Photo Notes

July 14, 2012

I’m Showing in Indianapolis!


I had an opportunity to show a few images at a local coffer house, Lazy Daze, drop into my lap. If you’re in Indiana I hope you’ll check it out: the address is 10 S. Johnson Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46219.  The images on display are 16X20 inches, so these on line images aren’t really as effective, but at least you can see them. The text is the artist’s statement I included with the show. The images are on sale for $275. If you’d like to buy one I’ll get it to you for that price, plus shipping, after the show. All prints are silver gelatin, and are hand made by me.

Time and Shadow

Photography is an art form that is evolving. William Henry Fox Talbot realized that photography would become a means of communication when he created his first images back in the late 1830s. He used his camera to record household goods as buildings people and plants. When he published Pencil of Nature starting in 1844 he presented many of the ways the world would use photographs up to the present time. In the beginning photography was extraordinarily difficult to do. Exposures were long, so cameras had to be supported by a tripod. The chemical processes were almost as arcane as a witch’s brew, and sometimes more dangerous. It’s very important to remember that the photographs a person takes are always constrained by the limitations of the medium: the photographs a person could take.

The photographs I present here are from a certain time in photography. I used large cameras at this time to increase detail and reduce grain. I made prints by hand in a darkroom. I watched each of these images develop on a white sheet of paper under a safelight. It was a good time.

One of the most significant differences between working in this fashion and working with a digital camera is that each image you captured involved certain costs of time and material, so I would choose an image much more carefully. Now I more often shoot everything and edit, which is a very effective way to work with a digital camera. One more time the change in the technology of making pictures has changed the way we take pictures.

I hope these images will share not just how I see, but also some of the magic of making an image. These images were made with 4X5 film cameras. They were printed by hand with an enlarger in a darkroom. I enjoyed this way of fixing my vision onto paper. I hope you will find some joy in these images as well.

John Siskin

I hope you’ll check out my books: Photographing Architecture and Understanding and Controlling Strobe Lighting. I hope you’ll get copies if you haven’t already. Of course you know that one reason for this blog is to sell the book and get you to consider one of my classes at BetterPhoto.com:
An Introduction to Photographic Lighting

Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio
Getting Started in Commercial Photography
If you’re in the Indianapolis area there are other opportunities as well. I’ll be teaching a class in commercial photography next spring at Ivy Tech.

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