Photo Notes

December 3, 2020

Courting Chaos

Curt #5
Published in Black and White Magazine

This post is about my Courting Chaos images, a group of images I made over more than two years, while I was working and teaching in Indianapolis. Black & White Magazine is going to publish one of these images in a few weeks! The work evolved over more than a dozen shoots with an 11×14 camera. The first show of this work was on November 2nd 2018 at Indiana Landmarks (1201 Central Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46202). Before I get any further, I should thank David Kidwell for assisting all through this project and Julie Powers for make-up and models. This work wouldn’t have happened without them.

Andrea #5

These images are figure studies handled with a very unusual and chaotic photographic process described below. Many of them are nudes and several of them are disturbing. I’m writing about the process in this post and also some thoughts about the results. I’ve enjoyed the entire project as a voyage of constant discovery. I really had no idea how the project would evolve when it began. My response to the images continues to change. I hope the images invite the viewer to create a narrative from them. My narrative involves ideas about escape. I hope you’ll find them interesting. My perception of the project continues to evolve.

Cassie #14

There are a lot of places I could begin to explain this work, because this project integrates traditional photographic techniques that I learned in high school with digital image manipulation techniques I’ve learned as recently as a few months ago. The project integrates inspiration from my first trip to Europe in 1971 and my visual inspiration continues to evolve to today. The greatest challenge, for me, is coming to accept chaos to be a co-creator in my photography. As a commercial photographer, for more than four decades, I’ve been fighting chaos. A commercial photographer generally wants to control and direct images to produce effective visual communication. In this project I’ve used special processes to push the images into shapes I couldn’t predict or control. The results have been the most surprising images of my career.

Gordon #1

I saw a series of sculptures by Michelangelo called the Prisoners when I was in Europe in 1971. I was about fifteen at the time. At first these images appear unfinished, especially in comparison with the David sculpture which was in the same museum. When I continued to stare at the pieces they seemed to be struggling to escape from the marble. The effect was quite surprising to me at the time: the seemingly unfinished sculpture conveyed movement while David sculpture remained a single moment of time. It’s now almost fifty years later and I still remember the effect and the details of these sculptures.

Bree #11

I remember seeing an Edward Weston photograph of a pepper just a few years after I saw the Prisoners. This image also had a lasting effect on my development as a visual artist. The design of the image was beautiful, but the medium: a silver gelatin photograph was also gorgeous. Of course, I had seen photographs before, but this was a contact print from a large format negative. Weston’s excellent craft created particularly beautiful prints. Over the years, in my classes and in working with photography, I’ve often met people that assume photographs are somehow independent of the medium in which they’re presented. For example, a person might think that they’ve seen “Moonrise Over Hernandez” by Ansel Adams because they’ve seen it on-line or in a magazine or a book, but a fine photographic print, made by Ansel himself, has a different effect than an image from an offset press or a computer display. In order to appreciate any creative work, it helps to see the work as the artist intended. Of course, there are many posters of paintings by Van Gogh or Monet and so many others, but is seeing these posters equivalent to seeing the original painting? It was the effect of the actual Weston print that allowed me to see beauty of the medium. I hope to share the actual prints of Courting Chaos again soon.

Wayne #2
Framed silver gelatin print for the show

Of course, there are so many images that affected my way of seeing, and these images in particular, but the work of Man Ray is most important for this project. Man Ray worked in a variety of media: doing sculpture, painting and photography. My perception of his work changed when I saw original pieces at the Getty in Los Angeles. One aspect of his images was important to this project: he was solarizing his negatives in a way I had never seen before. The way that Man Ray integrated innovative technique with creative images is spell binding.

Pernicamera

On another level this project began when I purchased an 11X14 inch camera. While it’s not necessarily difficult to think about scaling up a camera “it’s just the same thing only bigger” the reality is pretty impressive. A full frame dSLR uses a sensor that is 1X1.5 inches, regardless of how high the sensor resolution; it’s a small area. The camera for this project has a capture area of 11X14 inches. In addition, while the sensor may have high resolution, film resolution is on the molecular level. The total amount of information you can capture is mind blowing. The costs of the thing are pretty impressive as well; a single sheet of 11X14 inch film costs eight dollars. Adams used 4X5 inch camera much of the time; Edward Weston used an 8X10; Brett Weston did use an 11X14 camera occasionally. The problems of using a camera this size are not just expense and weight, it also needs a lot of light. So, when I got the camera, I wasn’t sure that I would use it much, maybe just a couple of times to prove I could master the thing. Then, after a lot of thinking, I came up with a way of using the camera to make images that I couldn’t create with any other camera. I decided to explore solarizing (re-exposing) the negatives.

Bonnie Hunt, Hand
Print Solarization

This is similar to what Man Ray did, during the processing of his film he re-exposed the negative to light. This creates a reversal effect. This was a pretty common process when I was in high school, but we solarized prints rather than negatives. When you solarize a print the white area of the print black or gray, which can look pretty compelling. It’s impossible to entirely predict what will happen, and even if you do the same thing twice, the results will be different. The thing about Man Ray’s solarization process is that he turned the black areas of the image white AND he could make multiple prints that were the same. This was because he solarized the negative rather than the print. This creates another big problem: you have to process modern film in total darkness (yes, even black and white film) so you can’t see what you’re doing. When Man Ray did this people used orthochromatic films; films that couldn’t record red light, so he could see what he was doing. I realized that I could shoot 11×14 photographic paper, which can be used under safelight. Since I have an 11×14-inch scanner I could take these negatives, which were on paper, and scan them. This enables me to interpret the images in Adobe Photoshop. The large area of the negative is an advantage with this process because you can choose to re-expose and re-develop specific parts of the image. As I mentioned, what actually happens to the image when you re-expose and re-develop is chaotic, almost totally unpredictable. Thus, I am courting chaos in making these images.

Mindy K #7
Original Negative Scan

A great advantage of shooting the photographic paper, rather than film, is that the processing is quick and easy. You can develop the RC paper in about a minute. Even with re-exposure it was only about 5 minutes from exposing with the camera to seeing the negative in white light. Almost as quick as Polaroid! In addition, since the large scanner was in the studio I could scan and reverse the images in short order, so the subject was able to leave with digital prints! This project benefited immensely from the immediacy of this medium. For many of the models, this was their first experience in seeing photos develop.

Cassie #1

This project is also the result of the work of David Kidwell, assistant extraordinaire, and Julie Powers, makeup artist for angels and devils. Julie did a couple of really remarkable things for this project: first she designed the make-up for all the models. This is tougher than it might appear because the Multigrade paper doesn’t react to color in an even way: reds and yellows are very dark while blues are brighter that you would suppose. Julie also arranged for all the models, THANKS! David managed set up and kept me on my feet all through the shoots. Now that I’m in my sixties I couldn’t have done it without him! Each of the models was special. It can be difficult to come to terms with normal pictures of yourself, it’s more of a challenge when you’re teaming up when chaos. You know that all of the images will present you in unpredictable ways. My thanks and gratitude to all!

Rachel #10

In another way this project began at University High School in Los Angeles, specifically in bungalow L79. At sort of the end of the campus was the photography classroom. I first learned about photography in that classroom. The instructor was Arnold Rubinoff. Arnold was teaching things that really weren’t common in high school photography, back then. I remember learning to make color prints from him. One of the things we learned was how to do solarization. He also introduced us to Cyanotype prints. Half of the show was printed as cyanotype images. You can see those prints at this link: http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3630.

Cassie 1 #5
Framed cyanotype print for the show

There are a number of important technical insights that led to this project. One of the first problems that had to be solved was the cost of film; if film is too expensive it keeps the photographer from taking risks. One other advantage of the paper is that it has good light sensitivity: Ilford Multigrade is about ISO 100. Another important moment was when I realized that I had an oversized scanner. My original thought was to remove the emulsion from the paper and put it onto a clear base, which would have been very difficult. Scanning the images was easy and quick. I was then able to make new negatives on clear film using a digital printer. These prints, both silver and cyanotype, are much more beautiful than the digital prints. For this show I used multiple coats of cyanotype chemistry on blotter paper. The images have a very dark maximum tone as a result. Because the prints are hand coated each cyanotype print is different, even if made form the same negative. Cyanotype prints do change over time, which is part of the charm. For the silver gelatin prints (check here to see: http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3571) I used Ilford Multigrade Warm Tone Fiber base paper. Fiber base papers use a barium clay coating called baryta that produces the white tones. In addition, when you air dry a glossy fiber-based paper the surface looks fabulous. I also toned all the silver gelatin prints with selenium, which makes a more agreeable print color as well as adding to the stability of the final print.

Tyler #12
Framed silver gelatin print for the show

Actually shooting with the camera is pretty tricky. Some things are like working with any large format camera, for instance the image is upside down and backwards on the ground glass. Over the years I’ve become used to that. One problem that particularly affects the 11X14 is bellows extension. The closer your lens is to the subject the further it is from the film. I know this seems exactly backwards, but trust me it’s the way it works. What might not be obvious is that as the lens gets further from the film, there is less light on the film. If you are shooting a head and shoulders portrait with a 35mm camera you don’t have any bellows extension; if you’re shooting with 4X5 film you might lose half stop to bellows extension; with the 11X14 camera you’ve lost about 2 stops of light to bellows extension. This means it’s dark on the ground glass when you’re focusing and composing AND you need a lot of light to make the exposure. Most of the time I was using between 5000 and 7000 watt-seconds of strobe power to make the exposure. My lens was generally set between f11 and f16. While this seems like it would give you plenty of depth of field on a digital camera, on the 11X14 it gives you only a matter of millimeters of focus depth. So, focus is critical, which makes it very important for the model to stay in place! Another aspect of bellows extension is the way it affects your lens choice. The normal lens, if there is one, for an 11X14 camera is about 450mm, or 18 inches. If you were shooting like you do with a full frame digital camera, you’d need about 1000mm (39 inches) of bellows to bring the lens into focus. That makes the camera really difficult to keep stable and to adjust. The answer is to shoot with shorter lenses, which bring the camera closer to the subject. My favorite lenses for this project were a 12 inch red dot Artar from Goerz (f9) and a 14 inch gold dot Dagor (f8) made by Kern for Schneider. I use the 12 inch Artar for head and shoulders and the 14 inch Dagor for full body shots. I used a few other lenses on occasion including a 48cm Goerz Dogmar (f5.5) and a 270mm Wide Angle G-Claron from Schneider (f6.3), but they just didn’t keep the subject/camera distance in a good range.

Mindy #7
The negative for this image is above

The camera itself has some basic challenges. The fact that it’s a working 11X14 camera must be in its favor but it’s built out of parts from other cameras. It’s built on top of a drawer, like something out of a card catalog. This allows it considerable expansion, but it also means the camera isn’t portable. It weighs a lot, so the tripod needs to be a beast. The focus skips out of alignment, which is annoying. The bellows sag. There is a plaque on the camera proclaiming it as the Pernicamera Model Number 0001, built in 1995 to 1997. I’d like to meet the person who built it. I don’t use a shutter with the camera at all. I keep the lens open, but all the illumination, once the paper is loaded, is from safelights. I trigger the strobes with a radio slave to make the exposure. This makes it easier to do multiple exposures and to move the subject between the exposures.

Leslie #6

I hope you’ll enjoy looking at more of the images from the first show.

Part 1, Silver Gelatin Show Prints:

Courting Chaos-The show, Part 1-Silver Gelatin Prints

Part 2, Cyanotype Show Prints:

Courting Chaos-The show, Part 2-Cyanotype Prints

Part 3, Color Glossy Show Prints:

Courting Chaos-The show, Part 3-Kodak Color Glossy prints

If you examine more of this blog you’ll see information about many other aspects of photography. If you’d like to look at some of my articles about photography, from View Camera, Photo Techniques and shutterbug, please look at this link: http://www.siskinphoto.com/magazinearticles.php

You can see my main site at: http://www.siskinphoto.com/

If you have any questions regarding these images or my photography please contact me at john@siskinphoto.com.

I generally post current work on Facebook. Perhaps you’d like to look me up there at https://www.facebook.com/john.siskin

I’ve written a couple of books. They’re available at Amazon. Here’s my author page there: https://www.amazon.com/John-Siskin/e/B004N73O36/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

Wayne #13

Wayne #13

November 15, 2018

Courting Chaos-The show, Part 3-Kodak Color Glossy prints

This post includes the two Kodak color glossy prints from my current show at Indiana Landmarks. The color begins in the original process, but it is modified and enhanced in these images. The show is going to be on display until the end of November, so you still have a chance to see the real photographs. I say real photographs because looking at an online version of an image adds a sameness to all images. On your phone or monitor images always about the same size and the color is always affected by your monitor. These two images are BIG, 30 inches wide and about 40 inches tall. If you care about photography its a really good idea to see actual photographs, not just digital versions. I used 3 types of prints in the show: silver gelatin prints, cyanotypes and a couple of Kodak color glossy prints. As I mentioned in the last post you can visit this previous post for more information about print types: http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=2243. The other images, the silver gelatin and the color glossy images are posted as parts 2 and 3 of the show. The Silver Gelatin prints are at: http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3571. The cyanotype images are at: http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3630


The show has 41 images up on the walls; these are the two Kodak Color Glossy images. These are machine made images. I could print a hundred of them, all exactly the same, by pushing a button. The images are for sale. The images are about 30×40 inches and mounted on Gator board. The price is $350. The price includes shipping in the U.S. For this and all the other images please contact me directly at john@siskinphoto.com to arrange the purchase. Please contact me for more information about any of these images. These images are copyright by me and are NOT INTENDED to be shared. You are welcome to post the link to this blog, but do not re-post my images. Thanks for your respect.

Kodak Color Glossy Images

Curt #2

Leslie #6

Courting Chaos-The show, Part 2-Cyanotype Prints

This post includes all the cyanotype images from my current show at Indiana Landmarks. The show is going to be on display until the end of November, so you still have a chance to see the real photographs. I say real photographs because looking at an online version of an image adds a sameness to all images. On your phone or monitor images always about the same size and the color is always affected by your monitor. If you care about photography its a really good idea to see actual photographs, not just digital versions. I used 3 types of prints in the show: silver gelatin prints, cyanotypes and a couple of Kodak color glossy prints. As I mentioned in the last post you can visit this previous post for more information about print types: http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=2243. The other images, the silver gelatin and the color glossy images are posted as parts 2 and 3 of the show. Kodak Color Glossy images are at http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3633. The Silver Gelatin prints are at: http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3571

The show has fourty-one images up on the walls, these are the twenty cyanotype images. Each time you make a cyanotype image it is different, even if made from the same negative. The images are for sale. The cyanotypes are matted to 16X20 inches and are priced at $500. The price includes shipping in the U.S. For this and all the other images please contact me directly at john@siskinphoto.com to arrange the purchase. Please contact me for more information about any of these images. These images are copyright by me and are NOT INTENDED to be shared. You are welcome to post the link to this blog, but do not re-post my images. Thanks for your respect.

Cyanotype Images

Wayne #12

Wayne #2

Rubella #5

Rubella #1

Rachel #7

Mindy #7

Jennifer #5

Jennifer #4

Dana #11

Dana #5

Curt #11

Curt #5

Cassie 2 #2

Cassie 1 #5

Cassie 1 #3

Andrea #2

Andrea #1

Alex #5

Alex #1

July 15, 2016

Rock House #5

Rock House #5

Rock House #5

One more image of the Rock House. Not quite in numerical order, but frankly I can’t remember the order I shot these in. This is the side of the building from the creek. There wasn’t always water in this area, but there often was. Rare for Los Angeles. This will be incorporated into the fine art site. Check out the earlier posts at: http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3190 and http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3190 and http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3337. This place must have been amazing before the fire.

I’ve recently posted a couple of shots of a waterfall in Box Canyon (http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3182 and http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3176 ). Literally built into left hand rock, shown in Box Canyon #2, is this house. I came upon the place hiking down the canyon. I had no idea it was there, and there is much less than a quarter mile from where I lived at that time.

Shot with my Speed Graphic of course. I think I used my 135 f4.7 Xenar lens. This probably, certainly, isn’t the best lens Schneider ever made, but it’s a lot better than the lens that’s usually found on a Speed Graphic. I started using a Speed Graphic when I was in High School, back in the early 1970s. One of the things that makes large format shooting so rewarding are the great lenses, but not all large format lenses are good. My Speed Graphic really taught me to be a photographer, but it taught me the hard way. When you do large format photography mistakes are expensive, so you learn to be precise.

As you know I’m adding these images to my blog as part of my re-do of my fine art portfolio pages. I’m also doing it to make these images available. If you’d like an archival print of this shot, please order with the PayPal link. The image will be about 11X14 inches and mounted on 16X20 cotton rag board. I’ll even throw in shipping, if you are in the U.S.

One more thing I wanted to mention: I offer several workshops at my studio in Indianapolis. I hope you’ll check out the workshops at http://www.siskinphoto.com/workshop.php.

I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below:

July 14, 2016

Rock House #3

Rock House #03

Rock House #03

A third image of this amazing place. This shot shows how the native rock was incorporated into the wall of the building. They really don’t build them like this very often. This is the third post about this place in the blog and of course all of this will be incorporated into the fine art site. Check out the earlier posts at: http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3190 and http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3190. I still wonder what the house looked like before the fire.

I’ve recently posted a couple of shots of a waterfall in Box Canyon (http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3182 and http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3176 ). Literally built into left hand rock, shown in Box Canyon #2, is this house. I came upon the place hiking down the canyon. I had no idea it was there, and there is much less than a quarter mile from where I lived at that time.

Shot with my Speed Graphic of course. I think I used my 135 f4.7 Xenar lens. This probably, certainly, isn’t the best lens Schneider ever made, but it’s a lot better than the lens that’s usually found on a Speed Graphic. I started using a Speed Graphic when I was in High School, back in the early 1970s. One of the things that makes large format shooting so rewarding are the great lenses, but not all large format lenses are good. Some of the early problems I had were caused by the shutter.

I’ll add more shots from the Rock House soon.

As you know I’m adding these images to my blog as part of my re-do of my fine art portfolio pages. I’m also doing it to make these images available. If you’d like an archival print of this shot, please order with the PayPal link. The image will be about 11X14 inches and mounted on 16X20 cotton rag board. I’ll even throw in shipping, if you are in the U.S.


One more thing I wanted to mention: I offer several workshops at my studio in Indianapolis. I hope you’ll check out the workshops at http://www.siskinphoto.com/workshop.php.
I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below:

June 8, 2016

Roberts Park Church #6

Roberts Park Church #6

Roberts Park Church #6

Another stair case form Roberts Park Church. I already mentioned that I like pictures of staircases. I did a shoot a Roberts Park Church a few weeks ago. I was there with the 8X10 camera. Used Ilford HP-5 in case anybody is checking. This was the last shot of the day. I know it was taken with the 8.25 inch Gold Barrel Dagor, you can see the lens. Sweet lens. Shot between f32 and f45. There is an inherent composition in a staircase. A good one combines form, function and a sense of time.

set-up #6

I actually remembered to shoot a set-up shot with the phone. I should do this more often. You can see that the shift is used, pretty much all the shift on the camera. Of course this is because I’m only shooting one side of the holder. You can’t really see that the lens is tilted down, which allows the depth of field to follow the bannister. You can see the top of the Ries Tripod, great tripod. My Leica bag with all the accessories, and thither holders is in the background. Oh, the camera is the Toyo 810M. I think I got the camera back in about 1985? Lot of great stories with that camera and these accessories.

I’ve shot a lot of staircases on commercial jobs. I even did work for a client in Los Angeles that specialized in making custom staircases. You can check out a few of the shots: http://www.siskinphoto.com/architecture1q.php, http://www.siskinphoto.com/architecture1s.php and http://www.siskinphoto.com/architecture1u.php.

If you’d like print of this image, I’d like to send you one. The image will be about 14 inches tall and mounted on cotton rag board (the good stuff). If you use the PayPal link below I’ll even include shipping in the U.S. I appreciate your support.


Also don’t forget my workshops: http://www.siskinphoto.com/workshop.php.

I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below:


Now over 5000 registered users at this blog!!

June 1, 2016

Roberts Park Church #8

Roberts Park Church#8

Roberts Park Church#8

I did a shoot a Roberts Park Church a few weeks ago. I was there with the 8X10 camera. Used Ilford HP-5 in case anybody is checking. This was the last shot of the day. I believe it was taken with the 8.25 inch Gold Barrel Dagor. Sweet lens. I don’t know why I haven’t gotten around to posting any of the stuff I shot on that day. This shot was made in the choir loft.

I’ve always liked pictures of staircases, especially old stone staircases. Check out A Sea Of Steps by Frederic Evans or Spiral Stairs 1 by Linda Butler. Of course this image is really built around the handrails. There is an inherent composition in a stair case. A good one combines form, function and a sense of time. I’ve shot a lot of stair cases on commercial jobs. I even did work for a client in Los Angeles that specialized in making custom stair cases. You can check out a few of the shots: www.siskinphoto.com/architecture1q.php, www.siskinphoto.com/architecture1s.php and www.siskinphoto.com/architecture1u.php.

If you’d like print of this image, I’d like to send you one. The image will be about 14 inches tall and mounted on cotton rag board (the good stuff). If you use the PayPal link below I’ll even include shipping in the U.S. I appreciate your support.


One more thing I wanted to mention: I’m offering individual workshops at my studio in Indianapolis. I’m calling these One on One Workshops. You can choose the subject and the time. I’m hope you’ll sign up soon. How about a day spent working on lighting, or even large format photograph? I hope you’ll check out the One on One workshop at http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=2818. You can see other upcoming workshops on my site.

I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below:


Now over 5000 registered users at this blog!!

 

 

 

April 5, 2016

Rock House #2

Rock House #2

Rock House #2

This is the second image I’m posting from this site. I think this image shows more about the house than the others I made. As I mentioned in the earlier post (Rock House #1). When I look at this picture I look for evidence about the house like the electrical conduit you can see in this shot. I really don’t know much about this site, so I try to extrapolate from the image. Look at the huge logs, I keep wondering where they came from, certainly they weren’t local. The house seems to have had two floors. The logs would have been the support for the second floor. I wonder what the house looked like before the fire.

I’ve recently posted a couple of shots of a waterfall in Box Canyon (Box Canyon #1 and Box Canyon #2). Literally on the other side of the left had rock is this house, or what remains of this house. I came upon the place hiking down the canyon. I had no idea it was there, and there is much less than a quarter mile from where I lived at that time.

Shot with my Speed Graphic of course. I think I used my 135 f4.7 Xenar lens. This probably, certainly, isn’t the best lens Schneider ever made, but it’s a lot better than the lens that’s usually found on a Speed Graphic. I started using a Speed Graphic when I was in High School, back in the early 1970s. I learned a lot about using big cameras through the problems I had. A big source of problems was the original lens I had, which was made by Wollensak. One of the things that makes large format shooting so rewarding are the great lenses, but not all large format lenses are good. Some of the early problems I had were caused by the shutter. I recently got a shutter speed app for my Andriod phone. I went ahead and got the optical sensor for the app; and I have to say it works great! I also really like the Color Temp Meter, Photo Tools, LightMeter & Lighting Studio. One more: Photog Companion, this has model releases that can be filled out on your phone or tablet.

I’ll add more shots from the Rock House soon.

As you know I’m adding these images to my blog as part of my re-do of my fine art portfolio pages. I’m also doing it to make these images available. If you’d like an archival print of this shot, please order with the PayPal link. The image will be about 11X14 inches and mounted on 16X20 cotton rag board. I’ll even throw in shipping, if you are in the U.S.

One more thing I wanted to mention: I offer several workshops at my studio in Indianapolis. I hope you’ll check out the workshops at http://www.siskinphoto.com/workshop.php.

I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below:

April 4, 2016

Rock House #1

Rock House #1

Rock House #1

I’ve recently posted a couple of shots of a waterfall in Box Canyon (Box Canyon #1 and Box Canyon #2). Literally on the other side of the left had rock is this house, or what remains of this house. I know depressingly little about it, other than it’s called the Rock House. Sort of the obvious name. At some time there was fire and the place wasn’t rebuilt. You can still see the blacked surfaces on some of the timbers. The place is built out of rough hewn timber and actual logs. Much of the cabin is the native rock, and, perhaps some of the rocks mortared into the walls are local. The place is absolutely fascinating.

I came upon the place hiking down the canyon. I had no idea it was there, and there is much less than a quarter mile from where I lived.

I have no idea who owned the land. I have no idea when the fire happened. I don’t know when the place was built. In some of the shots you can see flexible conduit for electricity, but I don’t know if the electricity was put in later. I also saw a water heater, but that isn’t in any of my shots. Anyway I leave for you the mystery of the rock house.

Shot with my Speed Graphic of course. There are shoots made with my 8X10 camera, as well as the 4X5, I might add those later. Regardless I’ll add more shots from the Rock House soon.

As you know I’m adding these images to my blog as part of my re-do of my fine art portfolio pages. I’m also doing it to make these images available. If you’d like an archival print of this shot, please order with the PayPal link. The image will be about 11X14 inches and mounted on 16X20 cotton rag board. I’ll even throw in shipping, if you are in the U.S.


One more thing I wanted to mention: I offer several workshops at my studio in Indianapolis. I hope you’ll check out the workshops at http://www.siskinphoto.com/workshop.php.

I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below:

March 4, 2016

Old County USC Medical Center #1

Filed under: Architecture,Architecture,Fine Art,Fine Art Portfolio — John Siskin @ 1:42 pm
County USC #1

County USC #1

If memory serves, and I hope it still does, this is the old County USC Medical Center in Downtown Los Angeles. One of the great things about going through the files for the fine art page of my site is that I get to revisit my older images. I believe this shot was made with a 65mm super Angulon, on my Speed Graphic. I really like the combination. The 65 is a little tough to focus on the Speed, and you have to drop the bed, but it does create a great super wide perspective. The lens has great quality so you also get a great large negative, great combination. One of the other things I like about revisiting old negatives is that I can reinterpret them with the tools in Photoshop. Frankly, this image benefited from a little reinterpretation.

I shot a couple of images at this hospital. I expect I’ll add a few more at a later date. The thing is that I only shot exteriors. It was the inside that held the real drama. This was one of the scariest places I’ve ever been. The ground floor had the jail ward, incarcerated and hospitalized at the same time, which can’t be good. I visited a friend there, not in the jail ward. The hospital had wards of patients, rather than private or semi-private rooms. Some of the equipment looked as though it was left over from WW1. The operating theater was used to film the Dr. Kildare series, which give you an idea of when it was new. There is a new County USC medical center now. I wish the people who worked at the old building, and at the new one, wellness.

If you’d like to buy a print of Old County USC Medical Center #1 use the PayPal link below. You’ll get a print mounted and matted to 16X20-ready to pop into a frame. Why not order one now?


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