Tag Archives: photoworks sf

Film And Burning Man…A Match Made In Heaven

If you look at the history or say the arc of Burning Man you will find some similarity to the arc of Photography and my business in particular. In and around 1990 I began to have employees asking for extended time off around the Labor Day weekend.  These were not mere requests, they were DEMANDS.  Like, “I’m going to Burning Man Dave, if my job is here when I get back that would be great, if not so be it.”   At this point I am already 30 years old and really not interested in what I saw as rolling around in the dirt on Ecstasy. I’ve never been a naked outdoor dude as I prefer to get naked in private.  I also hate hot weather.  However, as a person who attended hundreds of Grateful Dead concerts in my early twenties, I felt some empathy ( however ignorant!) for the event.  Time off granted. Go nuts.

The amazing thing about the early years of Burning Man is that it yielded thousands of rolls of film for me to develop and print. The event quickly became our biggest photo processing time of the year.  Bags upon bags of dusty rolls of film to process and print.  All the same photos really, almost like you could give the same set of pictures out and no one would really know the difference.

As the event grew to the epic scale it is today, photography began to change over to digital and we began to get a bit nervous.  Each year more people came to the desert, but we processed less film.  I remember going to a dinner party and some guy said to me that I should sell my business because everything was now “digies.”  I sort of took this as a wake up call, and we slowly made the plunge in to the new world, upgrading our equipment to deal with these freaking “digies”  I still hate that word and the whole vernacular associated with the event, but that’s my problem.

We always kept the the film thing going because it’s just who we are at heart.  Ironically, people soon realized that digital camera sensors do not take kindly to sandstorms.  Fast forward ten years if I may, and we are in an age of retro photography where film is once again cool. The phrase “film is not dead” can be seen on t shirts, and all the hipsters use toy cameras. And it’s not just the hipsters shooting film, it’s everywhere.  I’m selling Polaroid/Impossible Project film to a new generation of Burning Man Photographers.

Lomography is the corporate arm of toy film photography, and some have said that Burning Man has on some level developed a corporate structure. I have no facts here, I can only say that it costs money to attend so there must be someone fiscally responsible.   I say it’s a perfect match (sorry)…Alternative lifestyle if you will, meets alternative photography.   I know I will see plenty of Instagrams of you Burners doin’ your thing, but hope I see plenty of dusty film canisters too, and it goes without saying that if you work at Photoworks and want to attend the festival….time off is granted.

Hope there is some film down there. microlesia.com

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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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Photos With Santa

I was over at Serramonte Mall the other day, a God forsaken pit of a shopping mall, but it’s the closest thing to my house so I’m stuck with it.  Anyway, I was with my kid so we checked out the whole pose with Santa program.  Sit on Santa’s lap, take a picture, and then buy the obligatory print package of say, 4 wallets and a 5×7.  When did 4 wallets and a 5×7 become a $20.00 item?  Maybe if that was the real Kris Kringle, but this Santa wasn’t even fat.  He was some skinny ass hippy from Daly City.  And, the photos are not even on real photo paper.  They are printed on a xerox photo printer by some 16 year old kid.  Sorry Son, we’ll have to skip this.  Can I buy you an ice cream cone instead?

This got me to thinking about a story my dad once told me about his first job.  He was 15 years old, this would have been about 1940.  He worked as a photographer for a company called Kidnappers.  He would go door to door with a camera and lights offering to photograph children.  He would take the pictures and then stay up all night developing the film and making contact sheets.  He would deliver the proofs to the houses the next day and take print orders for 8×10’s, etc…People would serve him coffee and cake while they made their selections.

Can you imagine trying to get in someone’s door nowadays with a camera, wanting to photograph children?  You would need 5 forms of ID and you’d still wouldn’t get through the door.  I wonder what would happen if I brought Santa door to door, offering that same service, but inside the comfort of your own home?  Not that lousy shopping mall Santa either…………..HO HO HO.

dh

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