A Year in Photos

Photography, fiction, and personal essays form my three primary creative outlets. For this blog's first 18 months, I used it primarily for photography. As I've returned to creative writing, I'll use this blog for fiction, too. Sometimes, when reality needs to be discussed more than truth, I write personal essays.

This blog will continue to showcase as many above-average photos as I can muster. Hopefully my written work will be as good or better than the visual. Whichever drew you here -- photographs or fiction, I hope you enjoy both.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Found Photos Friday: A Kicking Pony

In April 2012, I bought a Kodak Pony 828 with film in it for $5. I developed the film then, for kicks, to see what was on it. At the time, I could only digitize negatives with my scanner, and the results from that were unusable. I let the film sit until a month ago and digitized it with my DSLR. That method yields MUCH more usable results from poor film.

The 828 roll gave up three usable images. A few on the roll were damaged by light leakage and two were so underexposed nothing was on the frame except a beam of light through a window.

Based on the peoples' dress and the car in image three, this looks like a late-60s or early-70s  roll. The seller, from Germantown, Tennessee, didn't indicate where he got the camera. The people could easily be from Germantown, though I would have guesses an industrialized city in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or New York based on the houses and plants. Ultimately, though, who knows.

Was there ever a better fashion trend than bows in your hair? I submit not and challenge you to prove otherwise.

Only the mom is happy to have her picture taken -- in either shot. I'm assuming that's a nuclear family, anyway. Who knows, maybe they're total strangers thrown into the frame by a demented, chainsaw-wielding photographer and that's why they don't really look happy, except the mom lady, who like demented chainsaw-wielding guys. Now all I need is a time machine and I'm in luck!

Look at those tires! That station wagon was made for off-roading. That thing could drive over other cars. You could literally drive over railroad ties and those tires would just absorb it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Found Photos Friday: Midwestern Farmer's Daughter

A couple of months ago I picked up three rolls of color Triple Print film that expired in 1978. The seller, from rural Illinois, didn't know anything about them. I suspect they came from the estate sale of one of the people pictured, or maybe a garage sale.

This triple print stuff is a mess to develop and impossible to print onto black and white paper. The film's base is red -- it uses an old color process called C-22. The film's base, in fact, is the EXACT color of black and white darkroom lights, which is why it's impossible to actually print these images in a darkroom. And, because the base is so dark, the images' contrast suffered dramatically. In fact, the images became almost invisible on most rolls when dry. For some of these shots, I had to soak the film and let the water hold it on a white acrylic sheet. After pressing the bubbles out, I could take pictures of it (illuminated from behind) and get reasonable images. I don't ever -- ever -- want to deal with this film again.

But, some of these photos turned out well. I had forgotten the seller was from Illinois when I developed these and immediately the images looked like my home state, in southern-central near Urbana. And, yes, that was where the seller had bought them from.

This will be the best blog entry I do all year. Why? Because 1970s farmers' daughters are HOT.

The patterns along the top are where the paper had begin sticking to the film. 

Three dogs. THREE! That's a lot of shedding.

I dig the dude's hair, too. These are the most serious people I've ever seen. That said, Midwestern farmers are pretty serious people.

A windmill, very progressive for the mid 1970s. I like what this shot tells us about these peoples' lives. Off in the distance there's another house, so this was probably not a huge farm by today's standards. Also, the fence is in good repair, and possibly new. The young trees in the foreground may also be new plantings. So this could have been a new home for them. Also, the windmill and birdbath would be luxury items, so they may have had good luck farming (though agriculture in the 1970s wasn't a calling anyone answered because of the great money inolved.)

Is that maybe a fourth dog? More importantly, check out dude's pants and shirt. Is he from 1975 or is he a mid-twenty-teens hipster? NO ONE KNOWS!


This was the dog I counted as the third earlier, but a photo I didn't include today had YET ANOTHER dog in it.

These last two pictures I had to photograph when wet. But, they show rows of corn and spinach and perhaps rhubarb and cabbage. A nice variety.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Found Photos Friday: First Day of School?

I picked up this roll of 620 for about $6 a few weeks back. Verichrome is pretty easy to develop, but its age means fog and increased grain. The first two shots, though, turned out pretty decently.

Piecing together a story from unknown photos is always a challenge, fun, and maddeningly impossible. These shots look mid-sixties-ish to me based on dress (especially glasses.) That would make all of the kids in these first two pictures about retirement age. It's somewhat amazing and sad to think that someone took these photos for some reason and then they sat on a spool, untouched, undeveloped while these kids went through school, to college, met their husbands, had kids, suffered divorces, buried their parents, maybe buried a child, and did lived their lives, I hope, well and fully. And now, in mid-2013, some random guy develops and old roll of film and for the first time in more than a half-century releases the long-trapped 50th of a second of light that comprised each moment on the frames.

I actually like the first shot a lot better. It's clearly more impromptu and less staged. Though I really love that the kid in the lower left is blowing a kiss during the staged shot. I admit, I'd really like to know what happened to these kids and who they grew to be.

I'm not certain whether that's a wedding dress or the type of dress worn by a teacher on her first day teaching. Maybe the latter? I had been leaning wedding dress the other day but now, I suspect these photos are of a teacher on her first day teaching kindergarten or first grade.

Same person. Along the bottom, you can see little trees of fungus that had begun growing into the film's emulsion. In time, maybe some dozens of years, all of the film would have looked like that.

Typically, I'm not a huge double exposure fan. But this accident works, though it makes the scene look rather ethereal and ghostly.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Found Photos Friday: Last 1950s Europe Entry

For the past however many weeks, I've basically exploited a package of 305 slides I bought for $1 at an estate sale. It's been great and some the photos in it have fascinated me a great deal. This post will be the last for that slide box. If you'd like to see all of the slides, including ones I didn't share on the blog entries, simply follow this link.

To celebrate July 4th, we'll go back to the home of freedom -- France. These images, from the Chateau de Chenonceau, are again from the late 1950s. Interestingly, many of the rolls in this box were taken on Agfachrome and Ektachrome, and both lost most of their color in the last sixty years. Today's photos, like the Bunratty Castle photo last week, were taken on Kodachrome and the colors have not faded nor lost trueness at all. So that's pretty impressive.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Domo Aragato, Mr. Roboto

Similar to Tuesday's post, these photos resulted from an assignment in my Google+ black and white group. The assignment, transportation, I decided to do with some of my dad's American Flyer train cars. To accompany them, I used some of his Archer and Captain Video plastic robots. For fun, I decided to bring in a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash. Next week, I'll have some more shots from this still life experiment.

Captain Video robots taking pictures of themselves. The original toy robot selfie.

The large robot is an Archer molded plastic robot. The smaller ones are Captain Video aliens and robots.

A black and white one, which seems much more ominous.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Flowers Simplified

I may have mentioned before that I'm part of a Google+ group for weekly black and white photography assignments. A few weeks ago we had a plants and flowers assignment. I picked a few individual buds from neighborhood plants and tried a low-key take on the project. Pollen was a problem, but the overall effect worked well.

For this shot, I illuminated the trumpet with my cell phone's flash light. That gave the flower a bit of luminescence that works well.

For this, I made the yellows dark and green lighter. That resulted in the pollen grains standing out on the leaf and flower petals.

A simple, single sprig.

Flower inside flower.

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