Week-21-Coursework

Had a good 1-2-1 with Dr. Wendy. Everything for my exhibition is set to go. Got into discussion about the structure of my Crop, and the connection of the American Highway and my personal journey as an artist and photographer. I have been giving thought how to tie this in to my practice, and will be looking at the work of other practitioners who have influenced me in my work along the course of the me.

HWY-138 really held my attraction thoughout the MA and by the second module up until my FMP I frequented the HWY many times in search of inspirtion and ideas.  Along the way, Fences took my fancy, initially they were physical. The beauty of the the barbed wire along the highway.

As I began to travel the road more often, I began to notice signs and symbols that began to intrigue me. A beer bottle strapped to a fence with wire, an old boot propped up on a fence post out in the middle of no-where, a california license plate someone had tied to the fence, a bottle of wine in an old tee-shirt. The highways has a way in and a way out. All along the way it is fenced with as many types are there are numbers in a phone book.  They all had a few things in common. Firstly, they can all be seen through, and second, all fences lead to a gate of some nature, where it be a physical one, a place where the fence was cut, holes in fences, or where time had rusted them away. From this aspect, I came to realize that fences are not permanent, one can always see what’s beyond the fence, and that there is a way in and a way out.

Some of the greats who have travelled and lived along that highway are David Hockney, Alfred Hitchcock, and Aldous Huxley. Every time I travel that Hwy, I think of them. The road with its varied terrain  from rolling hills to high desert is a real good time to contemplate life and art. The HWY has a very strnge kind of beauty that is difficult to explain. But the summer heat is really very unique in the California desert.

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David Fathi:

His work on Henrietta Lacks really interested me. Because he had an interest in her story for a long time, he wanted to work on a project but did not know how, so he started researching and at the same time started a road trip. Between the hospital and the cemetery where Henrietta Lax passed awaything on. He used the road as a metaphor for a lot of ideas. eg the great distance between the hospital and the cemetery was 400 miles and the same distance between the time that her cells were mortal and immortal, the scientific wonder and the political problem and the ethical problems. I find this very applicable in my own practice and have searched the road for the answers.  The individual is already well researched, a book had been written on her life* so he wanted to find something on her that had not been explored or written about. And wanted to find a way to interact with it in a different way. Exploring the space between mortality and immortality.

 

*Skloot, R. (2011). Book Club kit. New York: Broadway.

 

Week-21-Project Development

This week, I have completed all printing and re-printing. I have been battling the excessive curling of the fibre images. I really began to doubt that floating the image was the right way to go. However, I decided to walk through the ghost on this one instead of changing midstream. I have had the idea to float the images, and I will find a way to deal with the image curl, I will not let it make me change my mind. I decided  this is the way to go and will find a way.

It is less than two weeks before my exhibition and I am still fighting the mounting on the images. Two of my large frames 18×22 have not arrived as yet they were suposed to be her Friday last. The supplier did not supply a tacking number, so I do not know where they are. I attempted to call the company yesterday (Monday)  and it goes strait to voicemail. In addition I dropped my cellphone into a half a cup of water I had between my seats in the car and of course it died so had to replace it and attemp to retrieve all my contacts.

I went down to Santa Monica College to use the dry mount press to flatten the prints, but was not happy with the results. So this past week-end I was using my  drier, and tried many different heat temps and drying methods such as adding glycerine to the water as well as a glazing solution and finally I got the level of curl I was happy with. I just thought of Edison searching for the right filament for the lightbulb, he tried every conceivable metal before he came upon tungsten, so  I  tried every temperature, time and wetting agents that I could think of, and eventually my ‘filament’was found. The prints lay with a flatness and curl that I liked. This has been a very long standing problem, and I am glad to say that I found a point where I am satisfied with the look of the image as it is floated. This week I will complete the framing of the images.

It is amzing to experience that way materials fight and resist, I have read about artists experiencing this with their work. I have had to fight for everything, so it’s no news to me, however in this experience, I discovered that even paper has a life, and when it finally gives in to the flattening, it’s what it is happy being not me. My happiness just co-incides what the paper wants, not what I want. The architect Louis Kahn said: ‘Even bricks aspire to be something’ *  So I presume the one at the very top wanted to be there.

Just called the framing company, my frames where not shipped. I tried yesterday to call them the line was busy all day would not accept calls. I managed to get through today, and my order was not placed for the large frames 18×22. My card did not go through. I did not get an em-mail to the effect and discover this today one week before my exhibit. They said will try to ship today, and delivery takes 5 to 7 business days so at the latest I will get it on my exhibition day. No rush service available. This is very disturbing, among losing my phone, one pack of 50 sheets of 11×14 ruined by a small pinhole leak in the bag, stains on my prints and excessive curl,  it has been a very challenging week. I take solace in Sir Edmund Hillary when he was climibing mount Everest, it seemed to be most difficult and challenging when he neared th summit.

References:

* Goodreads.com. (2019). A quote by Louis Kahn. [online] Available at: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1460798-even-a-brick-wants-to-be-something-a-brick-wants [Accessed 5 Nov. 2019].

 

Week-20-Coursework

Had a good 1-2-1 with Dr. Wendy. She suggested that I start working on my assignment should consider the ‘road’ as the theme for my CRoP. To take a look at the work of Ed Ruscha,

Ed Ruscha’s – Every Building on Sunset Strip.- 1966 © Image courtesy of: www.getty.edu

and explore the works of film makers and other artists. I had mentioned that HWY-138, a rather famous American Highway, had spawned the idea for my project: ‘Fences’ formed when I drove out to the location where David Hockney’s photographed the elemnets for his collage he made in 1982 at the crossroads of Ave 165th East and Hwy 138. I always return to regions where great art is and was made, from ancient Greece to modern HWY-138, and places in between.

David Hockney © Pearblossom Hwy., 11 – 18th April 1986, #2  Image courtesy of www.getty.edu

Here I find inspiration and in some way get in touch with the spirit of the artist, just by knowing that some-one who I admire, has roamed around the very spot I stand.

Map of HWY-138
HWY-138 Polyptych Photo by: Pierre Chemaly © (The place where Hockney made his collage-as it is to-day) The red traffic light, replaces the stop-sign.

While driving this highway, also known as the Pearblossom Highway, I began noticing symbols and signs that interested me. Traveling, be it a highway, seaway, or any other means of getting from one place to another, stimulates ideas and at the same time is a period of relaxation and incubation that allows these ideas to ferment. The eyes and ears and all the senses are the yeasts of the brew and the senses stimulate thoughts and the thoughts become concepts and the concepts become the materialized form of the ideas.

 

References:

David Hockney Collage:  The J. Paul Getty in Los Angeles. (2017). Pearblossom Hwy., 11 – 18th April 1986, #2 (Getty Museum). [online] Available at: http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/105374/david-hockney-pearblossom-hwy-11-18th-april-1986-2-british-april-11-18-1986/ [Accessed 28 Oct. 2019].

Ed Ruscha:  Getty.edu. (2011). In Focus: Ed Ruscha (Getty Center Exhibitions). [online] Available at: https://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/focus_ruscha/ [Accessed 28 Oct. 2019].

 

Week-20-Contextual Research

Fire Flies by Keith Carter©. Image courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery **

This week I looked at the work of Keith Carter * American photographer. Keith has had many solo shows in many countries around the world. I find his images very attractive, as he ‘manipulates’ the images in the camera. He is known for ‘playing’ with the focus plane, causing some part of the image to be out of focus, which has the quality of drawing attention to that part of the image.

I find that most photographers have a central point to which the eye goes. My work on the other hand is created by in camera double exposures, multiple printing onto paper, and the use of some photoshop. This technique is not new and historically has been used by photographers since the beginning on the mediums invention. I attempt to do most of the work in camera or in the darkroom, but do not discard the advantages of the digital era. Keith said something I found very interesting: “In the history of photography, one process has always replaced another process, and the irony of it is, hardly any of them has dissapeared. There is more interest today, in antequarian processes, than ever before.”

I think that the ubiquitousness of the digital revolution has made the medium more challenging, but feel, this is the best time for art in the medium to emerge, especially with the analogue format which can be used by artists who have a good technical knowledge of the medium.  Keith Carter is one of those artists who uses the medium as an art form, and I find his work very inspiring through his use and dis-use of focus. Carter’s technique, causes one to hold the gaze. This is a very important characteristic of image making –  to hold the viewers attention –

I visit many galleries and museums, and have looked at consumers looking at paintings and photographs. In general people spend a lot more time gazing at paintings than photographs, and there are many reasons for this, one being that paintings are one of a kind.  With Carters work, I spend time expoloring the image and I extend this characteristic to my own work likewise, se uses simplicity, I use complexity in the image making process.  Essentially his work is constructed, not just a Henri Cartier Bresson ‘decisive moment’ Carter spends time with his images, as a painter would with a canvass. I really like this about his work, and in turn, extand it to my own.

 

References:

*Keith Carter:   Amazon.com. (2019). Watch The Art of Photography Artist Series | Prime Video. [online] Available at: https://www.amazon.com/The-Artist-Series-Trailer/dp/B01FTEEOK8/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8 [Accessed 28 Oct. 2019].

**Howard Greenberg Gallery:  Howardgreenberg.com. (2009). Keith Carter – Artists – Howard Greenberg Gallery. [online] Available at: http://www.howardgreenberg.com/artists/keith-carter?view=slider#2 [Accessed 30 Oct. 2019].

 

Week-20-Project Development

This week has been a heavy dark room week once again. I have made most of the prints and running into a problem with the mounting of the images. They are floating and the frames arrived, but all the back boards are convex and bend towards the glass, so I have to replace them all.

I went ot pick up the museum glass, and much to my dimay the glass is very delicate and the slightest rub and the glass is irreparably scratched, and I have scratched a few already, so they  will have to be replaced

The floating of the images is proving to be a real challenge, as the fibre base prints do not dry uniformly, so the standard way to float the images is not working, as the floating mechanism affects the way the image curls and sometimes the images curl backwards towards the backer board, adn other times it curls forward to the glass. I have been experimenting with my prints and I have ruined many of them, so I had to go down to Los Angeles and buy some more Ilford paper and will have to reprint many images. Once the mounting tape is placed on the back of the image it is permanent, and removing it damages the paper. There is a special release agent, but it smells aweful and contains carbon tetrachloride, so I do not like working with it.

This week I will reprint the damaged images. These take a long time to process  wash and dry, but it has to be done. I will go down to Santa Monica College, they have a big dry mounting press there, and I will attempt to flatten the images over there. I do have a big drum dryer but it puts a very deep bow in the print and when they float causes the edges to curl too much for my liking. This is something I have to resolve quickly as this week I have to get the images mounted.

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My exhibition is officially listed on November the 14th at the Hollywood Sculpture Garden. Dr Gordon said that he may extend it until the 17th instead of just the one day, but as yet have not had an official okay on that. My exhibit is on the website and listed under the events. https://www.hollywoodsculpturegarden.com

Week-19-Project Development

This week all the floating frames came in. I ordered 12  (13×16) floating frames for my exhibition . These will easily house the 11×14 inch prints I am printing with a 2 inch float space from the edge of the print to the frame edge.

The frames came with regular glass, and the reflections are not acceptable, so I went down to an art supply/ glass supplier that sells museum grade glass. Museum glass and acrylic is by far the best and decided to buy three sheets of museum glass 30×40 inches, with a reflection of about 1 percent. The glass is so good it is almost invisible, and well worth the expense. The acrylic is even more expensive, however for glass the size of 13×16, I am not worried about glass breaking.

While at the glass supply house, I met a professional framer, and asked if he cut glass to size. He invited me to his atelier and cut the glass.  While there he asked some advice on a photograph he was having a problem with and needed a good reprint. I gave him the names of a few people I work with and they would help resolve the situation.

I asked him what is the best way to float my images, and in return he gave me almost 30 minutes of his time, and showed me various ways to mount images and to float them from the back board. It was quite the education from materials, to tape, to various methods, of achieving the floating image.

Hadas Picture Framers,Van Nuys California. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly
Hadas instructing me on the use of adhesive release. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly
Placing and cutting the spacer. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly

 

 

“Exiting The Forrest”  Diptych 2(40×30) inch panels. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©

I was very happy that I ran into him at the glass supplier, I could have figured it out to some degree myself, however when a professional who has been doing it for over thirty years gives his inside information that freely, is truly amazing. He has mounted and framed images of very famous artists for some of the biggest gallery exhibitions. I am having one of my big exhibition prints mounted by him it’s 40×60 inches and one needs a lot of skill and material skills to mount an image that size without bubbles or problems. I will have it mounted to Gator Foam, 1/2 inch thick, it is very firm and will hang the image as a diptych 2(40×30) inch panels. I decided on the diptych because it is easier to transport than a 40x60inch image.  I made this image myself in the large print workshop I attended during this module, and did it specifically to print this image for my exhibition. So now it is being mounted and will be shown at the Hollywood Sculpture Garden and Gallery on November the 14th. This is the image I hand printed, and will be shown as the diptych (below.)  I will pick up the print that is being mounted next week.

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This week has again been a very heavy dark-room week. I have printed about half of my images for the exhibit. Everything is falling into place, the prints are being archival washed and fixed, i.e. no residual hypo in the paper after the wash, and fixed twice, short enough to fix completely, not long enough for the fixer to damage the  image (over fixing)

I am so glad to be able to make my own prints, and finally able to print images on the level of any pro out there, in terms of rich black, bright white highlights, spotless negatives, beautiful midtones. Ansel would be proud. I guess he was right all along. Full control of his images, in his own darkroom, no negatives floating around with any Tom, Dick and Harry to print at their leisure. I am glad I have finally mastered black and white printing both small and large scale prints. The MA is just helped me fine tune a craft I have been working on for quite a while.

 

16 images for printing. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©

This is my print grid. It serves two purposes, I can see immediately which images need printing, I can also decide which ones to loose, as there are 16 images here and I will cut down to 12 or 13 images. I have decided to print two of the series a larger size than 11×14. They will be printed to 16×20, so I have to order two more  frames and buy some more museum glass.

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My own mounting and framing:

Floating The Image. Photo by Pierre Chemaly ©
Image in the floating frame:  ” Passing by the Garden of Eden” Photo by Pierre Chemaly ©

I am very glad that I decided to mount my own images, and this has been a major project. Even this part of the image making process is a career of its own. Hadas has been framing for over 30 years. But being a control freak, I like the fact that I can do my own. I can easily handle images up to 20×30 inches.  On the right, I have mounted the image to the spacer, this preserves the fibre base paper curl that I now absolutely love. So the size of the backing spacer has to be played with, If it is too big, the curl; become excessive, Here the wave ratio is one trough: two crests and two troughs: three crests.  A VLF (very low frequency) If I change the size of the spacer it changes the frequency, and can double and triple the wave form. A too high wave frequency eliminates the calming slow wave curl. If I had this done by a framer, they would not have taken this into consideration.

 

Above is the image in the frame. Here again, I could play with a white backboard and a black. I finally decided on the black. The image really seems to be floating in a void. The contrast between the black background the the white border of the print makes it pop forward, an old Hans Hofmann and Mark Rothko technique (push/pull) used to make certain color recede and others advance, except I am using tones. Black to recede into infinity and white to thrust forward into the face of the viewer. This is similar to the full moon suspended and simultaneously floating towards you in the darkness of space and night.

Some of my images call for a bit of added color and this is one of them. the title is: “Passing by the garden of Eden”  The big white spot (at one o’ clock)  is going to be painted a tinted red on one side progressing into a shade of red at the opposite. To symbolize the apple, and the change of state of mind, which Eve ate. The title suggests that certain temptations, especially in the artistic life, are best passed by.

The next big test is the signing of the image, I have been experimenting for quite a while, using ink, pencil, paint, grahite and anything that could leave a mark. and have finally found a technique I like, that gives a very nice looking signature.  I ruined many prints testing this. Old Ansel used to sign in pencil along the matte, off the print, I will be signing the print itself.

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Image and price list submission:

I have submitted my list of prints to Dr. Robby at the Hollywood Sculpture Garden together with the press release. He said he got it and will go over all the information with his assistant and will get back with me with feedback.  I listed each image in the show with its size, medium, and asking price framed and unframed. The curator helped me figure what a good price for the images are, and gave me access to his “secret formula” he uses. It was very interesting, because he gave me a step by step approach and it made sense. Funny thing is it is quite the opposite of everything I have been taught so far about pricing, such as not including material costs of the work for example.

I came up with a price for the images, bigger ones more than the smaller ones, and a framed vs non framed price, as some clients may want to frame their own way, this gives them the option.

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Went Downtown LA and Hollywood to stock up on more Ilford fibre paper.  11×14 and 16×20. I will complete my printing by the end of next week. Then spend the rest of time framing the works. I am planning to be completely ready, all works printed and framed by the 5 to the 7th of next month. Giving me a week to relax  for the exhibit on the 14th.

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Week-18-Project Development.

FMP-Book Prints.

This week have been working on printing images for my book. I will be hand printing 12 images into 5×7 prints.  Used my time on the refresher printing course at the Labs at Santa Monica College to do this.

SMC neg prep area and print washing and drying, final week.  Photo by: Pierre Chemaly

This was week 6 and the last day of the printing refresher. I completed the series yesterday for the book. (3 weeks work) at SMC on Sundays.  I use the facilities there to get equipment I do not have in my own dark room, plus it’s nice to get feedback from other printers, regarding my prints. I take them home let them dry overnight, then rewash and dry on my dryer at home.

I did the work in Ilford paper, and really like the look. So of course, I’m going to print my FMP on Ilford all the way It seems that the contrast and the very deep blacks of the images lend themselves well to the  look of the images, so I will be printing the series for my exhibition on the Ilford Fiber Base paper.  This printing refresher every week as well as my own darkroom work has been very beneficial to my printing. I have finally achieved the level of making a print, that I feel is on the level of any professional or professional printer.

I had the opportunity to use the Macbeth Densitometer TD-504 to do density readings on my negs to see that they are in range from clear base to max density. I like to keep my highlights and shadows well within range, so I overexpose the negative and under develop it to give a slightly lower density of the highlights with good shadow detail as this helps printing in the darkroom, that way I can keep my printing lights somewhat consistent.

So far it has been working well, and my exposures and development of my negs are just where I like them to be. The D-Max is 2.10 (TEST STRIP) Actual on meter reads 2.12, so it’s accurate to 1/200th, close enough for me, plus the test strip may not be new. My max destiny on my negs were around 1.30-1.40, Just where I like it, and compensate for density with the VC filters to increase the required contrast.

Clibration test on the Macbeth TD-504 Densitometer. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly
Kodak B&W test strip 6017 in the Macbeth Densitometer. My negs on the left.  Photo by: Pierre Chemaly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Home Darkroom Printing:

At the home darkroom I have printed some of my final images, 11×14. I have finally decided to go back to Ilford Fibre Base, so a lot of them will be reprinted. I have also changed the stop bath to a citric base from the ascetic base, less smell and less irritation for me. I have added a fresh air vent to my darkroom so this has made a huge difference.  This week I will be printing all the images for my Pop_UP exhibition on November the 14th at the Hollywood Sculpture Garden.

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5×7 Dry with curl. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly

Finishing 5×7’s at home.

The prints were brought back from SMC, I allowed to dry, of course the fibre paper curl set in. So I resoaked in filtered water, sometimes I use distilled, give it a good soak and rinse, squeegee, and dry on my dryer.

I made 18 prints over the past three weeks.  These are for the book. I will use them also to do the final edit for my pop-up exhibit, it will be nice to see the prints on ilford paper in a smaller size and then get my series together, better than looking at cheap paper prints which I have done before.

5×7’s soaked in filtered water/sometimes distilled. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly
Squeegeed after the soak,ready for drying. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above the prints soaking in filtered water, it also serves as a final wash. The water where I live is very hard, even though it aids in removing the hypo, it can leave mineral on the surface of the print (even though, I have never experienced any residue) once the print has dried. However, as I am going for longevity of the print, I archival was, use hypo clear, do the residual hypo check, and not I will do the residual silver check to make sure the prints are properly fixed. I do a 2 bath fix for a minute each. The test is done with Sodium Sulphite, 2 dropped on the print and if there is a change in the image, there is resiual silver and it’s not fixed enough. I found some Sodium Sulphite at Sammy’s camera last week. I bought some paper there as Freestyle Photo was out of stock. As a result of that, I saved $10 on the paper, it was cheaper, so I guess I will buy there from now on, and I found a small bottle of sodium sulphite.

I was going to order it from the Photographers Formulary, but found out it has to ship via UPS or Fedex instead of USPS (some safety reasons) but this added $22 dollars to the shipping, plus a weeks wait. I would have bought it, but luckily a bottle was available at Sammy’s so overall I saved over $30, so as I was close by to Canters my favorite Deli, went for lunch and did some reading/research of my new book: “The Photograph as Contemporary Art.”

 

 

References:

B+W Analysing Process: https://www.paulwainwrightphotography.com/biblio_files/silver_conf_a.pdf

 

Week-17-Coursework

Just had my 1-2-1 with Dr.Wendy.

Very helpful and guiding as always.

Suggestions included to do this week:

  1. To prepare a pdf and submit an installation plan of my images for my upcoming exhibition.
  2. To submit a selection of my images that are unedited, and in grid form, so that the images can be looked at together. This allows for a quick overview.
  3. To think about pairings. as well as (3,4 and 6) groupings, that I think may work well on specific walls.
  4. Be prepared to discuss possible groupings, and to put these together in a pdf form.
  5. To consider the role of autobiography in my project and how or if  this might be stitched in to the text and any press release etc.

All this information provided by Dr.Wendy will be used this week as  a lodestone to point me in the direction I need to go with the exhibition.