Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bought Me A Used Zacuto Z-Finder Viewfinder

I bought myself a used " Zacuto Z-Finder Viewfinder Pro 3.0x for 3.2 with Screens w/ Gorilla Plate V2" Made a slight discount deal with the seller to buy it for $175 USD plus shipping. I believe this is an almost new display model, comes with original box, manual etc.

This unit attaches to the back of my Canon 5D Mark 3 and allows for precise focusing on the LCD when shooting video. It is basically an adjustable magnifying glass. I will be able to focus sharply and concentrate better on the composition of the shot. There will be no glare on the LCD from the hot Thai sun! The Gorilla plate V2 is the metal harness system that allows you to attach the viewfinder to the back of the camera.

These units new run $375 USD from B&H so this is a pretty good deal.

Note* With these most recent purchases I believe I have almost everything I need for the documentary film outside of the 24-105mm lens (that deal is in the works).  I will no doubt need to buy various small items like memory cards and batteries etc, but most of the big purchases seem almost done. I was able to get many items cheaply and or used, got some good bargains. Hopefully the movie will be worth this financial cost. I so want to make an important meaningful and heartfelt documentary.

Zacuto Z-Finder Viewfinder Pro with Gorilla Plate

Quote: Anne Frank (15)

Written less than a month before her arrest and eventual death in Auschwitz concentration camp.

"It's a wonder that I haven't abandoned all of my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical, yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

GoPro On The Video Rig?

Am thinking of putting a small GoPro camera on my video rig. I would have a wide angle always on video shooting forward or could have it even pointed back at me as I shoot. The GoPro video could be help full in a number of ways, especially if I go with the more personal me story approach to the documentary. Personal is probably the better way to go as I do better when I wear my heart on my sleeve and let it all hang out.

Anyway the GoPro is something else to think about. I wonder how many devices I can hook up to one rig! :))

I Got My P&C Camera Rig Today

I got my P&C video camera rig today. It seems solidly built and is very fast and east to set up. I was able to get it read to use the first out time in 3 or 4 minutes.  I believe this was a good buy. It is cheap, well made and will hopefully not scare my subjects off as some more high end larger more intimidating looking pro rigs might. Sometimes using to high end equipment can be off putting for the local folks your filming, causing fear and unnecessary worries. These are peoople who often struggle to buy rice and pay for medicine, coming into their lives with hundreds of thousands of expensive video/photo gear can be a bit scary for them!

My P&C rig without gear mounted
I have no camera/sound gear, no follow focus on the rig yet but so far so good. Will continue to load it up over the coming days. I will probably be adding all the items listed below.

- Canon 5d Mark 3
- Zacuto viewfinder
- Kamera follow focus
- Rode stereo mic
- Rode shotgun NTG-2 mic
- Receiver for the wireless Lavalier mic
- Zoom F4 field recorder
- Possibly a light source of some kind if I spend all night or part of the night filming in the dump.

I hope all that stuff together plus the rig is not TOO TOO heavy. Walking in garbage all day in 33c heat and humidity tends to wear you down. The less weight the better in those situations. Plus I will also be caring some film cameras (at least one a day) with me.

Note* Another bonus to this P&C rig is that you can build and add to it in multiple ways. Not sure I will do much of that might eventually go to something higher end. Will see how good of a film maker I am, how this all works out and move on from there.
Where I Bought The P&C Rig

Update* Am having some problems with the front handles moving and twisting free no matter how much I tighen them with the red knobs or allen wrench. I might have to add some sticky sand paper or a cork surface of some kind to metal tubing in that area to make the grip better. I have some sticky-cork in my darkroom that I use for my photo paper easel bottoms that might just serve the purpose.

Strange Processing Machine

For the fun of it I sometimes include weird photo gear I find on eBay. Here is a very unique looking unit, sort of has a bad cheapo 1950s science fiction movie feel to it. Not exactly sure how this C-41/E6 processor operates, but if you want it, you have it for a mere $570 USD plus shipping. I wonder what models 1 thru 3 looked like if this is the perfected model 4 version.
Ebay Link 

Wing-Lynch C41/E6 Darkroom Filmi Processor Model 4

Monday, November 28, 2016

Maybe I Will Not Cancel My Membership

I finally found a reason not to cancel my AGA membership. Not because they show wonderful art that makes me want to visit this Edmonton based gallery but instead because they have a mutual attendance pact (reciprocal membership) with other galleries across Canada. The VAG in Vancouver let me into their $24 show twice for free!!, based on my AGA membership. Walker Evans for free you got to love that. Finally a reason worth keeping my membership alive at the AGA, a chance to visit OTHER galleries.

Here are the galleries I can get into with my membership to the AGA.

VAG Full To The Rafters With Folks

The VAG was filled to the rafters with folks each time I visited. After the dead empty rooms at the AGA it was a welcome sight. Maybe that is what happens when you put art on the walls that the people love, appreciate and have a relationship with! Will the AGA learn from this example, nope, nada, no way!

Why Are Galleries So Quiet?

What's the deal with everyone being so QUIET at museums. Art should make you jump and scream and talk. A bunch of folks looking at pictures like they are at a church is wrong. If I was showing at the VAG I would want people making noise. When I spent several hours with Mr. Evans photographs everyone was so so quiet, sort of depressing. Let loose people become involved, make some noise!

10 Photos By Gerry Yaum Submissions To The VAG

The VAG are nice folks, whenever I have submitted work to them in the past they have always sent me a nice rejection note. When I submit work to many other galleries including the AGA I never ever hear back from them in any form. I was told that photography over the last year has been shown more and more at the VAG. I decided to do up a yearly submission of photographs taking from my archives to the VAG. It will be a mixture of pics with a brief introduction to each section. This will probably lead no where but there is a chance that the variety of the work will be noticed. It might lead to an eventual showing or collecting of the photographs. No hurt in trying! Worse comes to worse I will be sitting exactly where I sit today. No exhibitions in major galleries,very little work collected.

My Time With Dad: Gerry Yaum Photo Diary Magazine

Thinking of refining my dad magazine idea for the AGSA exhibition. Will do up a mini "Gerry Yaum Photo Diary" hard cover version. It will include photos from that last year of dads life along with the poetry and blog entries I wrote. I will also include snapshots of me and dad together, dad fun alone shots and dad with family and friends. It should give the gallery viewer a more balanced view of dads life and the experience of making the photos for the show (the exhibitions theme). Will tittle the edition "My Time With Dad".

Walker Evans Exhibition

This last week at the the VAG I was able to see their current Walker Evans exhibit twice for free, a glorious experience.Seeing a very larger 30 inches plus version of the Bud Fields family portrait was deeply moving. I have always loved this photography, my Walker Evans favorite and one of my all time top 10 photographs. Not sure the history of this particular image, it was listed as from a private owner. We need shows like this at the AGA, not that damn conceptual art work again and again and yet again.

Of all the times I viewed this photograph, the first time I saw the black cat was when I looked at this large print. I had seen the photo countless times in magazines and books but never a print this large before. There it was at the mothers feet a very skinny half dead looking cat! Who knew?

To see a mans entire life as a photographer on the gallery walls of a major instution at the same time, what a wonderful experience. I hope before I die I can view a retrospective of my work in a simliar manner. When I see everything on that galleries walls with all the viewers interacting with the photographs, I know I will have lived a life worth living.

Bud (William Edward) Fields and his sharecropper family. 1936

Bought Me A Zoom F4 Field Recorder

Got myself a Zoom F4 Field Recorder from B&H for $649.99 USD (NEW) plus taxes, with free shipping. This recorder I can attach below my camera and record high end audio for the coming documentary film project. The recorder will allow me to record a second safe channel when I am working with Fred. This second channel you can set at a lower gain rate. The idea there is that if Fred all of a sudden starts yelling (a frequent thingy in Fred's world) the audio will not peak out (clipping) and be garbled. I can do 2 recordings of all our conversations one at a normal level and a backup at a lower gain level in case of screaming-yelling and general agitated talk. I should be able to do first class audio recordings with this unit, it is rated near or at lower end Pro quality.

Here is the recorder:
B&H Zoom F4 Field Recorder Link
Curtis Judd Review Of The Zoom F4

Zoom F4 Field Recorder
Update* The deal with Larry for his 24mm-105mm lens fell through, some kind of communication error, not sure exactly what happened there. I will have to buy one online. I have started that process.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bought Me A Kamera Follow Focus

Here is the last and very important part of the camera rig for now, a follow focus device. Cost including shipping from Australia (made in China) is $147.50 USD. This will attach to the rig and fold up to the camera lens allowing for easy quick focusing.

Here is a link to the PR-1 rig I bought earlier tonight with the Kamera follow focus in use.  The video was made by Eskild Fors in Norway.

Kamera follow focus.

Will Buy 24-105mm A Canon Lens

I am going to buy a lens from my friend Larry a Canon 24-105mm F4. The lens is very new (less than 2 years old) and was only used 2 times. Larry gave me a good price of $700 CAD for it including a 77mm UV B+W filter (no taxes, duty or shipping costs). Did not want to buy another lens as I already have the Canon 24-70mm F2.8 but the 24-105mm F4 has a very important added feature, a lens image stabilization device. This should allow me to shoot handheld video with much less shake than I could with my 24-70mm. A non shaking lens is VERY IMPORTANT. There is nothing more distracting and off putting with video visuals than a shaky camera, it is usually quite unwatchable, gives the viewer nausea and a headache. Another bonus of the lens is the 105mm shooting length, which might prove very important at times. When shooting at 105mm I will need to always use a tripod.

I hope this lens to be the only one I use for documentary. I might use my 24mm f1.4 with my cheapo steady cam gyro device (bought over 1 year ago) as it is quite a bit lighter and easier to hold with one hand. I will do some experimenting with both lens to see what works best before I leave Canada.  It would be great if I can just use the one lens for everything.

The only way I would take my 24-70mm with me to Thailand would be if I decided to shoot 2 sets of video with slightly different compositions for the talking head segments I will do in the doc. Been thinking of running both the Canon 5D Mark 2 and the Mark 3 at the same during interviews to get different compositions while using the same audio. I could switch between Cameras or use the better visual for the comments made. For example if the interview speaker says something very dramatic or emotional (tears) a tighter head composition might work better and communicate the story stronger.

Anyway will buy Larry's pristine lens at a good price the next time we meet for dinner. Larry is a great friend to me,  am lucky to know him. I am keeping my expenses down as much as I can but the costs continue to go up and up. Making a documentary film on a security guards salary, oh the joys of it!! :(

Canon 24-105mm f2.8 with image stabalizer.

Bought Me A Simple Camera Rig

I got a simple camera rig kit for $263.50 USD including shipping. The rig is called a "PR-1 Prime Video Shoulder Rig" and is an all metal highly adjustable rig. The idea of a rig is that it helps stabilize shooting and allows you to attach accessories to your camera. I can attach a separate monitor, mic, light source etc. There was a ton of options out there but this one seemed to fit the bill for my modest needs. This PR-1 rig set up is highly adjustable, you can add and subtract pieces to build what you need and want. I can continue to add parts-extensions to it in the future if needed or I can eventually go to a higher end model. I will configure this rig kit a few different ways till I get it to fit my leads. I might find 2-3 different setups that work for different types of shooting. I need to figure out something that will work while I am sitting in the passenger seat of a moving truck for example.

I am also going to get a follow focus device for the rig. Focusing a DSLR camera in video mode is HARD. A follow focus attached to a rig (probably the main reason to buy a rig) will all for easy and quick focusing.

PR-1 Prime Video Shoulder Rig

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Poem: "Invictus" By William Ernest Henley

I already posted this wonderful poem, but was moved by it again recently so thought I would re-post it. "Under the bludgeoning of chance...My head is bloody but unbowed...And yet the menace of the years... Finds, and shall find me, unafraid...I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Documentary Film: A Personal Autobiographical Storyline?

Am thinking a lot of how to tell this story best.

Should I tell the story from my point of view. Will that get the folks watching on my side? Will it set the dump story up better? Telling a personal story of not only Fred and the dump families but of my own history? A good idea? Not sure if this autobiographical story telling style with voice overs and footage of me (minus my face) will help or hurt.

Maybe if I introduce myself at the beginning of the film as the amateur I am it will help the viewer be more involved in the story. I watched "North by Northwest" again recently. In the movie Cary Grant is an ad man pushed into the world of spies/murder/manhunts/love and adventure. The fact he was an everyday dude guy gave the audience something they could identify with-cheer for. Maybe my inept beginner filmmaker security guard status can be used as a bonus somehow. The viewer can follow my simple Joe blow story, and place themselves in the picture just as Hitchcock used Cary Grant's character to pull the viewer in.

I do not want to use too much of me in this thing, but some snippets might help set up the story and fill in the blanks before getting to the really important stuff of Fred and the families. Maybe I could shoot it now and decide to use it or not use it later on. I might just leave all this ME STUFF on the editing floor later! :)). It might look better down there.

This autobiographical idea would give me some practical practice with the gear before I hit Thailand. I could do some shots working in the darkroom, video of my"Families of the Dump" prints, editing, do some voice overs (speaking honestly of my hopes and fears with seriousness and humor), heck even some non identifiable clips of me in my blue security guard outfit, lumbering about. Even if I do not use the footage, the practice I gain shooting-recording it would probably be beneficial.

Now if I just looked like Cary Grant :)) and had the story-film making skills of Mr. Hitchcock! This idea might actually work!

Documentary Film: Movie Making, How The F-ck Do You Do That?

First day off work tonight. Am laying here thinking about the coming "Film". Am writing some notes, trying to figure out how to do all of this. The tech part is just studying and practicing, so I can do that but how the hell do you tell a story on film? How the hell do I transition from a still photographer to a filmmaker? This is whole different game I am trying to play.

I spent the work week between security stuff learning more about recording audio, doing on camera interviews, lighting, using a cheap gyro type steady cam etc. YouTube is filled with how to videos, and people reaching out to help you. All that tech stuff can be learned and with some practice and gear buys I can get that done. This whole story telling thing is another ball of wax thou. I need to watch lots of documentaries really need to learn from them. I need to learn how to tell stories on film. I think that will be the biggest reason why this project works or fails. Can Mr. Yaum tell a story on film?

What makes a good doc? And or average or bad doc? Is it  the story? Is it the filmmakers skills? Humor? Pathos? Editing? Compelling characters? Shocking audio and video? Emotional impact? All of the above?

I feel like I have jumped into the deep end of the pool here and only know how to doggy paddle.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Quote: Andy D"Addario (Sound Engineer)

"It's not necessarily what you hear in your ear but it's what you feel in your heart."

Cheap Interview Lighting Kit

I decided to buy a cheapish online lighting kit that will allow me to do a simple interview set up on black background with a key, fill and hair light.  The background and stand was not that much extra in cost so I got that also to allow me an quick and easy set up on location if needed. I might also take it overseas if it is not too heavy (or I can attach a black sheet to a wall). Starting to spend too much money again, hope I can use this thing. The cost of the kit was $299 CAD including shipping. If I used it in Asian I would have to get little electric transformer adapter boxes for each light.
Amazon Page Selling This Kit
CanaidanStudio video lighting softbox kit from Amazon, $299 CAD

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Bought Me Some Cheap Video Lighting

I want to go to Asia with some type of lighting set up even thou I might not use it. I decided to give a very cheap battery operated system a try. Here is a link to the YouTube dude that recommended it. Hope it works out.
THiNK Media TV: Cheap Lighting For Video

I like the price for this set up. To buy 2 cheaper plastic light stands (these can be pretty tough, used them on my white background sex worker series), the 2 Neewer lights, 2 batteries and a charger, it cost me around $100 CAD including shipping.

Neewer 160 bulb LED video light
I like the fact these Newer LED lights are battery operated and have a dimmer switch on them. Using batteries in Asia is easier as you do not have to worry about using transformers because of the 220w power supply. I will probably need to eventually get multiple batteries. With these units you can also use AA batteries in an emergency which is a nice feature as I often face emergency gear issues in Thai. Another bonus is the small compact size, size and weight is always an issue when traveling around the world to film things. With the 2 lights and their dimmer switch's I can change up the light/contrast ratios on my interview subject, 2/1 maybe 4/1 to get a more dramatic lighting mix.

I will no doubt end up getting higher end lights at some point but for now these should work fine. If they work for 1 project at $100 that's a pretty good deal. I can also reuse the stands (the most expensive item in this purchase at $48 CAD) with the next set of nicer more pro lights.

I will be doing some test interviews in the next while when all this new CHEAP gear arrives. Just to figure out whats what before I do it for real later on.  Will probably use my mom as a subject, I can record stories from her childhood. Will post some of that interview here later.

Note* I could probably use one of these units mounted directly to my camera at night in the dump. It would be very spotlightish visual but would create a dramatic and effective look at the work the families do in the darkness of the garbage dump. It would be especially strong to highlight the children in amongst the garbage waste. I want to show the children's true reality in my documentary, I want to smash the viewer in the face with it.

Update* Am continuing to study video related subjects on YouTube tonight. Going more into lighting, light ratios etc. I knew some of this from my photo work but it is always nice to review and fill gaps in your knowledge.

Update** Am trying to cancel the 2 light stands in this order to save $48 CAD. I can use the light stands from my video lighting kit (ordered after this purchase) and do not need duplicates (I hope). I also have many higher quality metal light stands for my regular film photography.

Update** Was able to cancel the extra light stands. The $48 CAD saved will pay for 2+ nights at my hotel in Mae Sot :)).

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Quote: Brock Peters (Actor)

From his eulogy of Gregory Peck's.

"In art there is compassion, in compassion there is humanity, with humanity there is generosity and love. Gregory Peck gave us these attributes in full measure."

Quote: Gregory Peck

Speaking as a presenter at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) awards ceremony,

"It just seems silly to me that something so right and simple has to be fought for at all."

Friday, November 18, 2016

Techno Obsession? What's The Deal With That?

In my studies into making documentary films this past week I have noticed a YouTube tendency. There is a ton of testing and gear related vids but not much in the how to's of actual making documentaries. Everyone seems absolutely obsessed with the gear stuff. This shotgun mic tested against that mic and the minute almost un-hearable differences there in. This cameras ergonomics and video versus that cameras video, which has the most noise. This cameras gizmo's versus that cameras gizmos. This audio recorders XLR inputs versus that other ones. Kind of makes me sick. All techno talk but little talk on the art of documentary film making. Everything seems geared techno and nothing about the heart of what a documentary really is. What makes a great film? What is the creative process? Nothing on the emotions, stories, styles, that create empathetic quality films and how to make those type of films. People on YouTube seem more concerned with the latest gadget (shiny toy) than the film it was made for. Techno thinking-talking-fetish not artististic, creative, story telling videos It is all rather nauseating.

Guess I have to just learn all the techno stuff, buy some of the recommended gear and figure out the creative-story telling thing myself. Maybe the years as a still shooter will help in that regard.

Dream: Understanding-Helping A Life

Just woke up, not sure how coherent this blog entry will be.

Strange dreams all day today before my security night shift. I was in Cambodia and spending time with a young woman who was a brothel worker. She seemed to be in her early 20s and had white paste makeup to cover her darker skin tone. We spent the day together as friends talking and walking and sharing stories. She spoke to me about how she got into the life she lived. We ate and walked together and I made pictures of her and other things in Cambodia. We saw all kinds of strange things on our walk, damaged foreigners ( A barang, the Cambodian word for white foreigner) walking on crutches with a missing legs  and brown infected dying hands. There was also a crazy lion (lions in Cambodia?) who was hit on the road and survived (flipped over in a pool of water), he seemed to have a companion who was a dirty but friendly, a smiling fox that liked to be petted. As we walked I also found some old negs of the  brothel woman which were taken of her by another man (a customer). The pics were of her and another 3 or 4 workers looking frightened while sitting on a hotel rooms sofa.

The dream(s) were mostly about her life and me trying to help and understand what she was feeling. Strange, stuff, sad stuff but stuff that I have had some real life experiences with thru my photography. Earlier, before sleeping this morning, I was remembering back to  a young woman I met briefly who worked in a brothel, this was back in 2003 I think. She worked in Sihanoukville Cambodia and had frightened eyes just like this person in my dream. I  often think back to this girl with frightened eyes, I never did learn her name but did photograph her a bit. Maybe thoughts of her lead to the dreams I had during my daytime sleep.

I think I need to do the "Lost Innocence" photo project or possibly a documentary film of some kind on this same subject. I am haunted by the memories of those lives I knew. That world back when I made the 2003 photos in the Poipet brothels and all the stuff I saw and heard in Thailand during the bargirl photo years, continue to possess me. All these years later I still dream of the people I knew back then. Strange, sad and a bit of a frightening to still have those memories come back so often. Even while I am safe in Edmonton those thoughts and experiences persist. Am I being called to tell that story again? I hate to go back into that world but is it a destiny I cannot avoid?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bought Me A Rode NTG2 Shotgun Microphone

Bought a used Rode NTG2 shotgun mike today for $178 USD plus shipping. It seems to be in excellent LIKE NEW condition and comes with all the proper accessories including a wind sock that would cost around $40 USD (with shipping) if sold seperately. A new version of this microphone retails around $269 USD. I hope to use it on camera as a general microphone and for interviews on a boom over the subjects head. For all the in studio interviews I can mike myself with a lavaliere and mike the subject with this shotgun microphone (out of frame, out of sight). During my online video/audio studies I have learned that this microphone is highly regarded and is considered a work horse type tool. The version 3 is supposedly slightly better but also cost upwards of $525 USD. Will stick with the cheaper version for now. I am trying to cut down my costs by buying used gear and lower end pro stuff. Hopefully these tools will still record first class audio and video.

Update* Gosh doing on camera video interviews, that will be a different experience!
Update** I also picked up a 33 foot female-male XLR cable as well as a cheap smallish boom type microphone stand that might work for me. Will do some practise interviews with this gear when I recieve the gear in 3 or 4 weeks time. I need to be well versed in how to do everything before I get to Asia.

My new USED Rode NTG2 shotgun microphone

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Quote: Charlie (Bird) Parker

"Music speaks louder than words"

Bought Me Some Audio Gear

Bought some cheaper gear to record sound today. A Azden EX 503 Lavaliere microphone (wired) and a Zoom H1W Portable Digital Audio Recorder. I might be able to use this to record on body audio for my subjects as they move. You apply the mike and give the subject the recorder to put in their pocket and recorder away. My other more expensive option would be the wire less Lavalier system I bought quite a while back to do my photo  picture talks at Larry's gallery. I can also use the Zoom H1W for recording my own personal audio in the field. This unit could also function as an emergency backup system of my wireless system breaks down (probably pretty likely, based on past experience). These two new items cost around $125 USD plus a bit for shipping.

Azden EX 503 Lavaliere microphone
Zoom H1W Portable Audio Recorder

Monday, November 14, 2016

Learning To Make Films-Buying More Gear

Spending the night tonight learning and figuring out what type of gear I will need to make my documentary film. I want to buy the minimal gear I need to do acceptable pro level type filming. I will use my Canon 5D Mark 3 to make the video but will need the proper sound, follow focus, tripod, tripod head, and shoulder rig. Some of this gear I have collected over the years like the tripod and head other gear including the rig I am learning about online. There are MANY manufacturers offering all types of video gear, it is rather confusiing. Lots and lots to learn!

Anyway things are going well, I am spending the night learning on YouTube, making notes and progressing bit by bit. I am also checking into possible grant programs for documentary video production. My funding is all security guard money so have to try to cut as many corners as I can. I might be doing another darkroom workshop in the coming weeks (only the 3rd of the year), that money will also go towards this project. I so want to do a good job to pay tribute to the lives of the people in the dump.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Art Gallery Of Alberta Exhibition Choices A MESS

Today I visited the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) after a long absence. Over the last year I have not gone to the gallery because the work being shown always held no interest for me. I would check their website over and over again hoping to find something on display with some heart to it, something that might have some emotional connection for me. I was continually disappointed by the curatorial staff choices. 

Today I decided to throw caution to the wind and visit. I was EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED, yet again. In the whole gallery there were 2 maybe 3 small works of minor interest. Nothing that made me want to go back and have a second look. Whenever I go to galleries (usually in Europe) I am pulled back again and again to certain pieces. I always visit 2 times, sometimes 3 or 4. I love art that has human feeling, art that tells the story of what it is to live in this world, art that expresses the human spirit. The AGA has disappointed me again in this regard. Most of what they choose is weird ass conceptional arty farty things, usually joined with some meaningless ARTSPEAK. 

I hate artspeak, the glorification of the nothing to make it seem like something. Art should speak to people on its own without useless VERBAGE to prop it up and tell us how we should feel and what it is about. Art should draw people in, slap them across the face and wake them up to a new reality, a new way o thinking. Art should connect to the viewer and draw real emotion out of them. In the past at the AGA I have seen too many weird ass conceptional shows, toilet paper unrolling in forests, cleaning products on tables, Styrofoam animals etc. Today's exhibits included a room filled with humidifiers venting a misty fragrance! What the fuck is that? The exhibition room " --- New Works gallery" as per normal was completely empty of visitors. Why is it the "New Works" room almost always empty? No one is visiting, should that not be a tell to the AGA staff?

I so tire of the conceptional art the staff at the AGA continues to force feed the art lovers of Edmonton. If I took a shit and put it on a large white plate and placed fossilized cockroaches in it, then made up some bullshit, pretentious, self righteous artspeak. Would it become art worthy of gallery space?

Artist Statement:
"My art deals with the reunification of the human internal element back into the energies and movements of shared references to mystic polemic origins of the nomadic homo deligerious species from the primeval roots in our shared soils of civilized organic insectaphelia."

Do I have viable art here?  Would they allow my plate of fecal matter and BS artspeak artist statement a prime position of importance within the Art Gallery of Alberta? 

There is too much conceptual art at the AGA and not enough exhibition choices that emotionally involve the visitor. Would people come to see my literal plate of crap? Of course not but that is what is being chosen and shown over and over and over again in the gallery. Edmontonians dislike (possibly hate) what the curatorial staff is choosing to exhibit, hence the lack of visitors and the money problems the AGA has. The gallery loses hundreds of thousands perhaps millions of dollars a year. Why are changes not being made?
I have been member of the AGA since it reopened in its beautiful new building 5 plus years ago. My disappointment on what is being exhibited and my frustration with the wasting of a wonderful and beautiful facility has reached a breaking point. I have therefore decided to leave the AGA and cancel my membership. I love art, I try to open my mind to all that I see. But I am so tired of being unmoved by what is being shown in the AGA galleries.

I would rather buy film with my membership money or to donate the funds to the people I photograph. I could use the AGA membership money to buy rubber boots for the children working the garbage in Mae Sot, Thailand, where I photograph. I will devote my time and money to try and tell HUMAN stories that have an EMOTIONAL CONNECTION FOR REAL PEOPLE. Goodbye AGA, I am sad to lose you as a friend, but you have let me down too many times in past years.

I would like to say to the AGA curatorial staff,  change course, choose work that has some humanity in it and some emotional power to it, something that draws a response from the people of Edmonton. Get away from your arrogant I am smarter than you, high brow arty farty conceptional art attitudes and choices and instead choose "ART WITH A HEART."

Update* I forwarded this blog entry to some of the upper ups at the gallery. Hopefully they will have an open mind to my frustrations and will consider changes to their future curatorial choices.

Quote: Edvard Munch

"There should be no more paintings of exteriors and people reading and women knitting. There should be images of living people who breathe and feel and suffer and love - I shall paint a number of such pictures - people will understand the holiness of it, and they will take off their hats as if they were in a church."

Saturday, November 12, 2016


I am thinking of doing a triptych for the coming AGSA exhibition. I will have only 6 possibly 7 20x24 showing. If I take out one of the 20x24s and insert 3-7x11 vertical images for the tritych I can show 8-9 images total. Will try doing up 3 tight vertical heads of dad and displaying them side to side in one frame. Three works telling one story should be compelling. I might have to print this on standard Ilford fiber payer, or possibly a unopened box of Oriental Seagull which I found at the bottom of my photo paper supply. I only use fiber paper for my exhibitions and with those far and few in between I should use up my stocks instead of buying new Ilford warmtone.

Hope it looks good. Will post some photos of this little project later.

Quote: Ludwig Van Beethoven

“It is better to hit the wrong note confidently, than hit the right note unconfidently. Never be afraid to be wrong or to embarrass yourself; we are all students in this life, and there is always something more to learn.”

Friday, November 11, 2016

Building My Documentary Film Knowledge

Am slowing start to build on my almost non existent documentary film knowledge. Working on the technique stuff to help get the most out of my Canon Mark 3. Am reading various books on the art of making documentary film. Most importantly am watching more doc films and seeing how they are done. Bit by bit we should eventually become new fluent in this very different world. Hopefully will be at a level of some competence by the time I am shooting. So so much to learn.

Looking For 35mm Negs To Use

I spent the night printing 35mm negs of dad onto 11x14 RC paper. I am looking for unseen and forgotten images to make for the coming St. Albert Art Gallery show (August 2017). I have 5x7, 8x10 and 120mm, 35nn film negatives of my father made that last year but the 35mm negs have the visual grain and harshness I am looking to exhibit.

I will go with only 35mm negs this show.  I will only need 7 prints, I probably have enough good 35mm work to print 25 or so photographs, so I need to be selective. I think I might expand on my original "last week in the life of dad" idea and show pictures from some of the rest of the time we spent together that last 13 months. A variety of photos will tell a larger more diverse story. I will also do up two magazines for the exhibition, one of my general photography and one specifically on my father (including snapshots of his life). I wish my father could go to the opening night. I think he would be generally happy to be remembered and would feel that the photos are honest to the reality he faced. Would he be proud of the pictures? Not sure of that but I think he would be happy to not be forgotten, happy that people are still talking about the importance of his life.

The time making these exhibition prints is difficult. I have 2 of the 7 complete now except for the spotting-matting-framing. I am flooded of memories of my father and our relationship as I print and print, spending hours, days, and weeks on the photographs. The difficulty is as it should be, I am his son, if this was easy then something would be wrong. It is difficult but it is right, it is my pay tribute to my father. Making these pictures and telling his story is the way I cope and remember who he was.

Miss you dad, miss you everyday and in everyday. Many times I still cannot believe that you are gone, gone forever. I wish we could sit and talk as we often did after one of my night shifts. We would talk of many things, while sharing a breakfast you got up to made for me. I would go home and you would start working, making breads and foods of all kinds for the farmers market. You always had something good for me to take home, some fresh bread, desert, cabbage rolls, pyrogies. There was always something or several things you would make sure I would leave with.

Various dad exhibition RC test prints.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Quote: The Story Of Art By E.M. Gombrich

"It is clear Van Gogh was not mainly concerned with correct representation. He used colours and forms to convey what he felt about the things he painted, and wished others to feel.....Van Gogh wanted his paintings to express what he felt, and if distortion helped him to achieve that aim he would use distortion."

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Good Night Printing

Printed all night and then up and until 1240pm. A good night of work. The 2nd print is most likely done. I threw in some poetry reading, jazz music and a bit of sax practise. Now I got to keep it up, devote myself to what is important, what I can control. I have too much too do, to little time to do it in, every night is important and must be used to its full value.

Submission Idea: "Babies of the Dump"

Maybe a more aggressive approach to submissions will work. What about a submission titled "Babies of the Dump". Here are some possibles, found in the google search: Gerry Yaum-Baby-Dump. The pictures are from my 3 years of photographing in the Mae Sot Thai, dump. I have many other images to choose from as well, probably 100+ that I can cut down to 10-15 for the submission.

Jazz Music Buy

Ordered more jazz, Charlie Parker LPs and CDs as well as Dexter Gordon CDs.  I was inspired to get more Charlie Parker after watching the Clint Eastwood movie "Bird" (including the movie soundtrack).

While printing the 2nd exhibition second sprint I listened to Jazz all night. On the docket were Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Stan Getz. A wonderful night of printing and jazz music, a good time after yesterdays evening unhappiness. Anytime I am down photography gets me out of my rut.

Even managed to do a bit sax practise along the way. I hope some day to be good enough to play a bit of jazz and improvise on my own. I feel I have found the right instrument, now it I just need to practise, enjoy and learn.

Dizzy is playing as I type this, boy can that man make his horn sing! Go Dizzy Go!

Distractions And Confusion

Distractions and laziness lately are detracting from the time I have left to do what I need to do. I got heavily into hoping-following the American election (to great great disappointment) and have been wasting away to much time watching-following-arguing hockey and other sports. A bit of illness this last week also took time out of my life.

I am 52, if I live as long as dad I have only 30 years (minus the sick years). I need to get off my lazy distracted ass and concentrate. I want to make a documentary movie but am not studying and working towards that goal. I want to print my coming show but it is going all too slow. I want to use this camera and that camera, to do wet plate and platinum printing but that drags on at a slow slow pace. I have a thousand photo ideas to pursue but am not.

Time to get off my fat lazy ass and get things done,  TIME TO FOCUS!!! Come on Gerry no fuckin excuses get things done. It is time to take control of your life and control what you can control. The clock is ticking your time is almost up.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Quote: Roger Ebert

Gosh, just found this in quote in a Roger Ebert review of the great Jazz movie "Round Midnight". The breathing into the music, hearing the saxophone players breath is a theme I have been thinking and writing about ever since I took up the sax. It seemed a unique feature that that other instruments do not process. With a horn your life's breath propels the music forward.

"Musicians who use breath to play their instruments - those who play the various horns - arrive sooner or later at a point where they play and speak in the same voice."

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Saxophone Is Progressing.

The sax stuff is coming along nicely. I can now SORTA play 2 songs by ear, "When the Saint's Go Marching in" and "Ode To Joy". These are very very basic versions of the tunes requiring only 5 notes. Still not bad, I only started playing 4 or weeks or so ago. Slowly but surely I am improving.  I usually play everyday, some days it might only be 15 minutes other days an hour or more. Lets keep this up and see where we are in 10 years time!

I bought a bunch of Alta Sax sheet music off Amazon today. Most of it will be too advanced for me but I think I should be able to play some of it in the next few months. I also cleaned my sax for the first time, found out that is actually supposed to be an every time you play deal. If you do not clean your sax it fills up with saliva and food particles, and starts to smell, ICKITY ICK ICK!!!!! Will need to do the cleanings as part of my daily routine.

Update* What is strange is that I am starting to develop a passion for this sax playing thingy. I have only had one real personal driving passion in my life and that is photography. Will saxophone playing join in with my photography? I doubt learning music will ever come close to what I feel for my photography but if it has only 10% of that strength then that is more than enough to drive me forward the rest of my natural life. I started too old (52) to be a great musician but there is no reason I cannot be a good player even a fine one. I could have 30 years left to devote myself to it. All it takes is tons of work, and commitment. If you have enough love and feeling for it then it is no sacrifice to put in the work needed to be very good at it.

Am listening to the great jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon as I write this, simply sublime! Got his LP a few days back, this is my first listen. I love Mr. Gordon's music so much, he might be my favourite player.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Quote: Karl Marx

"History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."

Quotes: From The Movie-Play "Inherit the Wind"

[on using profanity]
Henry Drummond: I don't swear just for the hell of it. Language is a poor enough means of communication. I think we should all the words we've got. Besides, there are damn few words that anybody understands. 
[challenged if he considers anything holy]
Henry Drummond: Yes. The individual human mind. In a child's power to master the multiplication table, there is more sanctity than in all your shouted "amens" and "holy holies" and "hosannas." An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral. And the advance of man's knowledge is a greater miracle than all the sticks turned to snakes or the parting of the waters.
 [on the unjust evolution law]
Henry Drummond: I say that you cannot administer a wicked law impartially. You can only destroy, you can only punish. And I warn you, that a wicked law, like cholera, destroys every one it touches. Its upholders as well as its defiers.
Judge: Colonel Drummond...
Henry Drummond: Can't you understand? That if you take a law like evolution and you make it a crime to teach it in the public schools, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools? And tomorrow you may make it a crime to read about it. And soon you may ban books and newspapers. And then you may turn Catholic against Protestant, and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the mind of man. If you can do one, you can do the other. Because fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we'll be marching backward, BACKWARD, through the glorious ages of that Sixteenth Century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Got My Adapted Reflex Finder!!

Today I got my adapted Cambo reflex finder for my Speed Graphic. The adaption was done by Pro Camera in Charlottesville, VA USA. Photographer Mr. David Burnett helped me find the shop and I owe him many thanks. I can now do quick and easy focusing with my Kodak Aero Ektar/Speed Graphic combo.

I hope to use this camera next trip for the "Families of the Dump" project and possibly the start of the "Lost Innocence" project. The back fits very well, I added a bit of duct tape to the top to seal out some edge light leak but everything else looks and feels great. I should be able to make hand held pictures-portraits with this camera now at f 2.5 and a faster focal plan shutter of 1/250-1/1000. I also bought a cheaper neutral density filter to use with the lens if needed. The light in Asia can be extremely bright and gosh that Aero Ektar lens is fast! Thanks to everyone for their help, now lets make some photos!

These are the folks that adapted the finder for me.

Note* The extremely large f2.5 aperture of the Aero Ektar 178mm allows so much light into the camera that focusing is rather easy. Using this gear set up is similar, not quite the same but similar to the brightness you find in a Leica rangefinder camera.

Update* After playing with the camera a bit, I might try adding the Speed Graphic finder that I removed from the camera. The finder should help with handheld composition after I set the cloth focal plane shutter (which blocks out the Cambo reflex finder).  I am not 100% sure if will be able to use this hand held, I might have to use either a lightweight mono pod or a tripod to help me. When doing closer portraits with a very limited depth of field a tripod will probably be the only way to go. Just so that I can maintain some kind sharpness when playing with the holders and subject and a small small depth of field.

Update** I sent a thank you email to David Burnet and he replied with a suggestion. I am going to give it a try, using the wire sports finder as he suggests seems like the way to go. Isn't it great when famous photographers, very skilled artists take the time to help out others below their pay grade! Love the fact that he took the time out of his life to assist me. I hope his help leads to some important photographs. Win wins all the way round!

Here is his reply email.

"You ll be amazed at how clean and fast you can focus now… its the best… plus its rightside up (left is still right and vice versa) but i use the wire sports finder all the time.. once you lock in focus with the ground glass.. just point & shoot!

Good luck… lemme know how it goes… the cool thing is, though you can just go RIGHT TO Focus…no b.s.

good luck, thanks for the kinds words

david b"

The Cambo reflex finder mounted to my Speed Graphic, Kodak Aero Ektar combo

120mm "Forgotten Laughter" And Other Trip Shots #18

Another 10 120mm images from last trip (some to be added).

Child';s head in the dump, Mae Sot Thailand April-May 2016
Boxers Klong Toey Slum Gym, Mae Sot Thailand April 2016
Young girl in dump lean-two, Mae Sot Thailand April-May 2016
Grandfather at the dump, Mae Sot Thailand May 2016
Young boy Klong Toey Slum, Bangkok Thailand April 2016
Man in dump shack, Mae Sot Thailand April-May 2016
Young girl fishing in dump, Mae Sot Thailand April 2016
Baby boy in dump, Mae Sot Thailand April-May 2016
Young Boy in dump shack, Mae Sot Thailand April-May 2016
Khune Anapon homeless man, Bangkok Thailand April-2015