Tag Archives: film

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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Holiday Greetings From Hannah

Hey everybody, this is Hannah, that clerk from the counter-

I’m doing a guest blog post as dh has been drowning in pesky responsibilities.

I’m not as witty as he is, but I’ll do my best here.

 

Of course the theme of this particular post is the holidays, though I myself don’t feel like they’re really here again. I’m remembering last December- sitting at the crappy end of a huge table in a garage behind my grandparent’s house with 30 drunk and boisterous family members, I believe I ended up taking my dessert to go and falling asleep early in my old bedroom. It was a very low point of my 20th year (yes, I’m really young).

 

In any case, it is with the most grateful of spirits that I have thrown myself into the holiday season at Photoworks. As much as the twentieth customer in ten minutes asking me to rush their prints makes me want to chuck the computer over the counter, I love it here. I realize that there are many people that have worked at photo labs before, and some people are completely over it, sick of it, whatever, but I’m the happiest I’ve been in two years.

dh was suspicious when he first hired me this summer; he gave me a quiz on film types and I probably scraped a C- at best. He went on the word of our dear clerk J, the cheerful-beyond-belief type, who I’ve been a friend of for some time, and by some miracle I landed a great job.

I showed up on my first day of work with a tiny alphabetized notebook of film types and their different merits, and proceeded to nerd my way to a nice comfortable position at the shop, and I still learn something new most days. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to properly thank dh for taking a chance on me, but hey, maybe I can at least inspire a little holiday cheer with the notion of a very happy employee. Who ever heard of that?

 

As far as the rest of the staff goes, who can say how they feel (though I could sing my praises for our other brown-haired girl at the counter, who is a genuine lady of ladies). All I know is I’m happy as a clam, and compared to last Christmas, working overtime to fill online orders is no bother for me at all. Not to mention the fun new merchandising I’m working on with the Impossible films (we are a partner store now!) and our hero Kile Brekke who has been refurbishing the Polaroid Land Cameras dh finds here and there- which we are actually selling! It’s so inspiring to see something I’m sure most of us thought was a goner become a Christmas present again.

I hope my positivity isn’t making anyone sick; I can just imagine the majority of our staff reading this and thinking I’m crazy, or an ass-kisser, but I’m just genuinely pleased to finally be happy to go to work.

The Intrepid Photo Clerk. photo by Jim Safka

 

Happy Holidays,

h

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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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What Happens In The Darkroom Stays In The Darkroom

I miss the darkroom.  Some great images were made by some talented photo printers.  In the heyday of Photoworks we had as many as eight darkrooms, color and black and white.  The smell of fixer permeated the building as contact sheets and hand printed enlargements were produced behind closed doors.  This was a fruitful time in the lab, and there was more in the air aside from chemicals .  That’s right, romance was alive and well in the analog world.   So here’s another reason to like film….the darkroom illuminated by only a red safety light is conducive to lovin’, whereas your Mac is well, why do you think they call it a laptop?

People always seem to hookup at work, and this company has spawned many relationships.   One day I got a wedding invitation in the mail from two of my staff, both darkroom printers.  I didn’t even know they were a couple.  I asked them where they met, and smiling coyly they said, “in the darkroom.”  I designed the darkrooms so that as many as three printers could occupy one room, but I did not envision the other “possibilities.”  In the movie Annie Hall, Woody Allen trying to create the perfect mood, adds a red light bulb to his bedside lamp telling Annie, “now we can go about our business and develop photographs at the same time.”  On the other side of the coin we’ve had our fair share of dramas play out in the darkroom as well.  I almost had to break down the door once to break up a fight as the sound of broken beakers could be heard from the street.

Then we have the home darkroom, which is intended for a completely different purpose, a place where my Dad would hide out from my Mother.  He had a little mini bar and shot glass on the shelf by the photoflow.  So, as usual I am nostalgic for the old days….. developer, fixer, photoflow, and perfume.  We still have one darkroom left at Photoworks which we use to process film.  The walls are painted black like some old rock and roll nightclub, and the graffiti on the wall says, “I’ll dodge if you burn.”

Need I say more.

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Kodachrome, Get Over It………

I thought it would be nice to ring in the new year with a bit of sarcasm , so here goes.  The current big topic in the photography world is the  demise of Kodachrome film.  The last processing option ( a mail order lab in Kansas) eliminated it’s kodachrome service as of 12/31/2010.  Is it the end of an era?  Well actually it’s been over for quite some time.  At best, it’s been tough to find the stuff, and with only one option for processing, Kodachrome has been dying a slow death for years.  Kinda reminds me of qualudes in the 70’s.  Looks great, feels great, makes me think of being all warm and fuzzy.

In the last month  friends have forwarded me all of the “woe is me” articles from photo mags and even the New York Times.  People I have not seen in years are writing me on Facebook about this tragedy.  I like to think about the last few photographers shooting that “final” roll.  Steve McCurry of National Geographic apparently shot the last roll, and his final 36 will go to some Kodak museum for permanent display.  Man, I hope they have armed guards protecting the slides because I know some photo geeks that might risk their lives to have those slides.  Not to mention the pressure on old Steve, what if he overexposes or doesn’t take the lens cap off?

So, the mourning has begun.  Well I say it’s time to move on people.  You still have Velvia and Extachrome.  Don’t get me wrong, I am the king of the digital dart board, and if Kodak starts taking away other films then I will take to the streets, start a riot and burn down the Ritz Camera store.

Kodachrome films have made for some of our most memorable and treasured images, and the nostalgia factor looms large.  I miss my Dad, but I’m grateful for the boxes and boxes of  slides that he left behind.  Maybe some day, someone will figure out how to bring back Kodachrome, like they did with Polaroid.  Yes, a naive notion to be sure.  So let’s put those slides somewhere safe, and keep a fresh bulb in your projector.  It’s only over if you let it be over.

Happy 2011.

dh

“makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, oh yeah.”

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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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