Hopefully, I will start having more time to update my blog. For the past six months, I have been working on creating a new website. When I started this project, I did not realize how long the entire process would take; from conception to getting one portfolio online. I was hoping that by the time the web designer finished that I would have had three portfolios ready to go, but this is not the case. Overall, this has been an exciting process for me; revisiting older work, editing, and sequencing, yet, I found the process to be quite challenging and time consuming, making one change after another.
The most challenging decisions, however, were the ones with the smallest details, but unchangeable; like the domain name. I struggled with this for at least a month or two, just trying to decide what the domain name should be. I was debating between several different names, and whether or not there should be a "photo" or "photography" related word. Quite a few suggestions were made to me by those I frequent with at cafes, and in passing conversations. Their suggestions were to create a domain name that is short, easy to remember, and to add the word "photography," which is a little difficult to do when you either have such a common name, or a long name already. The domain name that I eventually decided was the least popular by those who offered their advice; they don't know yet, but will find out soon enough that I did not adhere to their advice. Hopefully, they will understand that I had good intentions when I asked them, and won't be too offended.
Additionally, I found it quite difficult to write a bio. It is such a personal thing, and how many people really care? A lot, of the bios that I viewed, seem to have the same formula, name, accomplishments, education, awards, and clients. Please don't get me wrong, these photographers should be proud of their accomplishments, awards, and clients that they worked hard to impress, as it can be challenging to gain a client's trust and respect, especially if they have never worked with you before. In the end though, I would like to think that it just simply a matter of what kind of person you are; are you human?; do you really care about the plight of others-their happiness, their sadness, their stories. Certainly the photographers work that I viewed all seem to deeply empathize with their subjects, who allowed them in their lives to be photographed, but it did not come across in some of their bios, and awards or client lists cannot always reveal such details.
The other challenge that I faced was that I only had one portfolio ready to go up on the website. I really wanted to have a minimum of three portfolios, however, knowing how much I love to procrastinate, I knew that if I waited any longer, it would take another half a year before the website would go live. The same friends who offered their suggestions for the domain name, bio, and a few of the other details, also suggested to go live with just the one portfolio, and continuously and religiously, update the website. So, I am currently working on two additional portfolios; Hong Kong, and new edit and sequence of my work on Tibet. I hope to have both projects up and running by the end of April, but knowing myself, chances are I will only have one up.
The last challenge that I am faced with, is that I have about 15 years of photographic work, and all in the form of negatives; no digital files of any kind. So, I have been experimenting with either having the negatives scanned, or printing them in my darkroom, then scanning the prints. I have found that the having the negatives scanned, then editing and sequencing them is a much quicker process for me than printing fiber base prints, and then scanning the same prints. However, printing the images and then scanning them is more satisfying for me, which I also believe, renders a more beautiful aesthetic, even for the web, especially since my printing skills are greater than my photoshop skills. I find that I can bring out the slightest details or tonalities that I would never seem to be able to enhance otherwise. On the flip side of this, I had one severely damaged (scratched) negative, which wound up being one of the key images (image #2) for the current portfolio on Hansen's Disease (Leprosy). Because of photoshop, I was able to remove all of the scratches from the negative, and this was something that I was never able to accomplish in the darkroom with that particular negative before. By the end of the day, I had a choice to either move quickly on adding portfolios to my website by scanning the negs, or really taking my time, and printing fiber base prints, and scanning them. Depending upon how the scanned fiber base prints of Hong Kong and Tibet appear, this will determine the process for how I build the rest of the website.
I don't really have much insight as to which one is better; I am simply more accustomed, and enjoy the process working in the dark than I do in the light.
My next article will be more about the Hansen's Disease project; an old article from "Life" magazine about Carville and some of its patients, some of the images that were edited out of the photo-essay, and hopefully an interview from a former resident of Carville.
I hope all is well in your part of the world.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
It is Saturday March 21st, and I am overwhelmed with fatigue, a massive headache, and depressing weather. This past two weeks have been the busiest in a long time, waking before dawn, and returning after sunset. I have never envisioned my life being so busy. And now, becoming more and more accustomed to this unwelcomed life-style, once I have time to relax and rest, I am even more restless, as if I have to relearn how to do nothing from the long summer days of my youth.
There is much to comment on, as the news locally and globally seems to increasingly become more and more unpredictable; A few highlights:
--Journalism seems to be in tail spin as more and more newspapers are folding as they find a way to be economically viable. We have a all heard about the Rocky Mountain Newspaper, which has been around for 150 years. The San Francisco Chronicle may be next. The newspaper has been the fundamental source of in-depth investigative reporting, and watch dog on local and national watch-dog of corruption. As these papers fold so does the talent of the journalist and photojournalist that have brought us amazing stories and incredible photos of the daily events that unfold before our eyes-witnessing moments in time. Without these newspapers and reporters who will continue this tradition?
--Following with more news about journalism; two journalists have been abducted along the China / North Korea border, "The two women have been identified in South Korean news reports as Euna Lee and Laura Ling, staffers with the San Francisco-based Current TV, an online video news service set up by Al Gore." The report states a conflicting report stating that the two journalists were on North Korean territory, while other reports confirm that North Korean soldiers walked across the frozen river that create part of the natural boundary between the two countries.
--In Darfur region of Sudan, the sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been brought up on charges of war crimes in Darfur, from BBC News, "The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court has accused Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir of "exterminating" refugees by expelling international aid agencies. on charges of war crimes in Darfur." The sudanese president is now expelling aid organizations and groups from the Darfur region, "The expelled groups made up 40 percent of the aid personnel and included some of the best organized and most experienced agencies dealing with the conflict." The growing concern of course with the expelling these groups is more mass starvation and violence against the growing number of people, who are forced into these refugee camps, "Those aid workers who remain say they can fill the gaps in the short term, but warn of possible crisis within just a few months, with deteriorating health and outbreak of diseases — even violence, as desperation grows."
Why the international communities do not form a military coalition and intervene in one of the most recent and horrific genocides taking a place on the planet. I thought that WWII would have put an end to genocide, but it seems to have only increased in modern history-Bosnia war (1992-1995), and the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 where and estimated 800,000-1,000,000 people were brutally murdered.
When will it end?
Here is a current film, "They Turned Desert Into Fire," by my friend--Bay Area film maker and photographer--Mark Brecke
--In other news the growing number of Americans, who were once middle-class citizens, continue to lose their jobs and their homes. The economic downturn is bringing financial disaster to many families, and the ones who are affected the most are the children and their former pets. By the end of 2009, one million children will be part of the homeless population, taxing the homeless shelters around the nation. In Sacramento, California a homeless, tent city, is on the rise. There are currently 150 homeless who make-up the tent city encampment. This is the same area where Dorothea Lange photographed her images of the Great Depression during the 1930's.
Here is a photo-essay by Justin Sullivan of Getty Images.
Last but not least, besides this brief update, I still have my headache, and two more weeks of an ever increasingly demanding schedule. In the meantime, I will survive by drinking espresso and sleeping when I am able too. Additionally, I am on the verge of going live with my new website showcasing work from the past 18 years to present. The website will hopefully have three portfolios to begin with, and the rest will be edited, scanned, and sequenced over the next year; a work in progress.
During this time, my blog will finally be updated with articles and hopefully an interview on of the portfolio topics, plus new links--websites, blogs, and photo-agencies.
Thanks for reading; hope all is well in you part of the world.