Week-16-Project Development

Making my own photo-paper for possible use in FMP?

Looking at and touching all the papers really got me excited, this week, at the book binders, and at Freestyle Photo with Eric Joseph I love the feel and smell of good  paper, canvas and cardboard. I my others works (paintings and drawings) I use all types of paper to work on.

I decided to make my own phtographic paper and bought some ‘liquid light’ I have wanted to try this stuff for decades and as I was down at Freestyle I bought some. I do not know if I will do any of it for my FMP, but who knows, I think I will just fool around with it and see what the postential is.

I decided I would coat some specailty paper and went down to Blicks Art store. The sales person there soon got too bogged down with my paper questions and said that I should go to a place that specializes in papers and she recommended a company down in Los Angeles called McManus & Morgan that imports and works with some very fine types of art paper.

McManus and Morgan fine art paper distributors. Est 1923. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©

I headed to do some physical research and learn more about paper.  Of course now that I am going to have a book bound and the BINDERY  and looking at all these paper products at Freestyle got me very stimulated creatively.

I arrive to find the front entrance closed off. One of my ‘Fences’ acting up. However I am escorted into the building through the back, because the building is very old, a landmark, and the owner is completely upgrading the building, including the sidewalk, so  alsmost everything is covered with plastic inside.

Inside McManus&Mrrgan; Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©
Inside McManus&Morgan Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©

As I enter,  I feel like I am back in 1927. The owner is the son of the founder and the same cash register is still in use. When you press the keys the amount shows up on the register and it makes a CHA-CHING sound, and this is where that term we use in the US when someone wracks up charges on you for services comes from – ‘CHA-CHING’ from these old registers when ringing someone up. So I learned something new. There website is also something I like very much, it’s one page and simplicity at it’s best. I will take this into account on my own website I am building.

Cash register at McManus&Morgan. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©
Gary the owner of McManus&Morgan, behind the desk. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©







I mentioned to Gary the owner what I am attempting to do, and he recommended a few water color papers because they are already sized, and showed me the difference between cold pressed and hot pressed paper, machine made versus hand made, as well as an intro how to cut paper. He suggested hot Lanaquarelle,  that comes from a mill in Germany that has been working since 1590

It is a smooth surface, sized, and deckled edges giving the paper a very beautiful finish. For spreading the liquid emulsion I preferred a smooth surface to start as I did not want to use up all the liquid light. It is very expensive and shakes easily into textures unsized surfaces. I bought two sheet of the paper 22×30 inches and at $10 a sheet it was well worth it.

He also showed me some hand made paper, it is expensive and very textured. Beautiful to smell and feel. But at $32.22 (2016 prices) for a sheet, it was a little expensive for my taste at the moment.

Handmade paper. Very textured. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©

I left the store with two sheets of paper via the front door. I was the first person to leave the shop and step onto the nice new concrete sidewalk, as it was dry enough to walk on by the time I left. In the back out the front!  Nice metaphor for life.

Video: First Customer to leave McManus&Morgan across the new sidewalk. 

Now on my way home to sensitize some of my new paper.

Making the sensitizing the  paper:

I cut one of the bought sheets into 8×10 size pieces of paper. I sized some of the paper with PVA sizing, had to warm up the Liquid Light so that it could become liquid to apply.

I applied the light sensitive gel to the paper I had bought with a smooth bristle paint brush, and even though It was easy to apply, I was working under a ver low red light to which the light sensitive gel does not respond, bur seeing as I was coating about 8 sheets of 8×10 in my darkroom, I did not want the emulsion to be exposed to the red light too long either, so I made sure it was behind me and I dimmed it down 50% with an inline dimmer just incase it would fog. This is the first time that I have used this material and did not want to waste all the effort only to find a slight fog.

The difficulty I experienced was that it is not easy to see the gel coating, and was not sure of I covered the entire surface, but I did go across a few time back and forth, diagonally and counter diagonally, so felt pretty comfortable that I had coated the paper completely.

I did this at night, so I could leave it to dry in my darkroom and leave while it dried by the door with the next room lights out. I do not have a dark door on my bathroom converted darkroom so I had to do it this way. I left it to dry for about an hour and a half with the red light off and the darkroom door shut, when I returned the surface was dry and I stacked them into a light tight paper box.

Making the Print:

I did make a few test prints of one of my images, it came out pretty well, however the coating was a little thin and uneven, but the contrast and highlights good. I can see that it will take some time to perfect the coating. I am glad I did it but will continue with  commercial paper for the time being for my FMP. Do not want to get spread too think at this stage. I need to start printing  my work for the exhibit.


Paper Washing of Prints for my FMP.

This paper staining of the fiber base paper, is really a concern to me. I have been doing research and  tests on the paper, and find that in general, fiber base paper needs to be washed and hypo cleared for over an hour before the fixer in removed.  As yet, I have not contacted Dave Butcher, but I have sent an email to Marc Verasella as well, and hoping to hear back from him this week.

Most of what I have read about washing fiber paper just seems to conflict with what I do.  I did contact Photographers Formulary, and Bud said that only two drops needs to be dropped on the paper and it must not run. In addition, it has to be done in room light. I was holding it out in the sunlight to see the satin easier, however this is incorrect, and the sun will actually darken the stain of the Residual Hypo Checker, and leaving it longer than two minutes, or letting the drop run down to a tail is not the correct way either.

With these two changes, it seems that the stain is becoming lighter and lighter. Tomorrow I will be at Santa Monica College darkroom, and I will print and wash then do a check there.  However, it seems that the washing time will have to be well over an hour.

Why is this such an issue? I will not feel good having one of my prints sell, knowing that I did not process it to the best standard, in addition I would like my work to last a long time. Should I ever have the opportunity to seil my work like Ansel did, I want it to be archival for the client.  Each stage of the print making process has it’s issues. and I want to be as good as possible all the way down the line.


Freestyle Photo and Eric Joseph.

Freestylephoto is my go to store for  paper and chemicals, they have a large inventory and their staff is particularly knowledgeable.  I approached Eric Joseph on the matter. Eric is an expert in both darkroom and digital printing, boasting that he can get a good digital print in the frirst round [and he can, I have been witness to it]

Master Printer and Photographer Eric Joseph at his exhibit. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©

He showed me an exhibtion of his work, printed on various papers (digital) and I brought up my concerns of archivability to him, and he threw back his head and laughed. He said it is very difficult, if not impossible to define ‘archival’ because  it’s all theory based and based on numbers. He also said a very interesting thing to me. He said that some collectors actually like it when the prints go yellow or age, because it becomes a marker that the work is genuine.

For the most part he eased up my concerns about archival and told me to do the recommended wash time manufacturers specifications.  He also said he would check the age of my paper, as that could have an effect, which he did, and assured me the paper was “fresh”

He took me back to his exhibit, all digital prints made on various types of paper and framed, and as always, his  work and color was absolutely stunning. Eric prints on various papers that lends itself to the image, so his exhibition consisted of some images that where glossy, others matte, others textured. When I asked him about consistency of paper again he chuckled and mentioned something to the fact that he let that go a long time ago, and selects the best paper he feels is right for the print on an individual basis.

The work of Photographer Eric Joseph. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©


Printing Refresher at Santa Monica College:

Went down to SMC on Sunday and printed from about 1 PM to 6 PM, so put in 4 hours of actual printing.  The professor said that my printing was ‘on a roll’  He found my work to be very interesting and mentioned they are having a job faire at the college and that I should apply.  It would be part time, but the pay is very good and SMC is a great school, so I am thinking about going down and applying. I would teach film and photography. May be good for a while to build up teaching skills at SMC, but on the other hand may not be good because it’s sidetracking me again from being a full time artist selling my work.  A very difficult fence to cross, and maybe wartime would be fine while I get that going, but I know, any change in the mix affects the final outcome, so I will meditate and pray on it and see what advice come from the other.

I am happy with the way the images are turning out, and as I have mentioned I will print mp fmp on 11×14 full frame on Fibre paper, and mount them myself.



McManus&Morgan:  http://www.mcmanusmorgan.com


Week-15-Project Development

I was invited to an opening at The Hollywood Sculpture Garden, Located in the beautiful Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles.

On way to The Hollywood Sculpture Garden. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©


It is a 5 story house converted into a gallery and sculpture garden. I mentioned my FMP exhibit to the owner of the gallery and garden. He offered that I could have a showing at his gallery. He only has one date available: The 14th of November and after that and the gallery would not be available.

View of Hollywood and Downtown LA from the balcony of the HSG Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©

He mentioned that some important people would be arriving from France and it would be a good opportunity to show my work. I will have to find out from Dr. Wendy if this will be okay for my FMP exhibit, as it will only be for one day.  He mentioned that his ‘Garage’ is available for the exhibit. Ironically I love garages, it is a mechanics equivalent of the artist’s studio, and in fact many artists convert the garage into a studio. Jean Cocteau, an artist who’s work I really admire said to create conditions in which it can work.  ‘poetry functions better in the garage’

The Hollywood Sculpture Garden Garage: Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©


I feel that this is a good opportunity and I will discuss with Dr. Wendy and get opppionion on it. Finding a space to exhibit is very difficult. It is possible to rent a space, or buy a space, however, I do not like this approach and would rather like to have a showing at a gallery and if anything thing sells that get a percentage.


This week I had the opportunity to do out to Dumont Dunes: 30 miles west of the town of Baker California, in the Mojave Desert, to do dual practice. Firstly to finish work on a feature film a friend of mine has been making for the past three years (a day or two at a time over that period) and the opportunity for me to go out to the true desert in California, where there is no flora or fauna (or at least any that is immediately apparent). I had planned to go out photograph and to have some time to experience this mysterious landscape that mystics as well as Christ (40 days and 40 nights) experienced in their lives.

Ironically this is the last “Commercial” venture I will embark on before my FMP.  A foreshadowing of the ‘Fence’ that I have attempted to cross all my life: Moving from commercial to fine art and from making some-one else’s art, to making my own.  Strange, or maybe not so strange, that this endeavor should be taking place in the desert where nothing lives, much like the empty mind before the idea, from the darkness and nothingness from which I was made into being.

Fig.1. Baker California. Home of the worlds tallest thermometer 134ft. (left of Mobil sign) Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©

These sand dunes at Dumont, are like those of the Sahara Desert.  Nothing but sand for miles. I had planned on going out to this area to make more images for my FMP but as this opportunity arose, I figured I would do the filming, then do some photography for my FMP project while I was out there. My mind was void of ideas, there is noting but sand. However, as it is the mission of the MA I set out when strting this journey, was not to let reason, intellect and emotion stop the thought. And, I  moved forward.

The Dumont Dunes is inland about 30 miles west from the town of Baker. Baker has the tallest thermometer in the world (134ft)  located in the center of  town (See Fig 1.)  Once driving out twenty miles, the sand dunes are another 10 miles or so inland off Highway- 127 N. (Also known as Death Valley road)

Hwy-127 N. From Baker towards Dumont Dunes. The Dunes is then off this highway about 10 miles. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©

After driving for a while and not passing any cars on the inland dirt road,  it becomes a little uncomfortable, because there is no cell service out there, the temperatures are a little cooler this time of year but it was still over 88°F (31°C) so it is still quite hot.

When we finally arrived at the dunes, and the producer drove too close, and I felt the back wheels begin to sink in the sand and soon the passenger van got stuck and could not go forward or backwards. I had a sick feeling to my stomach, we were all alone out here, (a small crew and two actors) no cell service and no one else in sight.

I  immediately stopped the driver from getting us deeper into the sand. If the van bottomed out, there was no way we where going to get out of there. I got everyone out the van and we dug a ramp forward of  the back tires, then I told the driver to straiten the  front wheels, then we all pushed the van out of the hole the rear wheels had dug into the soft sand.  Once it was out I directed the driver to keep moving and not to stop till he reached hard ground.

It was a nerve wracking 20 minutes. All kinds out thoughts passing through my mind. If we got stuck and what would happen?  Fortunately all ended well. The van moved forward to safe ground and we finished the film shoot. I could easily understand how a simple accident could cost one one’s life. The California desert is a very dangerous place. Heat, rattle snakes, desert vagrants. After the film shoot I spent a little time photographing the dunes. All the while in the back of my mind, I was grateful that we got the van out.  (I had been stuck in sand  once before, and this time did not allow the vehicle to sink in too deeply before we dug it out.) I am very glad for that past experience in my life and how it came to out aid this time around. I made a few images of the dunes, which I will use for my FMP constructions, and will always look back, as one of those fortunate days.

Note: as we drove out some guy in an earth mover drove up to the left about 300 yards away, so if we had become stuck, there would have been help. Maybe…! Would he have arrived if we got stuck?  Can’t be sure, as that, would have changed all events to follow. The images I made of the dunes where made gratefully. I said a silent prayer. It easily could have turned out very disastrous. This is most definitely one of the most ‘grateful’ images I have ever made. And will be nice to incorporate into my FMP.

‘Grateful.’ Dumont Dunes California. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©


This week I am looking into making a book as part of the FMP.  I had considered taking a class and making my own, however, I have decided against it, as I am loaded with making my own darkroom prints and framing my own work. I do not want to be caught up in a bind (pun intended)  and get overwhelmed, which I do all the time, freeze and land up doing nothing.  I looked around Los Angeles for a binder, and found a very cute, creative and attractive bindery on Melrose Blvd in LA.


The bindery is owned and run by Charlene Matthews. As fate would have it, we both worked for Panavision around the mid 1980’s  but she was at the office on Orange and I was at the other branch, so we never met.

Charlene showed me some of her work, I realised there and then that when an Artist makes a ‘book’ it is a work of art, not a book. I explained what I was attempting to do with my FMP project ‘Fences’.  I mentioned taking the photography out of the photograph, she mentioned she takes the book out of book binding. I knew we are on the same page.  Of course we finally came to discuss the price?  Charlene laughed and said: “You could never affford me but I like your idea.” She will charge me $!!!  It is a huge favor and I have to supply her with the poetry and images.  She will then art me a book. So this week, I have obtained: a space and  getting my book made.===


This week I did some more printing at Santa Monica College in the darkroom there, as well as in my own darkroom at home. I will definitely print on fibre base paper, and the size will be 11×14 inches. The paper I will use will be Ilford. After much stain testing, washing it appears that the paper will have to wash for an hour, with the prints left in a hypo clear bath was for 5 to 10 minutes to remove the residual hypo. My archival washer did arrive and I did test it, it works fine, however I am a little concerned how much water gets wasted with an archival wash.  I do not like the look of RC paper even the best brands does not have the feel and texture of fibre base, so I will just have to deal with the water issue.  I think if I trickle it for an hour the prints should be hypo free or at least with a very light stain which is acceptable as archival.  Ilford recommends:

Fixation             ILFORD RAPID FIXER (1+4) or HYPAM (1+4)                1 min

First wash         Fresh, running water                                                         5 min

Washing aid      ILFORD WASHAID (1+4) intermittent agitation          10 min

Final wash        Fresh, running water                                                         5 min

Ilford no longer uses the term ‘archival’  they use optimum permanence. I can only presume they want to fall somewhere in between archival and less water waste in the washing process.  I will contact Dave Butcher (also known as darkroom dave)  he used to work for Ilford for many years, he is a darkroom specialist and very familiar with Ilford paper and chemistry. I will do what he says is recommended. Time is running short, and I do not have time to re-invent the wheel.


I have constructed two images this week, Incorporating the Dunes and some cracked glass images I made during the week. I am still working on them in lightroom and photoshop and should have them ready for printing by the weekend.



Jean Cocteau:  Cocteau, J., Buss, R., Bernard, A. and Gauteur, C. (1992). The Art of cinema. London: Boyars.

Dumont Dunes: https://www.blm.gov/visit/dumont-dunes-ohv-area

Charlene Matthews Bindery: http://www.charlenematthews.com

Ilford: https://www.ilfordphoto.com/ilford-optimum-permanance-wash-sequence-fb-papers/?___store=ilford_brochure&___from_store=ilford_brochure

Dave Butcher:  http://www.darkroomdave.com



Week-14-Project Development.

This week I am concentrating on printing. I have signed for a printing class at Santa Monica College. A two year junior college  with classes and comminity education.

Santa Monica College Photo Arts Building (Drescher Hall) Photo by: Pierre Chemaly
SMC Campus. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly

Ed Mengus offers the ‘Printing Refresher’ class (community ed)  this allows me the use of the darkroom facilities at the college on Sunday’s from 1pm to 6pm. The darkroom is very big, and everything is provided, except the paper.

Santa Monica College Darkroom. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly
SMC. Light tables, print washing and drying area. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly






There are only 10 of us, so it’s easy to work. The chemicals are mixed and ready to go, the print washer is set up, and Ed Mengus (who is a very good printer)+photographer, is there if any questions arise.  The class began Saturday Sept 8th and runs for 6 weeks.  I will attend these darkroom classes and test print my images.  The added advantage is, arriving early and going down to the beach for breakfast and mentally relaxing before the 5 hr printing session begins.

This week at SMC I experimented with sloppy borders, where an oversized negative carrier is used, and I can print a black border around my images. I like the look of the black border, so I will keep this look for my FMP. [The curvature of the print is its natural curl that fibre paper takes one once dried, when dry mounted or matted it will lay flat.]

Black Border/Tone Test test at SMC. Photo by Pierre Chemaly©

Also did exposure/tone tests for the print. This one is what the final will look like, this is the same image made in my mural workshop (40″ x60) and will be part of the series.  It’s a split grade print. #0 for 14 seconds; #5, for 8seconds. I get what I am looking for pure black, no detail (Zone 0) pure white, no detail, (Zone 10) and a good range of gray’s whites and blacks with deatail.  This image is part of the series “Fences”  Titled: Passing Black Square. Connotes shifting past the difficulties we experience as artists when making work, one of the fences that have to be crossed.

I will be doing all the final prints in my own darkroom at home, however, I discovered that I am not well ventilated in my small converted extra bathroom. NOTE: To fellow individuals who make their own darkrooms at home be very aware that the darkroom must be well ventilated. Mine is not, and I started to get eye irritations and coughing, fortunately this ventilation article came up and I looked into to it more.  Many college and professional darkroom are not correctly ventilated either;  the exhaust is in the ceiling and the fresh air supply on the floor. This causes the chemical fumes to move upwards past nose and thus breath it in, see below Fig 5.

Incorrect darkroom venting: Drawings courtesy of: sebastiandarkroom.com

The correct way to vent, it to have the supply up high, and the exhaust down low, (see vent hood method Fig.6 below)  the exhaust is thus below the nose. The fresh air comes in from above, and the gasses as pulled down and exhausted through the vent tube.

I researched darkroom venting and found this article:  ANYONE STARTING THEIR OWN DARKROOM, or ALREADY HAS ONE; PLEASE READ AND TAKE NOTE below.


Almost all darkrooms I saw on the net are incorectely vented (ie, exhaust is above the nose level)  and sabastian darkroom shows how to do it the right way.


I am set on using fibre base paper and printing on Fomabrom 112 11×14. I have been testing for residual hypo in the prints for any remains of fixer, and to my dismay, I am finding print discoloration where I have applied the residual hypo check.  Foma recommends 35 minute wash, Ilford recommends a 5 min wash, 5 min in hypo clear bath, then a further 10min wash.

Risidual Hypo Check. Photo courtesy of Freestyle Photo.

I have washed the papers for over an hour and still find discoloration where I have applied the residual hypo check.  This check is made by Photographers Formulary, and I did call to find out some more information, however the formulator was not in to day, and I will call back tomorrow.

I did spend money and bought an archival washer for my 11×14’s, it will arrive next week, so hopefully I will be able to use the washer and re-test to see if 35 minutes in the archival washer will solve the problem. I have been using a tray washer, which seems to function well, but I can only do one print at a time, and even after a long wash the stain was a dark yellow, indicating fixer in the paper.

Arkay Print Washer. 11×14. Photo courtesy of Joshua Cohen.


I am glad I have decided to print my show for the FMP. I’m old Bauhaus, so materials and hands on is very important to me. Could easily have it printed by a lab, and I know some of the best in Los Angeles 1. Weldon, 2. Bowhaus (not same as Bauhaus Weimar, but I’m sure inspired)  In addition, I am going to frame them myself.  This way I can go from idea, all the way to the finished product, as opposed to handing my ideas over and have it completed by someone else. They may not be as good as when the pro’s do it, however an old bibical proverb comes to mind that I love and apply to my own life: “Better your own house made of planks, than a lavish faire, in the house of another.”

This week I have been researching archival printing. As I will be making my own prints for the FMP they need to be archival. Archival means fixed and washed so that the image will not fade and discolor for at least a 100 years. I decided to test one of my prints and bought the Photographers Formulary kit to check residual fixer in the washed print. To my dismay the test spot/run turned yellow even after 40 mintes of washing. (This was the tray method) print lowered into tray, and water exchanged every 10 minutes for a total of 4 changes over 40 minutes. As can be seen the stain is still present after 40 minutes.

Residual Hypo Test. 10, 20, 30, 40min Photo by: Pierre Chemaly

When my archival print washer comes in, I will do tests recommended by Ilford:



At the recommendation of a fellow printer at SMC, I became a member of  PAC LA (Photographic Arts Council of Los Angeles) They foster the appreciation of the photographic arts.  The offer  Artists Talks, Gallery Visits, and Curated Walkthroughs of Museum Exhibitions.

I joined just in time for a tour of Bauhaus Beginnings at the Getty Museum. Being a huge proponent of Bauhaus, I am going to attend. They have the exhibit at the Getty. I have been already, however it will be interesting to hear the talk by Johnny Tran.

Image courtesy of PAC LA.

This is co-incidental with the opening of the Bauhaus Museum on Sunday the 8th in Dessau Germany (Bauhaus 100 years).











Follow up on Hypo Residual Stains: I got a call back from Bud the owner of Photographers Formulary and explained the stain situation. He mentioned to follow the test as described. Wash the print, Squeegee dry it. Drop two drops of the Hypo Residual formula on the test area. Leave for exactly two minutes and look at the color. If the stain is very light or non existant, the wash is good.

I let the drops run down to form a tail, and looked at it out in the sunlight.  According to Bud, the chemical will turn yellow when exposed to the sun. My archival print washer arrived today. I will pick it up in the morning.  I will was as recommended then run the test again as recommended by Bud and see what happens. I think it will be fine. I was taking out and inspecting in the sun and as he said will cause it to stain.





PACLA: https://pac-la.squarespace.com

Bauhaus Dessau: https://www.bauhaus100.com

Week-13-Project Development.

Submitted for  LAAA (Los Angeles Artist Association) for a group show, however was not accepted. So, it is  disappointing, for obvious reasons, however, I got a lot out of it in other ways, by making the application and sending off the two images they required. (Applying for a group show, is a first for me, I’m not a ‘GROUP’ person)

In hind sight they were rather ‘ordinary’ images,  but the guidelines was ‘simplicity’  I can only presumed ‘their’ concept of simplicity and ‘mine’ are not the same.

‘New Direction’ Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©
‘Libertas’ Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©

Rejection is never easy. However, I got a lot out of it. The deadline to deliver the image/images ready for exhibition, if selected, was by Setember 7th and the notification if accepted was on August the 31st. So I would have had this week to make prints (in the darkroom) and frame it ( I decided to frame my own work for the FMP) so I worked in the darkroom and on the framing this week as if I was accepted. I decided to print my own images and frame them myself, after being so limited by the Labs, they are either too busy or  too expensive. It was good practice run for the FMP.

‘New Directions’ Photo by: Pierre Chemaly© In the floating frame I constructed.

I made the prints (with sloppy borders, I like that) and did the framing. I learned a lot about framing and mounting images.  I like floating frames, where the image ‘floats’ as  if suspended in the air as opposed to matting, so this is what I will do for my FMP. In all the galleries I have attended, over this module, as well as looking at the artists and their work, I look at framing that attracts me.  All the work is professionally done, by top of the line framers.  (I will go next week to a company that frames John Baldesari’s work, I forget the name now but I will research it.) I did go there once, and their prices where very high.

To have my whole show done professionally will cost a fortune, some of these framers are charging around $500 to $800 for each print mounted as  a floating images. If the work is framed with mattes and done professionally, will cost around half that.

Museum grade glass or arylic is also very expensive, and ranges in price from $70 for glass to $250 for acrylic, for a sheet of 16×20.  So this can add additional cost.  I am pretty handy with this type of work, I could even make my own frames from scratch if I wanted to, however I will look on line and order some premade ones then finish it myself. To finish a floating frame and mount mount the print myself will cost about 25% of the pro frame shops; plus my time.

I enjoy this kind of work, and as I am making my own prints instead of having them done at a lab (costing between $75 and $150 each) I can print them myself at a cost of $2 to $5 a print, sizes will include: 11×14’s, and 20×24’s,  However, the paper comes in minimum packs of 10 for the bigger sizes (20×24) and packs of 25 for 11×14’s. The Foma paper which I really like, is not cheap The 10 pack of Fomabrom 20×24 costs around $70.  By them time the master print is made, I may get 3. my printing ration is about 1:3/4  In addition I have to wait for weeks for  the order, so I will have to  buy locally and that will add additional cost.

Fomabrom 111 (Fibre, Glossy) Photo: B&H Photo NY.

I am still prevaricating on the glossy or matte surface.  I like the Foma Glossy 111 and the Foma Matte 112, each have their pro’s and cons,  so will still be working with both these surfaces, testing  both, before I make the final choice. I am leaning to the glossy more and more. I am glad to be working with these materials in the darkroom and making my own prints, because when this materials run through my hands and I see it first hand.  Each medium has it’s plusses and minuses.  The glossy is very difficult to dry flat, the matte is easier. The glossy shows nice contrasts between the blacks and the whites, the tones with the matte have a lot less snap to the blacks and the whites. As my work is contrasty by nature, I like it to show that way up on the print.

I am getting all my images to-gether for the FMP, I am working on the final series now, putting the ‘Story of Fences’ together, in Lightroom in the timeline at the bottom, I can arrange my images there, however once I have selected the images I am going to submit for the FMP I will print them all out on cheap paper and arrage them on the wall in from of me, as has been suggested by all the tutors of the MA.

I am good at abstarct thinking, so I have no problem in arrangig them cognitively, however, as I have learned from going to all these galleries and looking at work, something happens when the images are hanging on the wall. All the tiny details, and even some of the bigger details, are difficult, if not impossible to see on a computer screen, or for that matter in a cheap print. I do have images I have constructed this module that I will show, 2 are the mural prints, I have already made, they are 40×60 inches, and if I have the opportunity to exhibit one or both I will. I made these prints myself at a workshop, and it took a lot of work, and one needs a lot of space to do it, and seeing these images are in the theme of my series they will most probably be used either as murals, or as my bigger prints of 16×20 or 20×24.  During this module, I have temporized  between being completely abstract, ie by constructing images that have no recognizable forms in them, to having a few where something of nature can be discerned.  I have been committed to both, and seem to change every day or too back and fourth every week.

Right now I am back to having some reperesentation in the work (as I read this a crow flies past my window) (The crow is one of my images in the work)  as I feel it better communicates the abstraction, however, will still seek advice from the tutors and then finally make a decision.  I have to choose what best communicates the vision, not what needs serve my ego, and as I have been fighting to cross the fence of  oving form the commercial world into the art world, I am having the problem every one has when doing anything for the first time, and that is over- compensation.  However my ego still tells me that if I do not do it, I will not have completed my journey…fully! so this this is the battle and the fence at this point of my practice. However, I do know and recognize the value of commu itating the vision, and if I fail, I will not be able to share with my viewers the experience I have had over my lifetime as well as my time here on the MA. So my reasoning is to keep in a bit of the representational.


I made a call to Marc Valesella. He is an artist and a  photographic printer here in Los Angeles, and in my opinion one of the best analogue printers working to-day. He has one of the most finely tuned enlarging systems around. Geared to give the maximum resolution, focus and contrast  from 35mm and medium format negatives.

I have seen some of his work at Freestyle Photo and at a few photoshops.  He is also on the board of advisors and does the tests on the darkroom papers and advises the clients with examples of his work. I am attampting to get a 1 on 1 with Marc to fine-tuning my printing.   Marc is from Paris leaned printing from Jean Loup Sieff, a French photographer.  Needless to say Marc’s work is very artistic, so I feel I would be a good match. He emailed me and said he would consider doing it around the second week in October. In the meantime I will work and keep printing on my own in my darkroom.

Marc Valesella: http://www.marcvalesella.com/biography/biography.html

Week-12-Project Development

Today,  I made a call to the Fahey/Kline Gallery in Los Angeles. I had been there with the UCLA class (Contemporary Los Angeles Art: ART HIS-853.42) and had the opportunity to talk to the curator. He remembered me, as we had a brief chat about the financial  state of photography sales.  He had mentioned that the Gallery is doing very.  This was a change from most of the other galleries that mentioned the fiancial climate of the photography is cool.

I am entertaining the thought of making my own prints for my exhibition, however I  have a technical problem. I love the look of fibre base paper, but it is very difficult to get the photograph to dry flat once it has been washed. I have made my big murals 40×60 on resin coated paper and for that size, it works very well. There is an old joke I read somewhere and I will paraphrase: ‘If you can’t do it good, go big, if it’s still no good, go for color.”  Something like that. I have to admit that the element “Big” does have an effect on the RC print. Somehow it looks very good as a mural [(40x60inches) so I do not need to go for color]  but terrible as an 11×14.

I have tried most of the drying techniques for fibre, and none of them work well enough for me. I like a completely flat print.  (Short of buying a Maco Ecomat professional drying press for about $1800.00)  There is always a slight ripple to the paper, even when hinged, matted, or taped.  The one method that works very well is is mounting the print onto a substarte. Either dry mounting onto acid free archival board, or on to some substrate like sintra, dibond or gatorfoam. However, once the print is mounted to any substrate, it is permanent. So my question to the curator was:  “Is it acceptable to mount to a substrate, like dibond, sintra or acid free board?”  I was assured that it is a very acceptable method and well accepted in the art market.  Many of his clients dry mount, or secure to dibond.

This past week, I applied for the LAAA (Los Angeles Artists Association) membership. And was accepted on the 5 photographs I submitted. As a member I can submit to group shows they have and for one that is coming up in September the 14th.  I am on the members list as Pierre Chehaly, they made an error, but I am thinking of keeping it that way as my artist name.  I had to submit two pieces (Photos) and will see if I get into the group show.  (COY) Will be notified  by the 31st of this month, one week away. I then have a week to submit the prints. Due to lack of time I will have them printed by Weldon Color Lab. (they can print fibre)  The problem is they are so far behind they may not be able to mount my work which needs to be in to the 6th of September. So I called and asked for some help on this. I will have to call next week to see what they can do.  This will give me good practice for my own FMP show, dealing with problems like printing, mounting etc to make sure it gets done in time.

Tomorrow I have a get together for new members of the LAAA at the Gallery 825 in Los Angeles.

Gallery 825 (LAAA) Photo courtesy of: The Google.

This will be for a meet and greet. After that I will join my UCLA class for studio visits for artists which takes place from about 12 till 4pm, where we will visit various artist studios in Los Angeles around the arts distrct.


Went to the meet and greet at the LAAAA. It was really nice to see and meet other artists in the Los Angeles area.

Gallery 825 /LA Artist Associaition. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©

The membership was  discussed, expectations and one has to donate 8hrs a year of  ‘work’  painting, cleaning the gallery, however I think it is a nice way to get involved.

Meet&Greet new members LAAA. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©

I am so glad that I had met Richard Bruland at the Hollywood Sculpture Garden, he recommended me to the LAAA, he is not a member himself anymore because he got represeantion as an artist at a gallery, so the job of the LAAA for him was done. However he is involved with the gallery and the current director.

LAAA artists work on exhibit at Gallery 825. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©



Went of the Gallery/Artist Space tours this week-end with UCLA.  Attended the Bendix Buiding in Downtown Los Angeles.

The Bedix Buiding. Downtown Los Angeles. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©

One of this places one hears about, but never anything more. I so glad to have signed up for this Art History class at UCLA, as I have managed to go to galleries, museums and art spaces I would never have gone to on my own. The biggest advantage so far, is to look at other artists work whi are still alive and working. Most of the big museums like the Broad, Tate, Pompidou, LACMA, MOMA, all the artists are gone, some for hundreds of years. The contemporary art scene is alive and well in Los Angeles, but hidden from the public eye.

I arrived late as I was at the LAAA meet and greet, but still in time to visit galleries: Durden and Ray, POST, Chateau Shatto and Von Lintel.  What I really enjoy about this class is the oppotunity to tlk to artists forst hand, as well as the curators and people behind the scenes that one would not normally be able to have access to.  The most enjoyable visit for this time around was the Von Lintel Gallery.  This is run by Tarrah Von Lintel, and she has may wowks of art, both from painters and photographers on show. She is an amazing curator, very knowledgeable and passionate about every artist she represents. Each one is very talented, and their works stand out. It is though her that I overcame my dislike for the fibre base curl and warping. It’s amazing to see, with some artists it works, and some it does not. Another vlaubale lesson learned. Nothing is an absolute. (2+2 approaches 4) it does not = 4.  I am finally getting to understand that logic.  For my FMP, I have to gather ideas how to present my work, and the choices are staggering.  One problem I am having is I would like to print mu own photographs on fibre base paper. However, getting these images to lay flat os very difficult because fiber base paper tends to warp and curl. The options are limited to dry mounting and putting onto a substrate such as Dibond or Sintra and the like, and I do not like either approach.  At Von Lintel, Tarrah had an exhibit by the artist Klea McKenna, she makes large fibre base prints that are camera less. When I saw her work, suddenly something clicked in me. I like the way the images were presented in a floating frame. Somehow the bend and curl of the fibre base paper did not bother me, in fact I liked it very much. I like the way it looks when floating, and I will take this approach with my FMP. I am glad to have had the opportunity to see the work first hand, this can easily be missed when looking at the work on-line.  So far, I am happy to be able to print my own work, and I will be looking into ordering some floating frames. I applied to the COY art call at LAAA. if I am accepted, I will do a test of my work in a floating frame, but so-far, I am very prone to going this route.


Did extensive dark room printing this week. I went down to Freestyle Photo, and bought some Fomabrom 112   11×14 paper, it is fiber base, matte, and double weight. It is between this paper and Ilford Multigrade Warm Tone for my work.  I am slowly overcoming the worries of printing my own images. The mural workshop helped me with that. I am a pretty good printer, but the fibre base issue was a problem for me, however going to Von Lintel, talking to Tarrah, and seeing the work of Klea McKenna, has helped me to make the descision to print my own work.

I like high contrast images, still toying with the idea of matte or glossy, both have their plusses and minuses, my tendancy is to go with the matte Fomabrom 112, but that could change.


I have also been photographing images for my photo montages/constructions. I look for the disparate images now then put them together in post, or by double exposure in camera. I collect the disparate images and then synthesise it into the whole. So my new image “Idea”  is a composite of three images. A tree, two watchful eyes and a lighting bolt, constructed and then printed.

Worked to-day constructing a few images from all the images I have collected  photographing aover the module. Working at compositing the image some in camera and some in photoshop, but mostly the combination of the two. I like the advantage of shooting in film and working in digital then going back to analogue for the final product. This techniques was used in the film industry till it went all digital, so I have the advantage of knowing film as well as digital very well. I am very comfortable in both mediums. So I phtograph in both film and digital, I will be doing my FMP in B+W, so I’m using My Nikons F3 and F, Pentax67 and Hasselblad 501  and Ilford HP5+ and my Canon 5D and 7d for digital the 16mp and 22mp respectively is good enough to get a very big print. a 40×60 will be no problem.

I constructed a few images to day. Each image will take about  a day to construct, if I have the elements. If not I have to go out and look for images. My stable now consists of Ravens, Stairs, Windows, Mirrors, Trees, Doors and I combine these images as the ideas come. I will be naking LVT’s from the files then printing them myself in the dark room. I did quite a bit of printing this week, wanted to do some more today but got too involved in making new images for this module and the FMP. I am pretty much st on pritning my own images from film, however it is very time consuming and very expensive, each LVT is about $70 and takes a week and is a 150mile drive there and back for me. I am using FomaBrom Fibre paper 11×14 and it also expensive between $50 and $80 for 25 sheets. I will definitely be making some 20x24inch prints, b ut this will be once I have my series completed.

Came to the realisation to-day, that I will abstract the fence out of my images, and will have very few representational images in the series. In fact I am at the point where I might abstract out ALL representation from the series. In one respect this will be great for me, as I have been teetering on the ‘Fence’ between representaion and abstraction since the beginning of the MA. But since my gallery visits and seeing other artists going for it, I may was well go all the way abstarct for the series. It will be based on what a fence connotes not what it denotes. Good art challenges me and pushed me to go further.

I started witing to-day, the words, associations, and some prose about fences. And I found out I can leave all denotation behind and only expound on the connotations a fence brings to mind.

Now that I have to print my own images, I am glad to have had the opportunity to have met Ansel and learned about darkroom technique. Ansel is  probably one of the best analogue printers who has every lived his technnique was un-equaled. His mural prints were spectacular. There are very few photgrahers today who print their own work.

Fahey/Kline Gallery: http://www.faheykleingallery.com

Maco Ecomat Drying Press: https://www.macodirect.de/en/darkroom/paper-developing/drying/4642/maco-ecomat-professional-dryer-51x65cm

LAAA: https://www.laaa.org

Weldon Color Lab: http://www.weldoncolorlab.com

The Bendix Building: https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/bendix-building/

Von Lintel Gallery: http://www.vonlintel.com

Week-11-Project Development


Workshop parking lot. Very creative building. Downtown Los Angeles. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly

Today was the first day of Mural Printing Workshop. The photo lab is very well laid out. The wet and dry areas are separate. In the first room the paper is cut and hung on the wall, and kept in place with magnets. (see Fig 1A. below)

Fig. 1 Dry room, paper cutting an printing, Beseler 45MXT Photo by: Pierre Chemaly

The enlarger is a Beseler 45MXT (4×5) Fig. 3 below with the head tilted through 90 degrees to expose the negative onto the wall. (as seen Fig.1 above)

Fig. 3  Beseler 45MXT Photo by: Pierre Chemaly

I loaded the LVT negative in the negative carrier, and exposed a test strip 1 ft wide x 40″ long.  Gave six test strip exposures at f8 at 20/40/60/80/100 seconds. I chose an exposure of f8 at 45 seconds then made a second test print strip 1ft wide x 40″ long at the chosen 45 seconds selected with a #2 contrast filter. The single exposure at 45seconds looked very good. Very good highlights (Zone IX) perfect blacks (Zone 0) and the midtones where very nicely graded from light to dark gray.

The full print was made at the chosen exposure, then developed for 2.5 minutes by rolling the the paper back and fourth in a large tray 42″ x 30″  then put in stop bath for 6 rolls back and forth then fixed for 5 minutes by rolling the paper back and forth in the fixer. The print was washed for 10 minutes, squeegee dried (Fig.4 below)  then  laid on a big window screen to dry.

Fig.2 Pierre Chemaly and Andrew Hall the owner of The School of Light. Andrew graduated Exeter University, in 1984. Same year I graduated Cal Arts. Darkroom with large trays. (develop, stop, fix, and the washing tray behind Andrew in the steel sink)  4 gallons of developer and fixer in plastic kegs)

I am very happy to see such a large print, the focus is excellent, the tonal range is perfect. I did want to burn the corners, as I normally do with all my prints, however did not do this on the large print, and the fall off at two of the corners is substantial.

‘Passing the Shadow’ Fig.4 My 40″x 60″ on the squeegee table.(plexiglass on sheet of plywood, on two saw horses)  Note fall off at bottom right and top right corners. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©

As there are 3 other people in the workshop, so I may not be able to re-print the first image. I do have another one I will print tomorrow, and if there is time, I will ask for a reprint of the first negative, if I cannot, I will attempt to correct the areas with Marshall’s spotting ink.  I will attempt a glaze (an oil painting technique) starting with very light gray and build it up until it matches the midtones, then keep going, building the layer densities until it matches the shadow regions in the corner.

Over all, very good experience to-day [8 on the happiness/satisfaction scale on the first print]  Will see if I can improve the second to-morrow, and hopefully reprint the first. I would like to have two mural prints for my FMP, and quite surprisingly, I like the RC paper for large prints far more than I do for small prints. It looks far nicer in the mural form. I learned from this workshop that RC paper is a better choice for murals than fibre. It’s tougher, more scratch resistant, cheaper, looks surprisingly good, needs less washing time and dries flat.

I created  these two images this module, so I will use them for my exhibition. I am figuring a way I can make big prints at home. I have the enlarger the baby brother of the 45MXT the 23CIII, and a room I can use next to my bathroom darkroom, so I will be looking into that possibility. Be nice to be able to print a few big prints for the FMP over and above these two I am printing now.

We used Ilford RC MG pearl to-day, but will print on Foma Velvet to-morrow. It is also an RC paper, but it has a matte finish. I am very interested to see and feel the texture of that paper. I saw a test strip up on the wall of a former workshop and i was very impressed with the feel and look of the Foma.  I have used Foma 111, it is fibre base paper, very beautiful. Before this workshop, I was stuck on using fibre bas paper alone, however, after seeing the RC in mural format and touched it myself, I have changed my mind and will use RC for my mural prints. I learned something very interesting to-day: size matters!!!


Day two of the Mural Printing Workshop.

Andrew came up to me and mentioned he did not like the fact that the corners had fall-off and that I could do another print. One of the workshoppers called in ill so that left 3 of us for the day.

We printed the others 2nd prints, then reprinted mine. Andrew re-alingned the condenser lens of the Beseler, we checked the edge to edge illumination and all was fine, so I reprinted the image, I also gave it a 10 second edge/corner burn, this time the print was very good.  The edges, corners, highlights, shadows and the mid-tones, all came out well.

Re-print of: ‘Passing the Shadow’ Notice corners are detailed, no fall off. Photo and work by: Pierre Chemaly ©

We then moved onto my second image. This one was printed on Foma RC Matte (312) I had seen a test strip of the paper and was very pleased the way it looked. Very rich matte blacks and chalky whites with nice middle tones. It looked very good for an RC paper. I never thought I would ever say this about RC, but the tests and the prints convinced me that RC can be very beautiful, and for me, unless I have a very large darkroom with large heat presses and mounting skills, I will stick to the RC prints for the murals.

The test print came out a little flat, so we increased the filter from a #2 to a #3 1/2. and increased the exposure by 5 seconds to 25seconds on the strip test. (the move from a #2 to #3 1\2 requies an exposure increase.   At 50 secs exposure The whites were a little dull and the blacks had a slight dark gray appearance, so we decreased the exposure time from 50 seconds to 40, and gave the shadows a 10 second burn with a #5. The tones came out perfectly on the final print from dark shadows, midtones to white highlights.

2nd Print. approx 40″x 50″ Photo and work: by Pierre Chemaly ©

However the edges of the print got dimpled and there are two very slight creases in the middle of the image. I can trim of the edges by about 5mm on each side, and with dry mounting to board, it may hide the creases.  I learned that the handeling of that large piece of photo paper needs very careful handling, all the way through from exposure to the final wash and dry. I got  two very acceptable prints from the workshop and learned a good deal about handeling and exposing such large pieces of photograhich paper. These are the biggest prints I have made in my pratice so far. The workshop helped me with decisions on  paper selection for the FMP exhibition. RC for the Murals and Fibre Base for the small prints up to 20X24″

The workshop went very well, and I came out having three 40×60 inch prints. I will attempt to correct the edges with Marshall’s as mentioned so this will be good practice. The other two will be cut to the same size and mounted onto sintra or 1/2 inch Gator Foam, I may of may not have it edged taped and laminated, but this whole process is very expensive, so that descision will be made later. Hopefully these are two prints towards my FMP exhibition.


Worked in the darkroom  and made RC and Fibre prints  ranging in size from 5×7 to 11×14.  Fibre takes a lot of washing about 20 minutes per print, and I have to admit that it is a problem. Also having to dry the print is very difficult. Fibre paper curls and buckles and needs to be dry mounted in order to get a real flat print.  This may be a problem with archieving. I know that Ansel used to dry mount his prints, but now that I am faced with the dilemma, I will have to call the Gallery in Carmel and ask a few questions how larger Murals are dry mounted, and if that is acceptable in to days market, because the process is not reversible. I will make some calls to Richard Gadd at the Weston Gallery, I will also call a few curators to get their opion on it.  My RC prints need less washing to be be archival (much less)  2-5 minutes, compared to 20, also I do not need to use a washing aid.  Some of the Foma RC surfaces are pretty nice looking, not as nice as Fibre but mounted and framed it will be very hard to tell. (Descicions, decisions, decisions,)

It seems that dry mounting is the way to go, and if I make fiber prints, I will have to have it done or buy a dry mount press.

Marshall’s Spotting ink. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1436740-REG/marshall_retouching_ms4b_spot_all_kit_4b_4.html

Besler 23CIII https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/3981-REG/Beseler_8005_02_23CIII_XL_Condenser_Enlarger_230V.html

Week-10-Project Development.

Weeks Agenda:

  1. Go back out re-shoot ‘fences’ with film ‘IN’ the camera this time.
  2. Finish off the 3D camera roll and develop it.
  3. Create the images and prepare two files to send off to Bowhaus to make me LVT’s.
  4. Prepare to teach class Friday and Saturday.
  5. Do research on Mural Prints, getting ready for my printing workshop on the 17th and 18th (Week 11)
  6. Work on website www.pierrechemaly.com
  7. Go down to Hollywood to Freestyle Photo to purchase some film and Kodak HC-110.
  8. Darkroom work, start printing.

Went back out and retraced my steps to re-photograph some of the images I missed by not having film in the camera, it’s nice to be reminded -once in a while- that I am not perfect. This time I could think about the images more than the first time. There is something about re-turning to re-photograph something a few days later. Used on roll of the expired Kodak Tri-X 5063 form the 1978 100ft roll. I will develop in D76, I read online that someone had developed it using Kodak HC-110. I have not used this developer, however it has a restrainer, and he mentioned that even though the film was from 1973, the restrainer cut the base fog way down. So I will develop with D76 and if Base and fog is too high, I will develop the next roll with Kodak HC-110.

Developed the film at 68°F Kodak (Tri-X 5063) Developed as recommended by Kodak for 8 minutes. (look for the Tri-X 5063, there are other emulsions listed as well with different developing times) Used stop bath for 30 seconds, Fixed with Kodafix 1:3 for 5 minutes. Washed for 10minutes final rinse with photoflood (Kodak brand) use photoflood as recommended 1:200. Too much will cause a oily film on the base and emulsion.

Exposure looks very good. Good highlight and shadow detail. The base fog is high, however, I am VERY happy with the results. These negatives will scan very well. I think my next roll I will expose at 250ASA instead of 125 and I will decrease development time down to 7minutes from recommended 8.  I will also buy some HC-110 and see if the fog level goes down. I hope to do some analogue fibre based prints later on to see how the negs will print with a high base fog.  Very exciting. to see images on film that expired in 1978, I was 21 when that film was made. What a time warp. Digi people have no idea what they are missing.


Went down to Freestyle photo to buy some HC-110, this developer is  no longer available in small quantity, and the litre bottle is around $35, I decided against it, as I will use split grade printing and with this method, any negative can be printed, I use mainly two developers, Kodak D-76 and Rodinal. If I run out of D-76 I use the Rodinal, it has a very long shelf life, so an open bottle can last two years, as a backup/emergency it is the ideal developer. I also use their paper developer for the same reason (it’s shelf life opened/unmixed is very stable)  and will be using the paper developer this week to make some test prints. (which I bought in Dec/Jan 2019. I am highly considering making my own prints for the FMP. So split grade testing will be made this week.  I bought some film HP5+, and 25 sheets  of Foma (8X10) 111 a bright, double weight, fiber base paper to run some tests.


Contacted Bowhaus, spoke to Joe, he makes the LVT’s. I sent in two files (large TIFF format) to have the LVT’s made for the Mural Printing Workshop this week end. Turn around is normally 10 days, however they will rush it and get them done by Wed/Thurs of this week. (I will have the LVT’s made with a black surround,  D-max) so that I can have a white border around the image, because I consulted with Andrew the instructor, and he mentioned that with the Mural Prints there is no cropping.

A high density around the image, is therefore crucial, this way it will print a white border and I will crop by almost filling the frame with the image, then the d-max of the neg around the image will act  as the easel, giving me a white border.

It will be interesting to see how Andrew determines the correct exposure for the negative for such a large print (48×70) inches. I will see if he uses split grade or not. Paper at that size is very expensive, so there is no test printing, by the time one makes the print it got to be well exposed, either using test strips, or other methods.


Taught the workshop Friday and Saturday. 4 students.

Teaching the basics of the camera: Photo Pierre Chemaly ©

Taught the basics of lighting, 3 and 5 point using LED and Tungsten continuous light. Used the BMCC 4K camera where they could light the actor then film them. Each had the opportunity to light and film the actor. By then end of the workshop, they were setting up the camera, lights, making images and packing all the equipment away.

Settting up the light panel LED. Photo: Pierre Chemaly.


My website is moving along. I like the simple clean approach, simple to navigate with a limited amount of information on the page.  And even though the design is simple, it is difficult to get the images in WordPress to function correctly. So I have the basic website set up in the form I like. [Side navigation] A lot of artists/ photographers like this for some reason, and I do as well. maybe it’s from reading: Eyes move left to right?  So text on left, images on the right.


Bowhaus Culver City CA, Photo: Pierre Chemaly ©

Went down to Bowhaus and picked up my LVT. The film negative of the file looks fantastic. The image is on 4×5 sheet film the contrast is very good between the highlights and the shadows, the image was printed with a d-max border as requested, and the images will print with a white border.

4×5 LVT’s Photo:Pierre Chemaly ©

While at the Bowhaus, I saw some very big prints 50″x75″ of the work by David Yarrow  who does wildlife photography.   Even though the digital ink jet prints look very good, it’s not at the level of an analogue print just yet for me.  So, having looked at these prints, helped me make up my mind to proceed with silver gelatin printing, and to print my own images for the FMP.

LVT machine at Bowhaus. Very few of them remain working. Photo: Pierre Chemaly ©


Went down to Freestyle Photo in Hollywood, bought some 120 Bergger film, will be doing some image making this weekend for my next 1-2-1 with Dr. Wendy. I bought a 100 sheets of Ilford Multigrade Fibre Base 5×7 to start fine tuning my printing skills in my dark room. While at Free Style, I saw a 16×20 B+W print by master printer Marc Valesella, It was printed on Ilford Warm Tone Fibre paper and the image looked amazing, I will most probably use this paper for my FMP prints, however I will still be running tests on both Ilford paper stocks, to see if I like the white or the warm tone.


Booked my Bungalow for Saturday night in Silver Lake, close to Downtown Los Angeles where I will take the mural printing workshop on Saturday and Sunday. I look very forward to printing my images on photographic paper and see how they turn out from the LVT.


Did analogue printing this week with the Ilford Paper bought from Freestyle Photo.  I did some tests earlier with RC and the quality of the medium and the surface texture is just not the same. I know this, but tested anyway. RC is a good student paper to practice on nothing more.  I will therefore print all my images on fiber base paper. The only problem is to get them flat. Without buying a very expensive press this is going to be a challenge. I did contact Marc Valesella, to ask him what his method is as I have seen his work. Very flat for a fiber print.

Exposure test. Ilford Multigrade fibre. Selected f8@9seconds. Split print at 2.5 seconds #00 and #5 at 5 seconds.  Photo: Pierre Chemaly ©
Final Print. Photo: Pierre Chemaly ©



3D did not get to process the 120 roll of 3D images this week. I will get to it next week after the Mural Workshop this coming week end.


I applied to the Los Angeles Art Association for membership, had to send in an artist statement and 5 images. I did that and received an email that I had been juiced and accepted into the LAAA as a member. I will pay the dues, and find out if I can have my FMP at the Gallery 825 on La Brea. The heart of the arts district, where I have been visiting galleries with my Art History Class at UCLA.

A few images I sent in:

The Tree of Wisdom and Courage. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©
Between the Dream and the Deed. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©
Escape the Shadow. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©

The last one I created this module. I will be printing this one in the Mural Workshop this coming week-end.


Kodak Development Chart for Tri-X 5063 http://wwwuk.kodak.com/global/en/service/faqs/faq0034.shtml

Freestyle Photographic Supply: https://www.freestylephoto.biz

David Yarrow https://davidyarrow.photography

Marc Valesella http://www.marcvalesella.com/index.html

Week-9-Project Development.

The weeks agenda:

  1. Have a film-negative made from digital file (LVT) and prepare my film for Mural Printing Workshop.
  2. Mix new batch of chemicals for developing B+W film
  3. Shoot my 3D 6×6 Sputnick
  4. Shoot 35mm B+W outdated film (Tri-X 5056/Expired 1978)
  5. Develop 35mm film
  6. Develop 6×6 3D film
  7. Process Digital images from 7D and 5D.
  8. Create composit images for my portfolio
  9. Teach a Camera and Lighting Class Friday and Saturday
  10. Work on my website for FMP
  11. Enrolled for class at AJU  (Professional Development for Emerging Artists)
  12. Follow a lead I connected with at a gallery meeting, she has a studio down town Los Angeles, art scene connected.

This week I am working on getting a digital file converted to a film negative. On the weekend of the the 17+18th, I will be attending an analogue mural printing work shop (large prints) and will be making 2 analogue prints (48x60inches)   ‘mural prints’ The term was coined by Ansel Adams for his big prints that he made in this darkroom in Carmel.

I remember seeing a very large print of Moonrise, back in 1984 up at the Weston Gallery in Carmel. I could  not believe the level of technical perfection that such a large print could maintain. Even close up there was no grain, dirt, spots, or chemical stains. From that time on, the large print has always held an interest for me. The biggest prints I have made is 20×24 inches, I am preparing to make large prints in my darkroom, a converted bathroom.  I do have a room next, to it and if I print at night black out the windows, I can do it. The main objective of the workshop is to get information how to expose for such a large expansive sheet of paper, because of great expense and time to make such a print, it is not possible to do it trail and error. Maybe the same method is used on smaller prints (strip tests) but i do not know.  The paper is expensive ranging from $500 to $800 a roll. (50″X98Ft)

I will send a file to Bowhaus in Culver City where I will have a digital file converted into a 4×5 film negative (B+W) It is known as an LVT (Light Value Technology) it is a continuous tone negative (no dots) and will use it at the workshop on the 17th+18th to print from. I will also take a 6x7cm B+W negative of my own and make a print from that and see how it comes out. I plan to use these two images in my FMP exhibit, so excited to get working on the the prints. I am considering printing these two images:

‘Towards the light’ -Pierre Chemaly ©
Escaping the hand of fate. -Pierre Chemaly ©

Both of which were created this module. These mural workshops are not offered often and another one may not happen again before the FMP. My understanding is that Andrew who runs the workshop is from Exeter, or went to Exeter university.  I will clarify this once I meet him in person. The name of his workshop/school is mural printing at:  The School of Light

Got prepared for developing film today. Mixed up a fresh gallon of Kodak D-76, Kodafix and Stopbath. Wen out to photograph with some old Kodak Tri-X, out dated (1978)  makes the film 41 years old. I loved that film back in the 80’s. The grain, the contrast, the general look of the film was very pleasing to me. With the change of the film, in America, they can never leave good enough alone, always have to “improve” and in the improving took all the beautiful imperfections out. The Tri-X of today is dreadful. No grain, less silver, all the goodness squeezed out. As a result I switched to Ilford HP5+ 400ASA. Ilford has remained faithful to the original emulsion, so it is as it always was, so I have been shooting that for my go to B+W stock. However, when I see some old prints that where made in the 70’and 80’s as I did when I recently went to the Kline Gallery on La Brea, they desire to shoot some of the “real” Tri-X was stimulated. Alison Rossiter  used expired paper for her work, some of it as early as the 1920’s  I have also bout some film as far back as 1918, so excited to get working with that.

I bought a 100ft roll from Ebay. I know its 41years old, and who knows how it was stored.  The base fog on the film must be astronomical, and it most probably has lost speed over the years. I will not do a densitometry test, I will just shoot it, over expose by 2 stops, over develop by 1.5X the recommended time and see what I get.

This unknown excites me, and, as I am scanning the negative it is possible to “fix” some of the problems. This is what I love about the digital age, one can extract information from a negative that is not possible from regular analogue printing. I really enjoy the marriage of digital and analogue, I personally think this is the best attribute of photography in this day and age. I will not mention the word ‘modern technology’ because I have heard it used back in 1968 when they sent a man to the moon, and that “modern” technology is laughable today. The total computing power for the entire moon program was less that sending a single       e-mail today. a  To-days modern technology is to-morrows ancient technology before the clock even strikes midnight. With that, I will just say, I enjoy today technology and use it to it’s fullest capacity, however I do not discard the foundation, I incorporate it into the new temple.

Went out to-day with my Nikon F-3 and my Canon 7D as backup. I have learned that once I has made the last exposure on a roll of film, the most amazing opportunity arrises, and I would rather have a digital camera, than nothing at all. I spent most part of the day out photographing my ‘fences’ however for this module I am looking for fence ‘parts’  pieces I can cobble and stitch to-gether to create or construct my final images. I am using about 3 layers in general now to construct a final image. So I am looking for motifs: Black Birds, Wire strands, trees, interesting formations, and I try to construct a mental image in my mind. I analyze what I would need. Sometimes the ides works forward, other times it works backwards. In other words I see an image, make it then use it later somewhere, other times I need a specific part of the tussle and I go out and hunt for it. So the process has become very fluid.

Shot all day today, come home to develop with my freshly brewed chemicals, and as I begin to rewind the film, there is NO TENSION on the rewind knob. I thought I had loaded the camera but I did not. I had no film in the camera. Great! what a pro. SO the whole day was a ‘practice’ shoot. I did also shoot some 3D images on my Sputnick 6×6 camera. I made 5 film images, and will complete the roll tomorrow.

This happened to me about 10 years ago, went out photographing with a friend, only to find out no film in the camera.  I will go out to-morrow and re-photograph what I missed today. I did take a few digital images, so the whole day was not all for naught.  I do not regard it as a waste, or blame myself, it was another “fence” to cross and I did it well. I did not get upset!

Website: I am working on a website this will be part of my FMP. my website   is under construction. I will be working on it during the FMP

I enrolled for a class at AJU  Professional Development for Emerging Artists. It for 4 weeks, one night per week. A 4-part series of lectures, discussions, and workshops designed to give emerging artists insights into how the art world (and the gallery system) really works – and the kinds of strategies and skills an artist needs to advance in the art world.

I met Richard the instructor at Dr. Robbie’s Hollywood Sculpture Garden a few weeks ago. Richard is a fellow alumni from Cal Arts. He mentioned he offered this course, and it will assist me. I signed up. It begins September

Bowhaus:  http://bowhaus.com/index.php4

Alison Rossiter: https://www.popphoto.com/american-photo/photographic-paper-decades-past-its-expiration-date/

The School of Light: https://www.theschooloflight.com

Mural Printing Workshop: https://www.theschooloflight.com/courses-shop/black-white-mural-weekend-workshop-august-17-18-2019

Apollo 11 computer: https://igotoffer.com/blog/how-powerful-was-the-apollo-11-computer

Week-8-Project Development.

This week, I did quite a bit of digital photography (unfortunately no analogue) However, I will return to a few locations that I did photograph and will re-photograph images I liked in digital with my 35mm Nikon, fine tune the images and will do some work in analogue, I plan to use some outdated film from the 1970’s (old Tri-X) to add the element of chance into the work. I have been working with a lot of ‘shadows’ this week, as well as form. These will be part of my image construction for my FMP images which will be layered composites and leitmotifs like black-birds, shadows, stairs, windows, doors, mirrors, fences (mainly of wire) trees, water, and I will construct my images in camera, lightroom and photoshop.

Some images this week:

Light Variations – Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©
Triangle,Circle,Square. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©
Fluid Shadows Photo By: Pierre Chemaly ©
Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©



Week-7-Project Development.

Hollywood Sculpture Garden – Pierre Chemaly©

I went  to an art reception in the Hollywood Hills, at the invitation of Dr. Robby Gordon, an artist and sculpture, to his  Hollywood Hills Sculpture Garden, where his work is on exhibit along with other works of art.

Dr.Robby Gordon at desk. – Pierre Chemaly ©

It is in the beautiful Hollywood Hills, overlooking Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles in the distance.

View of Down Town from the Hollywood Sculpture Garden. – Pierre Chemaly ©

Nice to see the fruits reaped from one’s art. The place is an artists dream. There is art everywhere. From the moment one walks into the yard, the front house, to every room in the house including the kitchen, bathrooms and the bedrooms, has works of art exhibited. Even the garage, is a work of art.

The Artist’s Garage. Pierre Chemaly©

There are paintings, sculpture, ceramics and 3D-art on display. While at the art reception, I met a fellow artist from Cal Arts, he offers a small workshop on getting one’s art exhibited, he invited me to join, as he would be able to help me get my work show, so that was a nice connect. Dr. Robby also offered me the opportunity ho have  my FMP exhibit at the gallery, so I will be talking to him more about that. I also met an Artist from Downtown Los Angeles in the Artist Loft district, she makes 30ft high sculptures and paints, she offered to introduce me to the arts district in Downtown, so I will explore that avenue for sure.  Overall, it was very beneficial for me, on many levels, and will persue these avenues, for my current work and for my FMP exhibition.

‘Seize the opportunity’  Artist – Pierre Chemaly ©
‘Escaping the hand of fate.’ Artist – Pierre Chemaly ©

I have been doing a lot of image construction this week, and have made quite a few new images. Using some old images and combined them with new imagery, I am layering.

‘Towards the light.’  Artist -Pierre Chemaly ©

I have made since this module began. It seems if I will be using leitmotifs like trees, stairs, windows, black birds, fence wire, for my image constructions. I am using film and digital images (35mm B+W) (6X6/7) My Canon 7D and 5 D, Lightroom, Photoshop, and my darkroom. My final exhibit will consist of digital as well as analogue images, still deciding whether to introduce color or not, I will see how that goes as the FMP progresses.

I did receive my shipment of Svema 35mm color negative, and will go out and photograph with it this week end.