Category Archives: Intersections

The Story: Imagining the Image

Imagining the Image:  What happens when I think before I shoot?  I’ve heard this in workshops;  see the image first.  But usually the workshop leader drifts off into concepts of composition………

And that misses the point.  I have had one particularly good workshop with Cole Thompson, where we discussed seeing what you want the final image to be, and how to capture the image towards that end.  Really Imagining the Image….First!

*(Cole’s discussion of personal vision is also excellent…take a workshop with him if you get the chance.  I don’t endorse many people like this).

Reflecting on some recent photographic success, I found that for ALL of these images, without exception, I SAW the image BEFORE I captured it!  Even without realizing.  I had pre-visualized.  Everything on my “Now Showing Page” and some not there (that I personally consider successful), were all made that way.  So I’m adding some favorites here (some blasts from the early days included), where Pre-visualization really was the key to personal satisfaction for me.  And  the stories behind the image……..

This Kiva I had visited years before.  Taken a few quick tourist images and moved on with my Road trip.  I wanted to revisit those images and they were ‘lost’ in 20+ years of disorganization.  They were also color 35 mm and I was doing B&W now.  So when I had the opportunity to revisit this site, with a photographic concept in mind, this was the result:

Johnson_KE_Illuminate_1

So inspired by Jason Avery’s #filmtober Question #27 “What do you look for when on location for a photo?”  Over the next several months, I will pursue the story behind my images.  These will all be tagged as Intersections and The Story……

The Story Image Collage #1:

 

Alternate: Rediscovering My 35 mm Soul…

I asked my self this question very recently: Can one photo make a difference? You Betcha! And here is the photograph that made the difference for me:

Landscape2

For more than a decade I’ve focused on Medium format photography (Mamiya 7, Mamya 6, Mamiya 645). This left my half dozen or so Minolta 35 mm cameras very unloved. Oh, I would occasionally take them out for road trips; my snap shot, on the go cameras. For those time you just want to jump out of the car and take a quick picture, without dragging out the carefully pack ‘real’ camera gear. But I’ve increasingly used my ‘hand me down’ Nikon D-40 for that purpose.

Last Spring I decided to roll with my Minolta XD-11 as the road trip camera. We were on the highway, heading home from a photography workshop. My husband had seen an abandoned bridge he wanted to photograph on our outbound trip, but the light was not ideal. So we stopped on the way back at the same roadside rest area.

While he was setting up his 4X5 view camera, I grabbed my 35 mm and wondered around. And I saw this image across the road. I walked over for a closer look. Took a couple of quick shots, and wondered back to the car.

Later in the year I actually printed this image in my home darkroom and shared it with my photographer friends, and showed it at a friends gallery. The response was so positive that I entered it in an online gallery contest. And Success! It made me re-evaluate my relationship with my Minolta cameras (XD-11, X-700, SRT-201, SRT-101). I also realized that I should not discard 35+ years of experience with this camera format.

So take a second look with those 35 mm cameras that you’ve packed away. Most won’t sell for much on EBay. So use them, or pass them on to the many student film photography programs that are asking for donated cameras. One that comes to mind is the Weston Collective Scholarship Program. And if you know of others, please feel free to leave contact information in the comments.

And I leave you with this thought, generations of photojournalists made a difference with one 35 mm image.

Tech Info: Minolta XD-11 with Tamron 28-200 zoom lens; Kodak T-MAX 400 film.

Read the original Emulsive Article.

Also Part of The Story and Imagining the Image.

Through the Glass: Post Surgery

MayoMug_2019

After 13 hours of surgery; 90% of my tumor removed (excellent for a brain tumor); and 5 days in the Hospital….All I have to show for it is my Mayo Clinic Mug!   I did get released on New Year’s Eve and had that time with my Family.  One final thing I can say about the surgery is that my brain is functioning differently and my visual and audio perceptions are different;  not reduced or degraded, just different.  I will continue to explore this issue during my recovery.  Although my traumatic brain injury was planned and controlled, there are still ramifications I’ll be dealing with further down the line.  How will this affect my Artistic Vision?

What I have also experienced is the highest level of health care service EVER IN MY LIFE!  I want everyone to have this level of care!!!!!!

On January 23rd I start my Proton Beam Radiation Treatment.  Last year a friend of mine died from Esophageal Cancer.  The Proton Beam treatment was an option for his cancer that was never offered to him, because it wasn’t covered by his insurance.  I AM PISSED that he didn’t at least  have the option.

Through The Glass: Terms and Conditions

As You read this I will be in surgery for my brain tumor; thoughts, prayers and well wishes appreciated.  And the image below will be ‘unpinned’ from my Twitter page, because hopefully after my surgery I will have clarity and not ambiguity…..

I also want to explain how my ‘medical updates’ will intertwine with my normal Photographic Posts.

And this is the ONLY time you will ever see a Biblical Quote here, but you will see the connection:

1 Corinthians Chap 13 verse 12: “For now we see through a glassdarkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 

KEJohnson_Convent
The Symbol of My Journey

All of my Journey Updates will start with the heading:  “Through the Glass”  And I have added that tag to take you directly to these updates if you are interested.  I hope that you can see it refers to the Ambiguity of what I am facing.  That what made this image so timely.

Emulsive Secret Santa 2018: The Unboxing

My Secret Santa this year went far beyond the Call of Duty; including lovely English Goodies that I remember from my time living there in the early 1990’s.  And wrapped in Marks & Spencer paper that survived the international Post.   Thanks so much @robert_duncombe (instagram).

But let’s get to it:

Unboxed1

 

And the Goodies Are Revealed!

Unboxed6

 

Final Camera Kit

I love all of the cameras described here.  But it was totally unrealistic to think that I could use them all, even in three months time.  So these are the ones that made the journey………

 

The Mamiya 7 with 45, 50, 80 and 150 mm lenses.  The Minolta X-700 with 28-200 Tamron Adaptall lens and 50 mm macro lens.  I’ll mostly be using the 35 mm to test my Kodak E100 film.

Through The Glass Update: My Photo Travel Kit

So as I embark on my Medical Journey in Arizona, as  I am able I will be doing only Photography and Music as my therapies.  Most of my cameras are shown here.  But these are the ones I’m taking to AZ:

My Medium Format Favorite:  Mamiya 6X7: with 43 mm, 50 mm, 150 mm and 210 mm lenses.  But I mostly use the 43 an 50 mm.

Mamiya7X7Resize

Mamiya 645 for more versatility.  This camera gives me all of the SLR options, including  a a nice 80 mm macro:

MyMamiyas

The Fuji GA645Zi; My Medium Format Street Camera, because of the auto-focus and auto-advance.  Basically a medium format point and shoot;  which is why I got it.

FujiGA645Zi

Pinhole Cameras: Diana Multi:  I’ve had a lot of fun with this camera over the past year.

Diana_Pinhole

The Reality So Subtle Pinhole:  Still working out the Range Finding on this camera.  I have the filter-option 6X6 model.  I have to say this camera has the smoothest mechanism of any Pinhole I’ve ever used.  So I’ll take it with me and work on the range (maybe I should watch some of the YouTube videos?)

ReallySoSubtle_Posted

And Finally, my “riding shotgun” always in the front seat and ready Minolta X-700:  My jump out of the car and shoot camera.  I have 3 of these and they are all going.  I use my trusty Tamron-adaptall 28-200 zoom.  A combination I have been using since the early 90’s.

Minolta_X700

OK, It occurs to me that I won’t really use all of these cameras in a 3-4 month period.  Which one would you leave behind?

When Life Throws a Curve

From the vagaries and ups and downs of life.  I find myself recovering from surgery with time to reflect.  Another Intersection of Life and Art.

As you read this I am on my way to the Mayo Clinic, Phoenix Arizona for a Consultation.  But here is where The Story Begins:

On October 3, 2018, I was diagnosed with a “brain mass”.  Vision problems had sent me to the Ophthalmologist.  His testing and measurements of my left eye indicated something bad was going on behind that eye.  He sent me to the emergency room, calling ahead to discuss with the Dr. what tests would be appropriate.

(The Ambiguity of the Mirror from “The Artist’s Studio” symbolizes my Journey.  So it will be the featured Image for these medical update posts…….)

When I arrived, they were ready for me and ordered an MRI with contrast dye, no questions asked.  The diagnosis:  Brain tumor of unknown type growing behind my left eye; referral the the Neurosurgeons.

But, there is also a back story:  I am an 8-year breast cancer survivor.  So I also (and for the rest of my life)  have an Oncologist. He now enters the mix. His fear is a metastatic spread of my previous cancer, which would be a sure death sentence.

Weeks of testing:  Bone Scans, PET Scans, CT Scans…………All showing no breast cancer;  Dodged that bullet!  But I still have an unidentified tumor in my head that needs to be identified so the best treatment can be determined.  All non-invasive procedures exhausted, now it is time the the Neurosurgeons to perform a biopsy.

So how do they access that area behind the Eye?  By drilling holes through you sinuses.  The ENT Surgeon does that. I didn’t even get a black eye from this; but I do have a puffy face.  My worst bruise was from the arterial blood pressure tap-in.  Apparently when you have brain surgery, they tap an artery to have the most accurate blood pressure.

WatingForBiopsy
Waiting for my Biopsy

Biopsy Results:  I have a rare but treatable/survivable brain tumor (Which I will name and discuss later).  It is in effect a birth defect.  It was supposed to be reabsorbed as my little fetus grew, but it wasn’t.  And when that happens you have a little guy in your head that probably won’t be a problem unless you are 1 in a million me.

My Neurosurgeon removed what was safe to remove without doing harm.  It was affecting my optic nerve (first symptom), my Pituitary Gland and Carotid Artery (the brain’s source of blood).

Follow-up will require a unique radiation treatment only available in a few places.  So I have been referred to The Mayo Clinic in Phoenix AZ.

POSTSCRIPT: Ongoing, I will be taking a road trip to Phoenix (Dates TBD); loading up the 4Runner with my camera gear and film (bought for a cancelled trip to the Everglades).  Radiation I know will be 5 days a week for 8-10 weeks.  So I will be doing photography as I feel up to it and posting as I go.  Exploring Arizona for that time and keeping OldSchoolPhotoLabs very busy.

Ciao Baby!

Armistice 1918-2018: What Have We Learned?

Over the past 4 years of the 100th Anniversary of World War I (The War to end all Wars, except that it didn’t).  I had hoped for some thoughtful reflection on the Root Cause of Conflict.  I am aware that some of this occurred Across Europe.  But nothing here in the USA.

WWI History is barely touched upon here.  I know much more than the average America due to an excellent AP European History class I took in High School.  It was taught by one of my most memorable teachers, Mr. Knab, from the perspective of the root cause of conflict and how it directly led to WWII.

An opportunity lost……..

Memorial_Day

So I am Honoring My Father’s WWII Service in a Segregated Army, in Italy.  1st Lt Vernon Johnson.  An Army He later helped to Integrate under orders from President Truman.  He worked in the Army Reserve, ‘helping’ white soldiers get used to taking orders from African America Officers. At the out break of The Korean War, he was like other WWII veterans, exempted from further service because he had a wife and child.  At least back them they did not want to make more Widows and Orphans.

Notably my Father was also a Buffalo Soldier…..And he loved the Bob Marley song.  He felt Appreciated and Respected.

 

 

My Father always talked about the Children he met in Italy………

 

 

And Training at Ft Huachuca, Arizona…….

 

 

 

We’ll end with a Photograph of my Mother.  The one that my Father carried with him through the War. I found it in his old foot locker along with many of the images above:

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Mom is still with us at a Feisty 95……