August 1, 2001
Scenes from New York City:
I’m walking back from the Ad Agency where I’ve been doing a few hours a week consulting. I’m wearing jeans and a tee shirt. My camera bag, which really doesn’t look like a camera bag, is carried cross-wise, from one shoulder to hip, with the bag behind me. As I pass an old black woman smoking a pipe, she grins at me, showing many missing teeth. She stops dead in her tracks as I pass, and grins broadly, “You’re an artist, aren’t you?”
I just nod, and continue on to the train. As I walk, I try to figure out how she knew that. Are there sort of crazy prophets walking around who are more sensitive than the rest of us? She reminds me of the oracle in Moby Dick who says that only ‘one will survive.’
But New York City is like that, isn’t it?
Yesterday, I walk out to the park by the East River. Before I get to the park, I stop at the entrance, where you can look down at the FDR highway, and then see further on, the East River in the background. I mean to try and take this shot, where there are these sort of levels of design, but as I put the camera to my eye, I notice down below, in this sort of long alley that’s created by the FDR highway, and the street, a blanket, folded, sitting on the road. And there’s a hat on the blanket. And I lean over the railing and see a basketball and then… a black guy with his shirt off, walking back and forth with his arms in a strange jutting out position, and a pained expression on his face.
If this doesn’t beat all. Now the homeless are exercising down below, in this alley way, and the rich upper east siders are jogging on the walkway above. I watch as the man below walks down the corridor, as if he were pulling a wagon. His arms and legs are stiff. There’s a kind of shadow created by the highway, which splits the alleyway below in half. Now I have something interesting — the cars speeding by at one level, the water in the background, and down below the black shirtless guy walking back and forth with his arms and legs at weird angles.
I don’t know what it all means, but I feel as if I’ve been lucky to be there at just the right time.
* * *
The leave of absence from the ad agency will be up in October. Unless something dramatic happens soon, I will have a tough decision to make, because so far, I haven’t been able to make a living from selling the photography. Not even close. After the Agora show, from which I’m really not expecting much — I’m going to decide whether to enter the art fair circuit or not… or even take my wares out on to the street outside the Metropolitan Museum. Basically, I believe I can make a living at this, but it means mass producing lots of tourist type pictures. From talking to some of the people who do this, they tell me that its almost impossible to sell a print for more than $25. On the other hand, its a cash business, and you can make enough in a good weekend or two to pay the rent so long as you have enough pictures of The Statue of Liberty and The Empire State Building.
* * *
Another suggestion from someone I met today was to try and get a book published — something about the subway. This was from one of the first people who bought some of my prints (S.K.)
Everyone in NYC seems to be on edge lately. O.K., you may say that people in NYC are always on edge. Yesterday, I walk into the Jewish bakery near my house. There’s a guy in a suit wearing a Yarmulke — and there’s this weird energy in the store. I’m just standing there, calm as can be, waiting to buy a roll. The two people who work in the store are down at the other end. Suddenly, the suited guy starts yelling. He’s ranting about not being able to stand this bullshit — actually he says, B.S. anymore. Just give me a knife he bleats. And reaches over the counter where he picks up an enormous knife, and waves it in the air. He yells, I’ll just do it myself. There’s enough bullshit in this world, and I don’t need anymore from you. His hands are shaking with rage, and he lifts the knife and plunges it into some noodle pudding and begins to divide it into neat squares. At the same time he is reaching into his pocket for money, and pulling out a five dollar bill, yells — Here! Take whatever this costs and give the rest to Godammed Charity! He takes the pudding, or whatever it was, drops the knife, and exits stage right.
One of the Hassidic clerks walks up to me, and without blinking an eye says, “Can I help you with anything?”
I know that the most dangerous place is your bed — [more people die in bed than anyplace else, ha, ha] — but I’m starting to believe this bakery must be connected through some cosmic vortex with the Post Office.
The last time I was in that bakery, a distraught woman threw a bunch of change at the clerk, and then broke into tears.
Quotes from Henry Miller (The Rosy Crucifixion, Part 1) —
“I definitely did not want to become the artist, in the sense of becoming something strange, something apart and out of the current of life.”
“Buildings emptied of their automatons are even more desolate than tombs; when the machines are left idle they create a void deeper than death itself.”
I walk back into the agency after an absence of three weeks to fix some program which has gone haywire. Nothing has changed. I am removed from the people in the cubes, and their problems. I can see myself gliding by, and they are exactly as they were before. The place is like an antiseptic ant hill. And it feels like a long, slow-motion tracking shot as I walk past the cubes. People smile, at me, and say things like, “Welcome back” and I say that I’m only in for the day to fix something. And my office door is unlocked now, and I’m standing in the doorway — and on my right, are three or four pc’s — with those geometric screensavers — and there’s nothing in the office that is actually mine. No pictures. No posters. Just scraps of paper with scribbled notes about programming code lying scattered on the desk. I’m back in the tomb again.
* * *
After a few years of having my negatives developed and contacted at Doggerel Labs– I decided to begin developing them myself again. I think the original reason was simply that I was very excited about what I was shooting and didn’t want to go through the trouble of going downtown, dropping them off, and then going back again the next day to get them. If I shot something that I was excited about, I wanted to see what they looked like in an hour or so. So I picked up some XTOL film developer, which I haven’t used before — but that’s what the lab was using and I was happy with their results. Did a test roll which was ‘thin’ — and then did a real roll which was a touch contrasty — but both rolls are printable — and I’m about 10% off right now. But was interesting was how much cheaper it was — I figured out that I could do a roll of film for about 40 cents. The lab was charging $7.50 just for development. It also gives me some control over the negatives which I guess I was missing also.
Another factor was that I’m simply shooting less film with the Leica — so its not such a big chore to develop a couple of rolls each week, and now that I have more time…
Contact prints have never helped me that much — I generally do better looking at the negatives on a light box… If I really want to see what the thing looks like I can scan the negative (assuming that I get my negative scanner fixed).
Standing on line at the post office this morning, waiting for the ‘retail windows’ to open up so that I could buy stamps for postcards (I guess I’m going to send out about fifty invitations to the gallery) — a man walks to the front of the line and stands there for a second. Huh? What does this guy think he’s doing? The man who was directly behind him tells the interloper to go to the back of the line. The fellow looks at him and starts laughing — “Hah, hah, hah! Just wanted to see what you miserable bunch of people would do if I jumped the line! What a miserable lot you all are!”
The line at the post office —
An enormously obese man with walrus mustache, sweating and panting and looking at the tee-shirt I’m wearing (one of my old Lotus Notes tee-shirts). I look him in the eye, and he looks away. A few seconds later, he looks at my shirt again. I catch his eye again, and he begins to wheeze and mumble.
And there’s the crazy woman I’ve seen lately — a black woman in a coat that’s been painted with oil paints. Her hands and face are covered with colorful paint. Her eyes are closed and she has a beatific smile, inching her way towards the window.
A Chinese man who has been nervously filling out forms the whole time he’s on the line. Yet, when he does finally get to the window, the postal clerk tells him he has the wrong forms filled out and he starts filling out forms all over again.
A man reading something by Herman Wouk — with a hair lip.
And a police officer.
And the line always reminds me of purgatory.
* * *
I write an email to my father in which I casually mention that The irony of it, is that “my art” is improving by leaps and bounds.
He responds: “TRANSLATE; EXPLAIN THIS IN BRONX ENGLISH”
in baseball, you would say, that i had found my swing — that i have a lifetime average of .250, but this season i’m hitting .333. maybe it was a slight adjustment in stance that made the difference. Maybe its simply that i’ve seen all the pitchers once, and now i know what to expect. explaining a ‘good season’ is hard — but I’m having one.
in the language of playing and instrument, it means that technique, fingering, reading music. is no longer something that I’m conscious of — and that I’m able to express what i feel without worrying being aware of what finger goes where. that my ‘playing’ has become as natural as talking.
and in photographic terms, it means that I’m capturing and able to show how i feel about life through pictures. that i look at what i’m shooting and have very strong emotions about it. not just that i’ve managed to put all the tones in the right places, but that i’ve caught something about the human condition.
* * *
Developed two more rolls that I had sitting around — these were the ‘good things’ that I didn’t want to ruin — and they look pretty good. I don’t really know until I do some printing — whenever that will be. I’ve been setup to print for at least five days now — but keep going out in the morning to shoot — and have such a good time that by the time I return, I just don’t feel like printing.
This morning was funny — I was standing near a water fountain watching birds — sparrows and pigeons — drinking from it. Inch by inch I slid forward, until I was a few feet away (I’m using a 90mm lens) — but the whole process probably took fifteen minutes. I truly felt like I was stalking wild game.
Anyway, came home — developed the negs. and sure enough one of shots has caught a pigeon just about to land on the fountain — perfectly framed — and really nice and sharp. My shots of birds, nature, etc. usually end up in the garbage, but I am fascinated by the water fountain and the life that goes on around it. This must be some childhood memory — because I can remember exactly the feel of the water fountains on University Avenue where I grew up, and how much fun we had around them during the summer.
Then there were some people bringing their dogs by to drink. Anyway, I must have spent an hour by the water fountain — and afterwards was thinking there was a coffee table book in it. When I get in this mood, anything seems like a coffee table book:
Other ideas for coffee table books:
Lamposts around the world; Curbs; Backs of Television Sets; Korean Nail Places of the Upper East Side (This is my favorite); A Day in the Life of a Drinking Fountain; Close ups of the food in the frozen food section of the supermarket;
* * *
Got around to printing some of the new things today. I wonder whether you can feel the same excitement that I do in seeing the print for the first time as I turn on the light and look at it in the fixer. When it’s a print that I’ve never done before — I often find myself muttering things, like — wow, that is great. The best of the new things are when something has been caught that is slightly dreamlike. Probably the best print of the day is of the homeless man, sleeping in a strange position, and I’m looking down at him from about thirty or forty feet. Because of the angle of the shot, and because there is no reference point, it seems as if he’s asleep on a wall. And there are so many strange details — he’s holding what looks like a letter in one hand, and there are some out-of-focus pieces of the railing, which add to the overall sense of something not quite real.
Another one of the same guy doing a weird exercise — very small in frame — and on the left a car passing by, was better than expected.
There’s a few from the water fountain that have some promise — but I doubt whether they will be as surreal as the man on the blanket.
Giving titles to the prints is sometimes difficult — because I want to keep the title as factual as possible so as not to force the viewer into seeing what I think the print is about. I guess that’s why some people simply give the prints numbers.
Went out to do some shooting but the heat was blistering, and I headed back to the apartment. On the way back, I passed a neighbor, a woman in her fifties who was sitting in the heat on a folding stool watching her car. She explained that this car, a Volvo something or other was only one day old and already there was a scratch on the front bumper. She rattled on and on about the damned trucks that come by, and how each one was a potential threat to her new car, and how even if she kept it in a garage that wouldn’t help because she had kept her last car in an expensive garage and it had been scratched unmercifully, and why did trucks need to come down these side streets anyway? I thought she was going to have a fit as she showed me the scratch, and explained that her husband had told her not to get a new car, but that she had always wanted one and didn’t see why, just because she lived on a side-street in New York City, she couldn’t get what she always wanted.
I guess she’ll be out there all night watching her new shiny investment, but it won’t help, because even as we stood there, an enormous van passed by and just about took off her side mirrors. Ah, possessions. Who owns who?
It’s been very hot, and I’ve been mostly staying indoors. But tonight I’m walking up 2nd Avenue — its dark — and as I cross the street, in the headlights of cars heading south, is an apperition like figure — running. You can catch a glimpse of a summer dress — and long blond hair — and the dress is low cut — low enough to see that this is a guy jogging up second avenue, against traffic. As I cross a side-street, he veers towards me, and a taxi turns at the same time, and the guy in the dress is almost hit by the cab. And I hear someone say that its just a guy, looking for attention. Just another night on the upper east side.
Have been doing a lot of printing — all from the same 10 rolls of film shot with M6 over the last month or so. Either my standards are dropping, or I’m seeing and capturing things better than usual. Did four new prints today, and five new prints yesterday. As they lie drying on the screens, I’m often excited enough not to wait for them to dry properly, and take them off and look at them closely under the light. Very simple subjects. Just odds and ends of things that I pass by, and yet I hear myself mumbling, ‘That’s got something.” The prints are getting to a point where I can no longer describe in words why I like it. I have to hunt around for associations, memories that they evoke.
Had a couple of orders for small prints recently. Not exactly enough to pay the electric bill, but still better than nothing. This quote is from a fellow in England who emailed me to enquire about shipping a print to England:
Thanks for your reply. Selling prints is a problem. I know of one photographer who sold a print via a gallery and the purchaser demanded their money back because they hadn’t realised that it was a photograph. They said that they could take their own photographs!
Reminds me of the remark that quite a few people make when they see my work: “Oh, black and white. I love black and white pictures. So elegant.”
Although I’ve been shooting in Black and White for a million years, I would never say that I love Black and White. I’ve seen plenty of stuff in Black and White that stinks. I guess that the person is really just feeling something new, that they’re not used to seeing — and I shouldn’t be that sensitive — but that is my true reaction when someone is standing in front of one of my prints and says they ‘love black and white.’
* * *
Brilliant idea Beckerman — bought a postage scale. Now I can weigh the packages, put stamps on ’em and drop ’em in the nearest mailbox rather than standing on line in the post office to have them meter them. Brilliant. Should have done this two years ago. Retail is definitely not in my blood.
I’m not going to create ‘limited editions’ anymore — at least for any of the new things I’m doing. I may be shooting myself in the foot, but ‘Limited Editions’ are a marketing gimmick which goes totally against the my grain. I will, of course continue to stay within limits for those early prints that are ‘limited’ but new prints are simply going to be done in the size that I think is best, and at a reasonable price. I’m going to go through all my other prints from the past that have never sold, and remove the ‘limited edition’ thing from them. The basic reason is the artificiality of it. One of the obvious things that photography is good at, is making many prints from the same negative. The new prints will all be printed and signed by me — and I am going to switch to fiber paper for all future work. I like the results, and I can more easily guarantee the archival quality of the prints. This is not such a strange idea, and many of my heros do not do limited editions. Of course they are famous. But c’est la vie. So you can look forward to seeing in the next few days, the prints which have never been sold, and are labeled as limited edition, to becoming open editions.
I know that galleries want to only sell limited editions, or else prints by famous people who don’t need to do limited editions, but my mood right now is simply to sell prints, limited or not.
Thanks to Bill M. for some ideas about how to deal with the limited vs. open print.
Funny how one things leads to another. I was sitting at the desk writing postcard invitations to the Agora show, when I began to think about some very close friends that I hadn’t seen in ten years. One friend, Arthur.G — I just didn’t know how we had drifted apart — never a real fight — it happened around the time that I first got into the world of computer programming. Arthur G. and I had worked on screenplays together before that — and had all sorts of hairbrained schemes to get rich through the years — and at any rate I was sitting here with the postcards and wondering again how to get in touch with him. Quite honestly, I wondered if he were still alive.
I ended up finding some of my old address books, and eventually came up with a number for him. Nervously I called the New Jersey number. And there was a voice — and it was him.
I say, “Arthur?”
“I bet you can’t guess who this is”, says I. Not really expecting him to know who it is.
And there’s a moment of hesitation. This is an Arthur moment — because as he’s thinking, I remember how Arthur always liked games and puzzles. This is another interesting game for him, and you can almost hear the gameshow clock ticking and the music playing Jeopardy theme…
After ten years, Arthur says, “Dave, is that you?”
I start laughing, “Yep.”
He congratulates himself on solving the problem, “I thought it was you. I was going to call you one of these days.”
We both start laughing — and two hours later after talking about what life was like when we nineteen, and catching up, it was as if we had just tossed out those ten years. And he was able to look at the photos on-line while we were on the phone — really beautiful, really beautiful. And later in the conversation,
He says, “I remember, you were always into photography. You took beautiful black and white shots of the wife at our wedding…” and then the brain turning it over, “Do you mean those pictures might be valuable one day?”, he asks.
This gets a good laugh out of me. And I tell him that they may be worth something if he can prove I took them. I can see that he’s wondering how to get me to sign them.
Here, as best as I can explain, is the series of events that lead to the previous phone conversation (and this is vastly simplified) —
I decide to take a leave of absence from work so that I can do some shows and fairs. At one of these fairs (Westport), I meet a painter, Bill, who I have an email conversation with. In this email, I mention that I would like to give my ad agency a phoney name, the way that Henry Miller gave the Telegraph Company where he was an manager, a funny name — in his case he called it the Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company (among others things). But since I couldn’t remember what the name was, I ended up going to the bookstore and getting Sexus and Plexus — and got very much into reading Henry Miller again. And Miller is always digressing about how he got in touch with a friend that he hasn’t seen in years, etc. etc. and I’m getting these ideas about all the people in my life that have been left behind as I’ve changed from one profession to another; one life to another. And so the idea to call old friends.
After speaking with Arthur — I sat back on the couch and felt as if a weight had been lifted. I had been meaning to get back in touch with Arthur for ten years — but never had.
* * *
In Van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo…
Actually, I don’t have much to say, so here’s some quotes from recent emails to me:
* * *
“I just wanted to give you a quick letter to express the enjoyment I have
gotten from you website… and more importantly your pictures. I have been
looking at many different sites and photographers of B&W pictures and I can
say that yours have truly impressed me. I feel an instant connection with
your work as it conjures up an immediate feeling inside me. I see much
humanity in your work, much satirization, much emotion.”
* * *
From A.G. of New Jersey
“I think your photos are wonderful, especially the people. You make your citydwellers feel like an organic part of the cityscape, like so many diverse creatures well-adapted to their exotic environment ”
* * *
From D.P. of Britain
“…and as a footnote, I have been reading your log for August. I am sorry, but not surprised, that you are not yet making a living by selling your prints. The public seem to want chocolate box pictures and collectors will only buy from well known photographers. Don’t give up! Your work is up there with the best and will be recognised one day.”
I’m going to write this little episode up while I’m still totally pissed off.
Wake up this morning and go to check my email. The message box pops up saying that there is something wrong with my email account and then lists posssible reasons that there might be something wrong, such as that the account hasn’t been accessed for a while or that the login has been changed. And of course it isn’t anything at all like that, unless I walked in my sleep last night and changed my login in my sleep. (This is remotely possible since I did have a sleep-walking incident when I was about fifteen.)
I look at the lights on the modem and see that the send/receive lights are now blank. Okay, the modem has failed. And I guess that Outlook Express isn’t even smart enough to know whether its connected to the network or not.
I call Time Warner Roadrunner. And after a long announcement in which they tell me about all the places where cable t.v. isn’t working in NYC, and how they are working to fix it, they finally say, “Press One For English”, which I do, feelling some small resentment that they didn’t just get right to it. And then some other odds and ends and press this for that and that for this (you know how it is), and eventually I’m connected to the cable modem support desk, where I’m asked to verify who I am and what my address is and I am told that my account has been turned off, because they have detected that I have the code red worm.
Now, maybe I do, and maybe I don’t. First off, no one even called to say that they would be turning off my service, or emailed me or anything. They just turned it off. They say I must contact LEVEL THREE SUPPORT, and that they are going to connect me.
Now I hear, “You have reached the Time Warner Express Pay Service” and more choices, and I realize that the first guy has connected me to the wrong department. I start over again at the beginning. This time, I am patched through to the LEVEL THREE support people, who are not answering the phone. I leave a message, and go out to do some shooting. When I return, I have a message saying that they have received my message, but cannot restore service until I call them back and they can verify that my pc is okay.
I call that number. I get the following message:
“Thank you for calling the help desk. All of our agents are busy assisting other customers. Please leave a detailed message after the beep:”
And there’s a beep, and then before I can leave a message, I hear:
“We are sorry but our answering mailbox cannot record your message because the mail box that you are calling is full. Thank you for calling Time Warner.”
So now there’s nothing to do but call and call and hope to get a human being on the other end. And after a few attempts every few minutes a voice answers and says, “Thank you for calling the help desk.. and the answering mailbox is full.” And eventually, after eight calls to a Brooklyn number, a human being answers and asks for my phone number to verify I am somebody… and I’m so startled that there’s an actual voice at the other end, that I get rattled and forget my own phone number. I know how it starts, but I can’t remember the last two digits! I’m on the phone with the guy and I’m laughing at my own memory lapse. He says he needs to put me on hold for a minute and I yell, ‘no, don’t do that. Wait, I’ll remember my number…” But I can’t think of it. Its gone. The key to my problem and I can’t remember the last digits and he still wants to put me on hold. While all this is going on, I’m thumbing through my bills and things trying desperately to find my own phone number, but I pay all my bills via computer, and generally throw them away, and all I can find are the bills for mats and things. Then I get the brilliant idea, “Hey, can’t you check your caller ID?”
He tells me the last two digits, and now we’re in business. There’s a lot of turning the computer off, and turning it on, and the lights are flashing hopefully on the cable modem, and finally things are straightened out. And I say, couldn’t you have called me, or sent me an email before you cut off the service. And he goes into an explanation that when a house is on fire, you don’t make announcements, you just try to get everyone out. And I say, so you feel as if your house is on fire. And he says, he does.
And then I ask, do I have the worm? Wasn’t that why the thing was turned off in the first place?
And he says, “No. Your machine is clean.”
* * *
On the other hand, help desk people have problems as well.
This story has been kicking around for at least five years. It was transcribed from a call taken by a Wordperfect Support Person and is supposed to be the actual dialogue of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee…
Employee (E): Ridge Hall computer assistance, may I help you?
Customer (C): Yes, well, I’m having trouble with WordPerfect.
E: What sort of trouble?
C: Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away.
E: Went away?
C: They disappeared.
E: Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?
C: It’s blank. It won’t accept anything when I type.
E: Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?
C: How do I tell?
E: Can you move your cursor around the screen?
C: There isn’t any cursor. I told you, it won’t accept anything I type.
E: Does your monitor have a power indicator?
C: What’s a monitor?
E: It’s the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it is on?
C: I don’t know.
E: Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?
C: Yes, I think so.
E: Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it’s plugged into the wall.
C: Yes, it is.
E: When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two Cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?
E: Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable.
C: Okay, here it is.
E: Follow it for me, and tell me if it’s plugged securely into the back of your computer.
C: I can’t reach.
E: Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?
E: Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?
C: Oh, it’s not because I don’t have the right angle — it’s because it’s dark.
C: Yes, the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window.
E: Well, turn on the office light then.
C: I can’t.
E: No? Why not?
C: Because there’s a power failure.
E: A power…A power failure? Aha, Okay, we’ve got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?
C: Well, yes. I keep them in the closet.
E: Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from.
C: Really? Is it that bad?
E: Yes, I’m afraid it is.
C: Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?
E: Tell them you’re too f—ing stupid to own a computer.
* * *
The following is from NY1 — a television station in NYC.
“Twenty retired Redbird subway cars will be shipped south Thursday to be sunk off the coast of Delaware as artificial reefs. Weather permitting, the cars will hit the water next week on Tuesday. The familiar Redbird cars are slowly being replaced after about 40 years of service in the New York City transit system. Delaware has agreed to acquire 400 of the old subway cars in all.
“Earlier this year, New Jersey and Maryland rejected similar plans to use the cars as reefs.
The MTA says sinking the subway cars as reefs is cheaper than scrapping them. ”
These are the very same subway cars from the #6 line that I have been shooting on for the last few years — and here is their watery end — to be sunk off the coast of Delaware. I wish I could be there to see the cars being dropped into the water and would give anything to watch them sink.
I hope they’ve swept the sleeping winos out of the cars. Some of those guys can sleep through anything.
“Attention customers. Next stop will be the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Delaware. Please take all your belongings when you exit the train. I repeat, These trains are due to be dropped in the Atlantic Ocean. There you can make connections to eternity.”
* * *
They called this show at the Agora Gallery, Visions Reflected. There will be at least two other artists there, and a few people were complaining that I wouldn’t be showing any of my ‘people’ stuff.
I had no idea what that title meant. This morning, as I was re-printing ‘Window’ for the show, I was thinking of telling the Agora people that I wanted to replace ‘Window’ with some shots of people.
Lately I’ve started to print my 35mm negs full-frame, in the 35mm aspect ratio — so I decided to re-print the full-frame of ‘Window’. And that was quite the revelation to me. There were things in the print such as the texture of the walls of the Museum, which I hadn’t seen before, and the overall composition was better. And then I realized that this picture was in fact a reflection — so maybe that was what had given them the idea, though I doubt it. But I decided to show it, because it looked fresh to me again.
And very easy to print. 7 secs. No dodging or burning. The top is a little light, but I decided to let it go without burning because there was a nice tonal transition from the bottom to the top. But I could see someone asking why the top part is so light. On the other hand — sometimes when this stuff dries down, you just get the hint of texture, which is really all I want in that part of the print. I know I complain a lot about printing — and it is definitely not my favorite thing to do — but every once in a while it reveals something which is exciting.
After printing at the new size, I quickly ordered frames from LightImpressions — in that size. Quite honestly, I think that I’m going to try and do most of my new 35mm negs full-frame like that. It’s much closer to what I was seeing when the shot was taken. Of course, every time you make that kind of change, you want to kick yourself for not having thought of it before…
Made a few attempts at one of the Sprinkler and Tree prints — but wasn’t happy with it. Then stumbled across an out of focus shot of a kid with a balloon — and the balloon string was tangled up in the mothers’ curlers, which made me laugh so I printed that. Not technically great, but it did make me laugh out loud.
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