Seven Days in Romania

Not by me, sadly.

Cosmin Bumbut and six photographer friends of the 7 days photoclub have been spending just such a week annually for almost five years, in the more-traditional and remote parts of their country. The 2003 version, set in the village of Harnicesti, is due soon. The variation in styles is particularly interesting — each photographer has a different take.

~1 min read

Fragility

Ministry of Sound (C)2003 Kevin Bjorke Hoped to do some printing Thursday night for the second Contax G Print Exchange. I had planned to make silver prints for this but there’s been no time for the darkroom & a dozen prints are due in Scotland in two weeks. Back to the Epson.

I thought of using the photo at right — already posted in this journal once. A few days ago I posted it to Contax G and to my surprise it proved terrifically popular, rapidly attracting kudos and the highest site ratings I’d ever had there; before the jpeg was corrupted by a database glitch a couple of hours later. Only a handful of people ever saw more than a 150-pixel thumbnail. After two days of struggling and failing to be allowed to replace the file, I ended up deleting it.

An object lesson in impermanence, pride turned quickly to humiliation by a few errant lines of bad code.

Putting it in a print, I thought, might make some faintly-ironic statement about the fragilty of the web, its mercurial nature and the perhaps unfounded faith we place in it — replaced by a stiff archival chunk of heavy stock.

But I’ve since realized that it would be an empty gesture. Few had seen the photo in the first place, the irony would be lost. Pick a different shot.

The incident has, however, once again indicated to me that shared gallery sites are not always a healthy place for photos. I’d already abandoned placing photos on photo.net a long while back — too much emphasis on high volume and a demand for banality, photos that confirm and conform to the Kodak-brochure norms. I think from this point I should just keep my web photos on my own site, save for special situations.

1 min read

A Matter of Proportion

Printing to the edge of the paper from a 35mm full frame, you lose either paper or picture

How has Kodak managed to sell 8x10” paper, 5x7” paper, and 11x14” paper, for year upon year upon year, and none of them have the same aspect ratio? 8x10 at least matches the aspect ratio of a 4x5 camera, but none of them match the aspect ratio of 35mm, 6x7, 6x6, 6x9…. then digicams come along and almost all of them are the aspect ratio of a video camera, 4::3, and digital printers come along and expect everyone to switch from 8x10” to 8.5x11”, or 13x17”, with each printer having a slightly-different printable area within those fields. Only the humble 4x6” quickie print actually gets the aspect-ratio game under control.

It ticks me off.

Pretty much, you’re guaranteed not to be able to use some significant portion of the expensive paper you’ve purchased, or some significant portion of your (probably more-important) photograph is going to get cropped. Paper waste: borders to adjust, or chunks trimmed-off, or both.

2 min read

Signs of the Times

John Bolgiano, aka “coldmarble,” runs ColdMarble Musings,the only alternative-process (Cyanotype, Van Dyke process, etc) blog I’ve seen — so far. Looks like Courtney might give him some competition soon.

She checked-out Reed & Webb’s Alternative Photographic Processes from the library yesterday, prepping for an alt-process class, and noticed that it was completely untouched — never checked-out before, the book’s binding crackling as she turned each page.

We’ve noticed similar behavior on some other library photo books recently — she acquired a stack of beautiful Martin Parr books via loan from a library in San Diego, and their stamps showed they’d not been checked out for years. Tsk!

~1 min read

More Linkages

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site, I keep a little robot that tracks down links, picture theft, usage of pictures, pages, and also the search terms that people use on search engines like Google and Kartoo to find pages here on Botzilla.

In the past few days I’ve seen a sudden surge in one search term, that had never been present before: “Saddam Art.” This one, along with variations like “Saddam Art Collection” and “Hussein Artworks” and “painting of Saddam Hussein.” have shot to the #1 spot in the past week.

I actually don’t have much in the way of Saddam art, though I’ve wanted some since well before Iraq invaded Kuwait. In the late 80’s there was to have been a show of, as I recall, impressionist masterworks to be held at a new state-run museum in Baghdad — the first show of its kind anywhere in the arab region. Scholars were greatly excited and paintings were being loaned from numerous high-profile institutions. Then, near the last minute, the show was canned, and replaced with a show of paintings by sundry Iraqis of the Beloved Leader, Saddam Hussein. Almost immediately the show was declared to be permanent, and the museum to be dedicated to this one exhibition. I really wanted that exhibition catalog!

Guess Saddam couldn’t stand being one-upped by L. Ron Hubbard.

In the last few days, as the Washington Post reports, Iraqi artists are starting to deal with an Iraq free from government minders. No telling what has happened to Salaam Abid, one of Hussein’s favorite full-time portraitists.

1 min read