Tag Archives: Digital Camera

Feria de Libros in Lima

The same Feria de Libros that I blogged about last year came to Lima a couple of weeks ago as part of the ongoing Photography Biennial. The feria, which is run by Argentine artist Julieta Escardó, features small, independently published books, mostly from photographers in Argentina, although this edition included several books by Peruvian photographers.

Feria de Libros in Lima

Feria de Libros in Lima

The fair was held at the Centro de la Imagen. Unlike the version in Buenos Aires, here, none of the books were for sale. It was a bit like an Alexandrian library only, instead of copying scrolls of papayrus, I sat there with my digital camera snapping photos of pages from books that I liked.

Here’s a few:

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde was my favorite book. It documents various decaying buildings from the 19th century and before in Lima’s historic core.

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Something that I find interesting about both Lima and Buenos Aires is that each, with over a third of their respective countrys’ population, dominate all aspects industry, culture, politics and finance. It’s like each city is New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Washington all rolled into one. Depending on where you go  you can find elements that resonate with each. In the case of Lima, new development has shunned the historic core and a bounce-back wave of gentrification has yet to occur. In this situation, there’s a huge number of historic buildings which sit in a rather shabby state. Alvarado’s book does an execellent job of documenting both the beauty of these spaces, their inhabitants, and the tragedy of their decay. Also, the book dummy on view was really wonderfully printed. I hope it gets published.

Lucila Heinberg’s (Argentina) book Hacia recounts her journey in through China. Using expired film, the photos show a very personal, intimate view of her experiences in China.

Lucila Heinberg – Hacia

Lucila Heinberg – Hacia

Lucila Heinberg – Hacia

Lucila Heinberg – Hacia

Galeria Centrico has a small online gallery of this work. I also blogged about Heinberg’s series Dormidos last year.

David Mansell-Moullin’s book Lines in the Sand looks at peripheral settlements in Lima and how they sit on the landscape.

David Mansell-Moullin – Lines in the Sand

David Mansell-Moullin – Lines in the Sand

The subject matter is similar to Musuk Note’s Decierto series which I blogged about recently but is less abstract, more into the nuts and bolts of how these plots of land get developed by their inhabitants. Mansell-Moullin’s website has a nice slideshow of the work and he’s also got a blog detailing a lot of his work process.

Futuramic by Aldo Paparella (great name!) features lucious black and white photographs of retro-futuristic automobiles from the 1950s.

Aldo Paparella – Futuramic

Aldo Paparella – Futuramic

I got really excited to see that Martin Weber’s Ecos del Interior has been published by Ediciones Lariviere. I hope this makes it to the US so I can get a copy.

Martin Weber – Ecos del Interior

Italian photojournalist Myriam Meloni has a book, Fragil, documenting the social decay resulting from paco use in Buenos Aires (paco is their version of crack).

Myriam Meloni – Fragil

Myriam Meloni – Fragil

Myriam Meloni – Fragil

There sems to be a whole sub-genre of photographers documenting their grandparent’s homes. I suppose the combination of nostalgia + access is irrisistible. By my count, there were four books dealing with this theme at the book fair, the nicest of which was Bulnes by Luciana Betesh.

Luciana Betesh – Bulnes

Luciana Betesh – Bulnes

Luciana Betesh – Bulnes

There were a ton more books, of course. It’s a great fair and my only complaint is that it isn’t held more often and in more places.

A little bit about my process for Ochava Solstice

On sunny days, I’ve been busy working on my project Ochava Solstice. I thought I’d write a little bit about how I’ve been going about it recently. Here’s a picture of me shortly before taking a picture for the series.

Me about to shoot an Ochava

The building in question is on the north-facing corner of Marcos Paz and Asunción in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Villa Devoto. Here’s a gratuitous close-up of the image on the ground glass. Since I’m standing in the shade and the building is in the sun, I don’t need to use a darkcloth.

Image on the ground glass of the building with the ochava shadow

For all the camera geeks out there, I’m shooting this series on a Busch Pressman Model D. It’s a press camera from the 1950s similar to a Speed Graphic. The main difference is that the back rotates, letting me shoot vertically, which I do a lot. I’m using a 210mm lens which is slightly telephoto for the 4×5 format.

I had already scouted out this building online. When I first started this project I’d look for these buildings on foot. At first these triangular shadows were just something I noticed in my walks around the city and I’d snap them with my digital camera. Once I got serious about the project, I returned to those same buildings with my 4×5 and a tripod, and waited for the moment when the shadow is exactly in the middle.

The buildings in the series are functional apartment buildings from the 1960s that just happen to cast a triangular shadow. It’s not intentional. It’s the result of a law requiring corner buildings to have a diagonal cut on the ground floor [known as the “ochava”] combined with real estate developers’ desire to maximize square footage [or meterage, I suppose].

Apartment buildings from this era are everywhere in Buenos Aires but ones suitable for my project can be hard to find. They have to face the sun and not be in another building’s shadow. There’s almost always a kiosko on the ground floor or something else “wrong” with the building. In finding the ones I’ve taken so far, I’ve scoured a number of neighborhoods, on foot, in great detail. Recently, in the name of efficiency, I’ve taken to using the Mapa Interactivo run by the city government. It’s less efficient than Google Street View [which doesn’t exist here yet], but still faster than walking around. In the map, you zoom in on a block, click on a plot of land, and it shows you a photo from several years ago. Here’s the photo of this particular building I found on the site.

Marcos Paz & Asuncion

As I’m navigating the site, I confine my search to neighborhoods where I think I’m likely to find buildings like the one above [not too urban, not too suburban]. I only click on the street corners that face north, towards the sun [remember we’re in the southern hemisphere]. To keep track of my progress, I’ve been marking up a map with little dots:

Map I'm using to check off street corners (the black dots)

Of all those little dots on the map above only two were buildings suitable for my project. It’s a bit like panning for gold.

Meanwhile in my apartment I’ve taped up the contact prints of Ochavas I’ve already shot in order to track my progress. Here are the ones I did last year:

2010 Ochavas

And here are the Ochavas I’ve done so far in 2011

2011 Ochavas (so far)

My goal is to reach 50. It’s a bit arbitrary but I want to show a large number of these shadows and 50 seems like a good number. I’ve got around 40 so far. There are a number of good buildings I’ve already scouted out but I need to wait a few months for the sun to get higher in the sky.

Buenos Aires is totally flat and built on a grid, although it’s actually several different grids. The grids don’t all face the same way. The time of a particular corner’s “solstice” is determined by its cardinal orientation. The height of the shadow is determined by the time of year, with summer casting longer shadows. [Curious tidbit: maps in Buenos Aires don’t all face north. There’s at least three different orientations commonly used when depicting the city.]

Most of the street corners in my project so far are north-facing corners taken in winter [June & July]. A few are east or west-facing corners taken in the summer morning or afternoon, respectively. The arc of the sun is much higher in summer so the window of time when the sun is at the right position to cast an appropriately sized shadow is shorter. I drew this diagram below to explain this to a friend, although I’m not sure it makes the concept any clearer.

Porteño Calendar

I’ve previously compared these triangular shadows to the serpent-like shadow that appears on Chichen Itza at the equinox. It seems that I’ve now drawn up a sort of Aztec-like calendar for Buenos Aires. There are no geographical references in Buenos Aires. The river is distant and cut-off from the main part of the city and there are no mountains to provide a reference point. Walking around the grid of the city can sometimes feel like being lost in a kind of labyrinth. If I’m beginning to lose that sense of being lost it’s only because I’ve now memorized good chunks of that grid, recreating it mentally in my head to orient myself. These street corner photographs are like totems of my wonderings around Buenos Aires.

I’m now scouring [online] the very edges of the city, places I’ve yet to reach during my 3+ years of walking around the city. Obviously I only shoot this series on sunny days. If it’s cloudy I work on other stuff. Partially cloudy days are a real source of frustration because I never know if I should risk spending an 90 minutes on a bus to reach the neighborhood only to have a cloud erase the shadow at the critical time. There’s only about a two minute window when the triangle appears visually to be in the middle.

For this building the day was in fact partially cloudy but they were very low and moving fast in the stiff wind. Arriving at the corner early I sat in the sun as the day was very cold. I shot this video below which shows the shadow disappearing as a quick cloud passes by:

I was fortunate that day in that by the time the shadow reached its midpoint the clouds had departed. Here’s a snapshot of the contact sheet I just got back from the lab. One more corner to cross off the list.

Contact sheet of Marcos Paz & Asuncion Ochava

I’ve also written more about this project in these two blog posts; Ochava Solstice and Ochava Solstice – Things that Go Wrong.

Sherif Elhage

Sherif Elhage was born in St Petersbourg, raised in Beirut by his Russian-Estonian mother and Lebanese father, he now lives in Paris. He was formally trained in communications, but has explored photography from fine art to fashion and advertising.

Sherif prides himself by creating work that is captured in camera. Many of his images are graphically based, with the composition of the color and original framing as integral elements to his vision. “The photographs exposed on his site expound no literary or transcendental significance, the aesthetics of the photography limits itself to what you see.” I am featuring work from three series, Black, White, and From the Ground Up. Each address color and shape as subject matter.

The process is not difficult but it took me years to build this body of work, sometimes it does not work correctly, you need to have a loot of light and overexpose the photos with the camera settings, sometimes it’s with the aperture process and sometimes it’s about time so it happened to me to use a tripod during the daytime, it’s the same with black photos but in an inverse way, I never use the normal settings of the camera. White surfaces naturally are always more exposed than the other colours.

Images from Black

I use a digital camera so it’s faster to see immediately the result, but it’s not always good…what you see on the small lcd screen is very different from what you get on your computer screen or on a print, so sometimes i have to go back to do the same photo with better settings and conditions.

Images from The Ground Up

Images from White

Workshop with Verve Gallery Artist, Tony O’Brien

Mission Churches Of Northern New Mexico
June 7 11, 2010
This photography workshop, led by photographer Tony OBrien, will take participants on a cultural journey to capture artistic images of some of Northern New Mexicos historic mission churches.

Who Should Attend
Amateur, Intermediate, and Professional photographers

What Should You Know
A working knowledge of your camera in manual mode is essential. USMLE . How to operate your digital camera and have a working knowledge of your laptop computer in Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.

$1200 $800 (Plus a $125.00 location fee for each participant.)

The workshop is strictly limited to 12 participants. If you have interest, please let Tony know as soon as possible.

Register Online

For more information visit http://abiquiuworkshops.com

To register by phone, call 505.685.0921