Category: Community events

Preview of Really at Undermain Theatre

We were approached by Undermain Theatre about their new play, Really by Jackie Sibblies Drury. It uses photography as a main theme and they thought we might want to let our clients know about the play. So I went to the preview performance on April 14.

Photography does play a prominent role, in fact, it felt as if it were the fourth character in the play. The three actors are excellent and the story of their relationships is unveiled in a series of emotional interactions and moments. The handling of a camera, fidgeting with lights and talking about photography are woven throughout the drama, sometimes as just busy work, other times as punctuation to the dialog.

I think the play should be seen by anyone who has adopted photography as part of their lives. There is almost no technical dialog about the photographic process here. What the author has done is far more difficult and challenging. She has used photography as a way to explore the very nature of reality and truth. I left the theater in a bit of a fog, in a good way. As a photographer, I’m increasingly aware of my  lifelong attempts to freeze moments and control reality as well as the constant judgment of whether I am good enough. Those thoughts and emotions also apply to relationships. I think Really has done an intriguing job of weaving those two tendencies together.

Preview of the DMA’s Concentrations 60: Lucie Stahl

 

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This morning I had the pleasure of attending Dallas Museum of Art’s Press Preview for Concentrations 60: Lucie Stahl. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a scanner artist but it was close enough to photography that I wanted to know more.

Stahl uses a flatbed scanner to create large format images of items such as food, magazine clippings and trash. The results are fascinating and have a very tactile quality. I really enjoyed her image titled Identity which consisted of a Coca-Cola can, flowers, Lucie’s hands and some unknown liquid. Her method of coating the print in resin made it seem as though the strange red liquid was going to drip right off the wall onto the gallery floor. According to the DMA, “Stahl’s work plays with the notion of liquidity in its many forms – from finance to bodily fluids to the malleability of gender, identity, and images.”

Lucie Stahl Identity, 2015 Inkjet print, aluminum, epoxy resin

Lucie Stahl
Identity, 2015
Inkjet print, aluminum, epoxy resin

Creating art using scanners is actually a really fun and easy thing to do. The images you create can be blown up to huge proportions and are still very sharp. You can use flowers, household objects or even faces. Here’s a helpful how-to on scannography.

Even if you’re not ready to start scanning I certainly recommend checking out Concentrations 60: Lucie Stahl. The exhibit opens Friday, September 16, 2016 and runs until March 12, 2017. Admission is free. Visit the DMA website for complete details.

Humans of New York smashes fundraising goal

At the time that I have started writing this blog post, it is 3:36pm on January 28th and the Humans of New York Campaign has raised $953,000. Their goal was $100,000.

Humans of New York is a blog started by Brandon Stanton. The concept is simple. He meets people as he walks around New York City, takes their portrait and then asks them a few questions about their life. He then posts the portrait on his Facebook page with a short story about the individual.

Brandon posted the photo below on January 19th of Vidal:

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As any good photojournalist does, Brandon asked to meet Vidal’s principal at Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brooklyn. They decided to run a campaign to raise money to send each sixth grader in their school to visit Harvard. “I want every child who enters my school to know that they can go anywhere and that they will belong,” said Ms. Lopez. Their goal was $100,000 and with 8 days still left of the campaign, they have almost received 10 times the amount.

What started as a simple portrait has now collected almost $1 million in donations proving once again that images are powerful. They have the ability to expose and bring light to people and situations that would have never been seen otherwise. With the click of a shutter, the world met a young man living in a neighborhood with the highest crime rate in New York City. This isn’t your typical image of one of the roughest areas of New York City but that is where the power lies. Vidal is like any other middle schooler in the United States but he lives in an extreme environment. Through Vidal and Brandon’s brief connection through the camera, a school and a community has a chance to be forever changed.

Of course, Humans of New York has quite a following but it all started because Brandon picked up his camera and started taking pictures. This is a beautiful example of the importance of photography and how it can make a difference.

In the 30 minutes it took me to write and edit this post HONY has now raised $958,226. That’s over $5000 in 24 minutes.

To read more about the campaign and to donate, click here.

Review of the documentary “War Photographer”

(Note from Jillian: I am pretty sure we created DCP Movie Nights specifically to show War Photographer. Peter has been talking about this movie since the idea developed and we cannot wait to show this documentary about James Nachtwey.)

Without good photojournalists we would have few honest images of what goes on in the world. Think about that. These photographers are the ones who willingly go into zones of war, famine and human suffering. They bear witness and send back images so the rest of us, from a safe distance, can ask questions and come to conclusions of our own. Many of them die for their efforts. What Nachtwey brings to this tradition is compassion. His images, while often hard to look at, are about the humanity of his subjects.

I saw this movie for the first time five years ago in my living room. I remember sitting on my couch and not moving for an hour and a half. I had known James Nachtwey’s work for years. His were the images that often stopped me in my tracks and demanded more time, more involvement from me as the viewer. To watch him at work was a revelation. The director of the film attached two small cameras to Nachtwey’s own Canon camera, one pointed over his lens toward the action, the other pointed back at the photographer. It’s an immersive and dramatic technique that takes you into the field to directly experience this amazing photographer at work. As one reviewer said, “This is as close to being inside a photojournalist’s mind as it gets”.

Besides the exquisite visual elements of his photographs, this film is about Nachtwey’s struggle with the job itself. Mr. Nachtwey says of his own work “Every minute I was there, I wanted to flee. I did not want to see this. Would I cut and run, or would I deal with the responsibility of being there with a camera.” Fortunately for all of us, he stays and takes pictures.

To purchase a ticket visit Movie Night at DCP.

Boy in Frame

“Boy in Frame” from the documentary War Photographer.

 

DCP’s first movie night

Last night was our first DCP Movie Night and it was a lot of fun. We ate some pizza, watched the excellent documentary Annie Leibovitz : Life Through a Lens, and then had a lively discussion about the movie, her work and how it related to our experiences as photographers. The documentary did a great job showing Annie’s importance as a portrait photographer. Her ability to connect with the subject and create compelling images continues to have her stand out as one of the best portrait photographers of our time.

Our new projector and sound system made this a real cinematic experience and we’re planning to do these every month or so. Our next one is Monday, January 26th where we will be screening the documentary War Photographer which follows James Nachtwey who is best known for his work in war torn countries.

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Our own Jillian makes it into the New Texas Talent show

Very rarely does a photograph of mine make it to print, let alone get displayed in a gallery. However, an image that I took of the singer, Lorde, made it into the New Texas Talent Show 2014 at the Craighead Green Gallery on Dragon Street.

I must confess. I absolutely love sneaking in my Canon AE-1 film camera into shows and snapping a few rolls of the performance. I live for the thrill of getting a camera with a detachable lens past security and then discreetly shooting the event. I headed over to Don’s Used Photo Equipment and debated between shooting in B&W or color. Todd looked at me and said, “Black and white is always classic.” Tri-X 400 it was!

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From the minute the show started I knew I was witnessing something special. At 17, Lorde knew how to command a stage, demand your attention and draw you into her world. I strained to see her through the packed venue but managed to find her around the heads and arms of the fans. The results of the night were a series of abstract images, slightly over exposed but strong and powerful with a point of view. My view.

 

The entire process of shooting, editing, submitting, framing and then displaying work was an incredibly rewarding experience. Peter helped me digitize my negative and print it for the show. This actually turned out to be harder than expected. I had my film processed at BWC and they had provided me with rough scans which I had turned in for the show. However, when Peter scanned the negative by shooting it with a Nikon D600 and a macro lens, there ended up being way more detail in the frame than what the initial scan had shown. Peter and I spent about 30 minutes recreating the rough scan from BWC. Those Lightroom sliders were all over the place!

The energy of gallery opening was tangible and my whole family showed up to support me. It felt satisfying seeing it hanging on the wall at the gallery, completely alive with the other pieces at the show. Peter stopped by as well and took a few shots of the event including this one of my uncle explaining to my grandfather what was happening in the photograph.

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Plano Camera Club Print Competition

Occasionally I get asked to judge photo contests for one of the camera clubs in the area. This time it’s for the Plano Camera Club and the category is “open”, meaning any subject matter can be submitted. This is also a print competition so instead of judging images on a screen I get to handle actual photograph, which is always fun. It’s really interesting to look at the range of photos made by beginners through “master” level photographers. The photo is from the studio where I had the prints laid out for review.

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Behind the Scenes of the Klyde-O-Scope

When Peter nonchalantly mentioned that he had an idea to create a giant kaleidoscope to bring to Klyde Warren Park, I could barely contain my excitement. A giant kaleidoscope???  What would that even look like? How would it work? The concept  captured my imagination and I had to make him follow through with it.

One trip to Home Depot, two mirrored doors and a pile of wood later, the Klyde-O-Scope was born.

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Sunday Sun Prints at Klyde Warren Park

Today, I headed to Klyde Warren Park to have our monthly Sunday Sun Prints event. The fall breeze was a nice foil to the bright sun and the park teamed with life. I placed my bucket of water along with various objects on the table and invited kids to come and make a print of their own.

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Sun prints, also known as cynotypes, are an old photographic printing process that was created in 1842 by Sir Herschel Williams. Originally it was intended for reproducing scientific notes and architectural plans (hence the term blueprints). It works by treating the paper with ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide and then exposing the paper to UV light. Whatever objects you place on the paper will be transposed onto it after being exposed to the sun and rinsed in water. The effect is a beautiful Prussian blue print that holds an artistic life of its own.

The kids’ reactions to the prints were priceless. Amazed, they would watch them float in water as their images began to appear. Looking up at me they would ask, “How does it work?”

“Magic,” I’d reply.

I try to make it out to KWP once a month to make sun prints. Check our Community Events calendar for the  next scheduled date!

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The Hunt for the Scavenger Hunt Prize

One of the favorite aspects of my job as studio manager at DCP is that I am never quite sure how the day will pan out. The Tuesday before we had our first Kids Scavenger Hunt at Klyde Warren Park, I started my day with a text from Peter: “Hey, I need you to find little toy cameras that we can give to the kids as a completion prize. Check out the stores around Harry Hines Blvd and Royal Ln.”

Little did I know, this was the beginning of my own full blown scavenger hunt.

Peter had given me one clue: the Asian Trade District. Having just moved to Dallas, my familiarity with the area was on par with my knowledge of astrophysics (yes, I am aware of planets, but do I really know what is going on? no). I set off in my car, mentally braced for the journey ahead.

The stores were intense to say the least. They did not disappoint and reminded me of similar Chinatowns I’d visited on the East and West coast, but with that Dallas twist: plenty of parking and lots of space. The smell of plastic wafted through each store as I stared at rows upon rows of brightly colored plastic toys. I searched through the infinite bins but no toy cameras were found. I went to ten different shops but left empty handed, being told that they did not sell what I was trying to find.

The next day, on a hunch (and a little bit of desperation), I stopped by a little Korean shop in Plano by my house. I walked in and asked the shop keeper if he had toy cameras. He told me no but he knew where to get them! Excited, I asked him where. “Party City.” The quick drive confirmed that, sure enough, Party City had hundreds of small toy cameras all in different colors.
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