Free F295 Seminars in San Francisco and New York
The first west coast F295 event takes place on August 29 from 10am - 4:30pm (with a break for lunch) at San Francisco State University! We have a marvelous day planned that, like all F295 events, exclusively features photographers talking about their work and the ideas, inspiration and rationale behind it. There will also be time for question and answer with the artists.
Following the seminar there will be a reception with the artists from 6-8pm at Rayko Photo.
Presenters & topics include:
Introduction: On the Idea of a 21st Century Photography
The Invented Camera
The Wet-Plate Collodion Process & the Work of Julia Margaret Cameron
A Tri-Century Photographic Approach
Optical Studies in Pyromania
The Art of Getting Lost
If Some is Good, More is Better
The event is free but registration is required. Complete information including registration, maps, and links to the artists sites are available on the F295 website here >>
I've attended two f295 Seminars at B&H and highly recommend them to anyone in the vicinity. Many of the speakers who have presented at the B&H events are also on the roster for San Francisco, so I'm sure it will be just as interesting.
I wrote a review of the 2008 event that was to have appeared on another website, but the editor of that site wanted to expand it and became involved in other projects, and it fell by the wayside, so I'm posting it here to give people an idea of what to expect. I also had planned to write a review of the 2009 event, but some family matters got in the way, so I'll try to wrap that up and post it here as well.
f295 Seminar, January 27, 2008, B&H Photo
It may be hard to believe that a Manhattan retailer would devote expensive square footage to anything but moving product, and B&H Photo's new Event Space is designated mainly for product demos and workshops, but event coordinator David Brommer told the audience that Sundays would be reserved for inspiration, and the free seminar organized by Tom Persinger from f295.org delivered just that. f295.org is an online forum, gallery and information site dedicated to "alternative," "adaptive," and lensless photographic processes and techniques. That's not to say that there was no sales pitch. Representatives promoted the online quarterly of pinhole photography, Without Lenses (http://www.withoutlenses.com), workshops at the New York Center for Alternative Photography (http://www.capworkshops.org), and the whole seminar was something of an infomercial for the f295.org website and upcoming Symposium in Pittsburgh, May 29- June 1, 2008 (http://www.f295.org/symposium2008)--but these aren't things that B&H sells, and the speakers and audience shifted the focus away from the gear and the commerce toward discussion of the creative process.
Jesseca Ferguson (http://www.pinholeformat.com/Jessecagal1.html) makes three-dimensional collages and dioramas and photographs them with a pinhole camera or a nineteenth-century lens, and then often incorporates her photographs in new work. Her artistic process is about collecting and juxtaposing objects that acquire significance over time in her own personal symbolic language. The objects are acquired by a combination of chance and intuition, and the use of the pinhole camera extends that mixture into the production of the final image. "I don't know exactly what I'm getting in the image," she says, "but the camera knows." The photograph is a "reliquary" that hosts "chance encounters between objects."
Jill Enfield (http://www.jillenfield.com) spoke about photographing immigrants with wetplate collodion. As a descendant of Jewish immigrants who left Germany with the assistance of the Leitz family during the second World War, she feels a personal connection between photography and immigration. She approaches potential subjects in Manhattan and shows them her portfolio on an iPod Touch. Virtually all of them accept her offer, and they receive a high quality inkjet print of their portrait on watercolor paper in return for participation. While the collodion process may be slow, toxic, and cumbersome, it also opens possibilities. During the minutes that it takes to coat the plate after setting up the camera, the subject reflects and composes herself before the lens. The plate is developed immediately after the exposure and the photographer and subject can decide whether to make another exposure or to stop with what they've done, so wetplate also offers some of the immediacy associated with Polaroid or digital photography. Enfield has been scanning the collodion plates (which may be positive or negative) and is planning to make enlarged digital negatives from them for platinum/palladium printing.
Jerry Spagnoli (http://www.jerryspagnoli.com) is best known as a contemporary daguerreotypist. For Spagnoli the combination of one of the oldest photographic processes with New York street photography creates a sense of "history on the street." Echoing Jesseca Ferguson's notion of the "photograph as reliquary," Spagnoli imagines that, in making photographs on polished silver plates that remind us of something old even when they are new, he is "putting things away for people to look at in the future."
Spagnoli's current project uses 8x10" color film and a pinhole camera and the repeated motif of the sun in the center of the frame. He alluded to a classical Greek theory that the sun was actually an aperture in the dome of the universe like a pinhole. He has also been experimenting with a lens to allow shorter exposures, making it possible to incorporate portraits into the images. The film is scanned and the contrast adjusted to compensate for the wide brightness range of the sun with the surrounding scene.
Scott McMahon (http://www.scottmcmahonphoto.com) first thought about using a pinhole upon seeing the image of the sun projected on the ground through the leaves of a tree, and that initial observation has led to a life of creative experimentation in a wide range of media from pinhole images using himself as a "character" printed in gum bichromate, to large VanDyke brown prints, Liquid Light tintypes and brooches made with his wife, Christina Miller--a metalsmith, photograms on 8x10" color transparency film made by fireflies, and sculpture incorporating video. McMahon is a vivid example of someone who is living a creative life, not worrying about what other artists are doing, producing fascinating work from his own head and in collaboration with individuals who are close to him, and having some success at it.
Laura Blacklow (http://www.lblacklow.com) discussed her work in Guatemala that began in 1978, including photography, education, activism, and handmade books. She has worked in Polaroid Type 55 P/N, platinum/palladium, and recently SX-70, submitting work to the Polaroid Corporation in exchange for film. Her books combine Polaroid prints, pastels, digital prints from film negatives, and text printed as VanDyke brown and cyanotype photograms.
Martha Casanave (http://www.marthacasanave.com), dressed in the long black frock coat and cravat of a nineteenth-century photographer told us: "I love photography, but I don't like cameras." The simplicity of the pinhole camera--a box with a hole in it--without even a tripod dramatically reduces the gizmo factor in the process of making a photograph. She cited Anthony Lane's article in the September 24, 2007 issue of The New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2...urrentPage=all), in which he compared the ker-chunk of an SLR to a dairy cow kicking over a milk bucket and the famously quiet Leica shutter to a kiss. Casanave extended Lane's comparison suggesting that the image enters a pinhole camera silently like "a long slow lick" and "accumulates" on film. She presented figure studies, portraits, landscapes with and without human figures, and reverse photograms on ortho film printed as positive cyanotypes inspired by the nineteenth-century botanicals of Anna Atkins.
Tom Persinger summed up the event as an opportunity just to hear "artists talking about what they do," rather than trying to interpret their own work or teaching a technical process. Keliy Anderson-Staley from the Center for Alternative Photography observed that as more artists have been learning historic processes, she has seen more experimental and conceptual work in these media. This kind of experimentation produces what Spagnoli described as a feedback loop between vision and process where one devotes resources to ideas that are "rolling" and cuts off projects that don't work. Spagnoli and Casanave agreed that for them, this is a personal process that doesn't rely on external critique or validation from other photographers. "If you're really honest with yourself," Casanave said, "you know what's working."
Attached photos (left to right): Title; Jill Enfield; Jerry Spagnoli; Scott McMahon; Martha Casanave
Just a heads up that the f295 Seminar at B&H this year is tomorrow, Sunday, January 17, 2010. Again, I recommend it highly. I don't think Tom has posted it here, I suspect because they are overbooked as they were the last two years, and it looks like we'll have at least warm weather tomorrow unlike last year, which was a blizzard, so there will probably be good attendance, though I just checked the forecast, and it may rain. That said, they've always managed to find some extra seating to accommodate standbys, so it's worth showing up early to get on the list, if you haven't made a reservation, and seeing if there is any seating available.
Full information at the f295 website with links to register, etc.--
I've updated the thread title.
Originally Posted by f295
Last edited by David A. Goldfarb; 01-16-2010 at 06:07 PM. Click to view previous post history.