Photographer of the Day: Hippolyte Bayard

Hippolyte Bayard 

b. 1801, d. 1887

A little perspective before we begin: My homeboy Hippolyte here was born before photography was even invented. So we’re kickin’ it old school for today’s PotD.

Hippolyte did something cool. You see, my homeboy Hippolyte created the first ever fictional image, and the reason why he did it is super metal. Or it was the most creative photographic tantrum in early photography history. Whichever.

If you know anything about photography history, you know about Daguerre, but in case you don’t I’ll give you an explanation as to why this guy is important: he was the first person recognized for “inventing” photography. What that means is the dude got his idea of printing positive images on treated metal surfaces (think mirror,) patented first. Now, Hippolyte also had an idea for printing images, and that was a positive image on paper. But, no one cared. The recognition for inventing photography was given to Daguerre, and Hippolyte was left in the dark.

No one cared.

So he made a self portrait of himself looking like death warmed over, calling his picture “The Drowned Man.” Nothing says “YO LOOK AT ME I DID A THING TOO,” like creating an entire genre of photography and taking a selfie as a dead man, circa 1840.

There are some interpretations to his infamous image, like how the hat on the left is symbolic of the sun or whatever, but I’ll leave it to you, since most of his images are up to interpretation. Why ruin the fun? He’d want you to have fun– doesn’t he seem like a fun guy at parties?

And that’s it for my homeboy Hippolyte Bayard. The next photographer of the day is one of my favorite ladies, Julia Margaret Cameron. Keep an eye out!

Happy Shooting!

Photographer of the Day: Hans Aarsman

To keep myself fresh on my photographer knowledge, I’m going to start doing “Photographer of the Day” posts. If I tell you guys about these photographers, odds are I’ll remember them more readily when the time calls for information about them and their work.

So here we go.


Hans Aarsman

b. 1951, Amsterdam

To begin, Aarsman was a part of a movement called New Topography, which was founded on the idea of photographing new-but-not-new landscapes, circa 1980s and 90s. They worked to create landscapes that included the ordinary, everyday objects that normally go unnoticed, like perhaps a stop sign on a street corner. The “great” landscape photographers of the early-ish 20th century (y’all know about Ansel Adams,) showed the United States what lied out west, and so because of their images National Parks and other attractions for tourism were put in place. The New Topographers, wanting to create their own beautiful landscapes, but found that their work would be hindered by a car, or a parking lot, or anything that we see everyday but pay no mind to. They decided, why not make these ordinary objects just as important as the landscape? So they did. They brought attention to things that are normally ignored or not thought about in an objective style.

Hans Aarsman’s photography falls into this movement. His most notable body of work, Hollandse Taferelen, focuses on the transient moments of ordinary becoming extraordinary in the Dutch countryside. Here are some images from that project:

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See what I mean about transient?

Aarsman is still with us today, and he is an author, a lecturer at Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, and a playwright, in addition to being a photographer. Follow his example kids, he’s what we call a “go-getter.”

The next photographer of the day will be Bayard Hippolyte, so keep an eye out!

Happy Shooting!

Gum Bichromate Struggles and Successes

I devoted my winter break to making decent gum bichromate prints, and so far, after 14 hours, I’ve got mixed results. Which is no surprise, since I’m such a newbie, and this process is not for the faint-at-heart. If anything, the amount of time I’ve pumped into the project overall (70+ hours, thanks,) puts me in competition against Richard the Lionheart. Boy ain’t got nothin’ on me and my watercolors and paper. Dude was defeated by an ant a little kid.

But anyway.

Here are my “successful” prints:

Alright, so each of these prints has a cyanotype base layer. I found that that approach made it easier to line up the negatives– oh, I didn’t mention that these prints are created in layers? All of these are 5-6 layers of watercolor/gum bichromate solution. It takes a while to get a print. A long freaking while. Each color (Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow,) have their own negative, so when you print each color you have to make sure the negative lines up with the established image, else you get something like this:

It’s a gamble when you’re determining how long to expose each layer (because the amount of time you expose the print to UV light, the more pronounced the color will be,) and, when you’re a total amateur like me, you have the tendency to guess pretty wrong, and end up with images like this:

Yeah, they’re not supposed to be that blue.

I did experiment a little bit, though. For this image, I did something different. I put a top layer of cyan and exposed it too much, so my image was wayyyy too blue. I took a paintbrush and wiped away most of it, but that’s why it looks “freckly,” which I don’t mind. I think it’s kinda cool.

So there’s an update on my gum bichromate work. Trust me, there will be more updates as I try to tackle this process.

Happy Shooting!

November’s Photos (or, honestly, NYC Photos)

There’s only one month left of my carrying a camera everywhere/ one roll a month project, and the month of November was pretty rad. See for yourself:

I apologize for the dust marks and weird blue lines. I had to use my Kodak Easy Scan, since I am away from my flatbed. C’EST LA VIE, AS PER USUAL. Also, the scanner auto-cropped some of my images. Jerk.

I spent a weekend in Chicago and then half a week in NYC, and a majority of the roll was shot there. My friend, Patrick, lives and goes to school there, so he showed me around. We went to Central Park, some place where there was a good pizza place nearby, the new World Trade Center, some place where there the most delicious cheesecake ever was nearby, and yeah. I’m super specific, I know. Oh and we went shopping at Forever 21 at 1AM sorry not sorry.

There’s only a month left of my project, but not really. I’m going to keep doing this, as it keeps me looking for good opportunities and those moments when I think, “Oh! This would be a great photo!” I will actually have a camera to take said photo. What a concept.

My Fuji Natura Classica, I feel, was made for night time city photography, because those photos turned out so nicely and are my favorites. I’m already itching to go back to take some more (and maybe go to grad school I mean is that too much to ask?)

So, yeah. If you’re ever in NYC, I recommend Magnolia Bakery’s Red Velvet Cheesecake. I would move there for that alone.

Happy Shooting!

Because Sometimes You Just Can’t Flip a Table

So lemmie tell you a thing.

It’s called creative problem solving when your final project is due in less than 24 hours and someone was a little sh– snowflake,and unwittingly sabotaged your project because they were a irresponsible little sh– angel.

That sounds bitter. Let me start again:

My final project was originally going to be a piece exploring the relationship between our persona and our shadow (two of Jung’s dream archetypes.) I used a view camera to capture scenes of an anonymous person (basically myself with my face partly cut out of the frame,) doing things that seem ordinary, like applying makeup or kissing a loved one and even sleeping. I was going to develop these, alter the negative to include the shadow, and tada.

The shadow was to alert the viewer to how we have these “shadow” selves that represent aspects of ourselves we loathe and repress, and how these aspects are hidden beneath the things we do as our persona. So, if someone is applying makeup, it may be the result of a dislike for something ugly or unappealing. Kissing a loved one, showing that you care for them, may be a manifestation of the fear of hurting said loved one, or a hatred for people who do– which is actually a projection of the deep seated, unconscious part of you that wants to hurt loved ones. Pretty messed up, right?

Too bad I didn’t get to execute it.

Well the camera I borrowed this weekend was broken and no one bothered to tell my professor, so I took it home unknowingly and dealt with its broken shutter and hated everything. But I’m not bitter about it, nope. Not one bit.

I developed my film, which didn’t come out because, y’know, broken shutter, and I was in a panic. What was I supposed to do? Well, I threw this together: meet my persona, my anima, my animus, and my shadow.

I returned to my negative-altering ways for my last-minute final. The top photo is my persona, or my public mask; the waking version of myself that I and others perceive me to be. I’m known as the photographer in my circle of friends. I also love rainbows. BAM PERSONA. There were no alterations to this negative, because it is me in reality. All natural, baby.

Next, is my anima. The anima is the feminine aspect of myself. Notice the stereotypical girly clothing (a.k.a. just another piece of my wardrobe, because I identify as a feminine girl.) I altered this negative using heart-shaped glitter nail polish. How cute is that?

Up next is my animus. If you guessed that is was the masculine aspect of myself, congratulations you got it right and you win absolutely nothing. Now, I have a lot of men’s clothing. Typical I had none of it at school with me. So think of my animus as a 2008 throw-back tribute to colored skinny jeans (because let’s be real, I’m still stuck in 2008.) For this negative I put on three of these crystal sticker things. The placement on the negative was purposeful. You gotta watch out for us artist types, because we can make anything phallic.

Last is my shadow. I scratched the negative and inverted it in Photoshop to create an off-putting effect. The shadow, in dreams or nightmares, is manifested in different ways; sometimes it is the thing you are being chased by, or a killer, or basically anything that is out to hurt you. I inverted the image because the shadow can be seen as the “opposite” of the persona, and the opposite of a positive is a negative and– I don’t think I need to spell it out more.

So, yeah. Even though I threw this together last minute, and even though the execution isn’t as nice as I’d like, I made a concept that worked. Thank goodness I’ve been obsessing over Jung’s dream psychology, otherwise I would have been even more bitter stressed out.

Lesson: Always have a Plan B and do your best to work with what resources you have at hand. Oh, and be kind to yourself if whatever you create isn’t perfect. It won’t be the end of the world.

Happy Shooting!

 

Paris Throwback

I kept forgetting about a roll of film from my trip abroad that hadn’t been developed. I’ve been procrastinating on getting it done because I’d have to mail it to Lomography in NYC, which is a bit expensive, and I’d have to wait about a month. But, when I was getting things together for NYC, I noticed it, and packed it, figuring I could deliver it to the store myself and get it developed over the weekend. My plan succeeded, so, here’s a throwback to Paris, Lomochrome Purple XR panoramic style:

I used my Horizon Perfekt and determined the exposures without a light meter. It’s good I can do this regularly now, considering I’ve kinda been doing this photography thing for a while… even so, I’m thrilled they came out so nicely.

I think my favorite is the Eiffel Tower one, but they each look so nice it’s hard to commit to that comment.

There are two things I want to do with my life: travel and take photographs.

Happy Shooting!