Thursday, January 26, 2012

California Again

 Wool Growers' Restaurant
Los Banos, California, October 2009

I began my series on the farmers of California's San Joaquin Valley on this particular day, in October 2009.  I had begun photographing at the San Juan Reservoir early in the afternoon, and by the time I was finished, I asked the park guide where I could get a good meal.

He directed me to the famous Wool Growers' Restaurant in Los Banos, ten miles away.  Wool Growers' is a French Basque restaurant which serves its food - lamb stew, fried chicken, boiled cabbage and potatoes, and tons of bread and wine - family style.  I could barely finish half of my meal, though the farmers sitting nearby cleaned their plates.  Farming is some strenuous labor.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Los Colores de Coahuila

 Dam reservoir along the Rio Grande
Presa La Amistad, Coahuila, Mexico, April 2001

The one thing I learned from A. Aubrey Bodine's spectacular photography of Baltimore and Maryland's Eastern Shore, is that a great photographer can never leave home, yet show us the world.  I have been in Minnesota three years, and still I cannot develop an affinity for the place.  (That's not to detract from Minnesota as photographic subject - Chris Faust has done wonders with the Gopher State).

This is where my heart is, the Mexican state of Coahuila.

I shot this exposure on one of the greatest films ever, Kodachrome 64.  Sadly, it is gone now.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Shape of Things To Come

 Parachute ride, Coney Island
Brooklyn, New York, November 1988

I don't plan on dying like Eggleston, with more than 1,000 rolls of exposed film still in the icebox.  I developed this roll of Agfapan 100 when I was a student at Hunter College, and quickly contact printed it.  But a project of street photography took over my interest straightaway, and I never got around to printing this one until nearly a quarter-century later.

Better late than never.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Los Colores de Coahuila

Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico, April, 2001

Great news!  I will be having my first one-man exhibit in nine years, at the Firehouse Gallery, in Del Rio, Texas.  Friday, April 6, 2012.

Mark your calendars!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Oh, the Humanity!

 Hindenburg Memorial
Lakehurst Naval Air Station, New Jersey, March 2004
This photograph is from, literally, the oldest roll of film I ever shot. I acquired this roll, which had been stored in a cool basement since bought new by an old photographer friend of mine. I shot this photo of the Hindenburg Memorial on a roll of Kodak Panatomic-X, the fine-grained film that Kodak stopped production of in 1989. 
The Panatomic-X film we film photographers all know was rated 32 ASA. This particular roll was rated 12 ASA back in the day, and had an expiry date of April 1939. That meant -- film usually given a shelf life of three years -- this roll was probably manufactured sometime in 1936. Which means the film I finally exposed in 2004 -- 67 years after the Hindenburg disaster of May 6, 1937 -- actually predated the crash landing by at least one year.
I developed this in Kodak D-76. I used that developer as I hadn't the foggiest notion how to develop the ancient roll of Panatomic-X. Fortunately there was a data sheet enclosed in the film's box, and D-76 was one of the recommended developers still in existence, and as I happened to have some D-76, it came out pretty well. The negatives were rather dark, as the film was fogged after almost seven decades of storage. You can see little black spots on the film, which resulted from heat exposure.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Concrete Cathedrals

 U.S. Route 66, Landergin, Texas, November 1999

It's hard to believe that it has been more than twelve years ago that I began the series I now call Concrete Cathedrals.  I was on my way up out of Texas to photograph the Anasazi ruins at Mesa Verde.  I never got there, because I was captivated by the cement grain elevators which dot the landscape in the Texas Panhandle.  These particular silos are found outside the tiny ghost town of Landergin, about 10 miles west of Vega.

Since I photographed this image, I've visited hundreds of grain elevators in the United States and Canada.  It's the longest series I've worked on, and it will be my last book.  I don't ever plan on stopping work on Concrete Cathedrals.