Film noir inspiration

500 ISO,  f/4

500 ISO, f/4

I read an article on black and white filmmaking a couple weeks ago and felt inspired to try it. I've been practicing lighting, color correction and grading for video because I'm fixing to get out and film more often. This time I wanted to try something different.

For this test, I used a spot light as key and shot between two flags made of black cardboard paper for a narrow spread of light. Cardboard paper is inexpensive (and in my case, free, because they came with a portfolio case) but flimsy. A clamp wasn't enough to keep them from folding. I'm considering ripping apart cardboard boxes and spray painting them black. I placed a small LED behind me and bounced the light off a reflector for the rim light around my ear and neck. In my first test, which isn't pictured, I didn't use two lights, but happy I did for the final shot.

Food politics

Flux Night, 2015, Atlanta. Contestants pay homage to American Gladiator by battling against fast food mascots for a $15 cash prize, a reference to the $15 minimum wage campaign that sparked protests nationwide. 

Flux Night, 2015, Atlanta. Contestants pay homage to American Gladiator by battling against fast food mascots for a $15 cash prize, a reference to the $15 minimum wage campaign that sparked protests nationwide. 

Here's something for Throwback Thursday: Flux is an installation art exhibition, except 2015 was more political than artistic, not that I ever understood the art anyway. I go to photograph the people. Anyway, here are three people dressed up as fast food mascots, sharing a bench with sealed plastic cushions, a scene I find more unsettling than Burger King's King commercials. 

The lost exposures

When I was four years old, my mother would bring me to her college photography class.

  1. Develop the prints for a couple of minutes
  2. place them in the stop bath for 30 seconds to stop the development
  3. submerge the prints in the fixer for five minutes so it’s no longer light sensitive
  4. wash them for a half hour with constant running water

The process is drilled into my head. I'd watch her develop photographs in the darkroom, stare at the images as they blossomed, becoming tangible.

Every family vacation, holiday, gathering, mom was taking pictures, documenting moments. I wanted a camera of my own. I wanted to see the world through a viewfinder too and still do. I want people to see what I see.

I received a Nikon N8008 when I was in high school. Most of the photographs I took with it were terrible, but Henri Cartier-Bresson said, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”

There are a few photographs I like from those years but the negatives are gone. I’ve started a small series on Instagram titled “The Lost Exposures,” because the prints are all that’s left.

From top left, clockwise:  (1)  "Birthday Balloons," photographed sometime in 2007.  (2)  Contact sheet of "Birthday Balloons."  (3)  "Mirror Girl," photographed in 2007. One of my favorite photos from the best roll of film I developed myself.  (4)  A monk at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia, catches me photographing him.

From top left, clockwise: (1) "Birthday Balloons," photographed sometime in 2007. (2) Contact sheet of "Birthday Balloons." (3) "Mirror Girl," photographed in 2007. One of my favorite photos from the best roll of film I developed myself. (4) A monk at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia, catches me photographing him.