Tag Archives: Contact Prints

Photographer #419: Regina DeLuise

Regina DeLuise, 1959, USA, is a fine art photographer based in Baltimore. She received a BFA at State University of New York and an MA at the Rosary College Graduate School of Fine Arts in Italy. Her poetic images contain a large range of tones and a lot of texture. To achieve this she makes platinum / palladium contact prints from 8×10″ film negatives. 100% rag paper is coated with a light-sensitive chemical and the metals onto which the negative is placed. The large contact prints are soft, dreamy yet strong in expression. Regina has been teaching at Maryland Institute College of Art since 1998. Her work is in various public collections as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Houston Museum of Fine Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. The Photographs have also been shown in numerous exhibitions, mainly in the USA. The following images come from the series Cortona, The Phenomenal World and Guggenheim.

Website: www.reginadeluise.com

Photographer #385: Chris McCaw

Chris McCaw, 1971, USA, received a BFA in photography at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. He works on his photography using a large-format camera and the platinum/palladium process. His current project is called Sunburn. He was making all-night exposures of the stars while on a camping trip in 2003. He woke up late and therefore the shutter was not closed in time. What he found out by mistake was the start of a new project. The rising sun was so focused and powerful that it physically changed the film. The sun burns its path onto the negative creating an effect called solarization, a natural reversal of tonality due to over-exposure. The negative literally has a burnt hole in it with the surrounding landscape in complete reversal. He then started experimenting and perfecting his technique using the sun as an active participant in his images. In 2006 he chose to use vintage fiber based gelatin b&w paper. The gelatin in the paper gets cooked and leaves orange and red colors. In this way he created one of a kind paper negatives. His series The Family Farm and Travelogue were shot using a 7×17″ view camera. In this way he was capable to create 7×17″ direct contact prints  by hand. Since 1996 he also uses this technique for clients with digital negatives using Dan Burkholder’s method. The following images come from Sunburn, The Family Farm, and Travelogue.

Website: www.chrismccaw.com

Richard Learoyd & Big Cameras

I have a thing for big cameras. You may call me a size queen, but I’m really more of a fetishist of narrow depth of field and extreme detail. I was very intrigued, then, when I first read about Richard Learoyd’s photographs.

Learoyd uses a room-sized camara obscura inside of which he places sheets of cibachrome paper, a direct positive process that results in singular, incredibly detailed images.

© Richard Learoyd, presumably the real photos aren't watermarked

I recently watched online a lecture he gave at ICP back in March. The ICP Lectures website doesn’t let me link directly to the video [much less embed it]. To find it, click on “videos” and then “2011″ on the menu bars on top.

I worked with a large process camera for my Dinuba Sentinel Portraits and wrote on this blog about the process and challenges of working with such a big camera. I’m proud that I was more or less able to reverse engineer his process before seeing this video: a giant camera obscura, a big sharp reproduction lens, high powered strobe lights, and a revolving door to access the room.

Here’s some screen grabs from the talk:

Learoyd's camera obscura, filtered strobe lights

Revolving darkroom door and attached 50" cibachrome processing machine. way cool!

view inside the camara obscura

detail from learoyd photograph

focus point on the eye

I love this instrument here for keeping the model at the plane of focus. He mentions that the depth of field is only about 5mm. This is actually the best part of the talk, around minute 5, where he shows a video of this model, literally trembling before the camera, trying to hold still.

Obviously, I’d love to see these pictures in person. Their detail and quality must be stunning. Extrapolating from the narcotic rush I feel when looking at my own 8×10 contact prints, standing before one of these prints must be a very powerful experience.

The photos themselves evoke fashion photography for me, given that they mostly feature young, thin, attractive, Caucasian women lit by a ring flash. I’m probably being grossly unfair. I’d be a hypocrite for criticizing a photographer for following his personal tastes when casting. I think it’s reasonable to hold back judgment until I see the real thing.

It does get me to thinking about what this process might produce if someone took it out of the studio. Greg Miller did this last year with the Polaroid 20×24″. Again, I wish I could see these prints in person:

© Greg Miller

Greg Miller at work with the 20×24" Polaroid Camera

There’s been a lot of great work over the years made with the 20×24″ Polaroid but this is the first time [that I know of] that I’ve seen someone take it out of the studio.

Awhile back I thought to myself, if I like 8×10″ color pictures so much, why stop there? A good reason to stop there is that 8×10″ is the largest size commercially available in color film [black & white is another story]. Kodak will custom cut their film to whatever size if your order is big enough. It’s something like $30k. That’s a lot for a photographer but not so much for a filmmaker. Keith Canham has been aggregating smaller orders for ultra-large format film and it looks like a batch of 20×24″ was completed just last month. I hope these photos start making their way out into the world soon.

Getting back to Learoyd’s process, he mentions that the Cibachrome paper he uses is 50″. I don’t know anything about processing the paper but I would assume it’s stable and can be kept in a box for later processing. I think you could go out into the field or on the street with a big, light-tight tent, Abelardo Morell-style, and make some really interesting photographs of the world outside the studio. What would Timothy O’Sullivan do?

Timothy O'Sullivan, Carson Desert, Nevada. 1867

Jake Shivery

Editor and photographer, Blue Mitchell, recently sent me a terrific interview with Jake Shivery. Before I even got to reading the interview, I had already fallen in love with Jake’s images…it’s that little ache, that desire to possess, that desire to have created it yourself which rolls into a deeper appreciation of the work because you know you couldn’t possibily make work like it.

To quote Blue: “Jake Shivery is a portraitist based in St. Johns, Oregon. He has been involved in the photo industry for over twenty years, working in many capacities in many places. In 2001, he co-founded Blue Moon Camera and Machine, where he is now the proprietor. In the past few years, exhibitions of Jake’s Contact Portrait series have taken place in several notable galleries: Newspace Center for Photography, the Camerawork Gallery, and the Lightbox Gallery in Astoria. Examples of his work may be found in the Regional Arts and Culture Council’s “Visual Chronicle of Portland” and the Portland Art Museum’s permanent collection of photographs. He lives in St. Johns with his lady-friend, Emily and their dog, Daisy.”

Several years ago, The Portland Tribune wrote an article about Jake the businessman and camera store owner. Jake currently has an exhibition of 8×10 contact prints at the Angst Gallery in Vancouver, WA during the month of April.

Self Portrait, N. Syracuse, 2007

Mr. L. Peterson & Ms. C. Fisher, Sauvie Island, 2008 no1

Ms. A. Jones, Sauvie Island, 2009 no2

Ms. A. Torresola, Oaks Park, 2008 no1

Ms. A Moyer, St Johns Bridge, no.2

Lewises, N. Wayland, 2008 no2

Mr. D.E. May, Salem, 2009 no1

Mr. D. McCormick & Mr. M. McCormick, Ace Typewriter Co, 2008

Señor Ayala under Rocky Butte, 2007 no2

Ms. M. Pettit, SE 18th, 2009 no1

Mr. T. Busby, St. Johns Bridge, 2009

Ms. T. Miller, Sauvie Island, 2009

Mr. F. Short, Whiskey Basketball, 2008

Mr. S. McFadden at work, 2008

Ms. K. Evans, N. Syracuse, 2009 no2