An open letter about Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by David, Aug 11, 2005.

  1. David

    David Member

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    Approximately four years ago I started using ULF cameras. The learning curve was steep but so very enjoyable. When I began to use Azo I contacted Michael A. Smith about the paper. As I used the paper more questions emerged which he patiently answered. Having an experienced 'mentor' like this was invaluable.

    Working in ULF isolation in Australia and never having seen another Azo print left many questions unanswered and no standard of comparison. Michael had offered an opportunity to visit his place and look at prints and this recently became possible. In addition to the wealth of prints to savour Michael and his wife, Paula, were kind enough to house and feed me for a couple of days and they looked at a few of my prints even offering helpful ideas and thoughts.

    I want to say a couple things about this experience: First, there is no substitute for looking at original prints. I had, for example, looked at the images from Tuscanny on their website and was frankly bored by them. When I saw the same images in person they were alive, inviting and offered more visual treat than it was possible to take in.

    Second, it was a remarkable kindness to offer a stranger this kind of kindness and hospitality. It was also remarkable to experience first-hand the love of photography, excellence and ways of seeing that this artist couple brings. Their place is a vision in itself and further demonstrates their zeal for life and things photographic.

    I am 50 years old and have no desire to be a devotee of anyone and have no need of a guru. I express this caveat because some think that to learn from someone or appreciate their work and importance is to hero worship. Michael and Paula, I can only say thank you. You, as well as your work in its various guises of teacher, artist, craftsmen, 'Azo R us' entrepenours, etc. are an inspiration and the world is a richer place because you are here.
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    David,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about your experience. My experience has paralleled yours. Both Michael and Paula have been very helpful.

    You are absolutely correct that their prints are outstanding.
     
  3. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    Thanks for sharing your experiences David. I have only seen one Azo print besides my own & can understand your desire to see great prints for comparison. I hope to someday see their prints for myself. I have some of their books but understand that they can not compare to the real prints.
     
  4. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    People or prints, there are none finer than the ones you'll find in Ottsville.
     
  5. Glenn Mathison

    Glenn Mathison Member

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    David, I'm really happy for you that you got the opportunity to visit and spend some time with these folks who obviously have some special skills and insight to offer. Not to mention what appears to be a very generous sense of hospitality.

    And I'm happy for APUG that you took the time to post this message . . .

    Glenn