Let’s start with a Weston Interview Quote:
“…..If you use a film long enough, you get to know its characteristics. I don’t use a meter, I just know the light…..”
I love the quote because I rarely use my spot meter…….
Now, what inspires me? If you check out his website….he exclusively does nude photography. Although tastefully done, it’s not my thing (although there is one image I do love: Nude in Cactus). And this is as far as I go into Nudes:
What Inspires Me? First I am inspired by His warm and welcoming attitude towards film students and film enthusiasts in the Monterey Bay Region. I met Kim Weston when he welcomed our Monterey Peninsula College Class to Wildcat Hill. At that time he was making predominantly platinum prints and we were an Alternative Processes class. So he demonstrated the printing method for us. He also discussed his artistic philosophy, and let us see his famous grandfather, Edward Weston’s, simple but beautiful darkroom. Imagine yourself making fabulous 8X10 contact prints like pepper #39 using an incandescent light bulb.
Kim Weston invited us to drop by, and if he wasn’t busy, we could talk about photography. One of my friends spoke up. Luther was having trouble learning to use his 4X5 view camera. Kim just said, drop by with the camera sometime. Luther did, and Kim Weston spent the afternoon showing him how to get the most from his 4X5. His support of film photographers, especially students, inspires me.
But Kim Weston eventually took it a step further, starting the Weston Collective, a scholarship program for students in Monterey County that are studying fine art film photography. And the Collective has taken a step forward in support of fine art photography by opening a darkroom and teaching studio. Raising the funds and managing the space for the benefit of ‘developing’ film photographers is inspiring.
Similar issues with PAN 100 as I had reported for PAN160. All images here have been significantly altered for brightness and contrast in Photoshop.
Arizona Skies have been generally more interesting than in Front Range Colorado. Back in colorado that dead blue sky that frequently shows itself is anathema to Photography.
Galen Rowell (1940-2002) was my inspiration for pushing the limits of my outdoor 35 mm photography. Our Patagonia Trekking Photos followed his suggested techniques for E-6 film (Shoot ISO 100 at ISO 125); how to pack your equipment for safe travel; traveling with film, etc.
His death along with his photographer wife Barbara Rowell in a plane crash impacted me greatly. And learning that their Families had closed the Mountain Light Gallery in 2017 was a sad reality.
Trekking the “W” in the Paine Massif was a dream of my husband’s, but none of his friend from his mountaineering and climbing days wee interested. So 8 years into our marriage we went to Patagonia and Trekked the “W”. The trip also inspired our first Annual Calendar in 2006.
Now that Kodak E100 is back, I can highly recommend:
- Galen Rowell: A Retrospective
And many other books all available online at that ‘place’ that I refuse to give free advertising to….Looking at his work will show you the full capabilities of 35 mm photography. Below, our 2006 Calendar (in case you haven’t checked out the “Deep Archive”).
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:
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.
Above, three recent but very different images that I had submitted to an online Gallery. Two are very recent, but the Apache Plume is from about 12+ years ago. So what does that say about my photography skills, style and personal vision. Keeping in mind that vision and style are not synonymous. These represent different styles, but I think a similar vision in regards to how I see the light and what attracts my eye.
All of these images received a similar ranking (details here). That soul destroying ‘Special Merit” category that keeps you wanting more. So what does “special merit” mean anyway? Have I not progressed at all in 12 years? Or are my interests and vision not the current hip and trendy thing? (I think the latter) So I’ll get recognition, but never actually win a contest? (One of my recent submissions is going to be published in a book this year. But that’s another story……..). And what is winning?
My middling success for a while sent me down “The Rabbit Hole” as I discussed recently on my photo diary. So I’m reflecting, reorganizing and redirecting my energies. At a recent Personal Vision Workshop with Cole Thompson, we discussed how winning can actually be a setback to the progress towards understanding our personal vision; leading us to pursue the WIN rather than the VISION. Small rewards can seriously sidetrack real goals and personal accomplishments.
Who are you making photographs for? Yourself or the win?
With all the turmoil on the Border. I’m not feeling much like waving a big flag, my usual post for American Holidays on my Photo Diary. So I’m going Dark over there and posting a reminder about Internment Here:
Sometimes the Mind is imprisoned, even though we the Body is Free….. Is Your mind Open and Free? Or imprisoned somewhere?
Despite the obvious up hill battle to get into a show, I’m still working on it. Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained!
This month’s submissions to C4FAP.org:
Some you’ve seen before and some you haven’t………We’ll see what happens.
I rarely post color here. But I really liked this last shot from my garden (before it all froze):
To the Weston Collective:
You haven’t seen the one above….but those below should look familiar: