Category Archives: Uncategorized

I need a Parklet, Artwalk, a Food Truck, and a Meetup Stat!

Tomorrow night from 7-10 we are having an art opening at Photoworks.  We will be featuring work as seen in our latest Zine Photoworks 6.  Most of the photographers will be present.  There will be the usual red and white beverages served along with some simple Trader Joe’s snack fare, and maybe a homemade dish or two as well.  And That’s All Folks!  I am hoping that some of the 169 people I invited on Facebook will make it.  Currently the number stands at 33, but I am confident that the event will be a success despite the fact that we sit on an undefined stretch of Market St. that no one perceives as a destination.  If I named the area at Market and Church ( called it Murch maybe) would that make us cool?  Maybe a DJ blaring electronica would entice people to come and see these photos.  I guess there are many options on a Friday night in this town,

by Paige Campbell Linden

and we do not have a Ritual Coffee Roaster embedded in the lobby.  Actually, we don’t really even have a lobby.  How do I get one of those outdoor bike rack cafe thingies with a dumpster full of succulents?  Then when the crowd swells people can spill over to the photoworks promenade.

Lastly, how does one spread the word?  Of my 2000 Twitter followers, I think 1500 live in Alaska.  Someone tell my story in The Fecal Italic, or tumble me, foursquare my shit G.  I want to be in the Best Of The Best Of The Best.   Alas, we will proceed with humility and sans fanfare, and just say COME TO THE SHOW THE PHOTOS ARE GREAT.


2077a Market St at Church  (murch)    PS, I just found out we are going to have mood lighting…


Tagged , , , , , ,

Mobile Phoney

Much to the dismay of instant gratification seekers (myself included), Instagram went offline last night around 7pm or so. I heard it had something to do with horrible weather back East. That makes sense since the server is in the clouds..ha ha As a result of this calamity, you were all deprived off a rare glimpse of yet another nice sunset from my balcony overlooking the ocean. You are currently missing an aerial view of my pristine cup of morning joe in a vintage Eames coffee cup. Later on you may miss my $6.00 one ounce food truck taco. And God Forbid, if this outage continues, you will not bear witness to me grinning, wearing a panda hat at the Giants v Reds baseball game.

I recently met someone who is a member of AMPt. Don’t know why the “t” is a small letter, but these are some “advanced” mobile phone shooters using lots of cool apps to make some pretty interesting images. I almost bought a piece in an art show from this person. I think this is fine as long as we all understand that the lines of photography have been blurred. You still need some skill to take a good mobile image. Framing, composition and the way we see the world still count, but that is really where the praise should end. Filters and digital masks or whatever they are called is really cheating. I use them all the time, and I feel kind of silly doing it. Slippery slope indeed as there are some impressive artificially created beauties that I “like” on a regular basis.

Is it sad that Facebook bought Instagram, or is it a message to mobile photographers to use a real camera? I used my Rolleiflex the other day, and it was one of the worst rolls of film I ever shot. I threw out the negatives and proudly posted my mobile shots instead. A wake up call for me for sure, especially when I see 12 year old kids posting HDR pouty lip pictures. We’re all in the same soup now, and it’s hard to control the taste.

If I’m being honest I have to say that I do really enjoy Instagram. It’s up to me to carry my Nikon in the same way I carry my phone regardless of convenience or lighting. I’ll never get used to mobile images of cats,or the obligatory “here’s my toes in the waters of some island beach.” Maybe the outage was a good thing as it reminded me that I am way too attached to my camera phone. Gotta go, we’re back online and my lunch is waiting….


Tagged ,

Damn Smart High School Kids

Just when I thought that anyone under the age of 20 was utterly hopeless, I encountered the AP photography class of Sacred Heart High School.  Not everyone in this age group is a texting, short term memory mall rat.  (my apologies to youth everywhere for the generalization)  These kids have managed to circumvent the disposable imagery of what surrounds them on daily basis, and create some heartfelt, lasting works of art.  They can certainly describe the pieces better than I can!  Here is the show as described by their instructor:

The show Intersection showcases photographic work by Advanced and AP photography students from Sacred Heart Preparatory High School in Atherton, California. The work presented in this show is a small fragment of the rich and varied work that each student created over the course of the year. Specifically, each student in my AP/Advanced course selected and pursued a photographic project based on a topic or theme of his or her own choosing. Students worked digitally and with film, using a variety of formats and methods to create their images. Their chosen themes were as varied as the work in Intersection, and included the exploration of fairytales, of unseen emotions, of the innocence, of masquerade, of perceptions of beauty, and finally of unseen views of urban spaces, patterns and signs. I am delighted to present the class’s first off-campus exhibition at and hope that you will relish their photographs as much as I do.

Vanessa Woods

Photography Instructor

Scared Heart Preparatory High School

May, 2010

Please join us Friday May 21 7-9 for a reception here at Photoworks.



Here Comes a Regular

In any business you need regular customers to succeed.  Be it a bar or a photo lab, it doesn’t matter.  I’m grateful to the regulars at my store.  Without them I’d be finished.  The beauty of the regular is that like a bartender I know what they want.  The regulars are predictable in a most comfortable way.  “Hey Phil, the usual…4×6’s with a sloppy border, see ya Friday.”  I know when I walk in to my corner bar that the barkeep knows me.  I just nod and a Makers and soda appears a  minute later.  Same thing in the lab when certain folks walk in I’ll reach for the Tri X, or I’ll grab their 8×10’s so that by the time they get to the counter the goods are waiting.

Regulars are always good to b.s. with too.  They brighten the day for the staff, especially the veteran staff of which I’m lucky to have.  Of course there are a few unsavory regulars.  “like a picture on a fridge that’s never stocked with food.” (Paul Westerberg)  I see them coming as well, but hey we need all of them, the good and the bad.  So as I write this I lift my glass of bourbon and say, “HERE’S TO THE REGULARS.”

Rejected By Local Yokel Art Show

Who am I in the photography world?  I lack training or any formal photo related education.  I certainly did not go to art school or make a thesis statement.  I have never had a show at a gallery, or coffee shop, or dive bar.  I have no style or signature thing that I do.

I am a self taught amateur who happens to be in the photolab business.  I have every tool imaginable at my disposal, so I can tinker about with processing and printing, though ironically I can only grasp the basics of photoshop.

I tell you this because I recently entered some of my work in a local photo exhibition.  This is not San Francisco.  This is just south of the city in an unamed(you figure it out)  beach community of 40,000.  I live here.  We do not have a Whole Foods or a fancy restaurant, and I would say this is not a sophisticated town.  We do have an art center that has regular shows, and I realize that the size of a community has little to do with the artists in residence.  This was a juried show and as far as I could tell from the entry form, there was no clear theme.  For 15.00 bucks per you can enter as many pieces as you like.

So I entered thinking, what the hell it’s a small town, maybe I’ll get in.  Well I did not.  I got a letter saying so, and little else.  Now I’m pissed!  Who is this jury person to reject me, and why can’t I at least have a one sentence critique?  And, what the hell is a juried show anyway?  Jury of my peers?  It’s one person I’ve never heard of.  I’m crushed and my ego is bruised and I will berate this art show to anyone sitting next to me in the local dive bar.  The bar where starting next month you might be seeing some new work by a certain unschooled photographer who for now, shall remain nameless.


Tagged , ,

Aloha Holga

I’m going on vacation next week to Maui.  First vacation from the Photoworks Empire in a few years.  I’ll be packin’ the Wife and Kids, and a camera bag full of film.  How many sunsets cross processed can one man take in 8 days?  Well, we’re going to find out.  Lie down on the sand and look up to the sky,  snap that palm tree gently blowing in the trade winds.

Will I find arty Islanders to accompany me on a picture taking walk?  I doubt it.  So should I leave all the crappy toy cameras at home, or do I revel the poolside crowd with my cool plastic photo taking contraptions? Man I can’t wait to get in the pool up to my waist, holga in one hand, pina colada in the other! I realize that’s a tough visual, but just think how nice and relaxed I’ll be when I get home. As they say in Hawaii,  Aloha holga means “hello and goodbye.”

you got my back while I"m gone?

Tagged , , , , , ,

The New Show Has No Theme

Say it isn’t so, a photography show without a theme??  When it’s time to put up some new images here at Photoworks, we have the usual discussion of “themes.”  We’ve done portraits, holga, polaroid, black and white, and some others I do not even recall.  There were a few suggestion like spring, nature, cityscapes, and some themes about various technical aspects of photography.  I guess the idea is to see how different people interpret the assignment of a theme. This makes things interesting and more importantly, it adds cohesiveness and a common thread.

Well kids I got news for ya, school’s out.  The new show has none of the above.  It’s not about branches and leaves, or the airport, or bicycles, or bald men. This time I decided to hand pick work from our flickr group going only on my initial gut reaction to the image.  For better or worse the images are now together.  Eleven photographers, eleven thematically unrelated images.  My co-worker here thinks it’s a “hodge podge.”  I like it, and I say they stand alone and together just fine, and if you need more meaning than that, then shave your head and get in line because the next show is going to be………bald men.


BTW, the opening reception for said Show Without A Theme will be Friday April 9th 7-9pm.  Hope to see you then.

Who Wouldn’t Love A Blossom Tree?

The ubiquitous cherry blossom, or white blossom for that matter.  Are these the most photographed things on earth?  Certainly this time of year they are.  It’s not yet spring, still pissing rain on some days, yet the blossoms have arrived in yards and on streets everywhere.  “Stop the car Honey, I see a blossom tree.”  Hmmm, I wish I had my macro lens!  No worries I can do bokeh blossoms, or wide angle blossoms, holga blossoms.  I can lie down on my back and shoot so I have nothing but blossoms and blue sky.  No doubt these trees make us happy.  I looked up and it looks like a mail order bride service.   So blossom trees are symbolic of many things, so there are many reasons to love them.

So, how could anyone, even a cranky guy like me not like a blossom tree?  You know I have a story…..My first San Francisco apartment back in 1983 was near the corner of Ellis and Divisadero streets.  Not the most picturesque part of the Western Addition.  The rent was $750.00 a month which back then was a lot, given the “hood.”  The landlord was a mean old man named Mr James.  He was as mean as they come, and before I realized this, I was stuck in a year long lease.  This apartment had a nice yard, and in the yard were several spectacular cherry blossom trees.  Mr James used to show up any time he pleased and sit amongst his beloved blossoms.  He had a cool old Leica camera and he would photograph them endlessly.  He’d be drunk half the time, and if I asked him to leave he’d take a swing at me.  He would not fix my leaking faucet, but he loved the damn trees.

Whenever I see people going gaga shooting cherry blossoms, I can’t help flashing back to my mean old landlord.  Ironically, these trees  made him happy, but made me miserable.  Of course I’ve had 25 years to get over it!!  Maybe I need to spend more time on…


white blossoms w/brownie camera


I’m Sorry, But I’m A Camera Addict

Good morning, and thank you for joining me. Many of you are my friends. Many of you know me. Many of you have cheered for me or you’ve worked with me or you’ve supported me.

Now every one of you has good reason to be critical of me. I want to say to each of you, simply and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in.  I have a problem, I’m addicted to taking photos…………..I thought because I own a photo lab that rules did not apply to me, that I could load up on cameras and film, and 16g SD cards and run around town like a maniac shooting everything in sight.  It started innocently enough on a drive home from work.  I could not resist that hot sunset, and the next thing I knew I was lying to my wife.  “Honey, I need to work late.”  When I was actually up at Twin Peaks admiring her beauty.

I have a lot to atone for, but there is one issue I really want to discuss. Some people have speculated that my loving wife attacked me on Thanksgiving by hurling a 300mm lens through my windshield.  I want to make it clear that there has never been any camera violence in our marriage.  I was merely unfaithful, I thought I could hand hold at 1/8 of a second, I was arrogant, pushing film 4 and 5 stops.  About the time I started cross processing sheet film, I knew I would soon be caught.

The last 45 days, I have not taken one photo.  I no longer feel the need to hide cameras in my trunk.  I have buried my secret stash of pinhole cameras.

I recognize I have brought this on myself, and I know above all I am the one who needs to change. I owe it to my family to become a better person. I owe it to those closest to me to become a better man. That’s where my” focus” will be.

Thanks For Listening.

dh 2/19/2010

That’s Not My Film

“That’s not my film.”  For a photo lab, this is the most dreaded statement that a customer can make.

I’ve been in this business for 22 years.  I can safely say that I have overseen the developing of some 800,000 rolls of film.  Of those almost one million rolls, I’d say we’ve had maybe 50-75 or so rolls get damaged and sometimes ruined by machine malfunction.  We try and treat film processing like we are flying an airplane because the consequences of failure can be pretty grim.  Now and then we’ll have an operator error, or shall I say pilot error, where the technician makes a mistake.  This may cause some film to get switched to the wrong customer.  So Mr. Smith winds up with Miss Johnson’s pictures.  Ooops!  That can be embarrassing, especially if one of the parties is say “adventurous.”

There is another scenario in which we follow all of our lab protocols, but the customer insists that they have been given “someone else’s film.”  Now it can happen, but it is rare.  This is sticky because as they say, the customer is always right.  But, is it possible that the customer could be mistaken?  What if that roll of film is from a friend, or maybe you just forgot what you shot?  Could there be tequila involved?   Then you have people who take a look at their photos and realize that they are crap, and suddenly insist that, “these are not mine.”

I’m dealing with a situation now where someone went to a far away place and shot some special photos.  They insist that what they have back from me are not images from this far away place.  The problem is that I think that they are.  I sure can’t come out and say that.

The other day I went to my dry cleaner and to my surprize one of my hipster vintage shirts was missing.  In it’s place was a tuxedo shirt that I most certainly do not own.  When I questioned the proprietor, he responded by saying that, “the tags all match up Sir, are you sure this is not your shirt?”  Then I got to thinking, I was in Las Vegas for a wedding recently, and there was most defintely tequila involved……….

Tagged , , ,