As most of you know I was a high school photography teacher for 24 years. I loved the job, working everyday with young people who were intrigued by and creative with photography. Teaching them was fun. I have now retired from that job. I hate that word retired. It sounds as if I am off to bed to do nothing for the remainder of the days I have left. For me retirement is not about that. I developed a good work ethic over the years as a high school teacher which continues to pay off now: I get up and drink coffee with my work. I honestly do not know how I had time do the high school job. I spent at least 60 hours a week working including with the commute (which involved a 30 minute ferry ride). On top of that I tended to my studio and did what I could with my personal work. I had shows and grants and sold photographs but it was “on the side.” Now it is all about simply producing for the pure joy of it.
So what am I doing right now? The Pinhole Landscapes of course. The Innards Portfolio as I have come to call those images. I am also working on a cookbook of my Mother’s recipes, the DSLR images I randomly take, the Pinhole Project, and two personal pinhole projects called Getaways and Home (a future post is in the works) and I of course am updating my two websites and applying for grants. The Pinhole Landscapes involve a lot of post-processing: the negatives are very dusty and the color is off. Sometimes I reverse them horizontally. Sometimes I change things in photoshop: the aspect ratio, the background among other things. I want these images to knock me for a loop, just like the darkroom has in the past. I refuse to be judgmental about post-processing decisions.
I just spent 17 days in November in New York City photographing the archive of my dear deceased mentor from graduate school, Judy Seigel. Many things amaze me about her work. She produced a huge, incredible body of images from the about the time I met her (in the early 1980s) until about 2015. Her work ethic was so strong. She was not always easy to be around. She asked me hard questions and got impatient when I did not have an answer. Yet I learned so much from her and I have continued to learn from her looking at her images while I photographed them. She produced a strong and unappreciated, odd body of work. She had an unique vision. She was experimental and fearless. She thought a regular silver print without any “post factory manipulations” was boring. Her work inspires me to go into the darkroom with the Innards Portfolio. They are film negatives after all. I have an idea to transform these images and make them both about process and the image. I will let you know how that works. Meanwhile, the studio is glorious, depressing, exhilarating, Some days I do not go out: I mean I do not go outside at all. Forgive me if I have canceled a date with you. But now that I have the gift of time, I am using it.
In the past I eschewed the DSLR. But in fact I am shooting with it now and again, especially when I am on a road trip. Here are some photographs with the DSLR from my recent trip to the Grand Tetons. I did shoot a lot with the pinhole camera as well, and I took along a telephoto lens (a rarity for me) for the DSLR. I used it to make studies for the pinholes. Maybe you will see some sort of relationship between the two types of shooting. Maybe not Let me know. You can see two of the trip’s pinholes in the More Innards post. Another post on them later.
To the Grand Tetons and Back, 2018
These images are but a few of the 500 or so that I made with the DSLR. It will take some time to sort them out. The images above have popped out as favorites. The featured image is from inside a cabin near Jackson Lake with the Grand Tetons in the background.