out of his system and kept him from being jaundice. I would usually come for a few minutes before working my nigh shifts, talk to dad, ask about how he was feeling, tell him some stories an then make a few photographs. This was one of those times, was probably only with dad a few minutes that day. I so wish I could do that again, wish I could talk to him, tell him stories, here his thoughts and kiss him on the forehead. My world got so much smaller when dad left it (been 5 months now).

Photo made with a Leica M6 and 35mm lens, on Tri-x pushed to 800ASA, STAND development.

Photo Story; Dad In Bed

Dad with Leica 35mm?, Summer 2014
I remember the day I made this photo, I had to climb on the bed and lay beside him, at his feet, to get the right angle. I remember being careful so I did not hurt him or accidentally lay on his feet which he was having trouble with. He was so frail, dad was always so strong, he could carry fridges up the stairs by himself. He would move stuff around the house and rearrange all the furniture constantly. Those last few years as he got weaker (especially the last year) I did all the moving for him. I would come over to his home and he was ask me to move that sofa here, that light there etc. I miss that now. Dad always like to play with the furniture, moving things this way and that, adjusting and trying to get a certain look. He probably would have been a good interior decorator if had gotten the proper education.

Leica M6 35mm lens at f1.4 with Tri-x pushes to 800ASA, STAND development.

Photo Story: Dad Close Up


Hasselblad 80mm with 2 extension rings in available light, summer 2014
Everyday I think of my father, most nights I dream of him. With the coming exhibitions of dad coming up in Rosebud Exhibition (around 12 photos) and the Alberta Open Image 2015 (1 photo) I thought I would revisit some photographs I made of him last year before he passed.

This first image was made on one the last days he went outside in the sunlight. It was shot on the balcony outside his home. The camera was a blad, 80mm and 2 extension tubes. I had to be very close to dad to get the shallow focus I did get. I was mere inches away from him. This type of photography is a bit intrusive but dad put up with it. The shot is pretty much different than anything I have ever done before of a person. I like the shallow depth of field, it was like that tiny bit of focus was what life he had left. Made on my favourite film Tri-x.

I tried to get dad outside more times after that but he was not really into doing it. He went to dinner a few more times with mom, my uncle and aunt but this photo was one of the last I did of dad outside his home (until the funeral pictures).

Link: Gerry Yaum On Ziguline From 2011

Not sure I posted this link of photos online of my work before. I am not a big fan of the selections they made. This link dates 4 years back, a Spanish site I believe. I wish sites like this would pick up some of the more recent 35mm social documentary work.
http://www.ziguline.com/gerry-yaum/

Friday, July 24, 2015

Weird Air Ticket Calculations

Been thinking of my air ticket costs and how I am saving. Am counting extra money I earn from photography and not from security guard pay. This is a bit far fetched but kind of fun to play with.

Ticket Price:

November 2013 Bangkok Air Ticket = $1540 CAD
November 2015 Bangkok Air Ticket = $1243.91 CAD

I am earning a bit with my photography so the ticket cost is even cheaper than the $300 discounted price of $1243.91.

Sundays advanced darkroom workshop will get me $180, and the photo of dad in Open Image 2015 yields $135 (a final gift from my father).

So it could look this way in a certain weirdish light.
A ticket to Thailand in November 2015 = $1243.91 - $180 - $135 = $928.91
Heck lets be optimistic, lets assume I get the $750 CIP Travel Grant as well so that's another $750.
A ticket to Thailand in November 2015 $1243.91 - $180 - $135 - $750 = $178.91

My ticket could only cost me $179 CAD, hope hope : ) Imagine that! My photo money/grant pay added up for a return trip ticket to Thailand to make more photos! Photography paying for itself, the stories of my subjects being told and my security savings not being used.

Alberta Open Image 2015 Invitation

Got my invite to the Open 2015 shows in Calgary and Edmonton. Sent out this invite to my closer friends but thought I would post it here as well. I have one photograph in the show, a picture of dad made on the last week / 10 days of his life.  This show is at the same Kaasa Gallery I had my one man exhibition "The Train Is Coming". The ironic bit is for that show I showed 37 photos which took me over 6 months to print, I got a $200 CAD artist fee. For this coming 1 print group show in the same space I am earning $135 CAD! Will use the money to help pay for my air ticket back to Thai.

I will be at the Edmonton opening night here at the Jubilee. See you all there.



Here is the email I received today:

​Hello Open Image 2015
 Artists


Visual Arts Alberta and the Friends of the Jubilee Auditoria Society look forward to seeing you and your family & friends at the

​ Calgary Reception​ of Open Image 2015 on Monday, August 24t

​h from 7 to 9pm at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium (address below). 

​I  have attached the Open
​Image 2015 invite and poster. Please feel free to forward the invitation to family friends and patrons!​

Visual Arts Alberta Gallery 
​in partnership with the Friends of the Alberta Jubilee Auditorium ​

Society presents

​Open Image 2015

In Calgary: August 15 to September 27, 2015
​Open Image 2015, an exhibition of Alberta's finest photographic and digital art will open in Calgary  Friday,August 15 and run through September 27, 2015 in the lower gallery of the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium (1415 -14 Avenue NW Calgary).​ 

This Alberta-Wide juried exhibition then travels to the Kaasa Gallery at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium


October 1st.​

​Reception: Monday, August 24th from 7 to 9 pm

Visual Arts Alberta ~ CARFAC is sponsoring a People's Choice Award which will be announced later in September. Come and see this exciting exhibition and cast your vote for your favourite artwork.

​Contact ​
Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium (1415 -14 Avenue NW Calgary)
​to view exhibition:​

FYI:​The Edmonton Dates are October 1st to November 15th, 2015​ with the reception confirmed on Friday, October 16th from 7 to 9pm.

Quote: Nan Goldin

“I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I’ve lost.”

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Workshop Confirmed

The advanced camera workshop with Stu on Sunday is confirmed. I am going to dig out my 5x7 enlarger for his 5x7 negs. We will either use my Durst 5x7 or more likely my Durst 8x10 enlarger this workshop. Stu is also going to give me some 35mm bulk film he has, I might try it with the 1/2 frame cameras. Free film is always a good thingy!

The $180 from the workshop will go towards paying for my $1243.91 CAD plane ticket to Bangkok. I hope I can get the CPI Travel Grant to pay for another $750 of that ticket cost money. I heard back from those grant folks today, it seems the reason I could not upload my submission yesterday was because the site is down until about 1 month before the grant deadline. I need to wait till around September 1 before submitting my grant request.

This week off is going to be only 2 days long. Tomorrow I need to do yard work at my home as well as cutting moms lawn. I will have Saturday to myself thou, no work, I might do some printing or work with the 5x7 camera. On Sunday I have the workshop with Stu which should be fun and then on Monday I am back at work doing security for 12 hours a night, 7 days in a row, which will take me into August. The return trip to Thailand is quickly approaching.

Accessory Boy

Well call me accessory boy! Whenever I buy a new camera I have to get the lens hoods, the filters, the straps and the adaptor rings. With the purchase of 4 Rolleieflex's there are lots of accessories I need, especially since each Rollie has 2 lens.

Over the last while some of the previously purchased accessories have made it to my door from far off lands, mostly China. China makes decent rip offs of camera lens hoods, straps etc at discount prices (possibly made in sweat shops). Over the last while I have had many little ordered items delivered. Here is what I have gotten so far:

- adaptor ring (for the taking lens) for my F, GX cameras allowing a standard filter to work with the camera (not the super expensive collector Rollie filters).
- a 43mm Hoya UV filter to go with the adaptor (for the taking lens).
- a black metal Bay 3 lens hood for the F and GX cameras.
- a cheap black plastic lens hood to use with my Tessar 75mm Automat Rollie camera.

Still on order:

- a double lens cap for the Automat.
- a second filter adaptor ring for the F, GX (for the viewing lens).
- a second 43mm Hoya UV filter (for the viewing lens).
- beautiful green camera strap for the F camera's.
- 2-43mm lens caps.

I do not have enough accessories yet to outfit all the lens and all the cameras but when everything arrives I will have enough to outfit 1 of the Fs or the GX before I go to Asia. I am worried about the harsh conditions I will be shooting in overseas. I felt it was important to make sure I got filters on both the taking and viewing lens and a lens hood on the taking lens before I go. The camera strap will also be important. I do not want to drop my Rollie, especially after the big refit I am paying mega bucks to Harry Fleenor for.

After I come back from Asia I will probably continue the accessory outfitting of all my Rolleiflex cameras.

Quote: Aung San Suu Kyi

"The quest for democracy in Burma is the struggle of a people to live whole, meaningful lives as free and equal members of the world community. It is part of the unceasing human endeavour to prove that the spirit of man can transcend the flaws of his nature."

Trying For Another CIP Travel Grant

I am applying for another Travel Grant from the Edmonton Arts Council. I am 1/1 on these things, got a travel $750 grant back in 2012 and failed on my last attempt. I figured I might as well try again, this time for the October 1 grant deadline, it can't hurt. Another $750 would pay for more than 1/2 of my $1244 air ticket.

For those of you that are interested in the travel grant and other available grants here is a link to the EAC's grant page.
EAC Grant Info Page

A Little Bit Extra, Another Workshop

Got a bunch of extra doe this week on the four security nigh shifts of OT I worked this week. It looks like there might be a Advanced Darkroom Workshop with Stu this weekend as well for $180. After losing my bike to theft last week off it is nice to be making some money now. I can also use it on the coming Asia trip for accommodations, renting a motorbike, buying rice for the families etc. Still it is a long haul chasing down this money, tonight is night 10 of 11 in a row.

Not sure what happened to my other photo workshop students, they sort of disappeared. Hopefully I can get a few more of those in the books before I leave for Asia.

With all the extra security work shifts and now this photo workshop it looks like this weeks, week off will be 2 days not 7. Will get a grand total of 2 days off then it is back to my regular shift of 7-12 hour nights in a row. Got to find time to print dads Rosebud show photos yet.

Biennial 2017 Submission Photos

Here are the 10 portfolio images and the 1 show submission photo I am using in my Biennial 2017 AGA (Alberta Gallery of Arts) submission. I went darker and higher contrast on these, darker and higher contrast than I normally do.

Show Submission Photo, Dad in bed with pancreatic cancer, Edmonton 2013
1- Man in leprosy home, Nepal 2013
2-Dad with cancer "My Fathers Last Days" Edmonton Canada 2014
3-Dad with cancer "My Fathers Last Days" Edmonton Canada 2014
4-Dad with cancer "My Fathers Last Days", Edmonton Canada 2014
5-Karen Man, Mae Sot Garbage Dump, "Families of the Dump"2013
6-Boy, Father, Son, Mae Sot Garbage Dump. "Families of the Dump" 2013
7-Cambodian Migrant Worker, Bangkok 2013 
 8-Buddha Man, Klong Toey Slum, Bangkok 2011
9-Betty 27 Ladyboy Sex Worker, Pattaya Thailand 2010
10-Tan Vietnamese Brothel Worker, Poi Pet Cambodia, 2003

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2017 Alberta Biennial Submission (Alberta Gallery of Art)

Almost finished my submission for my first Alberta Biennial attempt. I plan on making the Biennial submission attempt an annual thing. It is a long shot but why not try? My work is heartfelt and very committed maybe it can find a place in this prestigious show at this major museum. If not today, then some day in the future.

I have all the paperwork completed. I hate writing those artist statements, art concepts etc you end up sounding like a arty farty jackass. I still need to do up the photos which I have enough of on my hard drive. I thought I might have to scan a bunch of negs but I think I have adequate material already scanned. They ask you to submit 10 samples of your work (a portfolio) and then 1 image as part of a artistic concept. I will do 10 photos of a variety of subjects then submit one of the "My Fathers Last Days" photos for the artistic concept. 

I am putting everything on a USB stick and will hand deliver it to the gallery on Saturday. The deadline is Sunday July 26th for those Alberta based artists interested in trying.

Update: I finished off the submission. It is great to be able to work and get paid OT and have time to work on my photography submissions. This is something I will lose if I go ahead with my plans to leave next year (assuming I do not get a leave). Anyway another long shot submission is ready to go. I just have to buy the stamp for the return envelope. I want them to send me back my USB stick so I can use it on next years Biennial 2018 failed submission : ))

Booked My Flight

I booked my flight today to Bangkok, got a price around $300 cheaper than my last trip in late 2013, go figure! This ticket cost $1243.91 CAD using an online booking site. My regular local travel agent quoted me $1530 for the same ticket, go figure again!

Hopefully everything will work out fine with this online buy, no lost luggage, no connection problems etc. With the $300 discount I can stay in Mae Sot at my hotel for about an extra 15 nights for FREE!

Cheaper Air Ticket?

My last trip to Thailand in November 2013 I paid a record high $1500+ dollars. I think It cost me around $1540 CAD. The initial ticket check into this coming trip yields a price of $1224 CAD. How does that work out?? The same airline, the same time of year, two years later and the ticket is over $300 cheaper? This is just a preliminary check the ticket might end up costing more, still it is promising!

Quotes: Dorothea Lange

From the Dorothea Lange American Master documentary, "Grab a Hunk of Lightning"
Dorothea Lange Documentary

Speaking of her first husband was a painter.
“ I should have encouraged him to dip his brush in his own heart’s blood. He was capable of it.”

“Your file of negatives is your biography, there it is!”

“Beauty appears when one feels deeply”

“The assignment was to see what you could bring home, see what is really there what does it look like what does it feel like? What actually is the human condition.”

“There are moments when time stands still. You hope it will wait for you. That fraction of a second captured on that tiny piece of sensitive film…”

Quote: Francis Bacon

“The contemplation of things as they are without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day Books (Photo Diary?) Thoughts

Been thinking today about how I need to do the "Forgotten Laughter" daybook/photo diary project. I want to bring in material from multiple sources, the blog, my hand written notebooks and diary, image scans, contact sheet scans, digital photo of all types, captures from video etc. I was thinking I might also try to take souvenirs I find and incorporate them some how. A rusty bolt form the dump (scanned? photographed?),  found paper, and other dump rubbish. I could include airline/bus tickets, scans of money. Quotes from my subjects, quotes from people I meet. Basically anything visual or audio is a potential source to add to the daybooks. I want to make the books, scrap book like, compelling to browse through, interesting and strong visually to all.

Today's thoughts were on how to categorize everything so that when I am home in Canada again I can put it all together in some cohesive way. Maybe clear plastic bags for each week of accumulated hard copy stuff, and placing each days digital photos in dated folders. I might also have to place my film in marked dated bags so I know exactly when and where I shot them. I also of course need to organize all my view camera portraits so I know who each person is, their name, their age and any other relevant info.

This will take lots of organization, not my strong point but it is necessary.

Update* Been thinking of a possible name for this book project idea. I kind of like Daylogs or Dailies and Day Journals simple and straight on descriptive.
- Daybooks (E Weston owns that one)
- Photo Diary (already used on this blog)
- Daylogs
- Picture Posts
- Picture Diary
- Dailies
- Daylies
- Daily's
- Dayleries
- Photologs
- Phologs
- Fologs
- Blurbs
- Photo Blurbs
- Journal
- Photo Journal
- Daily Journals
- Book Journal
- Journal Dailies
- Day Journals

To Do Before Trip

I need to concentrate my efforts with the Rolleiflex and 5x7 Linhoff in the next 3 months, the last 3 months before my return to Asia. With the Rollie I need to work with the close up lens, with flash and at the widest/fastest 2.8 aperture. The 5x7 I am more familiar with but need more shooting time with the 120mm. I also want to see how well I can compose and focus when only using the shaded focusing box window (not sure exactly what it is called). If I can do without the dark cloth bag it would make everything so much more easy and fluid, especially in the heat and humidity of Asia.

With all the security overtime I am working this week I have little time to get anything done. I will need to throw myself into some serious camera work my next week off. I also need to get back into the darkroom. I still have lots of printing to do on the Rosebud show, and tine is running out.

So much to do in the next 3 months, tons of stuff to do. After that I will be going all out in Thai trying to make strong and important photographs.

Update* I bought and paid for my acrylic focusing screen yesterday. This purchase was expensive ($65 USD) and a bit of a risk but if it works out it could be a home run. No more worries about a broken ground glass! I have done the broken ground glass thing twice in Thailand, do not want to go down that road again.

Monday, July 20, 2015

More Gear Thoughts

My trip is still over 3 months away but I am finalizing my thoughts on what I should take and more importantly what I should not take. I have 7 weeks in Thailand and I want to use that time as productively as I can. It is important I do not load my self down with so much stuff that it inhibits my ability to make effective photographs. I want to be quick and mobile in my movements.

For gear I will take the following:

1) 5x7 camera kit
   - 5x7 Linhof with plastic lens board and focusing screen (ground glass)
   - Pentax spotmeter
   - Small reflector
   - 10 5x7 film holders
   - Loupe, notebook, pens, 2 cable releases
   - Nikon 120mm f8 lens
   - Backpack to lug around the gear
   - Gitzo carbon fibre tripod with geared centre post and Manfrotto quick release head.
   - Bag style dark cloth
   - 300 sheets of 5x7 Tri-x (6 boxes of 50 sheets a piece)

2) 35mm camera kit
    - 1 Leica M6
    - 28mm f2 lens (or 35mm f1.4)
    - 60 rolls of 35mm Tri-x

3) Rolleiflex kit
    - Newly upgraded Rolleiflex F
    -  Close up lens set
    - 70 rolls of 120mm Tri-x
    - Small portable flash

4) Canon Demi EE 17 1/2 frame camera

5) Small digital point and shoot camera for online vids and to make free pictures for my subjects as well as identification photographs.

6) Old beat up Domke bag for the Rollie, Leica and Canon. The original Domke bags seem stronger than the Chinese copycats. Using a old beat up bag is always a good thing, it looks like there is nothing of true value inside, not Leicas/Rolleiflex's etc.

7) Harrison film changing tent (probably the smaller 4x5 version).

My main 2 cameras will be the Linhof 5x7 and the Rolleiflex. The Leica and the Canon 1/2 frame camera's are secondary units.

If I only take this gear plus a few other things like this laptop for writing the blog and a few clothes, things should be easier to handle. Less gear, less baggage is definitely the way to go. I feel this coming trip is going to lead to some strong work.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Video: Funny Muay Thai Fight

Do not post this type of stuff often but found this very entertaining. This is a great, intense and funny comedy Thai boxing fight, looks semi real to me, not sure. These guys kick the crap out of themselves (or it seems that way) and the referee and still hug at the end. Probably ex fighters who making a bit of money on the side doing a comedy act.
Funny Muay Thai Fight

Cutting Weight

Been trying to figure out ways to stream line my 5x7 kit. If I get rid of the camera's protective back cover and use the the acrylic ground glass which should not break without the heavy cover protecting it (dust problem?). Getting rid of the cover will drop weight. Using the plastic lens board instead of the better made metal one will also cut weight. Going from 13 holders to 10 and being more selective in my days shooting will also cut weight. A smaller lighter tripod? Not sure I want to go there the Gitzo carbon fibre with geared centre pose is oh oh so nice to use.

As to my other gear I am thinking of going with only 1 Leica 35mm Rangefinder and ditching the 2nd Leica rangefinder and the Leica R6 SLR with heavy 60mm lens.

My overall camera selection kit might only be:

- 5x7 kit (reduced size)
- 1 Leica range finder with one lens (28mm f2?)
- 1 Rolleiflex 80mm F camera with close up lens
- Small Canon demi 1/2 frame

Update: I made a deal with the eBay acrylic focusing screen seller. $65 USD for a 5x7 grid acrylic focusing screen with free shipping to Canada. I hope its worth it! If it works no more worries about broken ground glass after bumpy plane and bus rides. I should also be able to dump the heavy metal plate protector on the camera.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

New 5x7 Backpack idea

After my recent struggles lugging around the 5x7 on the mom farm trip, I have been worrying about how I could transport all this gear in the super hot/humid and difficult conditions of South East Asia. I think I might have figured out the best way to do this. I have at last count 6 different backpack variations. I think one of these backpacks that I have only used a bit in the field might be the answer. This is another example of how having lots of stuff can pay off in the end. It gives you plenty of options. You keep screwing around till you find a viable  one.

 
Lowepro back pack, 5x7 Linhoff in protective bag, Gitzo carbon fibre tripod (with centre post) and Manfrotto geared head.
The back pack contains:
- 13-5x7 holders (26 exposures total)
- Pentax spot meter
- 120mm Nikon F8 lens
- notebook, pens, cable releases, loupe
- dark cloth
- small round reflector

This bags allows for storage of all the items needed. When you carry the bag it does not seem as heavy because the weight is distributed more evenly than a shoulder bag. I should be able to carry this bag for long distances for many hours at a time. The carbon fibre Gitzo with small head will also help cut down on weight. I might end up keeping the plastic lens board on the 120mm solely for weight reasons, plastic weights less than metal.

Using this bag set up, I would carry the camera mounted to the tripod in the field. All together this is quite a lot to carry, it will still be very heavy. I like the fact that I can carry 13 holders. I might be able to throw in one of my Leica rangefinders as well (hate to be without my Leica).

Somehow the 5x7 seems feasible again. Even at 51 I should be able to carry the gear for hours in Asia. I need to continue to work on my core strength. If I can put together a strong core I should be able to support all this weight, and transport the gear on foot as needed.

Update* Thinking of getting an acrylic (plastic) ground glass to cut down on weight and also to eliminate broken ground glass issues. I would have to take 2 glass ground, glass versions with me if I went that style but I probably could get away with 1 acrylic version. In the past I have shot plastic ground glass on my 4x5 and 8x10 cameras and it has worked fine, I am assuming 5x7 would be the same. There is a guy in Poland who makes them, not sure how good (bright) they are and he wants $59 USD plus shipping so it's expensive. It is a bit of a gamble, but might be worth the try. Anything to make the 5x7 system more reliable and lighter!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Quotes: Dorothea Lange

From the documentary "Dorothea Lange Grab A Hunk of Lightning"

"When your working well, all your instinctive powers are in operation and you do not know why you do the things you do."

"To me Beauty appears when one feels deeply, and Art is an act of total attention."

"What does it feel like? What actually is the human condition?"

"I want to extract the universality not the circumstance."

Quote: Edvard Munch

From "Munch: In His Own Words" by Poul Erik Tojner.

"An artwork is a crystal. A crystal has a soul and a mind, and the artwork must also have these. It is not enough for an artwork to have correct angles and lines.

This idea of an artwork having its own soul, is very intriguing to me. To many people get hooked on the technical stuff, the lighting, the composition etc.  The Soul? What is the soul of the work? Does it have a soul? That seems to me the main goal of any artwork, give it life, give it a soul. Let it reach beyond the norm, into the extraordinary.

Quote: Dorothea Lange

"I challenged myself, I would go down there, just to see if I could, grab a hunk of lightning."

Thursday, July 16, 2015

More On Trip Plans

My thinking on my coming 7 week trip continues to evolve. Because I did not get my leave of absence, I need to focus on what I hope to accomplish and use the time I do have more effectively. My current thinking is that I will spend more time in Mae Sot. Mae Sot is the main area I planned to work on for my "Forgotten Laughter" portraits, so why not spend more time there?

I will be shooting the 5x7 extensively on this project and in Mae Sot I might be able to rent a motorbike which would make transporting the camera, tripod, food gifts more easy. If for example instead of spending my original planned 10 days there, why not spend 20 or even 30 days in Mae Sot. I could explore with the motorbike, travel extensively in the area and make photographs of the people I find, especially the Burmese children living in poverty. I would be able to do extensive portraits for the "Forgotten Laughter" book if I do 20 or 30 days in a row in Mae Sot.

As a bonus to my time there, to sort of fill in the spaces between photography I could go back to school! I am thinking of paying a teacher at the dump school to teach me Burmese. I  could go everyday and study for 1 or 2 hours, learn to read and write in Burmese, which would be very interesting and would also eventually lead to more access, more understanding and better photography (just like learning Thai has helped me so much). I love languages, so why not give Burmese a serious go?

On the home front, I continue to try to learn Burmese as best I can on my own (very tough sledding). I am continuing my work outs, hoping to get into better physical condition. Losing my bike is a big negative on the getting into shape front, I might have to try running (more easy to hurt yourself) or swimming to make up for the lost cardio bike riding time. I am also working extra shifts to pay off my silly camera purchases. I will get a new passport, a Thai visa, buy an air ticket in the coming months and get all my gear and film, bags/suitcases together. Everything should be aligned and ready for action well before my departure date.

This 7 week trip will be followed soon after by a 5 week trip. On my return to Canada in December I will have a short down time before I need to redo everything for a late February photography trip. I could possibly be going to Burma (especially if I learn some language skills), Cambodia or the Philippines. I want the book to include portraits of children from many Asian countries as child poverty is not only a Thai problem. The work needs to be universal in nature, across borders, languages and cultures.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Repair Costs On The Rollies

Got my repair bills from Harry Fleenor today for my 2 Rollieflex F2.8s. There are lots of little issues and some big issues with the cameras. There is some separation on one of the taking lens (did not notice it when I had the camera). That lens separation is worrisome. I will have to work with that camera on its return to see if I notice any loss in image quality.

For camera #1 the repair costs including the adding of a Maxwell bright focusing screen is $983.65 USD.

For camera #2 the repair costs including the adding of a Maxwell bright focusing screen is $998.07 USD.

With the repairs and the original purchase/shipping/duty/tax costs, each of these cameras will cost me well in excess of $2200 CAD maybe as much as $2600 CAD a piece. That is a ton of money! I definitely overpaid in the end. I will probably sell one of the cameras to recover some of my costs. I will be using my tax refund and also my OT pay from next week to pay for all of this. Replacing my stolen bike will have to wait for now. Bad mistake on my part to buy so many Rollies. Oh well live and learn.

I need to take one of these cameras with me to Asia and make some important photos with it. If I can do that it will help offset the bad vibes of these unnecessary purchases. Good photos always leads to good feelings on my part. I forgot the costs of the equipment when I see photographs that move me.

In the end paying for the repairs is probably going to be a good thing, the right thing to do. I will be going from one garbage unusable camera with a non working shutter and one semi usable camera with a damaged meter. To two highly functional rebuilt and recalibrated high end photography machines with beautifully bright focusing screens.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Balancing Out The Loss

A bit of karma came my way today. I was offered 4 OT shifts next week. It will be a tough haul as I will have to work 11 night shifts in a row, each shift lasting 12 hours. Still the OT is a good thing, I can use the money to help pay for part of a new mountain bike. Maybe this is the karma gods helping me out after the bike theft last week.

Gosh 11 nights in a row, tonight is #2. This will put me behind in my printing for my Rosebud exhibition. I will have 3 days off after the 11 before I start my regular 7 regular nights again. I need to use those 3 days positively to do some serious printing. The first day I will probably just sleep but I need to get into the darkroom and printing with the following 2 off days. I also need to work on the Alberta Gallery of Art 2017 biennial submission, started some of that last night, the deadline is July 26th. Most of the submission stuff outside of the scanning I can do at work. I will submit work from the "My Fathers Last Days Series" (wouldn't it be wonderful to show a dad photo at the AGA!). Am also planning for my 7 week photo trip to Asia, busy busy busy.

Back And In Stereo!

A couple of days ago I got a 3D pop up style book on Leonardo da Vinci it reawakened my interest in stereo photography. In the book you can see many of Leonardo's drawing and paintings in 3D, very beautiful. I decided to try doing up some of my own photos, landscapes and portraits then making up small b/w stereo pics of the same size as the book, clipping them onto the book pages and seeing if I can make my own 3D photos.

Here is the first attempt at a 3D landscape. The pic was made at 1/125 (fastest shutter speed) and f11 on old discontinued Agfa 400 film at 200ASA. As you can see the pictures are shot at the same time but at a slightly different angle. I used my Russian Sputnik camera which I am beginning to love. When viewed through special lens these photos should create a 3D b/w image. I will try it later with transparency film, I have a deep freeze with maybe 100 rolls of old outdated Agfachrome to use up.

Update* Did a simple ink jet print out of the image below and then placed it front of my Leonardo book lens, it seems to work. I had to cut out the middle section of black between the negs then move the two images closer together. After I made the adjustments I seemed to get a 3D image thou it is not as pronounced as the images in the book. I will continue to experiment with this type of photography, printing the negs on RC paper might give some added clarity and help the 3D effect. This should open up fun creative possibilities. I can see a time in my future where my exhibitions also include 3D stereograph photos.
Backyard #1, July 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015

Priorities, Stay On Topic

Continuing to try to figure out my gear options for next trip. The recent photography day with mom taught me 2 things.

1) Do not carry too much gear, too many camera systems
2) The 5x7 kit weights a ton (more than I thought it would)

Now as I contemplate what I will take with me to Asia I need to figure out what my priority is? I am only going for 7 weeks so I need to focus on 1 project, 1 type of photograph and 1 subject. I need to move in that direction. My main goal for the last couple of years has been "Forgotten Laughter", the children living in poverty portrait project I want to dedicate to my late father. To that end my main concern should be how to make those photos most effectively. The 5x7 view camera is essential to those pictures so that is where it all starts and ends. I need to take all the gear related to using that camera system.

If I want to add some more gear after the 5x7 that's another thing, thou I need to take as little of that extra gear as I can. Lets stay on topic, 7 weeks is very little time, I should not try to do do much in my very limited photography window. Lets do 1 thing really well instead of 3 or 4 things poorly. It is important that I keep my vow to my father and that I tell the stories of the children in the "Forgotten Laughter" project. I need to communicate my message with clarity of vision, too much gear just confuses things. The goal is to stay on topic, stay focused and speak with a clear distinct voice.

Update* Still feeling very down about my bike theft. Did not sleep well last night as I was worrying about the cost to replace it. Thankfully last week I finally got my tax refund check, so that helps a lot. Still its all so depressing. All your trying to do is get into shape and you get screwed over. I guess I should have been smart enough not to lock up the bike in that neighbourhood. It was taken off a main road in broad daylight in less than the hours time I was away, still am amazed by that. Some kind of brazen speed thief.

I need to concentrate on photographic thoughts, I need to try and stay positive.

5x7 Scans

I only shot one set up with th Linhof 5x7 120mm Nikon camera lens combo on the mom visits her farm day. Exposure was around 1 minute at f45, development 8 minutes at 24c in D-76 1/1 agitation #4 on the Jobo.

Here it is:

Interior moms old farm, July 2015
This is an older neg I developed yesterday from late February made a day or two after dad died. The pic is of his last living area just before they picked up his bed and other health care related items. I got to figure out some way to bring the 5x7 to Asia, the negs made with it are so beautiful.

A few days after dad died, what was left, late February 2015

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Stolen!!

So trying to continue my theme of working towards being in better shape for my coming photo trip, I went biking today. I cycled down to the Chinatown area of Edmonton, locked up my bike went inside for some dim sum. The meal did not take long, about 1 hour later I came out and my bike was GONE! It had been STOLEN!

This sucks big time, Chinatown is a dicey area of town now, lots of transients on the streets etc. I reported the theft to a nearby police station and will try to get some insurance money back for it if it is not recovered. The bike is over 10 years old probably closer to 20 and had issues with the gears, pedal etc. I now have an excuse to buy a new bike. Still I wish I had not lost it, I loved that old bike, and this year I rode over 500kms on it. I believe I paid around $1500 CAD for it when I bought it so it was a expensive bicycle at the time. I will probably cost $2500 or more to replace.

Looks like my biking is going to be curtailed for  the next while. I will have to go shopping for a new bike my next week off, might have to do some swimming in the mean time. This sucks! Whenever you get stuff stolen you sort of feel violated, I feel that way now. I had planned to go cycling tomorrow morning before work, can't do that now. In the coming months I wanted to double down and work harder on my physical fitness, this theft will slow down that process.

Update: Feeling down and depressed about this, all I wanted to do was exercise, work hard now to make better pictures later. As a reward for that effort I am going to have to pay a bunch of dollars to buy a new bike.

1/2 Frame Mom Day Trip Photos

Here are some scans from the 1/2 frame Canon Demi on moms day trip to her old farm near Athabasca Alberta. There is also a couple of double pics from Dads graveyard.

Gravestone, Dads graveyard, July 2015
Fallen flowers, Dads graveyard, July 2015
Mom visiting her old places, #1 school, July 2015
Mom visiting old places, #1 old home, July 2015
Mom visiting her old places, #2 school, girls outhouse, July 2015
Mom visiting old places, #2 old home, July 2015
Mom visiting her old places, #3 school, piece of wall, July 2015

Day Trip To Moms Childhood Farm

The day with mom visiting her old farm (nothing much left) and her old high school, the church she married dad at, graveyards etc was fun but more tiring than I thought. I only had about 4 hours sleep and drove around 5-6 hours during the day, plus was photographing, so was quite worn down by the end. I took way to much gear which was a mistake but I ended up using all the cameras at least a bit. I am still in the process of figuring out what I want to take with me to Asia, so that was the reason for all the cameras.

The 5x7 was a bitch to carry, I hope I have not waited to long to use it. Am I too old now to shoot 5x7 in Asia? I need to improve my overall condition even more if I expect to lug around this very heavy camera, plus meter, lens, holders, tripod and reflector in the very difficult and trying conditions of South East Asia.

My list of gear yesterday included:

- 5x7 Linhof (and extras)
- 4x5 Graflex (and extras)
- Rolleiflex Automat
- 35mm Leica
- Canon Demi

Living In Small Worlds

So many people live in such small worlds. Sometimes that small world is a result of economics, if you do not have the money to feed your family you certainly do not have the funds to broaden your horizons and life experiences. I understand that many do not have the luck I have experienced in life, the luck that allows me the money to enter all these different worlds. The thing I do not understand is those that are financially independent, much richer than I am who choose to remain in their small worlds. They have the finances but not the drive to expand into new realms. It is like they lack the curiosity to see what's on the other side of the highway. They live day in day out in the same situations, having the same experiences, the same ho hum routines. I have never been able to understand that mentality.

One of the great joys in life for me is the doors that have been opened for me. I think back over my life experiences mostly as a direct result of my photography and I feel so happy. I would never give up those memories, those learning situations, those lives I have shared, the laughter, the tears, the sorrows and joys. Gosh if I had stayed in Edmonton, never made photographs and did the average Joe life thing, I would have missed out on so so much.

I cannot wait till I am back in Asia again soon, finding new adventures, meeting new people, creating and experiencing new worlds. The wonder and sheer joy of living continues.

What A Waste

Cameras are meant to make pictures not sit on a shelf and handled with COTTON GLOVES. Found this advert today locally, what a waste. Whether it is an old design or new, whether it is a Leica, Haselblad, or Rolleiflex. Whether it is state of the art or a simple point and shoot, get it off the fricking shelf and get it making pictures. A camera is made to make pictures, let it fulfill its destiny.

Leica - limited edition Camera


Leica - limited edition Oskar Barnack 1879-2004 "Mint". This camera has never been used, and has only been handled 4x, always using white cotton gloves when It's been out of the box.