Thursday, June 26, 2008

How I did this... [1]

I use Flickr as an on-line gallery space for many of my images. The site is well organized, easy to upload to, and allows the ability to receive feedback and comments from community participants. There are currently over seven million registered Flickr users.

Compare this with the number of viewers a decent photographer might get during a one month gallery showing and you can begin to understand why I like Flickr. It's a great way to have ones work viewed and reviewed by potentially hundreds of thousands of people.

In this series I would like to take five of my most viewed images posted on Flickr and share a few thoughts and comments. I would like to share how I made the image, what it meant to me at the time, and what the image has become.

Yogini - Sitting Meditation 1

The first image I would like to talk about is rather special to me. Here's why.

My wife and I had recently moved into Portland after spending far too long living in an outlying suburb. Once in town I realized there was a large community of photographers who met on a regular basis. Some groups met to critique each others work. Others met just to enjoy a beer and conversation.

I met Ray Bidegain in one of the small gatherings that take place monthly on the east side of town. Ray, as you may already be aware, is a very fine platinum print artist. His work includes figure studies (for which he is rightfully well known) and landscape images. After seeing his work, I was hooked on the idea of making my own alternative prints. Ray's work was selling well at the time and I thought perhaps I could make and sell a few images too.

Ray was renting studio space up in the north west part of town and was looking for other photographers to share the rent. It was a nice space. A little small, but it had large west facing windows. The space also had a large hand painted backdrop. I signed up with Ray and started paying him rent to sublet the space.

I posted a call for models in the local Craigslist Artists group. This gal was the first to reply.

We set a time and date and I started to gather my materials for the shoot. At the time I was working with an 8x10 Deardorff front swing camera with a 300mm f/4.5 Schneider Xenar in number 5 Compound shutter. I also worked in 4x5 using a nice Arca Swiss Discovery, which Ray has since purchased from me. The 8x10 film was TMax400. The 4x5 film was Ilford FP4+.

The image here was produced all in camera. The Arca Swiss 4x5 had a 150mm Schneider Symmar Convertable f/5.6 in #1 Prontor shutter mounted to the fore. The model was asked to meditate, which she obviously knew how to do. The halo was such a huge bonus that I was thrilled by the very first print I ever made of the model. I used a large softbox high off camera left and placed a 7 inch coned monolight directly behind the models head pointed at the backdrop. The setup was as simple as that.

I have since sold many prints. My Flickr page has received over 1,300 views to date. People have responded positively in all respects.

This image is a 4x5 inch contact Palladium print that I made. It is window mounted to 11x14 inches, and, I have to say, it looks great.

So many things came together all at the same time. It's one of those experiences that I feel I have been working a lifetime to participate in. I feel lucky.

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