camera zenscura

Not sure how to begin this one, as it covers a few things in one blog post, mostly related in some way, but that wasn’t revealed until it all had happened in the linear story.

As I intimated in a prior post, the fifth zine was going to be a bit different than the first four, kind of a detour into a parable of sorts. I took a road trip to my hometown in southern West Virginia in late October, spent two nights in an airbnb and two days dodging drizzling rain to get the shots I wanted. All shot on the same model camera I owned when I left there, an Olympus OM1, using Tri-X 400. The images turned out fine, but each image requires a facing page of words, and that is where it stalled out.

This is a personal project that I have been contemplating for some time, but now that I have done the ground work and contemplated over the images, it seems the motivation to put any of it in printed form just seems redundant and obviously of little interest to anyone but me. The whole thing can be summed up in the two following images, which would have been the first and last images of the parable.

Moving on. Found out Tuesday that the two prints I had exhibited in the Durham Art Guild show both sold, as a set. I am humbled by the whole experience. I priced them to sell, hoping that maybe by selling one of them, I could at least recoup the money I spent getting them printed and framed. Most of the pieces in the show were quite expensive and mine were not, for the size of the pieces. Anyway, a nice experience all around. Here is a link to the virtual version of the exhibit, if anyone (Scott) cares.

I am getting very positive feedback on the fourth zine, the one with images only. I may continue that for the near future. Images are easy, writing is hard, and writing seems unnecessary.


silent retreat

The 4th zine will be wordless, calling it the “silent retreat” issue. It is ready to be sent to the printer, but I am waiting until about the middle of November for that. The images were not that difficult to choose, but the sequencing was something else.

The 5th zine will look a bit different. It will be based on a project I have been contemplating for over a year at least. It will be shot entirely on film, hopefully, and will take some time and a road trip or two. I expect a bigger gap of time between 4 and 5.


Dear Diary?

More and more this blog seems like just notes to self, or what’s left of this action figure called self. My wife shared my last post about the art exhibit on her facebook, me not having one, and my visitors to this site and blog really jumped in numbers for a day or so. None of those visitors liked or commented on anything on the site, but they did like and comment on her facebook post, which she gladly communicated to me verbally, one of her friends even ordered a print of one of the photos. See what I mean.

Three years ago I submitted some photos to the LensCulture black and white photography awards/competition. I did this after painstakingly creating a folder of photos to choose from, images I considered my best work. I also paid extra for a written review of the photos submitted. None were selected for any prizes, and though I don’t remember what the written review said, I do remember it wasn’t particularly helpful. What I do remember is that almost all the photos that gained recognition had people in them, indicating to me that content meant more than the quality of the image.

Well, fresh off of having two photos chosen for a local exhibit, I decided to try LensCulture again, five photos for 35., and this time foregoing the review. I did not ponder over the submission like the last time either. I picked the two from the local exhibit, but the file size on one of them was too large. It was taken with my fujifilm camera, while the others were taken with my Olympus Penf microfourthirds. Instead of trying to reduce the file size, I just picked another image. Here are the five I sent with no expectations attached.

That Was Unexpected

About a month ago on a Saturday, I stopped by the studio of an artist in Durham who I had been following on Instagram. He does abstract, very minimal flavored canvases that I really like. We had a nice conversation. Turned out he also does photography, but had let that kinda lapse so he could concentrate on his painting. He suggested that I should join the Durham Art Guild, and that it was a good way to get information about local art exhibitions. They have like three different locations where they exhibit work. He also mentioned that they were taking submissions for their annual juried art show beginning in October.

I took his advice, and when I got home I got online and joined. I looked at the submission criteria, which specified that you could submit up to three pieces for consideration for just 15.00, so I thought, what the heck. I went through and picked three of my favorites and submitted them, I did not agonize much over the choices. I have submitted photos under similar circumstances in the past to other sites and venues, and never had any luck, so my expectations were for similar results. I have found that most of these types of calls, especially in the realm of photography, are looking more for content than quality of work, and since I don’t shoot people, my stuff doesn’t normally fit what they are looking for.

Last Thursday I received an email with a pdf attached, listing 67 artists and 97 pieces that had been chosen for the show. Two of my photos were on the list. It was truly a holy shit moment, and then it was, now what do I do. In the submission, I had randomly chosen 20×30 as the photo dimensions, which is pretty huge. I had to find a printer and framer and hope the quality of the photos stood up to that size when printed, and I had until the 26th to pull that off, as that was the last date for delivery to the guild location.

Well, I picked up the prints yesterday and they look very good at that size. My new artist friend, who does framing as his part time job is doing the framing, the same one who encouraged me to submit my work. I pick them up Saturday and deliver them straight away to the exhibition space, just under the deadline. This process is not cheap. The Guild encourages listing the pieces for sale, especially since they take a 30% commission. The irony is not lost on me that I had just decided not to sell my zines anymore, but it would be helpful to recoup my costs for printing and framing, so I arrived at a price. If only one of them sells, it will cover the cost for both pieces. If either or both sell, that will be the next surprise.

Here are the two pieces. One of them was in the first zine, and the other is part of an image in the most recent zine.

No Commerce

I decided this morning to pull the zines from the little newsstand shop and online store, not that they have been selling much. I never intended this to be a commercial venture. It was for me and for sharing with friends and family. I will continue to mail to those who are on my short mailing list, and any who request through this site.

I have my own distribution process beyond mailing. Hand delivered, left in random coffee shops and sometimes in those Little Free Library boxes. Bread on the water.