Fujifilm Square SQ10 Unboxing/ Review/ Samples!

Fuji’s latest instant film camera, the Square SQ10, gets unboxed and road tested in a shoot with model Alina Lee aka Thumbelina in a pool and a jail. We show how the hybrid digital/ analogue camera works, see sample images, showcase the unique features of the camera, go over the pros and cons of the camera, and do our best to answer all your burning questions about the Fujifilm SQ10!

Surreal Pop with Gel Lighting Techniques

One of my favorite ways to get the kind of surreal pop I love in my photography is to use the simple combination of colored gels and LED lights.  Here we look at a few ways to use gels and why they are a valuable addition to any art and portrait photographer’s toolkit.

All images in this video shot with the Fuji X-T2 and the Fuji Neo Classic Instax Mini 90, models include Shasta Wonder, Kaila Stone, Mckenzie Eckels, and L. Shima.

New Monochrome Instax w/ Alina, Devi + Mia

I’ve put together a little formula for how I’ve conducted my recent shoots, which is: some video, which takes a while to compile/ edit/ do fx + sound for etc., and then some instant film shots, which are already done the moment they come out of the camera.  This seems to satisfy the need for immediate results while giving me something to work on for the next couple months.

It’s fascinating how sometimes the work that gets the best response is the stuff that’s simplest or easiest or quickest to create like this.  These were shot with the Fujifilm Instax Mini Monochrome Film, my new go-t0 creative tool for stills!

On my youtube channel I have a couple video tutorial/ reviews of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant Film Camera

…and the new monochrome film I use to make these!

Double Exposure Instant Film W/ The Fuji Neo Classic

Since my studio opened last month I’ve been able to film more tutorial and gear reviews – I especially enjoy harping on the beloved Fuji Instax Mini film and cameras.  Here’s two recent videos covering different aspects of the analogue style!

Sally Mann on NPR

NPR’s Terry Gross did a recent interview with photography legend Sally Mann on her book, Hold Still: A Memoir With Photographs.  It’s up there with the top “uncomfortable” interviews Terry has given, where she picks a controversial point and continues on and on about an early series of photographs Sally took of her children, often nude.  Sally got clearly annoyed at some point as well, stating “it’s only 70 pages of a 500 page book.”

Boundaries are a tricky thing with artists, and I’m not sure if Terry understood that in her curious method of questioning.  Basically, artists think boundaries don’t apply to them because they are on a metaphorical mystic quest for knowledge and understanding.  Any lines in the sand should be crossed because to not cross them is censorship and cowardice.  That is true of all the great artists I can think of.  They ignore “no trespassing” signs, appropriate the work of others’ into their own art without asking, and usually the thought of consequences or audience reactions doesn’t occur until well after the work is assembled.

What do you think?  Do the great artists you know color within the boundaries?  Is there a time where you’ve had a creative impulse that you’ve reigned in because of the possible consequences?  I welcome your responses in the comments below!

Photolucida Portfolio Review in Portland Pt. 2

Some of the cards I collected at Photolucida.
Some of the cards I collected at Photolucida.
This blog is a continuation of my Photolucida Portfolio Review trip.  For part one, please visit here!
The feedback to that amalgamation depened on the reviewer’s background;  book and gallery people felt that, despite being all portraits of single models, they were all from separate series that should be all the “one” style (which they are on my website), whereas the photo critics or magazine types seemed to more easily digest the approach.  I don’t make it easy on myself since I use multiple types of image capture, varying alternative processes and feel weird about talking about the work.
Rather than go into every reviewer’s commentary, I’ll briefly mentioned a few bits of feedback.
Brooks Jensen, publisher of Lenswork and one of my favorite podcasters, let me know “Sketches” as a series title is as ineffective as “C-41” would be of a color film body of work because it’s too descriptive of the process and not the content of the work.  I made a mental note to alter the series on my site titled “Instax”.  As Brooks has a perspective of presenting work in a unique fashion, we discussed formatting it as a genuinely 1940s lost magazine with text.  I mentioned collaborating with a writer, and he proposed as an alternative I “rise to the occasion”.  Further commentary was that he had seen that process before, but never as good as I had done it- the kind of compliment I’m going to take to my grave.  I promised to send him the completed project.
Amy Wolff, a photo editor at PDN, started our conversation with “can I say, it’s a pleasure to be surprised at a review” after seeing my first few images, had a lot of engaging questions about the freelance model process.
Julie Grahame, who runs the Accurator website, was pretty critical of my portfolio box size and print sleeves (which got ditched immediately).  After a pretty serious 15 minutes she sorted me out how presentation should go at an event like this, which is what I needed to hear, then was highly complimentary of the images themselves.
Myles Haslehorst of Ampersand Gallery pointed me in the direction of a San Francisco gallery that has an anti-art, street, “Juxtapoz” type aesthetic which is where I think my work truly belongs.  He chose the bodypainted work I did with my friends Jamie Graden and Lacheln as his favorites, and suggested working with a printmaking artist which I happen to have done recently.
I had interest from galleries in Philedelphia and NYC about showing work, and a photoblog of a magazine with huge readership amongst photographers, none of which I want to jinx so I’ll just leave it at that.
One reviewer, Blue Mitchell of 112 Publishing, actually bought a “Sketches” print off of me during the review which I found immensely gratifying.
There’s certainly more to the review experience than I mentioned here, but it’s a taste of how these things can build you up- and in some cases, tear you down, often deservedly.  Out of around 20 reviewers, it’s fascinating to see the conflicting perceptions of one’s work, but that’s the pleasure of being able to choose one’s informed critics.  If you enjoy any of this work I encourage you to like it and share it!  For more photoworks goodness peruse my Etsy shop, follow on tumblr and twitter and instagram, and rummage around on my full site.

Photolucida Portfolio Review in Portland Pt. 1

photolucida 1This is being written halfway through my journey to Photolucida, a photography portfolio review event that happens every 2 years in Portland, Oregon, aka City of Beards.  I’m in my quaint Motel 6 room on a Saturday morning, with my free coffee and convenient store blueberry muffin by my side.  It’s a small lull during days of presenting work to reviewer and fellow photographer alike, and looking at other people’s stuff, and having a table at the Portland Art Museum with over 400 attendees.  In a couple hours I’ll be hopping on the bus with my portfolio and jetting downtown for 7 reviews, which is quite a high number even if you consider they are only 20 minutes long.

Because I have another photography event immediately after Photolucida, I had to start the trip with a 4 hour drive from Phoenix to Palm Springs- time to work on the “elevator pitch,” I thought.  That didn’t happen.  On the flight from Palm Springs to Portland I thought, “I better work on that elevator pitch.”  A few scribbles later and I felt like making music for a video project.  I landed, made my way to my hotel and then the opening meet-and-greet of Photolucida, still pitchless.  Maybe it would come to me in a lucid dream.
The first full day of the event had 4 reviewers scheduled with roving reviewers on deck.  The photographer attendees would be comparing notes, who’s good to talk to, who’s a meanie, swapping or waiting on deck to get to those reviewers who are the tastemakers of the photographic art community; gallery owners, book publishers, critics and gadflys.  The process was suprisingly smooth compared to my single previous portfolio event in 2008.  We’d used a website to order our reviewer choices, recieved a schedule that closely matched that, and waited in a hallway for our turn at 20 minutes of their time.
Even before reviews began, all us photographers began eyeballing each other’s portfolios and it was immediately obvious that it was complete, singular bodies of work people were presenting.  Their portfolio boxes were immaculate, hand crafted and full of 40-50 images.  There were exotic scenarios, focuses on Indonesia and Viking artifacts and Bosch paintings.  Highly personal work about aging and unusual neighbors.  Of the few people I saw who used models, they were shooting with friends, neighbors who would work for free or trade for photos and those pictures were stunning as well as personal.
One reviewer whom I greatly respect bluntly told me “the art world doesn’t like models, they like real people.  Models are considered for commercial work.”  I’m still turning that around in my head as to whether it’ll change me or not.
As for me, I brought my “Sketches” series of xerox transfers as a unified body of work and an amalgamation of my “Pop”, “Scream Queens”, “Secretly”, “Instax” and “Scrutiny” series that was similar to what I’d been presenting in my last few exhibitions and I felt worked together well despite coming from separate series.  In contrast to the other photographers, I felt like I had a small sampling of work that didn’t have depth, leaned hard on a cheesecake factor shot with impersonal professional freelancers who I’d often compensated well for my smutty, silly projects.
What did the reviewers think?  Find out in part 2…

If you enjoy any of this work I encourage you to like it and share it!  For more photoworks goodness peruse my Etsy shop, follow on tumblr and twitter and instagram, and rummage around on my full site.