I don't shoot much color film these days, in fact, never really have done much with color. It's mostly because I love B&W, but also has something to do with the fact that I've never been very good with color film. Despite that, I put some color into one of the Leica's recently and found that the color images worked much better for what I was doing that particular day.
This is one of the images. Shot on Kodak Portra 400 (the new stuff), it's gotten me thinking about what I'm going to do for Uruguay next year. Actually, a lot of the shooting I'm doing now is to tweak my process to make sure I've got all the technical stuff covered for the trip. So I'm experimenting a lot right now with different cameras, lenses, film and process. It's been quite fun for me to get out with nothing in my head and just shoot. Keepers are far fewer but I'm honing my skills sufficiently to make sure there are less mistakes while I'm on an important shooting excursion.
This has been an image a long time in the making. We don't get clouds all that often here in sunny Southern California, at least not as often as I would like. And I need clouds to make this image work.
This is an image of persistence. I've been going back to this site for a number of years and this is the first image I have that has really worked for me. It's taken with a Chamonix 45N-1 and a 110mm lens with FP4+ just in case anyone wants to know. I plan to have this one drum scanned and make a large print. Can't wait.
In April I took 10 days and just photographed whatever came my way. A one camera, two lens set up, let me worry about the images and not about what camera I was going to use. It was a bit liberating actually as I just focused on images.
I came away from that trip with about 60 rolls of 120 film, all of it B&W and all shot on the Mamiya 7. I don't get chances like this very often so I tried to make the best of it while I had the opportunity. It may be another 4 years before I get to do something like this again.
Fort Point, in San Francisco, is a gravitating point for me. I simply love the place and I usually try to make an image or two there while I'm in San Fran. They usually don't turn out this well.
I've wanted to make this image with a LF camera for some time but never had the chance. So I tried it with the Mamiya and the 43mm and I like it a lot. What I had envisioned actually worked for a change. I can't say that for many other images from this trip though. But I'll take this one and be happy.
I spent the Labor Day weekend in Huntington Beach at the Civil War Days. People give up their weekends and spend it in character, at least for the most part, for the weekend in civil war era dress and accessories. There is a chain of command, with a real life Abraham Lincoln and General Grant. I didn't see Robert E. Lee.
This was a dress rehearsal of sorts for me as I prepare for Argentina and Uruguay in early 2012. I was hoping to come away with a cohesive short story of the event. I found out a few things. I need to get in better shape to walk for 8 or 9 hours for multiple days. I need to pare down my equipment despite the desire to take two different systems. And I need to really hone my storytelling skills.
It was a rather enjoyable time for me but I didn't come away with 4 to 7 images that tell the story. I think I got some good portraits and maybe a few good overall images, but I don't have 4-7 cohesive images. I walked aimlessly at times and I had a really difficult time approaching people, although by the end of the day on Saturday, I wasn't so shy.
I'm looking for a few more events this year to immerse myself in prior to the trip. And I still am heading to Arlington West on a regular basis. The next big event there will be Veteran's Day weekend. That's a long term look at the efforts of a lot of people on a weekly basis. But I don't have many photos of people. I really need to rectify that aspect of this story. In November!
I've finally finished developing my 5 months worth of film backlog. I'm still not certain what I've got yet but should know in the next few weeks. It's always a process going through the images and getting over the disappointment of so many images that just didn't work. Eventually I find one that works.
This image is from my sabbatical road trip up the coast. It was made along the 17 mile drive from Monterey down to Carmel. Made with the Mamiya 7, 43mm and Acros 100, I think it might work. Just not sure at the moment.
I toned it a bit to see what it might look like as a platinum print and will have to live with it for awhile before I commit to that process for printing the image. It's an expensive process and I need to make sure it's something I want printed.
I'm going to start selling prints on the site soon. The prints I sell will likely be a one or two image addition printed on watercolor paper in the platinum process. This is a process that was first patented in 1873 by William Willis. The process he perfected is still largely the process used today. It's a permanent and traditional photographic process. Let me know if you are interested in any of the images on this site.
I was asked today why I still use film. It wasn't asked in a condescending manner, but in a way that I felt was genuine and inquiring. So I thought I'd take a moment to explain.
I really use film because I enjoy it. I developed 5 rolls of film tonight, and I as write this post, they hang in the bathroom drying. It's a period of time where all I think about are the images I'm about to see; hoping I don't mess up even after years of developing my own stuff. In short, it's just plain enjoyable.
I spent a very long time acquiring the gear I have. I like it and I don't want to sell any of the stuff. Practically, I would just about have to sell everything I currently own to get the level of quality that I envision. I'm not inclined to do so.
I don't have anything against digital. OK, I do. I absolutely hate HDR as it is practiced today. Please stop! It looks like the equivalent of the 70's black light Elvis posters. It didn't look good then and it doesn't look good today. But I digress.
Digital has unleashed a lot of creativity and that's a wonderful thing. I like that. And in some regards, I like how it's leveled the playing field. I've been on the receiving end of photogs that love to share what they know. And I've been on the opposite end. In my little pea shaped brain I think digital was created because of the latter. For all you photogs out there that don't want to share because you are scared someone will steal your ideas, get real. It's likely you stole someone else's idea and you just don't want anyone to know. Again, I digress.
So back to the original question. I shot film because I enjoy the process. It provides me with what I need and it allows me to escape from the day to day crap I put up with. (Nothing unique here). And I don't want to part with the gear I own today. I really like this stuff and I don't want to give it up for gear that will last a few short years before it needs to be upgraded. This is just one man's opinion. Take it for what it's worth.
This is the second image in the series and was made while on a business trip where I did have my camera. I suppose that is obvious.
It's was made while I was in Seattle about 6 months ago and is a 4 minute exposure on a Mamiya 7 and a 43mm lens. I loved the lines the dock in the foreground made along with the diagonals the docks in the background cast upon the scene.
For me this is an image that I wasn't sure I would get but what I remember that I wanted to portray in the scene. Taken at dusk, it's an image I would have passed up a year ago. Is this taking a chance? I don't know. Still trying to figure it out.
I admit, I don't carry the camera like I should. I just don't get the time to shot on a daily basis as I go through the day. Life is often too busy to make the images that I like to make. But this image is one of those that came out of carrying the camera and purposely having it ready to shot.
On a trip to Kentucky, I had the camera ready to shoot as we got off the plane. Jetways provide me good images in my head, and on this occasion I decided to see what I could make out of the short walk.
It turns out that it was Valentine's Day and Dallas had all of their jetways lined with lights. It just reminded me, as does looking at this image a little over two years later, how much time I miss from my family and the toll it's taken.
The first image in a series of "Something In Between."
Time, or at least the concept of time and how it passes us by, has always intrigued me. Trying to capture this in a photograph has been a challenging undertaking for me. There has been a lot of trails and many more errors along the way but I've got 4 images I really like.
I know this has been done many times before and it's likely with some of the same questions in mind. But as someone once told me, "It's not been done by you."
So here it is. The other images will follow over the course of the month. You can now see this in the gallery. The naming convention doesn't make sense for a reason. I'm just not sharing the reason.
I've resisted the iPhone craze to some extent. I've been using it secretly over the last year or so, but really, only sparingly. If I see something that looks interesting I'll make an image. If I use it, it means I don't have another camera with me.
This started as I was using the LF stuff more and more. A quick image with the phone allowed me to get an idea of where I might start. I use the camera for practical purposes and the images just added up over time. I never really paid much attention them until recently so I thought I'd share. Extenuating circumstances have made me keep my mind busy, and as a result, I've recently paid more attention to the images. Travel is preventing me from developing a host of film backlog, and frankly, the iPhone allows me to escape the rigors of the daily grind. It ain't much but it's all I have right now.
The iPhone allows me to experiment a bit, to exercise seeing a little differently. I've really just gotten tired of thinking it's not real photography, and for the moment, who really gives a rat's !@#. So here is an image that's a combination of two images I like a lot, even though they are taken on the iPhone. Combined, I really like them and I've decided I'll start a gallery of images I've taken over the last few years. For the time being it's all the photography I'm going to be able to produce.
It is what it is. And an old curmudgeon can sometimes see the points from the other side. Wait, what other side?
I've been going to Arlington West since about 2005 and making photographs. This image, and the one on the journal, are two of the images I love the most.
I spent a good portion of the day in Santa Monica yesterday trying to make meaningful images. I'm not sure what I want to do with these images. Should this work see the light of day? On the Journal page I written a bit about Memorial Day and why we have this day in our celebration of US holidays. Maybe there is something there. I'm still giving it thought and I keep going back.
Spent some time out in Joshua Tree recently. It's getting close to a point where going out there will be a challenge. Between business trips, and when I can, I try to make it out there before it becomes brutally hot. It's somewhat peaceful and it has it's own beauty that takes someone from back east a bit of time to get used too.
Now Joshua Tree is some 800,000 acres and resides where the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert meet. I've been going out there for about 10 years and I just became aware of this fact. It's a large and beautiful park and with it's proximity to LA it provides an ideal place to get away.
On this particular trip I decided to enter the park via the South Entrance, a part of the park I had never seen. As I drove into the park, I was amazed at the difference in the landscape from what I was expecting. I noticed some bushes; I think they were creosote bushes and they really had subtle tones of grey on the branches.
The day trip was designed to get out with the Yashicamat and see what I would see. These exercises are providing me with a bit of a better foundation and allows me to make images when I get into situations where I really need to concentrate. I spent a good bit of time photographing as the sun was setting and then I sat and watched the sun go behind the mountains. Beautiful!
Joshua Tree is adding to my collection of images. It's an ongoing thing and, as with some of my other work, it's starting to build into some semblance of a body of work. It's only in the last few years that I've recognized the importance of being able to show cohesive work. I'm still all over the place with stuff I'm producing but it's starting to build into something that I'll be able to show at some point.
I’m slowly, and I do mean slowly, getting through the backlog of film I’ve exposed over the last 6 months. But as soon as I get a few rolls developed another group replaces those and adds to the pile. I go through these phases where the film piles up and I forget what I’ve actually made. I still have color stuff from January I haven’t even sent out to the lab yet. I’m not sure if I have an excuse with that group.
These two images are from an outing in February of this year. I like them but I doubt they will make it beyond the blog. Maybe they’ll grow on me, but I’m actually posting them more for what happened that day than the actual images themselves.
I’m not an outgoing person. When I’m out photographing, it’s especially hard for me to photograph people and it shows in my work. I’m rarely close enough. There is little interaction visible in the images and I’ve got one image that I’m proud of that actually defies my inabilities to connect. A street shooter I’m not despite repeated excursions locally.
On this day I did something out of the ordinary because it just presented itself. At the beginning of this jetty there was a man, obviously homeless, making camp for the night. As I walked past him I said hello, went out and shoot a couple of rolls of Tri-X and didn't give the interaction much thought. These two images are the ones that I scanned as potentials from that bit of time alone with the camera.
On my way back the gentlemen noticed I had been photographing and asked why I hadn’t taken a photo of him. Not knowing what to say, I answered with another question and wanted to know why he would ask me that. He said everyone with a camera always wanted to take a photo of him. He did have an interesting look and I could see that he would be photogenic.
So I stopped and talked to him for a while. I asked him how the request was usually made and he said there was hardly ever a request it was just people “snapping away like some paparazzi, as if I had no say in the matter.” He went on to say sometimes he got mad, sometimes he flipped them the bird and sometimes, if the photographer was a girl and pretty, he would smile his big smile and go about his business.
I told him that I didn't believe in making images of people without some sort of perceived permission, and since I was less than outgoing, I very rarely made images of people I didn’t know. And then I asked him how it felt to have people do this in such a thoughtless fashion.
It turned into a long discussion and I forgot about shooting any more that evening. But the jest of the conversation confirmed that making images of homeless people just to make an image, without any human connection involved, was the wrong thing to do. It has no place in my photography and the conversation, at least to me, justified my decisions over the years to not photograph people that are down on their luck.
I’ve always questioned these types of images and they have always bothered me. If I see them on someone's site without any explanation I automatically jump from the site. It’s a gut reaction, and in some cases, I’m sure there are valid reasons for the images. But I doubt it happens on a regular basis. I didn’t take an image of him that day but I hope I might have given him a different perspective on photographers, or at least some of us anyway.
The past 6 months have been hectic but there has been quite a few photographic excursions, lots of time behind the camera and a few developing sessions. Now that the website is live, I'm in the process of scanning, and developing, a backlog of film that I feel as if I'll never get through.
Right now I'm sitting (not literally) on 24 rolls of medium format film, about 20 sheets of 4x5 film and a few rolls of 35mm. Much to my dismay, the Leica's have been rather dormant for way too long. They will see some activity over the next few weeks as I travel back and forth across the country.
This is an image from an undetermined project. Now an undetermined project sounds like something I've not planned, and at the moment you'd be correct in thinking that. I'm currently working across a lot of different formats to see what comes out of the process. I wouldn't say it is by any means a disciplined approach, but you do what you can when you can. Life and work get in the way, and family takes precedence so I've come up with an approach that works for me at the moment. Where it goes is anybodies guess but I think I'm headed in a direction that will ultimately work.
A little overview of the site. As you come to my site you'll fall onto the Journal page where you'll see the latest entries and ideas I've been toying with. Click on the Gallery section and you'll see the images that I intended to show as a modified portfolio of sorts. In there you might find links to a series I may be working on, or just an edited view of images I think are relevant at the moment.
In the interviews sections, although this is really a bit of a misnomer since they are actually a list of questions, I'll be bringing answers to questions I have of photographers I admire or bring some sort of inspiration that gets me thinking and out shooting. And then there is the links page where I link to sites I like, visit on a regular basis, or just find fascinating.
This site will be populated with content as I have time and material. I hope you stop back from time to time to see what's up, what's new and where this site is going. Glad to have you here and please comment if you feel so inclined. Or drop me a note at larry @ larrydhayden . com. Thanks.