The RayKo Photo Center’s Opening for their annual plastic camera show in San Francisco was a wonderful event. Teeming with patrons of the arts, all eager to view the images of the 80+ photographers. Red dots started to show up on prints as the evening progressed. Fun was had by all who were in attendance.
Kris Vagner wrote a great article in today’s San Francisco Examiner, on the RayKo Photo Center’s 2010 International Juried Plastic Camera Show. I juried into this show with two photographs created with a Kodak Fun Saver Panoramic 35 disposable camera (see previous post). The show featuring the photography of 80 plastic camera artists from across the globe. Please come see the show, it will be up February 26th through April 17th.
RayKo Photo Center
428 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
Here are my two images that juried into the RayKo Photo Center’s 2010 International Juried Plastic Camera Show. I will be at the opening Friday February 26th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. The show is up February 26 – April 17. Hope you get a chance to stop by and see the incredible images that plastic cameras can make.
RayKo Photo Center
428 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
This photograph was created using a Kodak Fun Saver Panoramic 35 disposable camera. Trish and I were living in Oregon at the time. This was the last day of a two week long photographic expedition to Nevada. We had camped nearby at Fort Rock in south central Oregon, with the intentions of visiting Hole-in-the-Ground a place we had heard of but had never been to. Driving the narrow winding forest service road to Hole-in-the-Ground was a very unassuming experience until you arrive, emerging from a fairly dense stand of pine trees and suddenly your on the rim of the crater looking down 500 feet to the bottom. We spent the best part of the morning hiking around this inspirational place.
This photograph was also created using a Kodak Fun Saver Panoramic 35 disposable camera. It was November in Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the weather was terrific. We virtually had the whole park to ourselves. On the second night we headed up the Alamo Wash to backcountry camp at Alamo Canyon Camp. We spent several days camping and hiking from this location, I shot this image on the last morning we camped here, standing on the picnic table of our camp spot.
I started photographing with a plastic disposable panorama camera in the early 90’s. I was working on my “NEVADA” book at the time. The publisher had a rigid formula for content and photographic style. The plastic panorama was my creative outlet during that project.
Catholic Church, Manhattan, Nevada
I am a visual explorer. I survey what is before me not with eyes that wonder what something is, but with all thoughts directed to aesthetics. Whether I am with camera, sketch pad, or walking our dog, I look at the world around me designing it into graphically pleasing ideas.
Blue Mass Scenic Area, Nevada
I like two shapes to design within, the square and the panorama. Panoramas convey the idea of the landscape so well, my eye tends to see that way when I’m in this kind of space, naturally lending itself to my mind’s ideas.
Diamond Mountains, Nevada
The plastic camera has helped me grow artistically over the years, removing some of the technical aspects of the photographic process and bring me back to pure design and aesthetics.
Lunar Lake, Nevada
Headstone in Austin, Nevada’s cemetery
I spent the entire week in the darkroom processing dozens of rolls of film. While the film was in the wash I was in front of the computer scanning the negatives and printing out contact sheets. If an image stood out I scanned it big, cleaned it up and archived it for future printing. It’s mind numbing at times, but I’m always wowed every time I hang up a roll of film to dry and see it for the first time, or make a big scan of a negative and see an image big. I shot a lot with the Holga in the past few weeks. I had run out of 35mm film for the Kodak Disposable Panorama cameras, and had some Ilford 120 film in the freezer so I shot it. I still have a few rolls of film left to process, but need to mix more chemicals before I can start the next run.
Stokes Castle in Austin, Nevada
Garage in Austin, Nevada
Private home in Austin, Nevada
On Presidents Day, we packed up the car with camera gear and headed down the road on a day trip to Ely, Nevada. Trish and I drove the 77 miles east on US-50 to the Nevada Northern Railway Museum. We attempted this a few weeks back, but found the museum closed to the public due to an event. Winter is my favorite time of year to explore the museum’s 56 acre yard. Other than volunteers working on restoration projects and putting away rolling stock, we had the place to ourselves. Any other time and you find yourself waiting for museum goers to get out of your shot.
I’m really not that into trains, I’m just interested in the graphic things you find in the heavy equipment of a railroad and buildings made specifically for the maintenance of a railroad around the yard.
I shot almost 200 digital images and only 48 frames of black & white. I wasn’t uninspired to shoot B&W, I was just out of film! I ended up using both Canon 5D’s with the 35mm f=1.4, 24-105 f=4.0, and the 70-200 f=2.8. I also shot film with a Holga 120N, since I am out of slower speed film, I kept my shooting inside the Engine House, using Ilford HP-5 and Ilford Delta 3200.
Inside the Engine House is where they work on the restoration projects and store the locomotives. I find this building particularly interesting. All of the rolling stock, engines, parts, and tools make for very interesting graphic subject matter.
On our way home I drove past this road leading across Newark Valley and the Diamond Mountains, the scene made me stop and turn around to take this picture.
We drove 70 miles west of our home on US-50 to Austin, Nevada on Valentine’s Day. We had planned on having breakfast at the Toiyabe Cafe, but we got there too late and had lunch instead. We wandered the streets of Austin by foot for a few hours taking lots of photographs, 95 digital images with my Canon 5D and 24-105 lens and 96 frames of Ilford FP-4 120 film through a Holga plastic camera. It was a warm (50 degrees) sunny day with some high wispy clouds in the sky. We then drove the short distance to Stokes Castle. We didn’t spend much time there. I shot one roll of film through the Holga, but didn’t shoot any digital images. The fence around the site is distracting and unappealing photographically. Hopped back into the car and drove down the hill to the Austin Cemetery.
I love the Austin Cemetery, it’s one of my favorite cemeteries right after the Virginia City Cemetery. Austin’s cemetery is very ornate with wondrous monumental headstones. I shot several more rolls of film and plenty of digital images here, I switched to my Canon 35mm f=1.4 lens for this location. Next we were headed back though Austin over Austin summit to Spencer Hot Springs for a soak before going home.
After cresting Austin Summit but before Scott Summit there is Grass Valley Road. Neither of us had ever driven the road, and were both wondering what’s up that road? So off we went. Ten or so miles and after passing a couple of active ranches we came across an abandoned ranch with many stone and adobe out buildings. The roofs were sticks and sod, and still keeping the buildings dry. I managed to finish all of my remaining Ilford FP-4 film and shot some more digital at this old ranch. Grass Valley Road continues north of US-50 passing through Crescent Valley and Beowawe before connecting to Interstate 80. We turned back on the pavement and headed to Spencer Hot Springs. As we approached Spencer, we encountered several other vehicles wandering around trying to find an open spring to soak in. The road to the top spring was still covered in slushy snow and we slipped and slid our way to the top and found it to be free of others. The water was perfect! The sun was shining on the Toiyabe Range, it was a glorious sight! We soaked for almost an hour before driving back to US-50 and on home. We both had a wonderful Saint Valentine’s Day.
The other day we packed a picnic lunch, and set out on a day trip to Manhattan, Nevada. It was a wonderful sunny winter’s day. Manhattan is located in the Big Smoky Valley, about 45 miles north of Tonopah, and 7 miles off State Route 376 at the 7,000 foot level of the Toquima Range. There was about a foot of snow on the ground and it was just above freezing out, but with the sun shining so brightly you could imagine it was a lot warmer. Mining has been going on in the Manhattan Mining District since 1867 and still goes on today. At one point Manhattan had a population of 4,000, but today only about 124 people call Manhattan home. I love visiting Manhattan, many of the homes have been fixed up very nicely, but in a funky way. These funky homes are intermixed with travel trailers and ruins of turn of the century buildings, this makes for some very interesting subject matter to photograph. After spending several hours rambling around exploring town, we headed back down into the Big Smoky Valley as the sun was setting over the Toiyabe Range, it was spectacular! There was fog starting to form as we approached US-50, and it was almost dark out. We decided to drive the 5 miles off of the highway to Spencer Hot Springs and take a soak. Few people had driven the road into the springs as the dirt road was covered in snow. The place was all ours, we pulled up the the top spring and jumped into the hot pool. The last glimmer of pink in the sky disappeared and the sky lit up with stars as we soaked. After a long soak we very quickly dried off , got dressed, and got in the car. I fired it up to get the heater going and noticed it was 6 degrees out! We started our drive back to US-50, but momentarily became disoriented in the darkness and fog that had settled in the valley, but just as quick we were on the pavement and zipping home.
Eureka, Nevada is a small remote community just east of the geographic center of the state along US-50 “The Loneliest Road in America”. Eureka is a well preserved mining community that became a town in 1864, the same year Nevada became a state. At one time Eureka had a population of over 9,000 and is now about 500. Trish and I moved to Eureka in 2005, taking up our residence/studio/gallery in an 1880 bank building on Main Street (US-50). Shortly after moving to Eureka we downsized to one vehicle. Great for saving money, but when it breaks down in such a remote place life becomes a bit more challenging. Since last summer we have been essentially without a vehicle. We regularly go camping or exploring in even more remote areas, taking lots of pictures. But without a car what do you do? You walk! My daily walk has taken on new meaning since last summer. I now take a camera with me every time, whether it’s one of my many plastic cameras with film or a high end digital. In turn I have documented Eureka extremely well. My walks take me in every direction, down every street, and change with regularity depending on weather, or what I may have seen the day before and want to take a different camera or lens the next time.
This is old news, but back in December of 2009 Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company the publisher of my “NEVADA” and “Las Vegas: Portrait of a City” books filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is after they filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy a few years earlier. They couldn’t dig themselves out of the trouble they put themselves into, which ultimately resulted in chapter 7 placing them in a court ordered liquidation of everything. The company closed its doors and no longer exists. The two major lien holders will receive the money from the liquidation, leaving the artists high and dry. One of the partners, Ingram Book Company ended up with the stock remaining from GAC’s warehouse. They offered me 30% of previous royalties and a continuation of my original GAC contract. I took it. I figured the books are almost out of print and I might as well take what I can get out of a bad situation. I feel bad for the other photographers who were owed a lot more than me. I did however see the writing on the wall, I stopped submitting calendars to them, and turned down book projects. because I didn’t think I would get paid.