PDA

View Full Version : Jan. 2009 - Gene Laughter, APUG Featured Portfolio.



JBrunner
01-02-2009, 09:28 AM
Gene Laughter has been selected as the January Featured Porfolio on the APUG home page. Gene graciously took the time to answer some questions about his work. Thanks Gene!

Gene, how did you get started in photography?

I consider myself to be more of a printer of hand crafted images than that of a photographer. I have dealt with images since I was a child, doing pencil and crayon sketches, and then an education in graphic design followed by a career in advertising - as an art director and then later in the management of creative and marketing functions. Photography as an art form was was the result of searching for various means of creative expressions of imagery.

What drew you to Bromoil?

After early retirement I returned to college, taking graduate courses in photography. I became interested in the history of the photographic medium and a collector of vintage photographic books, prints and cameras. In my research I kept coming across old reproductions of "bromoil prints," which appealed to me visually, but it was a process of which my professors had little or no knowledge. The quest to learn more about the bromoil process became a challenge and I began seeking out old books with more information on bromoil. This quest for knowledge eventually led me to England, the birthplace of bromoil, and I had the opportunity to meet and resolve many of my questions with Norman Gryspeerdt, Maija McDougal and many other experienced and talented bromoilists. Finally, I was off and running with the bromoil process! For me, I love the hands-on brush application of inks, which tends to make the photographer and artist more a part of the final print and image. Bromoil is a control process and the original information in the negative can be changed, manipulated and made more painterly, which appeals to me.

How does one learn Bromoil?

Fortunately, today, with the internet, it's a bit easier than it was only a bit over a decade ago. When I took up bromoil, it was almost impossible to find anyone who had any experience in the process and there were no modern books on the subject. I learned bromoil in somewhat of a vacuum, having no experienced bromoilists to communicate with about modern materials and the many myths surrounding the process. It's a relatively inexpensive process and one doesn't need the expensive tools, like stag-foot brushes made from the hair of exotic animals, as often written about by writers who have never made a bromoil print. The best place to start is with a modern how-to bromoil book or manual. If one can find an experienced bromoilist it helps to view the actual making of a bromoil print. Bromoil workshops are taught from time to time around the globe and I would highly recommend taking one. Bromoil can be learned on your own, however. The process is not all that difficult, but has a somewhat steep initial learning curve and requires a committment of patience, persistance and practice. It's not a process that one reads a book and then immediatly starts cranking out high quality prints! Once one learns the basics of bromoil, we have an active global internet discussion group to share technical information and to keep abreast of materials changes of papers, etc.

What is your major accomplishment in the bromoil pocess?

Simple! It's the high caliber of work being produced by my former students! While I have taught many the bromoil process, I have learned from each and every student that I have worked with.

What camera format do you use for the negatives of your bromoil prints?

I have the camera collectors' disease and own far too many cameras! Bromoil is a process in which the negative can be enlarged in the wet darkroom onto photographic paper. I use 35 mm rangefinder Leicas, Canons, a variety of medium format Zeiss Super Ikonta folders and my favorites: vintage Rollei 120 twin lens reflexes.

How do you approach your work from a creative standpoint?

I try to deal with mood and feel and do not attempt to covey more visual information than the eye can handle. I am not too concerned about pin-point sharpness. My work often deals with serenity and the presence of absense and I keep this in mind when searching for subject matter. I try to keep all visual things managable and simple!

Who have been the major influences on your photographic art?

Oh, so many - both photographers and painters. Leonard Misonne, Man Ray, Andy Warhol, William Mortensen, Edward Hopper, Marcel Duchamp, Alfred Stieglitz, Walker Evans, Josef Breitenbach, Ray Johnson and host of others!

Here is a link to Gene's APUG portfolio:

http://www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=760&pp=8&what=

:):)

jovo
01-02-2009, 10:25 AM
I've always admired Gene's work, but seeing it all under one roof so to speak is an extra treat. It amazes me how opposed the modernists were to bromoil and other such pictorialist genres. So it's good that that restrictive era has ended and the door is open far more widely to just plain good images however they come to be made.

Congratulations, Gene! And thanks, Jason, for getting the featured portfolio underway.

cdholden
01-02-2009, 11:53 AM
I've seen bromoil, but never really knew what it was. I always thought they were paintings more than a photographic process. Seeing this, I'm curious to know how a few of my negs would turn out. If these shots can be enlarged from 35mm, I have a couple of shots of Richie Havens during an outdoor performance in 2004 that should make great bromoil prints. Too bad I have two other "must try" techniques on the list in front of it. I think I just added a third.
Thanks Gene!

DarkroomDan
01-02-2009, 01:04 PM
I've seen bromoil, but never really knew what it was. I always thought they were paintings more than a photographic process. Seeing this, I'm curious to know how a few of my negs would turn out. If these shots can be enlarged from 35mm, I have a couple of shots of Richie Havens during an outdoor performance in 2004 that should make great bromoil prints. Too bad I have two other "must try" techniques on the list in front of it. I think I just added a third.
Thanks Gene!

When you get ready to give it a try, Gene has a "how to" book and video that are well worth having. I believe I got mine at Bostick & Sullivan.

Congratulations, Gene and a tip of the hat to Jason.

Dan

Sean
01-02-2009, 03:01 PM
Congrats to Gene and thanks to Jason for helping create this new monthly feature. We'll keep on top of it this time and I am also working with our partners/sponsors to build a prize pack of sorts for those selected (Gene will be included and I'll update this thread with details).

Robert Brummitt
01-02-2009, 03:50 PM
Wonderful work! Great idea and execution.
Personal thought.
For sometime now I have been debating in my mind the role of photography magazines in this day and age. I think that websites like APUG, Large Format, Photo.net, Luminous Landscape and all the others that I don't even know of. And I think magazines are almost history.
Don't get me wrong! I still browse the local bookstore and plunk down my 8 to 10 bucks for an issue if it has something I truly would enjoy or find important. I know that there can't be comparison of holding a printed page verses a monitor. But even a printed page sometimes can't come close to a real print.
On the other hand, I get more for my dollars when I renew my membership to Apug and all the others. I get to see all the fantastic work that is being produced right now. Work like Gene's or Bill Schwabs and the many other wonderful photographers. I also see work that isn't just being promoted by an editor or gallery rep. I see anyone and everyone who is will to share in the members gallery.
Then I get to hear and share ideas with all the other members out there. Its almost instantaneity and I get information from around the globe. What magazine can do that?
I want to Thank Sean, the Moderators and all of you. Thank you.

Uhner
01-02-2009, 05:20 PM
I think that the APUG Featured Portfolio is a very good initiative, and being a big fan of Gene’s work I have to say that you made an excellent choice for the first portfolio and interview.

JBrunner
01-03-2009, 09:45 AM
When you get ready to give it a try, Gene has a "how to" book and video that are well worth having. I believe I got mine at Bostick & Sullivan.

Congratulations, Gene and a tip of the hat to Jason.

Dan

I have to admit that I'm interested in the process as well. The range of expression possible as I have seen between for example Gene and Emil (Gandolfi) shows what a powerful, flexible, and expressive medium this can be. I consider it to be "the next level". Now to find the time to try to take it there. :) How wonderful to have these guys in our community. Thanks Gene, for existing in the first place.:):):) It's truly an honor, privilege, and an inspiration to be curating the APUG featured portfolios.

jnanian
01-03-2009, 11:19 AM
i am always excited to see gene's work.
a real master!

thanks for presenting this all to us as you have.

john

VaryaV
01-03-2009, 02:16 PM
Congratulations, Gene - stunning and very beautiful portfolio. And, thank you, Jason for making this happen - really enjoyed the interview, too.

Gene_Laughter
01-04-2009, 08:29 AM
Thanks to you guys for the many nice, kind comments about my APUG portfolio. I was totally shocked, surprised and humbled when Jason informed me of this. I have had only two bad years to date in my long life. 2008 was certainly one of them - from many, many standpoints. I'm hoping that this APUG honor is a sign of a change of luck!!! I'm so often reminded of the line from a WWII song, "There'll be Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover, Tomorrow, Just You Wait and See!"

Cheers to each and everyone of you!

Gene

donbga
01-05-2009, 12:07 AM
I've was fortunate to meet Gene at APIS and viewed his work first hand and it's really wonderful. I was bowled over with his prints and sensitive eye.
Gene is a very engaging speaker and I've been told by a few of his students he is a great teacher. I'm glad to see his work recognized here!

Gene_Laughter
01-05-2009, 08:49 AM
Thank you, Don. Your comment is very meaningful to me. I would rather be known as a good teacher than a good learner - or a good photographer!

Cheers,

Gene

coigach
01-05-2009, 10:19 AM
Congratulations Gene, and thanks for sharing your wonderful work - a real inspiration.

Cheers,
Gavin

eddie gunks
01-07-2009, 11:15 AM
got his book. i will try some bromoil soon.

nice work gene.

eddie

Thomas Bertilsson
01-30-2009, 01:56 PM
It's a bit late, at the end of January, but better late than never, I hope.

Gene, your work is a landmark inspiration to me. It comes as no surprise to read the comment above of you having a sensitive eye, and being a wonderful teacher. You have always been kind to me in my inquiries, and one of these days I will absolutely NEED to start doing bromoil printing.

Thank you for your inspiration and good example!

- Thomas

mike c
03-21-2009, 12:17 AM
I'm still stumbling around in this Apug site,happen to find these interviews and found them very interesting and informative. Can't say enough about Apug and the wonderful people here, what a fine place this is. Mike

Gene those are beautiful bromiol photographs , hope to see many more in 2009.