This is my body... and it's minty fresh! (C)2003 Kevin Bjorke Six rolls of Delta 400, Xtol 1+1@20C, 11.5 mins. Very little PhotoFlo, very short wash, squeegee’d and almost every frame seems dustless. What had I been thinking?</i>

Couple of rolls of Velvia and some 6x6 E100S for good measure.

For the past couple of months now, I’ve been collecting images for a project that I’ve not even mentioned in this log. A blog is simply a poor mechanism for working on something large, if the author has a desire to build something wth structure and scope. Imagine a composer posting a few randomly-chosen bars from a musical piece, different each day. Pointless.

Lay of the Land

Photoblogs are all the rage and while journos are busy smugly comparing them to “Walker Evans and Nan Goldin rolled together on your computer screen,” the articles seem little more than catalogs, lists of someone’s favorites from an afternoon sweeping of the blogroll links on photojunkie or maybe a swipe through the top tops on

In the websphere outside the blogiverse (extending our methaphors as broadly as possible), the last few years have seen the blossoming of the PAW meme, or Picture A Week, started by Kyle Cassidy and spread outwards from the LUG to all corners of online photography.

Finally there’s no shortage of other personal photo collections and galleries that are neither plogs or PAWs but simply photos collected and shown on their makers’ various sites — some for commercial purposes, some simply to share snaps of Whiskers and Mittens with the granchildren. And most to inhabit the spaces between. You know the ones: “I’m not a professional photographer, but here are my shots of the Taj Mahal and a sunset over the Willamette Bridge…”

While a few attempts have been made to catalog all of these sites, let’s face it — it’s a fool’s errand, especially when there are so many, and so little information to go on about them. And the notion of any critical voice is entirely absent — thousands of sites, each going their own merry ways and so many of them aspiring to the most banal sorts of chocolate-box imagery.

For all these reasons and more, I’ve decided to start PhotoRant. PhotoRant will take names and taunt the guilty, with a liberal dose of praise for those who rise to deserve it. You have been warned.

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Criminal

As long as we're on the subject of Merton, how about Strain Theory?

Sociologically, Strain Theory divvies-up the population along two primary axes. Merton theorized that most everyone has the same goals and desires, but unequal means to achieve them — and that these disparities lead to different strategies in lifestyle. The two axes are both related to individuality. One axis is the individual's acceptance of society's general suite of goals, the other axis is that person's access to the standard socially-prescribed means to achieve those goals. Division by these axes leads to five possible groupings:

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Santa Clara (C)2003 Kevin Bjorke A young photographer shows his work: pictures of gratings, crosswalks, curbs, textures, grids, faultless exercises in graphics that seem to repeat all of recent American photography. What can we say about it? Mention the quality of the prints? The precision of the framing? What can we do to not appear inattentive? Looking at the photographs twice, go through them again slowly while we feel the other’s presence near us, tense, pretending to be looking somewhere else? And then, why can’t we say that we have nothing to say, that this work elicits nothing in us but a dreary impression of quality? “You should photograph the people you love with the same precision as you photograph your gratings.” That’s what we should say.

– Hervé Guibert,
        Ghost Image, 1982

We Are All Dust… Some More Than Others

Tween, (C)2003 Kevin Bjorke Six rolls TMax 100, 9.5 mins Xtol 1+1 @ 20C.

I’ve decided to start filtering all the water, not just for chemicals but for final washing as well. Today I replaced the whole lot of chemistry, and drip-dripped multiple gallons of water through coffee filters held in my fingers. Hopefully this high-tech approach will help eliminate some of the last, nagging dust problems.

Spent the past four days on vacation in a group of nine, in L.A., usually too busy to take wandering photos. Still, I came back with eleven rolls and a few dozen digital shots (sad to say, the digitals were as ever a disappointment… even though I was quite enthused as I was making them). Just a couple of those rolls in today’s batches, but after a quick viewing I’m feeling positive about the negatives, still drying in the shower.

Disneyland and Universal Studios… if the TV has taken the place of the family shrine, then these sites are the religious pilgrimages of our day, the lands of the gods where we can pose with Mickey and SpiderMan, the untouchable and fictional made (at least momentarily) flesh.

Of course, when the real gods appeared at Disneyland for the premiere party of Pirates of the Caribbean, the faithful were shuttled to one side, allowed to cheer the gods’ entrances at a distance, then expelled quickly from the park. It is not for mortals to see Darryl Hannah riding Indiana Jones, save through the channelling mediator of a TV camera.