Diary of an Exhibition, Part 4

I’m fortunate to have an exhibit coming up, at the Barrington Area Library. The theme has become “facades;” it’s expansive enough to include a variety of subject matter, and it refers to light falling on surfaces and recording itself on light-sensitive emulsion. It took three full days to review negatives and to pull 60 (no, more) pages from the archive in order to make fresh prints. Originally, I thought most pictures would end up larger than ever, but realistically, sizes around 8×12 inches are most logical to me, so I’ll stick with that.


A phenomenon we all recognize occurred when I was trolling for specific negatives. You know the feeling that if you were to go back through your own archive you would come across overlooked gems? Oddly, it really happened this time. True, part of it was that there were pictures enough for three other, different shows, but for many shooting situations I now prefer alternate shots.


Paper selection has always been an important issue. The papers of choice are Ilford Multigrade (duh), Ilford Galerie (yes, I still have some) and fresh Oriental Seagull. Unfortunately, the darkroom has been behaving naturally to its subterranean position in that it’s very cold down there. Every day during the last week, it’s been 55-57 degrees. I need to re-heat the developer and the fixer roughly every hour. I still used GAF/Ansco 130 in the Ansel Adams variation, but as a back-up I also made Agfa 108 (also in someone’s modified version). I found myself doing things I commonly avoid: exposing paper with the lens wide open (not because my enlarger is out of alignment-au contraire, it’s nothing but perfect in that regard), and using exposure times longer than 30 seconds (don’t ask right now).


                                    Photograph by A. Orden


Got Polaroid?

Want film?


I Love It!

Perhaps you, too, have witnessed this little perceptual evolution:


Dawoud & Cara

                                                   D. Bey

                                             A. Elkins, C. Phillips

Dawoud Bey is an excellent and unique photographer. You’ve seen him, perhaps, introducing the guest lecturer/photographers at Columbia College three times each semester. Cara Phillips is also an important artist and communicator (as is Amy Elkins, on the left, above). In the recent past, both Phillips and Bey have published essays of advice for us, with overlapping areas of concern and slightly different emphases. Read ’em here




and here




and tell us which points stimulate you, or scare you, or maybe which issues you find irrelevant.

Consider Supporting This:




What a concept: acknowledging the importance of art in the President’s cabinet.


Apply to Advanced Placement

This course is open to highly motivated, self-directed student artists. Sophomores may apply for junior and senior years; juniors who are not currently enrolled in the AP Studio course may apply for senior year. All senior AP Studio students must enroll in a second visual art course.  (AP Art History may qualify as this second course only for those seniors returning to the AP Studio program.)  Students must submit their contact sheets / sketchbooks and a portfolio of 5 to 8 of their best pieces to be reviewed by the BHS visual art faculty.

 Students intending to graduate early are not eligible to apply, due to AP Portfolio submission. All students will be required to submit a portfolio to the College Board in May.

Students choosing this direction may work with a broad range of 2-dimensional media including photography, printmaking, collage, fiber and computer graphics (see the College Board website for an explanation of this portfolio classification: apcentral.collegeboard.com). I get to conduct this section seventh period.

 Faculty review of student work will be held Wednesday, February eleventh. Completed portfolios & applications should be submitted no later than Tuesday, February tenth.


 What is the deal with these fonts? I can’t get what I want to appear. Sheesh…

Prepare for the AP final!

The 2-D AP midterm consists of an assessment of the work accumulated from assigned projects and of the work done independently, any of which might be part of the final portfolio submitted to the College Board in May.


A+:  Exhibition prints are pictures printed on 8×10 paper, (maybe larger); most often printed full-frame; always spotted, sometimes toned; mounted, or ready to mount. We’ll each need enough to edit down to 24-29 by the end of April; how many are ready by mid-January?


B:     Collate all your contact sheets, well-made and labeled; again, the number of rolls and negatives made is key.


C-:   Number or name your prints; identify how each principle or element of design is most prominent in each picture.


Mr. D:    Create or obtain a clean, substantial, seriously dignified  container for your work.


In addition:

1. Which prints do you consider successes from what we have been calling “The Quarter of Finer Grain?”

2. Have you had (or have you not yet had) the pleasure of a personal hallway critique?

3. Have you experienced the exquisite honor of a group critique when we met with the other two sections?


The clearer and more orderly everything is when you hand it over, the better. De-ciphering your oeuvre is beyond the scope of a college-level course. Continue to ask questions for clarification in advance.

Who Are You?

As an artist, who are your role models? Whose pictures make you want to make pictures? Is there some sort of influence from another medium—poetry, music, couture? Ray K. Metzker took inspiration from contemporary percussive compositions; Walker Evans was inspired by Charles Baudelaire and Gustave Flaubert, as well as Eugene Atget (though he tried to obfuscate that connection), and repelled by Alfred Stieglitz.


In my informal education, I was drawn to Robert Frank and Ken Josephson (lucky me); Diane Arbus, introduced to me by good friends who simply showed me the book and let it knock me for a loop; and an anthology of pictures of musicians published by Rolling Stone magazine. (Also, there is a children’s book titled “A Hole Is To Dig.”) Ask Ms. H. who hers were. Lately I’m interested in Giorgio Morandi and Henry Threadgill.




This is not idle chatter: it’s not only important to know whose are whose, but also whose others’ are. A current runs through everyone’s best pictures. It’s a conversation, and it’s a continuum.


So what’s your specific, personal answer to my questions?

We  want to know. It’s Comment Time. Click on it.



A colleague suggested I link this site (in one direction or the other, or both) to the Art Department’s site (if it ever gets its act together). I’m comfortable going from here to there but not the other way. This place is a serious, real-world web log, and subject matter in photography does not limit itself to the politically correct, FCC-style network guidelines mentality; but  eliminating the possibility of the potential messiness of art right from the get-go? Why bother with the whole enterprise? I  cannot guarantee the nature of content in any of the links I provide. They are carefully chosen, but we have no control over them, nor should we.


…to Our Own Jessen, late of draft age, who was selected as one of about 125 out of 3100 to be part of the exhibit at Drexel University, corner of Arch and 33rd Streets in Philadelphia from January 31st to February 28th, with a public opening reception the afternoon of the 31st. Road trip!

                                    (Photograph by Diamond)