Tag Archives: analog

Artist Reception Featuring Saroyan Humphrey

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Photoworks is proud to host a new series of photographs by Saroyan Humphrey.

Saroyan Humphrey is a San Francisco based photographer, designer & art director. In 2008 he opened his photography studio for clients & personal projects.

He shoots portraits, forgotten places and landscapes using a variety of medium format and 35mm film cameras.

Saroyan’s photographs have been exhibited in the U.S. and abroad. He has spoken and participated in Bay Area panels on Lomo Photography. Two of his portraits of California musicians were included in the 2011 book Unlimited Grain which was edited by the International Analogue Photographic Society.

Saroyan’s interests also include music, racing & various forms of creative expression.

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Reception starts at 7pm tonight
at the shop, 2077A Market St @ Church

Free Pizza if you bring it!!!
J.C.

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The Impossible Photo Lab

By now all of you photographers and most of you non photographers are aware of the demise of Polaroid.  It’s over but like all great things analog, you cannot kill the spirit.  Enter The Impossible Project, a small group of people who claimed the remains of the Polaroid factory in The Netherlands, and without much of a recipe have invented a new line of instant films.  The word “impossible” is no understatement, as the technical hurdles rival sending people into space.  By some miracle we now have a full line of new instant films to play with, but they are tricky to work with, kind of like a soup that must be cooked in exactly the right way.  The folks at IP have come up with a few accessories and tricks of the trade that must be applied in order to make the new films work.  So it’s  like a science project of sorts but the results are gratifying and I am willing to work to make some instant film magic.  Photoworks has been offered the new line of films to sell in our store and we are thrilled to be a part of the instant film resurrection.

I feel some kinship with the Impossible folks because for years I struggled to maintain old film printing equipment.  Our lab used to be all Agfa analog printing machines, the look of the prints from those machines helped put our shop on the map.  One day without warning, Agfa went under, and we were stuck with a bunch of old printers and no support.  I hired technicians to keep the machines going, but over the years parts vanished and eventually I gave up. Like every other photo lab, we bought new equipment.  We still print from negatives but not before they are scanned first.  You still see film grain, but it’s just not quite the same thing.  Over the years we have struggled to maintain our analog identity, but it is not easy, and on some days it feels “impossible.”

It’s amazing that something so commonplace as Polaroid would be such advanced science, and that once extinct would be so hard to replicate.  The Impossible Project has not only brought instant films back, they have expanded the line into all kinds of fun directions.  This week Photoworks will be receiving our first shipment of Impossible Project instant films.  We’ll be the only place in town to carry PX 600 Silver Shade with the Black Frame.  Very cool, very analog, suddenly everything seems possible again.

In stock and ready to rock

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The Sweet Bird Of Youth

This post has little to do with the Tennessee Williams play or the Paul Newman film based on the title.  I just like the phrase, and since I’ve turned fifty I’ve become horribly nostalgic.  I have a new employee at Photoworks.  He is in his early twenties, and I hate him because he has such a bright future.  Just kidding.  I can say he has a bright future because he is so genuinely enthusiastic about his job, and has such an upbeat outlook on life and the pursuit of photography.  When I go to a chain store I get a false “have a nice day” greeting even though it might be 11:00 at night.  “J” as I will refer to him greets every customer with sincerity and when he says, “how is your day going?”  He actually really wants to know.  I’ve had some other staff here in the past that would not bother to make eye contact, and the typical camera store worker is pretty detached and at best a snob.  Why is J smiling all the time, why don’t I smile more?  Shit, I own the joint.  Now the kid is not perfect, half the crap on his ipod is annoying and I’m not even sure I like his photos, oh and he’s running a bit of tab on his own work, but who cares?

I can’t just pigeonhole J’s attitude as youthful exuberance, because there are plenty of mean 23 year old’s walking around town scowling.  I can only say that this “kid” gets it, and that he actually loves film photography so much that he can’t wait to tell every customer about the fine grain of Ektar 100.  So at 50 years old, and after standing in the same spot for 23 years, I am getting some new energy for my job in the form of J’s positive attitude.

Customer service, what a concept.

                                                                                             Just Happy To Be Here

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Root Root Root For The Film Team

“And if they don’t win it’s a shame.”  Well it seems like the film team is going to win after all.  Much like the SF Giants, the film shooters are a band of over achieving misfits coming together at just the right time.  And like our World Series Champs, the film team was born out of  disenfranchisement .  In this case a frustration with digital photography as an art form.  I’m certain that The SFAI teaches plenty on digital photography, but isn’t it ironic that many people I meet prefer to explore the boundaries of film and alternative processes.  The toy camera, holga, and lomo are the low fidelity player’s choice around here.

This Friday we will hold a reception here at Photoworks to prove the point.  Hope you can join us, and meet the members of the San Francisco Toy Camera Club, or as I call them, The Film Team.  ( certainly not misfits)

"doubles" not really about baseball

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Analog Debauchery

I received an email from someone asking if I would process some film that he had found in his desk.  The rolls of film he said were very old, from his “college days”  back in the eighties.  As a member of the Class of ’84, I was intrigued and it made me remember how back in the early days of one hour photo printing, subject matter was always a concern.  Remember the days of “caught on film?”  There even used to be a company called Discreet Photo Services.  You could  mail order film to this so called safe haven, and get your pot plant photos back without any risk of some Walmart employee calling the cops.

When I printed photos here at the lab, I have to admit I did look twice at the sexy photos every now and then, but we never considered making copies of things, it was just a perk  (sorry) of the job, and of course you lose interest after you’ve worked here a bit.  Nowadays the workers here don’t even blink at what comes through as there is so much free crap like Girls Gone Wild, that we have become immune to any tantalizing photos that we see.  I want to make it clear that we conduct ourselves professionally. We look at every photo to insure quality of color, etc, and believe me some stuff we’d rather not see.   And we don’t run down the hallway saying , “ooh I just saw a boob photo.”  Okay, there was this one sordid moment that happened many years ago, and the worker was quickly sacked.  The lab tech in question had printed a roll of film and decided to show another customer some “super hot photos.”  The customer has a look at the photos  and says, “that’s my girlfriend.”   Small town I guess.

It’s amazing how little discretion the amateur photographer has today.  Much like people volunteer personal information on Facebook, people also seem cavalier about photos, and what they are willing to show.   Has digital made us lower our guard?  Racy photos used to be better too.  I think that’s why they invented grain because some things are better kept in low light or low fi, or even arty.

So now that you are confident in our discretion here at Photoworks, go ahead and send in those rolls of film that you find in an old camera or sock drawer.  I promise you, I WON’T LOOK…….

nothing to hide?

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If You Love Her, Get Her A Camera

Been looking at the new Nikon 7000/ million, some camera huh?  Looks like you can shoot in deep space with that thing.  Despite my passion for film, you’d have to be nuts not to want a camera like this.  My birthday is in May.

Need to get my betrothed something for V Day, and would like to avoid a Hallmark moment.  I found this amazing camera here.

The Lady Carefree, which I believe used to be available on makeup counters in your finer department stores.  An unfortunate name for a camera especially if you’re a dude or a feminist…  So I will present this little gift today and see what happens.  She will probably ask for the iphone 4, but this is better because it comes with a rose.

above from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/32214524@N00/1806297604

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I Shoot Film Because It Doesn’t Shoot Back

I was browsing through Flickr and I came across this cool photographer, http://www.rhettredelings.com   In his bio he writes, “I shoot film because it doesn’t shoot back.”   I don’t know if the phrase inspired me or if I’m pleased to see another bald guy with a film camera.  Nonetheless, I wish to expand on Rhetts’ notion.  I will try and avoid quoting from the ” I hate digital handbook.”  I’m a photographer who doesn’t want to know.  I’d rather find out later if what I shoot is worth a damn.  The immediacy of digital is of little interest to me.  It’s like an unwrapped Christmas gift.  Seeing my results right away would influence the process for me, make me adjust my thinking instead of working with instinct and some basic knowledge.  It would almost be like having someone looking over my shoulder with critique or unworthy praise.

Please do not write me and say that I am an old school dork.  I get the obvious merits of digital photography, and the amazing images that are being shot every second around the world speak volumes.  I just prefer to meander about, taking one shot an hour, maybe it takes a week to go through a roll of film.  I’d rather not be confronted with hundreds of sunset photos hoping for one good image.  I usually get at least one winner for every twelve exposures.  I am also a pacifist, and I like the non threatening nature of analog photography.   Ooops, I think I just implied that digital scares me.

How silly is that?

one out of twelve ain't bad

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“How About Two of Each Today Sir”

Here’s another post about the good old days of photo processing……..Believe it or not I actually took a course in how to develop film and operate a One Hour Photo establishment.  Circa 1987, though our store was to be here in San Francisco, the course was offered in Minnetonka, Minnesota, the actual One Hour Photo capital of the world.  So when I say I’m an expert, I can back it up.   One of the things we learned in the course was to up sell customers.  The script went like this, “matte or glossy, 3 1/2 x 5 or 4×6 prints, would you like a second set?”  I’d say at least half the people went for the double prints.

Nowadays it’s a struggle to get anyone to print at all.  Just for kicks I broke out with the old “how about a second set today” line the other day.  The customer responded by saying that it was a “waste of paper and bad for the environment.”   Seems like a weird place to take a stand if you ask me.  I once lived in an old house that was wallpapered with photos.  Now I live a less cluttered life, and like many of you my “mess” is confined to my computer’s hard drive and my phone.

Speaking of prints, there is a new show up for viewing at Photoworks.  We are proud to display the work of Aeschleah DeMartino. These pieces are striking to say the least.  Moody, joyously morbid, posed yet voyeristic.

I asked our artist for a bio, but she was humble and did not send much.  I’ll use the old cliche and say that these images speak volumes.  Perhaps some of you will be inspired to print some of your own work, and remember to ask for, “two of each.”

dh

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Holga Hot Tub Time Machine

I wanted to remind everyone that there is still time to sign up for the big holga workshop on Sat Aug 21st.

get your camera wet

You can find the details in our flickr group.http://www.flickr.com/groups/photoworkssf/  We’ll teach you a bit about the holga camera, we’ll go down the coast and shoot some pictures, and then we’ll drink beer and get naked n the photoworks SF hot tub. Sound fun? How about everything before the getting naked part?

As a bonus we’ll be printing a magazine to commemorate the event.  The images will be pulled from what we shoot that day.  I am also thinking about some holga related activities for the workshop.  Holga relay race, holga toss, musical holgas, holga truth or dare, and of course, the holga dance contest.  So, if haven’t yet  signed up, get a hold of me here at photoworks.  Space in the hot tub is limited.

dh

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Ain’t No Sunshine

I’ve lived in the SF/Bay Area for 30 years, most of my adult life.  I love it, but I will never get used to the dreary summers.  I’m glad I don’t live in the heat and humidity of the East Coast, that would suck, but man the fog is bringing me down.  I feel like a need a vitamin D shot or a tanning booth.  I have no circulation, the plants are not growing, and there ain’t no lovin’. My dog is refusing to be walked.  Anyone else in a foul mood?  I shot a roll of black and white film over the weekend.  I used a yellow filter to help with the grey day, but my photos still look bleak.  I also shot a roll of color and my photos came out black and white.  This summer is especially foggy, even more so down on the coast where I live.  I feel like Khan from Star Trek having been banished to a dead planet.

Yes, fog can be nice, keeps everybody cool, there is less crime, but drinking tea huddled next to the heater in August is not normal.  I saw where this is the coldest summer since 1972.  I check the forecast and it’s “fog and low clouds, fog and low clouds.”   It’s concerning because I’m putting on a picture taking class this month.  The supply list goes something like, bring camera, tripod, and film.  I guess I’ll need to add, blankets, parka, and a thermos of hot cocoa.

Bundle up, it’s summertime.

socked in

dh

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