Photo Camp II

•July 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This month I spent two weeks doing Photo Camp II with my Dad. Unlike last year, we did not do darkroom training. Instead, my father gave me the option of shooting black and white film or color slide film, as well as the choice between shooting with a 35mm camera or one of the options from his large collection of antique box cameras.

I chose to use the Agfa Clack, one of the new additions to his collection. Dad had never shot with it before, so being able to use it first was pretty cool. It has only a bulb and a manual setting for shutter speed, and I can control the aperture size depending on whether it’s sunny or cloudy. It takes 120 film, and I shot on Fuji Velvia, meaning that everything was going to be in color. One of the hardest parts of working with the Clack is that there is very little control over making the image. Many of the images have dramatic blur, strange light leaks and flares (the film rolls on the spool awkwardly, leaving some crimps and bubbles), and dreamy-looking edges from intense light, but I like how these came out very much.

Clack

Because my father isn’t set up to process E-6 film at home, we had to take our photos to the F-Stop Camera Shop, where Grant Robertson kindly handled our film on a rush basis. Thanks, Grant!

We then spent two days scanning our negatives, making digital alterations to them (color balance, levels, and brightness/contrast in Photoshop), then digitally spot-toning them (clone-stamping is brutal if there’s junk all over your negatives!). Originally, we talked about having another show, but my Dad and I realized that more people could see my images if I designed a website instead. These are my results.

This time around I had a specific theme in mind. We drove out into the countryside, visiting parts of South Carolina I have never seen before. While out there, I made the decision to shoot old buildings, most of them uninhabited and in various stages of decay. Some places were pretty spooky and made me uneasy, but most of them were just really interesting.

My favorite part of Photo Camp II was being out in the field and having the opportunity to see so many unusual places that I might not pay attention to otherwise. My favorite town was Calhoun Falls, even though I didn’t shoot anything from there. I found it interesting that a town that was once so busy could diminish in such a rapid way.

You can see images from Photo Camp II in the weblink on the right side of this page.

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Photo Camp I

•July 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

On the right side of this blog page you’ll find a link to my photo series from my first visit to Photo Camp with my dad in Summer 2008. For the first season, I studied how to compose my scenes, how to use aperture settings and speed settings to control my image, and how to process film and develop prints in the darkroom. I shot all of my images on a Canon AE-1, 35mm camera using black and white film.

As part of my learning experience, I also had the opportunity to interview several amateur, student, and professional photographers as well as see examples of their work. We also visited the Constantine Manos exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art. At the end of the two-week camp, Grant Robertson at the F-Stop Camera Shop in Columbia, SC, kindly allowed me to exhibit my images for one night; the reception was well attended, and I sold four of my twelve pieces.

With that series, I was really just trying to get a feel for everything. It wasn’t supposed to be part of a grand theme, necessarily. I just shot the things that seemed most interesting to me as we traveled all over the state of South Carolina. My favorite part was that I had free reign over what I wanted to do; I could shoot whatever, then make decisions later about what I liked and didn’t like. The hardest part for me was coming up with titles, probably because I did not have a grand theme in mind when I started shooting.

The images as they appear here are scans of the original prints, although part of a diptych that appeared in the series is not replicated here, as the duplicate print intended for scanning was accidentally damaged, and original print has been sold. My dad tells me these scanned images have been optimized for viewing on a Mac rather than a PC, although they were not spot-toned or otherwise corrected prior to scanning.

selfportrait

Self-Portrait, Charleston, SC