Week-26-Project Development: Final Week (Assignment Week)

As the MA draws to a close[ ‘the time has come, the walrus said.’]  I have been working diligently on my FMP presentation. One thing that I found very interesting, is that there are changes and developments on the project even after the exhibition is done. I have reconsidered the order of the images and made a few changes for the assignment compared to the exhibition. Some titles have also changed. Writing the CRoP really made me re-evelute a lot of things. My idea of how the exhibition would go, to how it actually went, is eye-opening, I discovered there is approach even within approach or as Gödel proved;  there are multiple infinities.

I can only presume that any project is a living breathing entity and can only approach completion and will never reach that absolute while the artist is alive or beyond.  This once again makes me cheer and embrace Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem that proves there is no closure or absolute in anything;  there is only a tendency. I am happy to say, that I am done with absolutes in work and play, and as long as I can approach my dream, enjoy the tendencies of the dream I will have achieved a goal. This leaves the artist with options, a place to go. I began the MA with abstraction, that was deaf and mute, and ended with abstraction that has my own voice. That’s the abstract of it.!

“Is the journey hard?  Yes, till the very end. Will it take long? All day and all night my friend.”    -unknown.

Or in terms of the venacular: – Out of the one forest, into the next!


Week-25-Project Development.

As the MA is drawing to a close, and my assignments are due. Any further development on the physical part of the project has been completed. The CRoP is the associated document. This week, I have been writing and working on the CRoP and trying to bring it in with in the guidelines of the assignment specifications.

The exhibition has been held and felt it was a great success on the personal level.I achieved what I had set out to do. Entering the cave, the journey the road as a representational photographer and exiting an abdtarct photographer with a story to tell. My intention is to submit to galleries and museums (some small ones to begin with) and take the show on the road.

I intended to make my own book, however, I have not had the time to do it. I could have had it done by someone else, but decided against it. As I did for the rest of this project by making my own prints, framing and exhibit walls.  Of course, none of it can be achieved completely alone, and  was not my intent. I merely wanting to  transform the mental into the material, the true alchemists dream. Turning lead into silver, or copper into gold, was not the true mission, it was the increasing of cognitive powers, moving from a lower state of thinking to a higher sate of thinking through materialization of the thoughts and ideas. A good example would be going from the idea of transmitting a message through the air, was finally achieve by Marconi at the turn of the century. I wanted to move from the represeataion to the abstract  to deliver a message of the mind.


This week I will begin to making my own book. I have decided not to have one made at this point. I enjoyed doing the exhibition and feel that it would not serve me well to have some-one else make my book.

I have made all the 5×7 prints and will purchase some vellum and type the tiles of the images on the it will be see through and lay on to of the images. The covers will be made of cardboard and black

Week-23-Project Development

Exhibit Nov 17th Hollywood Sculpture Garden and Gallery.

Sunday the 17th was my second my pop up exhibition. The curator informed me that he would like to do do a second one. Of course it was good news and was very pleased at the fact. The event was later afternoon and  better turn out. Even though I had a good attendance, people arrived one or two at a time. This actually worked out well becuase I was concerned that they would not be able to fit the 10ft by 10ft exhibit area and fully appreciate the images.  But for the few odd occasions where there exhibit got crowded, most of the time there were one or two people three at most in the area and it did not impact them looking at the images, or getting in each others way.

Fences exhibit: Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©
Fences exhibit Nov 17th. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly
Fences exhibition Nov 17. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©

One thing I did learn from this exhibit is that a big viweing area is important. My exhibit would not have been able to accommodate more than two people at a time without them running into each other. On the whole, other than a few times, it worked out well, but will take into consideration on future shows.

I did get mixed feedback. One viewer came, looked and left almost immediately. He said: “I’m a landscape photographer and don’t get any of this”  Another viewer sent me an e-mail:

“Really loved your photo exhibit today! Your photo art was beautiful, mysterious, dream-like, moving. Love the abstract graphics. Not just pretty pictures. Captivating.  The theme of fences and getting out of one’s own way spoke to me, and how!  Getting my creativity and general attitude “out of the box” so to speak is timely for me now as I’ve been wanting to move in a more abstract direction with my photography and take some risks Dammit!!”

Some people did not comment they preferred to remain silent. One girl seemed very emotional almost teary eyed. Another person I invited is a brilliant recluse. His knowledge about film and art is beyond words. He doesn’t drive, doesn’t have much money, and lives like a hermit. He arrived very late. He took two busses and walked from Gower up into the Hollywood Hills to see my show. I felt very grateful that someone world do this, he went over and beyond what I could expect from anyone.  It was very touching moment for me.

Later in the evening there was a fund raiser for Sarah Levy, I attended her talk about the homeless is Los Angeles, and I felt very moved by her speech. Homlessness is at the elbow of many artists so it is a subject I am very interested in. The problem seems to be out of hand here in Los Angeles and getting worse.  Just at the foot of Hollywood Hills (some of the most expensive real-estate in the Los Angeles)  live individuals who have lost it all. They live in tents and on the streets under the Gower street bridge. I passed the homeless encampment when I set up my pop-up and when I drove home at night.

Franklin Avenue is the ‘fence’ between the have’s and the have not’s. Ethically, this is not right. Just below the Hollywood sign, where some have much, others have nothing.  Historically this is not new, it has been going on since the times of Kings who lived in castles, while below at the drawbridge, were peasants living in dire poverty.

I invited Sarah to look at my exhibition, and explained that fences exist in many forms and the one between rich and the poor is another one of many.  I presented a few ideas to her, and she suggested  I contact her through her campain manager, and should talk about the subject more.

This was nice to be able to do a show and tell. Show my work, and suggest ways I could help the cause through similar works.  Dorothea Lange came to mind as did Louis Hine. Richard Avedon with his series The American’ s also closed my mind. I was nice to be able to cross reference these hero’s of the past, who as artists raised the awareness of society to those less fortunate and in some cases, as is the case with Louis Hine, the total aboloshiment of child labour.

At that moment, I realised that I have crossed the fences in my life, and opened the gate to roads ahead that offer an infinite way of working as an artist in the field of photography. I have crossed the fence from representation into the world of abstraction, but why limit myself there, when there is so much that can be done.




Week-22-Project Development

Getting ready to exhibit:

This week entailed getting ready for one of two exhibits. This week is on November 14th at the Hollywood Scupture Garden and Gallery.

The week began with making and finalizing all the prints for the exhibit which consists of 12, 11×14 images, 2 (16×20)’s and one diptych consisting of 2X(40×30″) images. The 11×14 images  (trimmed down to  10×14) to give more space for the frame surround.  The full frame images on the 11×14 paper left too wide a border and the paper white drew the attention.

I did some tests and cut down the border to approximately 1 inch all around the image and was very happy with the look. It allows the eye to concentrate on the image. This, in addition to the floating frames I used, which has a very thin black frame and black backing allowed the images to “float in limbo” which I feel gives the image the ability to pop out at the viewer. I also trimmed down the 16×20 images, giving about and inch and a quarter border, to the same effect.

“Guiding Light” Image framed and floating in frame. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©

All the images had to be spotted and prepared for floating, framed and signed, both back and front.

Spotting the prints. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©
Adding spacer for floating the print. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly







Cleaning the glass was very tedious and time consuming, in addition the cleaner the company suggested left streaks and I began to experiment with all types of cleaner from alcohol to disillled water to mixing the two. I tied various lens cleaners and various cloths all to no avail. In the end I went down to the hardware store to see if they had a solution. The sales girl suggested a product with vinegar in it, I was skeptical but desperate and to my surprise it worked very well, that to-gether with plain old (very soft) toilet paper: WORKED! I had minor lint, but rid that with a big camera bulb blower, and a wipe with lens cloth and a photograhic lens brush and finally got down a sytem that worked. I attached the spacers to the prints, and then the print and spacer to the backboard, signed the print (which also takes some practice and had to reprint quite a few images because the signature was not right, the list goes on.

I have to say that this whole process was extremely time consuming and difficult, I am glad I did it. The benefits far outweighed the problems, because I could tailor and tune the presentation of the image to the point that I was very happy with it. A professional framer  would have been way too expensive, to work at this level, in addition I would not have been able to choose the look I was finally happy with had I gone that route. I experimented for weeks, no framer would do that, unless paid an exorbitant fee.

The title cards are hand made (with deckled edge, I learned how to do from the paper company) I brought out my old Olympus typewriter and typed out each title onto paper, in courier, then mounted the paper onto black cards cut from black photo matt card.

My old Olympia.Very appropriate and linked at Ariane’s Thread. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©
Title Card with typo: Words and image by Pierre Chemaly©







Title cards for the exhibition. Words and image by Pierre Chemaly©

Again, very time consuming, one typo, and the whole thing has to be redone. Was a lot of fun, brought back good ‘remembrances of things past.’  figuring how to center the type. The information about the show was also made, printed onto cards and framed. I used the computer type to do this.


‘Fences: Between Ideas and Dreams’ Words and Image by: Pierre Chemaly©

All this making  is making me think about constructing my own book as opposed to haiving one made. I chose to print my own work, frame it, make the title cards  build my own space, because I like working with materials in all forms and also in terms of making the art and housing it. For me the two are one. The frame as important as the work of art.  It is through the materials that the work is transformed from the idea to the concrete, and I enjoy making that happen. I can only presume, that my meeting Ansel, had some indirect effect on me printing my show, albeit come to fruition some  three decades later. I always respected the fact that he could photograph and print his own work, not may photographers can boast that skill. Even the greats of the past like Henri Carier Bresson to the contemporaries like Andreas Gursky  do not have the ability to print their own work. That part of the process has to be done by someone else.

The diptych I printed (40x60inches) photochemical process on resin coated paper. However had it professionally mounted onto 1/2 inch black Gator Foam.

Half of my Diptych 40×30″ Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©
Attaching wire to back of image. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©

It is very light weight and easy to hang, but very difficult to mount unless one has a huge vacuum table. I had this done at Hadas Picture Framers in Van Nuys, it was the cut into a diptych, which I decided upon so           I can transport and store it easier than one long image 40×60 inches. Hadas helped me with the hangers and I hung it at the back end of the exhibit fence with relative ease

Installation and setup.

I bought the ‘fence’ at Lowes Hardware, a 10×10 foot dog kennel with a gate. A friend helped my pick it up and install it at the HSG location. So here is also a materialization of an idea.  I thought about using a fence to hang my images, searched the streets and the internet and came upon this ‘almost perfect’ cube fence with a gate.  A dog kennel, repurposed to enhance the theme of  labyrinth/cave/forrest in which to hang my images.

Outside Lowe’s with the dog kennel. Photo by Joe Bagley©
Loading up the kennel at Lowe’s with my friend Joe. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly






Drove up the the Hollywood Sculpture Gargen and Gallery (HSG) and set up two days before on the 12th, to give me a day in between the set up and the exhibit. I am glad I did that, as my big frames for the 16×20’s came in late on the 12th and I had the next day to frame the images. It was a close call, I almost had to go with conventional frames if the floaters did not arrive. But it worked out, albeit last minute. By this time I was very confident and experienced at framing, accomplished the task in a matter of hours.

Set up at HSG.

The decision here is: Do I leave the fence open and see through to the garage, (ie hide nothing) or do I enclose? In the end I decided to use a see through black burlap,  allowing one to ‘see through the glass darkly.’

The back of the HSG, the garage Dr. Robby gave me for the exhibit. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©
The 10ftx10ft Cave/Labyrinth set up, draped with black burlap. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©





I found the length I needed at Joann’s fabric store in Los Angeles. When I saw, smelt and felt the material, I liked it right away. There is something very ancient and mystical about burlap.  It takes me back 1000’s of years.  Joann’s is a massive warehouse of cloth and fabric, they had the 14 yards I needed plus everything else: burlap thread to stitch it to the fence, big eyed needles, red thread. I abstarcted a careful list, to see if I could construct the whole thing without missing an item.  I almost achieved it, but needed some extra hooks to hang the images, other than that I had everything I needed.

Joann fabrics. Glendale Calif; Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©
Large selection at Joann fabrics. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©



The burlap is dark black, yet see though. maintaining what I like about fences.  They are always see through, one can always see the dream or nightmare ahead (foreshadowings of what is to come) At the same time it gives a feel of separation and closure symbolizing the forrest, cave or  labyrinth.

While at Joann’s I selected the red thread that would provide the link between the idea and the dream, the connection between cause and effect. So we covered the fenced area with the burlap, hung the images and I ran the red thread from entrance of  the cave/forrest/labyrinth all the way around to the exit.

Black annealed wire on back. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©

The images are all double stranded with black annealed wire on the back.and came up with using lamp chain as links to hang the images. Originally I looked at S hooks but they did not quite extend to form a complete S and could easily unhook if someone bumped a picture.   The lamp chain links are study  and at the same time easily bendable into a S form with two pairs of pliers and can be shaped so as to hook onto the fence and the picture frame so it could not easily dis-lodge.  I used two hooks per image.





























The event went fairly well, not as many people turned up as I had hoped but could not expect much on a Thursday morning. I am hoping that the Sunday event will have a better turnout not so much people that I know but individuals who can tke the project to the next level. Other curators newspaper  etc. Glad I had that day experience, It will help me prepare for the second showing on Sunday the 17th.

This is where the reality of this business is, this part is the easy part, it’d making the show move on and upwards from here that is the challenge. I am hoping to use this event as a stepping stone to the next gallery. I would very much like to tour with it if possible so putting my enertgy in that direction.

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.


* 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-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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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










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.


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.”




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


Week-17-Project Development

This week is entailing a lot of darkroom work. This Sunday past I spent 5 hours in the darkroom at Santa Monica College. I have got the printing to the point where I am happy with the final images and have definitely settled on using the Foma Fiber base paper. I will wash and hypo clear for extended times as recommended and not worry about residual hypo at this point. It seems that if I leave the print overnight in a tray or water all the hypo is leached out and with research done on this technique, it seems that all is okay with this long soak time.

Many photographers have done it with no problems, even though its not recommended (and or course the is the opposite camp, who has all types of problems)  However, my own tests, over very long time soak (3 hours) yielded no problems. I am going to go with recomended Hypo Wash (five minutes) wash time for FOMA (35minutes)   Then leave in clean water tray for 30 mins, change water, leave for an hour, change water, then leave for an hour. So far this works for me.


My Bathroom/Darkroom:

I am putting in a chemical fume exhaust system in my bathroom/darkroom today, I have just been working and opening door for air as often as possible, but now feel I have to add the ventilation, I will have to crawl under the house and do the work. I will be spending a lot of time in the darkroom this week and the next 4 weeks printing my exhibition images, so it is imperitive that the ventilation be MUCH better than it has been, which has been none other than natural air seeping through.


FMP Exhibit:

I have my exhibition at the Hollywood  Scupture Garden and Gallery on November the 14th, as this has been okayed by Dr. Wendy on out last 1-2-1, I will give full power to all engines and get it ready. This entails the prints, framing (myself) still have to discuss if 12 will suffice, will talk to Dr. Wendy to-morrow at 11 for my 1-2-1.

I am going to do it in the Garage of the Hollywood Sculpture Garden and Gallery, I will be purchasing a Dog Kennel from Home Depot or Lowes  which consists of 6ft high  x 10ft long panels of chain link fencing, with a gate, which I can configure as a cube, an L, X, S. It is tall enough to hang my 11×14 pieces at the 57″ height. It is portable so I can transort it down to the HSG.

I have got my ‘Mythogolcal’ story of my work down to about 17 images, I will try to cut down to 12 images for the exhibit, but may submit more for the FMP assignment, again something that need clearing up with Wendy.

I will be calling Dr. Robby, curator and artist of the Hollywood Scrupture garden and make an appointment to go and discuss the setup of the exhibition. I hope to do this sometimes towards the end of the week.

Will be heading to my garage and the hardware store to buy what needed to install my LONG OVERDUE effeicient darkroom ventilation system. I will print the images for my book at SMC darkroom  5×7’s about 18 of them.


Final wash. SMC. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly
One of my 5×7 images for my book. Photo By: Pierre Chemaly







I will print my FMP exhibit images in my own darkroom.   The visit and meeting Ansel Adams, id finally paying off. Making my own prints, in my own darkroom at home, just like he did. Edward Weston, and making all his images around Point Lobos and that whole study, has also paid off.  As my work now entails image construction, I do a lot of work around my house and also in a very confined area, just like he did at Point Lobos. Seems like with the FMP all my passion, experience, and study is coming at climax of being able to do the kind of work I have always aspired to do. That ‘Old Mechanic” Ansel,as Well as Edward Weston, is a very imporatnt part of my practice at this point in my work. The joy of having the technical skills to be able to manifest my ideas into a print that is understandable and communicable, has taken a very long time. However I am able to do it now in a way I was unable to do it before.


Exhibit at Hollywood Sculpture Garden and Gallery:

Just made a call to Dr. Gordon the Artist/Curator of the HSG, and set an appointment with him this coming Friday to get his suggestions and input. Again he offered me the garage of the gallery for my exhibition and I absolutely LOVE IT.

Dr. Gordons Garage. The door opens and here I will have my Exhibit. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly
The Hollywood Sculpture Garden and Gallery view towards Hollywood and Downtown LA. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly







This takes me back to my childhood, when visiting my Aunt Josephine on Sundays in Alberton an adjoining town in Johannesburg. On the way there was a 7 story building, green in color with the name in big red letter on top: C J FUCHS (this is how I recall the image in my mind)  My mother told me as a six year old boy: ‘See that building son, that man started all that out of a garage.’ My whole life I have rememberd that story, and it has been my guiding post. From simple and humble beginnings, great things are possible,Thanks to my mother and C J Fuchs. [only caveat, it’s taking me a long time.]  This is the reason I am happy to have the garage at the HSG.

Yesterday, I looked online to see if I can find an image of that building I saw over five decades ago as a very young boy, to see how good my memory is. However not a single color image exists. I did find part of the building though, in B+W, it turns out it was 6 floors not 7; not bad having seen it once when I was six; 54 years ago. Strange thing is, it is very Bauhaus in design, and I am a big Bauhaus fan. Would love to find a frontal image of the building as I saw it when six.

CJ Fuchs Buidling. Alrode/Alberton South Africa. Google search image.



Fresh air intake vent for my darkroom.

Got the fresh air intake vent installed in my bathroom/darkroom today. That was a chore. Had to cut a hole through the wall and via a 4 inch flexible hose run it to the outside through a wood panel that I can access the crawl space under the house that leads under the house. Now I have a fresh air intake at the top near the ceiling,  and I will exhaust it through the door towards the bottom across the other side,  so the fumes will drawn downwards from the trays to the bottom of the door, and the fresh air intake will enter from above.

As mentioned before a regular bathroom exhaust fan in the roof is above the trays and draws the chemical fumes upward past the nose of the printer from the chemicals, so it’s not a good idea to use the existing exhaust fan in a roof in the bathroom. This is a small second bathroom, and I did not have any exhaust fan in it, so something would have been better than nothing, but now it is done correctly: fresh air coming in from up high and exhaust drawing out from down low.  Now I can print comfortably and healthily.