February’s Photos

February was a crazy month for me. I started hearing back from graduate programs and traveled for interviews, and I spent a total of 50 hours on a bus. I was sick for a week, and just generally really, really tired. I may be looking at grad school, but I’m still in undergrad making work. It’s a little rough.

BUT ART IS SUFFERING. YOLO.

But my adventures in February were awesome. I went to Columbus, Ohio and Boston, Massachusetts.

I didn’t get to take many pictures in Boston, mostly because I was super sick, and when I got to my hostel I went straight to bed, as an attempt to feel better for my interview. And I did end up feeling better, so shout out to my friends Mucinex, Halls, and Kleenex. I don’t know where I would be today without their trusted companionship.

My adventures continue right now, actually. I’m on my way to New Orleans, so keep an eye out for photos!

Happy Shooting!

Alice in Wonderland

For years, I’ve been wanting to create an Alice in Wonderland series. Like, since high school, when I was still taking pictures of flowers and clouds and shoes and railroad tracks (the usual rights of passage for young photographers.) But, I wouldn’t do it. I saw too many series that looked the same, and the world didn’t need one more copy. Then I saw Elena Kalis’ Alice in Wonderland series and threw my hands up in surrender. Because dang son.

It took me a while to come up with an idea I approved of, and, as you can guess because I’m writing about it, I did.

The idea involved a scanner, endless hours of torment and despair, a thorough search through my house for objects, a couple trips to the dollar store, a broken laptop, and sheer tenacity because honestly I wanted to throw in the towel so many times that if I did there would be enough towels for everyone at the local YMCA. That’s a lot of towels.

I started working on these in October, I had ten finished mid-November, and over my holiday break from school I completed them.

So here have some scanography:

Scanography Alice in Wonderland Series, my friends.

This was a fun deviation away from my work on dreams without actually deviating away from my work on dreams. Lemmie explain: Alice’s adventures were dreams. TADA. Also, all of my models have their eyes closed, which has an open interpretation. Are they dreaming of these characters? Are they these characters? Dude, who knows. I’m not tellin’.

I had the idea to make this series in 2012, after I did a self-portrait similar to the style of these images. I wanted to take objects that reminded me of the lovable characters, scan them, and piece them together as collages. I used my friends, and did my best to match up each person to each character. I have a feeling my friend Megan is going to kill me for making her the Mock Turtle.

Having read the books and watched many different movie versions, I had a lot of material to work with. It’s no wonder I was able to make these, considering all the resource material I had at my disposal.

There are three more I’d like to make, but the characters are a little more difficult to find objects that match them. Any guesses as to who is missing?

This past year or so has taught me that patience is amazing. More than once this year I accomplished a photo shoot that I had in mind a year or more, but didn’t execute because I either didn’t have the materials and needed to slowly accumulate them or I felt I didn’t have the skill set. I’m pretty impatient at times, but this year has proven to me that good things come to those that wait. So, don’t give up on an idea. Put it up on a shelf for a while for when you’re ready to revisit it.

Happy Shooting!

Teeny Tiny Photography

I took pictures with a microscope. Check it out:

For a class, we used these USB microscope cameras (I guess you can get them on amazon,) to, y’know, take macro images of objects. Granted, you could probably do this with a really nice macro lens or filter, but c’mon, every now and then us artist types want to feel smart, and nothing says smart quite like a microscope (okay, totally not the case, but just work with me here.)

I went into my jewelry box and went to town and found all the shiny glittery things, because light refracting off of glitter or iridescent surfaces thrills me (I’m a simple person, sue me for liking pretty things.)

But, if you’re a little less superficial than I am, maybe you’ll enjoy these images more:

These are the photos taken with my group mates. I mostly fixed the slides and they took the photos, but they are really neat. From top left to bottom right, the images are: film, dyed kim tissue, dyed onion, blood, dyed carrot, heat fixed and dyed inside of the cheek stuffs.

Inside of the cheek stuffs- really scientific, I know.

Dat magnification, am I right?

If you’re interested in science and photography and cheap microscopes, get one of these and make slides of all sorts of things!

Happy Shooting!

January’s Photos, Year Two

Last January, I decided enough was enough and started to carry a camera with me wherever I went. It seems like that would be common sense, considering my passion for photography, but too many times I had missed a picture perfect opportunity because I didn’t have a camera with me. So, for the past year, I’ve been carrying my Fuji Natura Classica around, mostly searching for instances of beautiful light.

I’m going for round two, since I rather enjoyed this minor project. Some photographer somewhere said that photography teaches you how to see without a camera. Let’s go with that. So yeah. That’s what’s going on.

I’m not going to say anything about my life this past month and let my photos relay a story about how my life is more awesome than it actually is. Just piece them together. I’m really really cool– I mean, I have a lava lamp, that must mean I’m rad.

Happy Shooting!

Colors of London

So remember when I was in London, oh, five-ish months ago (oh goodness it’s been that long?) Well, y’all know I made a few bodies of work, and y’all also know that I’ve kinda released a couple of said bodies of work a bit after my trip. Well guess what? I have more for you, and it was the series I created that I was looking the most forward to.

Here are my Colors of London:

I decided in spring 2013 that I was going to study in London the summer of 2014. Once my mind was set, I got to brainstorming, and this series was the first one that came to mind. I told my friend and model, Becca, about it and she was like “HeCk YeS!” and so we spent a couple months going back and forth on who was going to bring what color shirts. Ah, the logistics.

Then we spent a couple of days doing marathons around the city of London to get photos. Man, we were tired. Bless Becca for the craziness of those couple of days. Bless bless bless.

Yeah, not entirely sure what the nailpolish and thread and other embellishing is all about, but it was the idea that I had so I just kinda went with it. And the random words? Those are parts of Henry James short stories/novels. Let me tell you, it was a fun time trying to find the word “orange” in his work. Also, the word “teal” wasn’t used as a color in the English language until after 1920– the more you know, I guess?

We studied James in my classes abroad, so those are sort of relevant. And, when you read all the photos one after the other, you get a fun little narrative that has nothing to do with the images. Because I like messing with people.

Happy Shooting!

 

Gum Bichromate Printing for Days

My misadventures in gum printing continue. This time I was a bit frustrated with the results I was getting and I had a stack of prints I hated and wanted to burn. Instead of burning them though, I did some experiments with bleach. I got a lot of different results, but I’m pretty pleased with how it went and I’m already making plans to use bleach to add to the content of my next images.

But anyway– here have some more gum prints:

Let’s start with this one. I worked in my bathtub like all the well-equipped photographers do, and I filled it with water about 1/4″. I then put about 1/3 cup of bleach into the water, submerged the picture, and waited two minutes to rinse it off.

Oh yeah, you wanna rinse these off or the bleach will keep on bleachin’.

Before, the image was dark and murky. I wish I had a before photo to show you, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. The bleach lightened it up and brought out the background. Yay!

This one was fun– not. I was trying to make a vignette with the bleach, but, uh, see the top left? I got carried away. So I just said whatever and immersed this one in the bathtub that had like a capful of bleach for twenty minutes, and then I took a brush and was just making marks on it. Talk about strange.

Yeah. I splattered bleach on this one and got carried away. Whoops.

 

I got super excited over this one. I made drops on the print this time, and they remind me of fairy lights. I also bleached my subjects, trying to bring them out of the background, but this was before I realized I needed to rinse the prints to get the bleaching to stop, so I brought them out so much they turned into ghosts. But I’m thrilled with that, because, I mean, look at the picture. It’s already creepy.

Ohhh this one. When I put it in the tub, I put the image face down. I was thinking about the gum bichromate process, where you put your image face down in the tray for development. I left my print alone for 20 minutes (I did this one the same time I did the failed-vignette,) and when I came back my bathtub somehow drained and the print was just chillin’ on the bottom of my tub. My bathtub has some swirly groove things, which apparently held onto the bleach, thus creating this cool image.

I played with the darkness and the colors of the prints a little bit in Photoshop, to make them look more dreamy/trippy. I think I succeeded.

That’s my latest update with these. I’m going to try a new negative process to try and get the colors I want, so wish me luck.

Happy Shooting!

 

December’s Photos

My project has finally come full circle. I successfully carried a camera around with me everywhere for the past year and filled up one roll of film a month since January, excluding when I was abroad (and was filling up many cameras with many rolls.)

The prognosis?

I’m doing this for another year.

December felt very long and very short all at the same time.

Shoot, 2014 felt very long and very short all at the same time.

So these are my December adventures. And yes, those are Pizza Rolls and pierogies, and that was my New Year’s feast, while watching the Ball drop in Time Square from my warm living room.

Happy Shooting!

Happy New Year!

It’s the first day of 2015 and I’m already pumped for the opportunities this year will bring. 2014 was so, so good to me, and I have a feeling 2015 will be even better.

Here are some highlights from 2014:

  • I improved my knowledge of Photoshop through my fun series, Fictionisms.
  • I took my first lighting course, and loved it so much it was hard to get me out of the lighting studio.
  • Home Sweet Home, the best thing I’ve done so far, was created.
  • I studied in London and traveled to Ireland, Northern Ireland, and France.
  • On above mentioned travels I orchestrated constructed images, which involved months of pre-planning. It also involved packing model ships.
  • For the first time I shot on a medium format and large format camera.
  • I learned how to cyanoype, develop black and white film, shoot with a view camera, and how to make gum bichromate prints.
  • I submitted to ArtPrize for the first time, and had my work displayed in the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
  • Out of approximately 1200 applicants to the Grand Rapids Art Museum, I was one of 19 artists chosen. I was also the youngest artist and the only student.
  • I was interviewed on live radio about my work and was on the front page of a newspaper.
  • After three years of anticipation, I started my graduate school applications.
  • I traveled by myself to the east coast, to visit schools in NYC.
  • I became a member of SPE.
  • I was the proud and honored recipient of a scholarship to go to SPE’s National Conference in New Orleans, LA.
  • My photographs have made people happy and excited.
  • My work has grown exponentially and my voice as a photographer is becoming more refined.
  • In so many ways, the path I’ve chosen as a photographer has been validated.

That’s quite the list, and honestly I’m a bit emotional over how incredible 2014 was. It was definitely filled with struggles and heartbreak, but looking for the joy of last year makes me feel thankful and confident for the year ahead. I had a fantastic 2014, and I can’t wait to conquer 2015.

2015 is going to be my best year in photography yet. Bring it on.

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!