Take Me to Abandoned Warehouses to Show Me Our Love is Real

Want to win my heart?

Scout out an abandoned warehouse, because you know I will love it and will want to take pictures there.

In the tiny little village of Colon, MI, there is an abandoned warehouse filled with porcelain, furniture, sewing things, mirrors… It’s crazy. There is a room where the floor is covered with Red Book and Better Homes and Gardens and Women’s Weekly magazines. There is so much to find, and I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful partner who found this place for me, talked to the owners, and won me an afternoon there.

Since the place was so dilapidated, I knew I wanted to do something that went past the usual “urban decay” aesthetic that everyone loves so much (and what I find to be boring…) I was brainstorming my life away, bouncing ideas off my mother at 4AM, and a body of work formed in my head.

Abandoned warehouse + virginal clothing = MUCH ART. VERY STATEMENT. WOW.

Seriously though, this place was amazing. I found two rolls of Kodak film from 1965, which are more likely toast, but whatever– I have a roll of Verichrome and that’s all that matters to me.

I also brought my Voigtlander Brillant V6, hoping to get some more vintage looking shots, but thank goodness I brought my digital camera with me because my film didn’t turn out so hot. Here are just a few that came out neat– they are nothing like what I wanted, but they are still cool and worth sharing.

Weirdly enough, the markings on the paper that is on the 120 film ended up on my negatives. Light leak? I haven’t the slightest clue, but it looks awesome.

I’ve been at this photography thing long enough to have seen enough decayed buildings to last me for the rest of my career. But man, this was a special place. It is currently owned by an Amish couple (I think? Maybe a lot of Amish folks own it, idk,) and they sell the antiques that are currently in the building. It’s a really neat set up.

That’s all for now. Go forth and shoot creatively in abandoned buildings!

Happy Shooting!

 

Specks from an Antique Camera

I’ve had my Voigtlander V6 for almost a year now, and I’ve just gotten my fourth roll of film from it developed. I’ve been pleased with every roll I’ve shot on this pretty old thing. When I went to pick up my photos from the lab, I was told “You might want to look at these, they have black specks–”

“Oh, I know!”

“Oh. Okay…”

That’s why I love this camera so much. It’s an antique, and it gives that look to my photos. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

But enough of that. I took it out for Memorial Day weekend, which was filled with all sorts of adventures.

Near Mitchell’s house in the middle of nowhere, there is the decrepit house. It gives him the heebie jeebies, but I think it’s awesome. The others are from my adventures at the country fair, Wayne State University, and my grandfather’s Memorial Day picnic.

That dollhouse photograph is easily one of my most favorite photographs ever. It’s at my grandpa’s house, and when I was little I played with it every time I was over there. For hours. The tiny dolls that went with it went through drama that would make today’s soap operas pale in comparison. I guess you could say I’ve always been creative? Or deranged.

So, there’s that. Do you have an old camera that you love to shoot with?

Happy Shooting!

Nightmares Curing Nightmares?

I’m done with nightmares. Well, photographing them, anyway.

As I mentioned in previous posts, these images were made using a view camera and shot on 4×5 sheet film. I have mad respect for photographers of the past, because these things are heavy, awkward, and sensitive, and loading the film is a feat in of itself. Try loading your film into a film holder without scratching it. Go ahead, I dare you.

(Actually I don’t dare you because I’m pretty sure it can be done, but man, I tried really hard and still got scratches. MAIS C’EST LA VIE MES AMIS.)

But enough of the romanticizing of photographers of the past. Here are my last four images for my nightmare series:

mynightmares_15If you’ve paid attention, you would notice that animal masks are a common motif. This is not on accident. I had a nightmare about a year ago now, where I was dead and everything was bizarre. When I woke up, I was so nervous and frightened and impressed. So, I wrote the nightmare down immediately, in full detail. Because I did this, I remember that nightmare above all others. There was a lot of content to exploit, and c’mon, animal masks are neat-o.

While creating this series, I noticed some changes. Before throwing myself into the dream theme (that rhymes in an annoying way,) I wasn’t having many dreams, or at least I couldn’t remember them. But as soon as I started on this, I’ve been dreaming almost every night and even during naps. As for the nightmares, it’s a little different. I’m not having any nightmares, despite focusing on them.

Maybe it’s because of the series. These are all my nightmares, and even though I looked up some symbolic meanings behind my dreams, I never really confronted them visually. A few people directed to me to Jung’s interpretation of dreams, and when I looked back on the images, I saw possibilities and connections in the images that I didn’t think about before.

Perhaps I’m not having nightmares because I am able to find meaning, and by finding meaning I can establish a solution to the nightmare, or what the nightmare represents in my waking life. By finding solutions, I will stop having similar nightmares, because my conscious self will have recognized what the unconscious (or subconscious, idk I don’t study oneirism or psychology,) was getting all fussy about.

Getting all fussy. How scientific of me.

Well the fuss (now an official scientific term,) manifests itself as a nightmare, because apparently even though the unconscious wants to help you out, it’s a bit sadistic. If this is all true, the unconscious is pretty stellar besides the sadistic part. Well, according to Jung, anyway.

SEGUE INTO LESS COMPLICATED THINGS

For easier accessibility, and because I know that clicking through my site to find the other images is too time-consuming for most people, and because all that dream talk made people sleepy, and because I’m a sucker and want everyone to see my work, here is the finalized Nightmare series:

The view camera, despite how much effort it is, is a new favorite process for me. Setting it up, moving the bellows to make certain effects, and processing the film are all exciting for me. This may be because I’m new to it, but man, I want to be more than proficient at it. There are so many things you can try with a view camera (like put things in the bellows!) I can’t help my curiosity.

And y’all know that I love to play.

Happy Shooting!

Nightmares and Mistakes

The series of nightmares continue. This time around, I made some mistakes when I went out to shoot. Two of my films ended up fogged, and one of the images I was really looking forward to sharing. Mais, c’est la vie. I’ll most likely re-shoot it. But the fogging worked decently on the one image, so not all was lost. Remember kids, if you screw up, pretend you meant for it to happened! One of my favorite excuses: “It was an artistic decision.”

I also forgot to load film into one of the film holders and “took” two pictures. I would say you should have seen my face when I made this discovery, but you wouldn’t be able to anyway because I was in the dark room getting ready to develop the non-existent pictures.

I’m going to pretend they were going to be the best photos the world has ever seen, and because of that they were not allowed to exist. Pity.

So, I have this sort of habit with film where I want every shot to be perfect. It’s a noble pursuit, but let’s be real, even Ansel Adams didn’t get a perfect shot every time. As an artist, odds are you will never be satisfied with a shot, or a painting, or a story, or whatever. Because if you were satisfied, you would stop creating. With some of my pictures, I feel that I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish with the tools and skills that I had at the time I took the photo. That doesn’t stop me from critiquing it and possibly exhibiting it, but it just goes to show that you can be proud of your work and at the same time be critical of it.

I’m going to share the photos now, but as a disclaimer the last image of this batch of four makes reference to sexual violence. If you are sensitive about the subject, I don’t recommend taking a look.

That’s all for now. Keep checking back for more, as the series is only half-way finished at this point.

And no, I am not worshiping that grave stone.

Happy Shooting!

 

Allow Me to Share My Nightmares with You

I’m not a lucid dreamer. But, I am a writer turned photographer, and when I wake up from a dream that I remember, I rush to write it all down. However, I’ve discovered a trend to this method- I don’t write down my good dreams. I only record my nightmares.

Nightmares were and still are a huge deal to me. I had terrible night terrors when I was kid. I was hysterical frequently, either because I saw something “scary” and didn’t want to see it again in my dreams, or from waking up from a particularly bad dream. They barely made sense, they seem silly when talked about, but for me, they were horrific. Nowadays when I have a nightmare, I usually wake up, realize I had a nightmare, and then fall back asleep. Because I’m overtired awesome like that.

When we recall dreams, they are like snapshots. Bits and pieces. So, with B&W film, I decided to recreate some of the snippets I saw when nightmare-ing. Don’t judge.

They probably don’t make sense to you. Because they’re from my head. Just statin’ the obvious, unless I have a mind-twin somewhere and we share the same dreams… but other than that, these are mine. It’s a personal series that I alone know the story for each image. I’ve been thinking a lot about narrative lately, wondering if there is something beyond being able to look at an image and get a story. My nightmare snapshots could be narrative images, but the narrative will never match mine, unless I reveal the terror behind each and every image.

But where’s the fun in that?

I had a blast with the view camera, tilting it and moving it in certain ways to get a blur or a distorted effect… It was so so so great, and I can’t wait to shoot more. And, the images are gorgeous in tonality. I’m in love. There will be 20 images total in my nightmare series, so keep an eye out.

Also, that black space beneath the “black white black…” photo is the result of not taking your dark slide completely out of the camera before exposed. Whoopsies.

Oh, and I developed film for the first time today. About time.

Happy Shooting!

I Accidentally Photographed the Universe

So, I accidentally photographed the universe. Maybe.

I’m a little bummed because I haven’t really created any pictures in a few days, so I was reminiscing about my photography career in the form of going through my files and being a critic about everything. A walk down memory lane is never complete without crippling self-criticism! But then, I discovered this:

I know this is from my first roll I ever shot on my Voigtlander Brillant v6, but I guess I dismissed it because photos of red phone boxes were more interesting at the time.

Look familiar?

Here, let me help you out:

Yeah, the Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation aren’t actually in space. They’re in my camera from the 1940s.

Take that, science.

Happy Shooting (or discovering that your camera is majestic!)

P.S.- Here’s more proof, another image from the Eagle Nebula:

SCIENCE.

Cyanotypes are the Stuff of Dreams

I’ve been itching to make cyanotypes, like, poison-ivy with itching powder on top kind of itching. We experimented a little bit in class last week, and I had a bit of fun. I brought in all kinds of objects: flat, round, small, large, opaque, translucent… And the results make me want to do more.

I also brought in medium format negatives and color slide negatives. The medium format negatives didn’t come out, despite being exposed for over half an hour, but my color slide ones gave some results. And here is why: cyanotypes respond to the blue parts of the light spectrum, so the more an object is transmitting blue light, the better. My color slide negatives were tungsten film, so they already had a blue tint to them, whereas my medium format negatives were orange, hence the struggle. My color slide negatives sat out in the sun for a little over 20 minutes, and I found the images that were higher-contrast came out better than the ones that didn’t. I want to try medium format again, to try and see what is the sweet-spot for exposure time.

Writing about this made my heart beat faster. I can’t wait to make more! I have to make some that relate to my semester-long theme of “dreams,” and I definitely think cyantoypes fall into the dreamlike category of image-making.

Happy Shooting (or Cyanotyping!)