Glyphs of Time :: a blog by jarvis grant

February 12, 2012

A Visit to Creative Clay Studios

The Kiln Gods @ Creative Clay Studios

The Gas Kiln Gods @ Creative Clay Studios

This weekend I visited the Creative Clay Studios located in Alexandria, VA with my friend and colleague, Terry deBardelaben. Terry had finished sculpting and bisque firing a rather large vessel and was taking her work to be glazed and fired at Creative Clay Studios. As stated on their web site, “Creative Clay Studios is Northern Virginia’s home for clay artists”. The space allows artists to use the space as they would their own studio while maintaining a larger inventory of all things clay than the average professional artist would be able to keep. Much like an open studio darkroom used to function back in the day. Creative Clay also is a place for artists at all levels, to learn different ceramic techniques and provides  a place of community for the ceramic artist working in the Washington DC metro area.

While I was there I met Ed Bull the founder of Creative Clay Studios. Ed loves fire! He is a Ceramic Fireman. While Terry and I were there, Ed was conducting a Valentine’s Couples Workshop. Pretty cool stuff! Couples taking the workshop create separate personal “gifts” for each other or work on a project together.  Anyway, Ed took great joy and pride  explaining how the Studio’s variety of kilns operate. He reminded me of the fact that there’s quite a lot of alchemy involved in the creation of ceramic art. The earth, water, assorted chemistry of color glazes all brought together through the magic elements of fire and timing. I really hadn’t heard that stuff since my days at University as an art student. It was fun to hear again. It was also cool to see Ed interacting with the professional artists that were in the studio. Conferring and interacting with them as colleagues and as Master Craftsman.

While at Creative Clay with Terry, I used the time to do impromptu documentation of her as she worked on this piece of artwork. I’ve been photographing and videoing her as she’s been working on her many projects. In fact, I was with her earlier that afternoon at her school were she provides Open Studio for her students at the St. Steven and St. Agnes Upper School. I was editing video I shot  at a workshop  she conducted about sustainability and making art. The Creative Clay Studio is a visually engaging  space. When she was finished working I told her I wanted to make a portrait of her in the space. Then Ed came back into the kiln room, and I asked him if I could photograph him too. I belive a got a couple of good environmental portraits of these two artists and I share them now with you.

Terry deBardelaben, Artist/Scholar

Terry deBardelaben, Artist/Scholar @ The Creative Clay Studios. ©Jarvis Grant

Ed-Bull, Artist & Founder of The Creative Clay Studios

Ed Bull, Artist & Fireman, Founder at Creative Clay Studios. ©Jarvis Grant




December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas! A little something from New York City

Filed under: Art History,Inspiration,Media — Tags: , , — Jarvo @ 8:35 pm

Merry Christmas everyone. Here is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol preformed as a radio play by the staff of WQRX New York’s classical public radio station and the staff of WNYC  news public radio station, recorded  live from the WQXR /WNYC Greene Space.

Here is the complete cast and crew lineup:

Artistic Team:
Elliott Forrest – director.
Arthur Yorinks – writer.
Fred Newman (Prairie Home Companion) – sound effects.
John Forster – composer/pianist.

Narrator – John Schaefer.
Ebenezer Scrooge – F. Murray Abraham.
Bob Cratchit – Jeff Spurgeon.
Child – Jalen Robinson (11-year-old student).
Nephew – Jad Abumrad.
Gentleman – Richard Hake.
Marley – David Garland.
Mrs. Dilber – Naomi Lewin.
Christmas Past – Nimet Habachy.
Young Scrooge – Elliott Forrest.
Fan – Naomi Lewin.
Fezziwig – Brian Zumhagen.
Belle – Lorraine Mattox.
Adult Scrooge – Elliott Forrest.
Christmas Present – Robert Krulwich.
Mrs. Cratchit – Celeste Headlee.
Belinda – Naomi Lewin.
Martha – Lorraine Mattox.
Peter Cratchit – Jad Abumrad.
Tiny Tim – Jalen Robinson.
Nephew’s Wife – Lorraine Mattox.
Businessman 1 – Richard Hake.
Businessman 2 – David Garland.
Miss Eliza – Celeste Headlee.
Undertaker – Elliott Forrest.
Old Joe – Brian Zumhagen.
Boy – Jalen Robinson.

The gravestone prop of Ebenezer Scrooge used in the 1984 film "A Christmas Carol" was left in the graveyard of St. Chad's Church, Shrewsbury, where filming took place. ©Howard Lake


November 26, 2011

Guest Blogger – Terry deBardelaben: Zhang Chun Hong at National Portrait Gallery

Zhang Hong at the NPG in DC

Zhan Chun Hong at the National Portrait Gallery, ©Terry deBardelaben

I was struck by Zhang Chun Hongs’ presence and what appeared, at the time to be, a woman in “command of her gallery”.  Tall, statuesque, stately, demure, and stunning. Words that I would use to describe Zhang Chun Hong. I happened upon Zhang Chun when she was being physically prepped- surrounded by technicians, for her 2:00PM presentation at the National Portrait Gallery’s Portraiture Now: Asian  American Portraits of Encounter exhibit.

After briefly speaking with the artist before strolling with her to her space I found Jhang to be friendly and very engaging.  She broke the ice by approaching us – Jarvis Grant and I.  At the beginning of her talk she began telling a very classical story of migration and change.  Information about how the artist gave birth to her renown symbolic portraits …streaming charcoal drawings mounted on white scrolls, which give her work a commanding and stately traditional presentation.

Zhang Chun Hong, Artist with Terry deBardelaben at the National Portrait Gallery

Zhang Chun Hong and Terry deBardelaben at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. ©Jarvis Grant

Zhang Chun Hong’s work, on the surface, appeared ultra feminine.  After all, hair— every girl’s nightmare, desire, obsession and preoccupation WAS the focal point.  Yet, while I gazed at the striking portraits…I began to think about the bombarding questions provoked by the –black streaming, long flowing meticulously presented hair. But also, I wondered about the artists’ hair-… (Zhang stands approximately six feet tall with hair reaching down to her thighs). The obvious questions pertaining to…hair maintenance, hair care, length of time it takes to grow hair that long, the process associated with washing  and drying extra long hair, etc. etc. And Oh, had she ever considered cutting her hair, do her sisters, mother and aunts have long hair?   I wondered why in some cultures hair is
“ associated with life force, sexual energy, growth, and beauty”.  Why people question the beauty of women with bald or shaven heads?   I found myself wondering whether or not Zhang Chun or Hong Zhang as she is known in the US was attempting to make some sort of feminist statement that went beyond the politics of hair.  Perhaps her motivation was more about the dominance of the physicality of hairs’ impact on culture, gender and tradition.  So-oo, when Hong Zhang began speaking, I hung on to her every utterance.

Her autobiographical work, visually communicated her story was yet conveyed in an extremely intimate setting conducive to the confines of the gallery space.  The portraits, wood flooring and small gathering lent itself well to creating an environ that complimented the artists words and story telling allure.  Hong Zhang was humorous- recanting funny vignettes about the impact of language and culture on her life.  She has a very interesting personal history about her artist DNA.  She and her twin were both painters, winners of art competitions and to some measure are predisposed to being artist since both parents are art professors.  Before she arrived in Atlanta from Beijing in 1996 with her twin sister, she attended boarding school. They ate their meals together and spent a considerable amount of time together. She is left-handed and her sister right.  Other boarders were always fascinated by how much they seemed like one person when they sat eating side by side – one using the left hand and the other the right.  It tied in perfectly with her triptych of herself, her twin and the older sister.  Mind you these sculpture like portraits exaggerate the length and flow of the dark illumination of the hair, which at times makes one feel as though they are in the presence of statues.  Statues with their backs turned only allowing the viewer to engage the posterior view of the hair –with the slightest suggestion of a head.  However the unmistakable visual dominance of the composition is the hair…each strand articulated with precise clean lines.

Hong spoke of her East/West triptych having both a Renaissance and Chinese presentation.  In traditional Chinese paintings Jhang said that his advisors always flank the emperor.  In Jhang Chuns’ triptych –her older sister has the center portrait, and like a traditional Chinese painting which depicts the military advisor to the emperors’ left she symbolically presented her hair twisted toward the because she often took on the role as the fighter-protecting and coming to the aid of her twin.

As Hong stood in front of each portrait she transformed the space with warmth and insight about her life.  The behind the scene story of her journey to this country and her constant reference to her work gave those in attendance a brief look at the artist as conveyed through her own lenses.

Terry deBardelaben,
Artist, Educator and Researcher

Jarvis Grant photographing Zhang Hong at the National Portarit Gallery, ©

Jarvis Grant photographing Zhang Hong at the National Portrait Gallery, ©Terry deBardelaben

Zhang Chun Hong, Artist

Zhang Chun Hong, Artist, ©Jarvis Grant


August 24, 2011

The Jazz Photography of Francis Wolff

John Coltrane by Francis Wolff

John Coltrane by Francis Wolff during the recording of "Blue Train", ©Mosaic Images

During the 1950’s and 60’s Francis Wolff was the “official” photographer of Blue Note Records.  He was at every recording session making photographs. So as it turns out Wolff became the visual archivist of Blue Note Records. These sessions took place in the living room studio of Rudy Van Gelder. A fact that I find absolutely incredible! In a shot of Miles Davis between takes you can see some of the living room furniture and television. Amazing! You can check out the book, Blue Note Jazz Photography by Francis Wolff. This link is to the soft cover edition on Amazon.

To find out more, but not all, check out this video over at Mosaic Records were Michael Cuscuna speaks to the and about the Jazz Photographs of Francis Wolff.


July 16, 2011

Scared Reflections: An Exhibition

Sacred Reflections Announcement
Sacred Reflections at the Driskell Center, University of Maryland

A couple of months ago, I heard a call to artist for the exhibit Sacred Reflection. The theme of this exhibit in the words of its curator Tonya Jordan, “… is inspired by religious and spiritual traditions of the African American community in Prince George’s County (Maryland) and the African Diaspora.” This exhibition features many of the ‘iconic imagery, spiritual verse and biblical references of the Judeo-Christian tradition, Africa’s derived religious practices, and themes metaphysical and esoteric. My works are in that last group, the “metaphysical and esoteric”. While I do believe that the Black Church is an significant element of the African American community, I also believe that the spirituality of an individual transcends the religious dictates of organized religion.

When I saw this call for entry, I thought of several images that I thought would work. Two were already framed and ready to go. These days I’ve got to think of the economics of exhibition photographs. Then there were a couple of images that have been swimming in my head for a while. This call was just the thing to help me flush out them out. Now I usually don’t think in terms of producing work just for a particular exhibit, but since this exhibit was going to be in the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, I felt it was a great opportunity and venue. Now, I’m not going to get into the technical aspects of these photographs. I’m simply going to present them. In the near future I’ll get into pre and post production of how I created them.

What I found of great interest is that over the course of several years I found myself using the same model, Ava Sheffield. Ava is a great model because she gets into the atmosphere of what I want the subject in the photograph to convey. This makes the image more believable, like an actress on stage. The earlier works were 100 Words and An Ocean’s Song. 100 Words was shot for the cover of the book 100 Words of Wisdom, by Niambi Jarvis. The photograph for An Ocean’s Song was from the same shooting session.  The latest work, Sojourner: The Awakened Dream and The Sojourner’s Quest, comes from the idea of the power of dreams. Or more the power that is found within the dreamer.  Normally I need to live with the work before I start thing of titles for it. At first I was thinking about the subject of the images as a sojourner or temporary resident. While this is very true, after the work was up in the exhibit I began thinking more of the locations she was occupying. So, after this exhibition this series of images will go by the theme title of Dream Chambers instead of The Sojourner. Of these four images I submitted, Tonya selected 100 Words and the Sojourner’s Quest. They always choose 100 Words!  My personal favorite from the submissions was, The Awakened Dream. This reminds me of something my friend and mentor Ed Love once told me. “When you give people the opportunity of choice, they’ll always choose the one you don’t want them to!” Oh well.

Sacred Reflections will be on view at the Driskell Center until August 5, 2011. If you are in the Washington, DC metro area, please stop by and experience this wonderful exhibit.



July 10, 2011

A Gigapixel Portrait

When I first started this project it was to create a 360 degree panorama of an art installation at the Hillyer Art Space in Washington, DC. The work, Ass Against the Wall is the work of artist Martha Jackson Jarvis. The piece was inspired by her trip earlier that year to Tajikistan, a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia, as an Art & Cultural Ambassador.  This was also the first time I use my Gigapan EPIC for an assignment. The original idea was to create a 360 degree pano for a QuickTime VR movie. However the final image/movie was huge! Even when I reduced the pixel count by 50% it was still pretty big, but it wouldn’t choke a user’s system. This is what I came up with. Click & drag inside the frame to view the movie panorama.


The thing about 360 panos is that they’re 360 degrees! So as the Gigapan did it’s thing we were in the final images. I wasn’t sure if it had finished, so when I leaned forward to check its progress, my movement was recorded. One thing that I did discover was that Martha was watching the camera’s movement with great interest. So much so that the camera captured her as if posing for a portrait. It looked pretty good, so I now thought of the image as an environmental portrait. We decided to make a poster for her artist talk at the gallery.

Ass Against the Wall Exhibit Poster

Well neither the QTVR movie or the poster really show the detail of this gigapixel portrait. Even the poster had to be scaled down so it could be printed on a 36 inch by 17 in sheet of paper. After I had submitted the landscapes mentioned in my previous post, Revisiting the Gigapan, I decided to upload the original 360 panorama (cropping me out!) to show it in its full glory, so to speak. Interesting thing about this “final” image is that when I was processing it, I still cut it back by 50%, so it’s still not the true full gigapixel image. Use a navigation tool to pan & zoom through the image below. You can also use your mouse wheel as well as click & drag to pan through the pano.


January 27, 2011

A Quick on Location Shoot

Late afternoon, Wednesday, I did a quick and dirty location photo shoot of a piece of art for my friend Martha Jackson Jarvis. The shoot took place at Prince George’s African American Museum & Cultural Center, in Brentwood, MD. Martha will be in an exhibit, Resonant Forms, with artist Frank Smith, and Alonzo Davis.  OK. I was at the gallery to photograph a piece for Martha titled, Scarecrow. The reason why this was to be quick & dirty was that by the time Martha & I got to the gallery about quarter of an inch of slush from freezing rain was on on the ground. By the time I had set up my lights, about 20 minutes later, the freezing rain had turned to heavily falling snow. With about an inch of snow on the ground and an early rush hour, we all wanted to hurry up and get out of there. DC doesn’t do snow very well! 

Light setup at Brentwood Art Center

Here I'm setting exposure and angle before final shots with tripod.

Setup at the Brentwood Art Center Gallery

Me getting the setup exposures before the final shots with tripod

 The setup was pretty straight forward. Two Calumet Travelite 750 strobes. One with a small Chimera lightbox as the main light, and another Travelite with a 24 inch Calumet umbrella, as the fill. Because of the sudden state of urgency, along with Alec Simpson, director of the Art Exchange, & his staff wanting to get out of there, I didn’t have a lot of time to finesse the lighting. So after I got things up, and Martha was OK with the basics, I started shooting.  

When I was shooting this shot I was thinking of how I would be doing the re-touch in Photoshop. When doing this you don’t want to be sloppy.or the retouch can go horribly wrong. This shot is for the exhibition catalog and other PR for Martha and the exhibit. So I want it to be very tight for publication. So when I got back in an choosing the best exposed RAW file, I first brought the image into Adobe Camera Raw. Here I did the basic exposure & color cleanup adjustments before exporting it into Photoshop. Next, I use Nik Define 2.0 to quickly reduce any luminous noise. I shot at ISO 200 so there really wasn’t much, but Define cleaned it up. After Define I used the Stamp tool to get rid of pipes and light fixtures that where in the way. I actually cropped the image first to minimize this work. Next there was some tonal enhancement to accentuate the lighting that was already present in the shot. This help the over all contrast. Finally I added a touch of drama and place with a burn & dodge hand painted vignette. 

I thought I was done, (and I pretty much was!) but the shadow on the image’s right side was too strong, So, I cloned it out , but that looked strange. Since the cloned data was on its own layer, I simply reduced its opacity. Now I could control that shadow, as if I changed the intensity & placement of the actual fill flash. Now I was done. I always keep the layered files, ya never can tell! I created a JPEG for Martha to give to the Gallery, and now I was done! 

Comparison of RAW & Retouched Images

The image on the left is the unprocessed Nikon RAW file. The one on the right is the retouched file.


November 27, 2010

FotoWeek DC: Part 1-Master Photographers

My Portrait from FotoWeek DC

My Portrait from FotoWeek DC Man DC

Man, I’ve really gotten behind! FotoWeek DC was three weeks ago! Oh well, that how it goes, just been a little busy. OK, excuses aside, I really enjoyed myself, checking out some of the many wonderful events organized by the FotoWeek DC organization. What was also pretty cool, was I had just come back from New York and the PhotoPlus Expo events.  All in all, a fairly immersive time of photographic experiences. FotoWeek DC has been around since 2008. The first two years I’d missed pretty much everything because I was teaching over at the Ellington School of the Arts. I made sure that my students got involved with the Youth programing, but I was always stuck at the school doing some sort of incredibly forgettable, yet somehow important activity.  Being free of the averageness, and at times cowardliness, of art education which seems to be the norm over at DCPS, I could now reacquaint myself  with the world of photography that exist in Washington, DC.

There was a Big Bash launch at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, but being a creature of habit, I forgot all about it. So, I made it my business to really be on the lookout for the events I wanted to check out. I knew there was going to be a lecture by Bruce Davidson, so I confirmed that date in my head.

Bruce Davidson at the Corcoran Gallery of Art

Bruce Davidson at the Corcoran Gallery of Art

This was a free event at the Corcoran, but I didn’t realize I needed to register for it. I pushed myself to go any way and to stand in the long (yet unnecessary) standby line. The slide lecture  was typical Bruce Davidson. Lots of romanticized straight talk, illustrated with his great classic images. His newer work was somewhat different more landscape orientated. When asked about why is he making such a “dramatic” shift. His response was that; He had always been about capturing the soul or spirit of the subject or moment, and this is no different.

Bruce Davidson at the Corcoran Gallery of Art

Bruce Davidson at the Corcoran Gallery of Art during FotoWeek DC.

Then he also admitted, “ I don’t have to worry about model releases!” Another question was about the state of modern Street Photography. His response was, “All art is valid, if honest”, however, he had a problem with photographers “stealing” pictures of people. Davidson approach was always to ask, if possible, the subject permission before taking the shot. He also divulged his methodology for doing this.  At any rate for my first FotoWeek DC event it was inspirational to see and hear a master.

Joyce Tenneson at the Torpedo Factory

Joyce TennesonFactory The at the Torpedo Factory

The next night I went to see Joyce Tenneson, over at the Torpedo Factory’s Multiple Exposure Gallery in Alexandria, VA. One of the great things about living in metropolitan Washington, DC is the Metro Rail. As someone who doesn’t drive I have access to three states, Maryland, Virginia, and DC. All just a three block walk from my apartment. OK, so were Davidson gave the classic “slide lecture” Tenneson first showed a QuickTime movie about herself. The really intriguing thing about this was the narrative was by her from 30 years ago! To hear her talk about her future was a bit odd, in a time traveling sort of way. What was also interesting, on a personal note is that, we both stated our photographic lives in Washington, DC during the 1970’s, and lived in the same neighborhood of Adams Morgan. She went on to be the great Joyce Tenneson, and I stayed in DC, just a guy,  moving my quiet photo career forward. At any rate, the Q&A that came afterwards was insightful. She spoke about how her career has come full circle. She left DC for NYC to get her career as an artist going, and New York was the place to do that. Now she has left NYC and its frantic pace to get her career going by moving to the coast of Maine.

Joyce Tenneson at the Torpedo Factory

Joyce Tenneson at the Torpedo Factory's Multiple Exposure Gallery

The one thing I found very interesting was a comment Tenneson made about staying competitive and the state of mind of young/new photographers. She talked about that even with her track record, she still had to stay fresh. Almost in the same breath, she spoke of how her interns thought that working with her would be the fast track to their own success, but that it was really never the case at all. “Art school has become a business for collecting tuitions.  Students come out of art school with no clue about how to make a living!” The industry has a glut of creatives that ultimately don’t know how to create a life for themselves or create something new that the world needs.”  I am really glad to hear someone of stature finally come out and say that! There are so many new artists making bad art under the guise of being cutting edge. What a racket, but this topic must be left for another time. She also gave a brief slide show of her new personal work, flowers. They were quite beautiful. As she spoke about this work I could see how cleansing they were for her.

Diego Ortiz Mugica  at the Argentine Embassy

Diego Ortiz Mugica at the Argentine Embassy

A couple of days later a attended a lecture and gallery reception by Argentine photographer Diego Ortiz Mugica at the Argentine Embassy.  Diego studied with John Saxton and after that, began a personal project of photographing all of Argentina’s National Parks. American Photographic Artists, and Kaller Fine Arts sponsored this event as the pre-launch peak at Mugica’s new book, “The National Parks of Argentina”, which was officially released in Argentina a couple of weeks later. Like Tenneson, Mugica opted to show a movie of his work and career instead of a straight slide show. Mugica is established commercial photographer and photography teacher in Argentina. His photography workshops, PhotoTravels, are held in the city of Bariloche, were he lives. I have to say that Diego’s backyard is simply spectacular! Lakes mountains, man what a life.

Diego Ortiz Mugica  talks about his work

Diego Ortiz Mugica talks about his work

I know several Latino artist in Washington. I admire their authenticity. They are passionate and very romantic about their art. Diego is no exception. After the QuickTime presentation (which had English subtitles) he opened the session up for Q&A. There was an odd silence at first. American audiences seem to be caught off guard by authenticity! As the first questions surfaced,  he diplomatically dismissed some classic “techno” questions in favor of speaking to the art of seeing and the art of communicating emotion. He also spoke to the photographer’s commitment of the process of “clicking the shutter”. To getting to the scene, finding the “light”, and then being technically savvy to know what to do with it once you have the moment or I guess “are in the moment”. A couple of people in the audience asked him, when was he going to start a similar project in the USA? His response was “Why? That’s you guy’s job! My job, now, is to invite you to come to my home, Argentina”.

At the Argentine Embassy Gallery

Mugica’s photographs at the Argentine Embassy Gallery

After this Q&A, we all went upstairs to the gallery. There he talked about the prints he made. It was a mix of silver gelatin and digital (laser & pigment). His printing method of choice was silver. The digital images were the larger ones. Yet they were all consistent in look and feel. As with his talk in the auditorium, he would slip into techno stuff very little. He opted to instead speak to the “Decisive Moment”. Hearing the story behind the making of his images  was fun to listen to. I seldom use the word “fun” to describe art talk! It was a wonderful evening and it was also interesting seeing the new APA at work. Making the name change from, Advertising Photographers of America to American Photographic Artist was a good move. I think it will grow it’s membership. There are many fine art photographers who know little about the business of photography or how to take charge of managing their careers. Plus APA does great advocacy work on the behalf of photographers. It’s really unfortunate that artist in other media don’t have an organization like APA.

Randy Santos and son Brādy

Washington DC photographers, Randy Santos and his son Brady Santos at the Argentine Embassy.

Diego Ortiz Mugica and Mike Olliver

Diego Ortiz Mugica and APA-DC Co-Chair, Mike Olliver


August 18, 2010

HARMAN Professional Inkjet by Hahnemühle

Filed under: Art History,Digital Tech,Observations,Photography — Jarvo @ 12:53 pm
The New HARMAN inkjet paper from Hahnemuhle

The New HARMAN inkjet paper from Hahnemuhle

This is very interesting. Two giants in the paper industry have combined their efforts. Hahnemühle, a German fine art paper maker since, that has been operating paper mills since 1584. HARMAN is no new kid either. Alfred Harman, the founder of the company ILFORD in 1879 making dry plates,  has been making color photographic materials that go back to the first  practical application of color photography with the Lumière brother’s Autochrome process in 1903. So these two companies know what to do with paper and photographic imagery.

This should be a very interesting paper. The paper even smells like wet darkroom paper because of its true Baryta coating. One of the things that wet darkroom photographer have been looking for is a paper that looks and feels like an air dried glossy paper. This may be it. I’m looking forward to trying it out to see just what is what .


July 25, 2010

Kodachrome, makes all the world a sunny day…

Steve McCurry's Afghan Girl

Steve McCurry's "Afghan Girl", 1984, Peshawar, Pakistan, on Kodachrome film

I had stumbled upon an article, thanks to Michaela Brown on Facebook, about Steve McCurry and the Last Roll of Kodachrome on NPR’s photo blog, The Picture Show. McCurry, is the photographer who shot that iconic cover of the Afghan Girl for National Geographic back in the 80’s. Kodak stopped the production of Kodachrome slide film last year, and has given the Mc Curry the last roll of that classic film that came off the assembly line. To get the details and hear a brief interview click on the link above.

When I was in college, I learned my photographic color theory from Pete Turner, Jay Maisel, and Art Kane. Back in the early 70’s there was still the question if photography was “art”. Although color theory is color theory, I was being taught by painters. That’s not a problem, but the practical application of it to my medium was. Instead of bitching & moaning about it, I turned to those three masters of color photography and studied their approach to image making. Well, Kodachrome seemed to be their weapon of choice and I did the same. It was quite different to handle coming from Tri-X with an ASA (sorry!) ISO of 400 usually pushed to 800.

It took a bit getting used to ISO 25! But man the color was deep and rich. Then in the 80’s I switched to Kodachrome 64, a bump of a whole f/stop. Then came Kodachrome 200, but it seemed scurrilous to use it! Yet, the film was gaining in greater popularity and Kodak, who were the only ones processing the film, began to grant the license  to a few other independent labs to process the film. That was the beginning of the end of Kodachrome, at least for me.

But with Photoshop & the “new” inkjet technologies seemed to bring back Kodachrome’s glory days! I could now get a high rez scan of an old Kodachrome slide that was once a real pain and expensive  to print, and produce a great print. The best part being , I was the one making the print, not an overpriced custom lab.

Well, Kodachrome I’m sorry to see ya go. Maybe it’s time to shoot those last few rolls I have in the back of the fridge before the chemistry is gone too!

The Blue Playground

The Blue Playground: Kodachrome 64 scan made with Nikon Coolscan ED8000 scanner of my daughter Maya at Hartly Park, Mt. vernon, NY 1983

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