Week_12_Project Development

This week been been busy working on the assignments attempting to get it done before the deadline. Was successful with the portfolio, that was submitted early same with the oral presentation, had time for fixes and improvement, was not as rushed as it was last module.

Portfolio went through a number of changes. Still working on the CRJ. Been experimenting with different cameras. Digital and film, like the old Canon RC250 a still video v=camera, very old, 1988, but still working. and my Nikkormat 35mm film camera. Quite like the idea old working in 35mm color negative and black and white Ilford HP5+  been using a monolith developer with good results.

Canon RC250 Analogue still video camera.


35mm Nikkormat Film Camera with Tamron zoom lens.


Got my hands on some old Kodak Color Negative film from around 1998. Will be making some images in the modules to come and see how the old film performs after being left to the elements and heat for the past 20 years.

The series in my portfolio was made over numerous visits to Pearblossom HWY-138. Images need to be interpreted, they are not always what they appear to be. As a photo practitioner I am crossing over into the abstract to explore it deeper. This is a visual attempt to make the transition, a mathematical progression towards that aim.
When going beneath the underpass onto the highway, it is like entering another realm.  Because, here the image creating process begins, continues during time spent there and ends long after my return home to process the media.  Image creation, is a lengthy ordeal, not a decisive moment.
These images have culminated from this module. I have contemplated and utilized appropriation, re-photography, metaphor, de-priviliging the sensor, experimentation, fears, uncertainty, chance, luck, experience and creating as part of my methodology.


As the course progresses, instead of the project becoming co-herent, it is becoming di-verganet. Went out this week and photographed HWY138 with my 35mm Nikkormat and developed the film again, it felt just if it wa some “pretty” recorded image of the the HWY entrance. Made about 36 different images. Still toying with the polyptych, but still feel there is more that needs to be done.

This Hwy is a metaphor for a journey, but cannot seem to get past the gate or the entrance. Both physically and mentally. Get to the gateway and the whole things seems to fall flat.

Seems to be some sort of mental block with the image making process. Very difficult week. A lot of time eaten up with other commitments.



HWY-138 seems a possibility of my final project. I am still wrestling with my abstract image side, but feel that abstraction is more a one-off series of images as opposed to having a series or a story.

I am entertaining the idea to handle the FMP more as a ‘Happening’ than a story telling event. At present I am opposed to story telling through still images as it is too closely related to my career in film, and looking not to go in that direction, as it would be too parallel. I am looking to diverge away from story telling as opposed to converging in on it.


For the Landings project,  I am considering using the socialist colony location to have the exhibition. (Llano Del Rio) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llano_del_Rio It is along Highway 138 close to 165th Street East. I discovered that the location is a historical landmark. http://ohp.parks.ca.gov/ListedResources/Detail/933  So I called the public office and asked about getting an exhibition there. It was suggested that I contact the owner of the property, as it is on private land, and the land owner has the final say.  I am now in the process of locating the owner of the property through the County Recorder’s Office of Los Angeles County.


I am considering  doing my FMP along HWY138.  As I have been traveling this highway back and forth, some interesting things are coming to light. Besides David Hockney’s Pearblossom HWY- 1984.

I discovered that Aldous Huxley lived out there. That there was a Socialist Commune that was out there along HWY 138 back in 1914. Ironically all around 165 Street East where Hockney made his collage.

I was looking through some photos on my phone today, and discovered that I had actually seen the original image at the George Pompidou in Paris last August while on vacation in Europe.

The strange thing about it is that I do not remember seeing it or even taking this photograph.

‘3 Chairs Jardin Du Luxembourg’ © Pierre Chemaly

Earlier that day, I was at Jardin du Luxembourg and I made an image of three chairs.  Later on a visit to the pompidou, I saw a painting of David Hockneys, which was somewhat similar.

Le Parc des Sources Vichy. 1970. Acrylic on canvas. © David Hockney.

I will be going out to HWY 138 this coming weekend, and will go and look at the site of the Llano Del Rio site myself to get a feeling of it and may ask a few people in the area about the place.

I am contacted the State about using the site, because it is a historical land mark, and they said that it is private property and I need to contact the owner. So I will be busy next week to inquire how to do that.


I went out into the desert to photograph Pearblossom Highway  HWY 138. Inspired by the work of David Hockney.


I was interested to see how the location looked some 30 years later. Also to see how he transformed the landscape into the actual art piece. When I arrived at the location, to my disappointment the location had changed tremendously. The highway was widened to four lanes, the stop sign was removed and replaced with a traffic light. The HWY 138 sign was gone and the stop sign ahead was missing.

Originally  it was my intent to make a 180 degree panorama of the location with a set of five polaroids. I also took my Leica Digilux made in 1997/8 to make a few images using old technology. I made the five polaroids using my Fuji 4×5 polaroid camera, but was not happy with the results. The images were too dark and the resolution and color did not serve the image well. It was difficult to see the traffic light color against the back lit sky.

So I decided to experiment with the  Leica Digilux. I was limited by a small smart media card 3MB and 25 images, the battery  of the camera is old and was running down. The winds were about 70MPH and the Temperature was around a 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so conditions were not pleasant, in addition I had driven out 21/2 hours to the desert location.  So, I had to make something out of the experience.

I decided to make a series of five images, and decided to name it a polyptych  instead of pentaptych which is the correct name for five images, because polyptych sounds more fluid and it means many.

Polyptych  Pearblossom HWY138/165E #2.,  Jun 27, Noon. 2018  ©Pierre Chemaly

I decided to leave the date stamp on the image. This was the default of the manufacturers production date. Felt like I was looking at the images back in 1998. I used the color red for the traffic light, same color as old stop sign of David Hockney’s image, also it clashes with the color in nature symbolising the clash between industry and nature. Green was the same as the bushes and yellow blended to much with the sand. I went over to all the vertical poles, sign, light and Joshua tree and set them up side by side. I made a few versions on this image  this one the horizon line is more of less even. In the others I had the centre image larger, more in line with the requirements of the polyptych, and in another version, I had all the verticals in the centre.


This week, I will be making a framed looking glass for an idea I have to frame and reflect an image at the some time.

I ordered a  a wooden frame from Amazon, I found it after looking at Home-Depot and Lowes,  both of which were expensive and big and heavy. On Amazon I found a wooden frame, that was light small and inexpensive, that would allow me to walk around with it freely and easily.

Presently looking for a mirror that will either be used as one of the window panes or maybe stuck in the centre of the 4 panes. The idea is to take the frame and mirror and mount it on some kind of stand and take it to various parts of the city, set it up and photograph it and experiment with it to see what kind of images I can obtain by photographing through the window as well as what I will get reflecting back in the mirror.

I will make the device this week and go down to Venice Beach Broadwalk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fhg8tvyJbAo on the week-end, set it up and make images.  I will start off using my digital camera Canon 7D to start and see what kind of imagery I will get. I may also do some film tests and experiments medium format but this will be at a later date.

So the question that I have to ask is, “what will I hope to gain out of this image making process?”  Instead of answering the question or coming to a conclusion abstractly, I am going to take Gary’s advice and actively discover and experiment in the concrete sense, instead of  intellectually. I have some ideas obviously,  however I am going to do the photo-shoot and see what comes up by chance, accident, chaotically and abstractly, and see if I more pleased with the mental or physical outcome of the act. I also would like to see if I can come up with some order, pattern, visual story, theme, post facto, instead of per-facto

Excited for the frame to arrive, and go and make some images.



Window: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FGG3298/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Venice beach image: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fhg8tvyJbAo


This week been thinking more about my final project and how I can incorporate variations of rephotography/repeatphotography into the FMP and how I can come up with a series of images that have a theme or consistency to them as opposed to being a one-off. However, I am more interested in a window/mirror approach, and have some ideas in that arena which I am going to explore.


This week I finally completed PH39 (Photoshop class) at Santa Monica College. It’s an evening class that I have been attending, so that I am a little more familiar with it and able to use in my FMP.

Photoshop has it’s place, but quite honestly, it’s reached a point where is is impossible to tell real from not real or digital lying, as it is sometimes referred to.

With compositing, warping, liquifying and replacing any part of an image, I feel that that art of photography has made a shift from the photographer to the photo-shopper.

I can already see the work of the photographer changing from a skilled image maker to an ‘anything will do’ person, who’s work can be fixed in post, aka – photoshop.

Maybe it’s the sign of the times, or just my preferred way of practicing, but I prefer making the image in camera with minimal manipulation of the image in post.

I soon learned that digital lying is not new, it had already begun with Ansel Adams, who dodged, burned and manipulated the image except it was called analogue lying, over a half a century ago. Also known as image manipulation, a tamer more acceptable term for what it really is.