Artomatic was amazing, as always. Met some great artists, saw some really original pieces, and learned a lot about presenting my work and even (yikes!) networking and talking to people about photography. Now that I'm back to real life, I'm going to get back to the scanning mines. These are from the Washington National Cathedral's February program called "Seeing Deeper." For one night they removed all the chairs and lit up the Gothic interior with colored, changing lights. I read up on low-light photography before I went, but I was mostly just winging it. The only shots that came out were from my Diana+, which I used with a long exposure trigger and a light tripod. I tried metering with an iPhone app, but with the lights changing and the stark contrasts I was mostly left to guessing. Even with high-speed film and shooting on the longest exposure, nothing came out from my Pentax; I'm guessing I should have used the "bulb" exposure and held it open as long as I did for these - about 5 to 7 seconds.
I admit it - after November 8, I was in a creative and personal slump. (Do the math...) I'm glad I've had a weekly darkroom class at The Art League to look forward to, and now Artomatic to prepare for! Artomatic has been a DC-area institution since 1999. (I attended my first one in 2000, and the first time I participated was in 2012.) It takes place not-quite-annually, or whenever a space becomes available - usually a building slated for demolition or re-development. An unjuried army of artists, performers, and volunteers takes over and creates a community and a space that's very special and hard to find in our political and wonk-filled city.
Spaces are first-come-first-served, and artists pay an entry fee and agree to work at least three volunteer shifts. As of today (March 5) there are still spots open. I'd encourage anyone in the area to participate or visit. This year's site at 1800 S. Bell Street, Arlington is right next door to the Crystal City metro stop, and it's free to enter. There will be quiet spaces, seminars, bars, music, dance, and just about every form of visual art you can think of.
"Artomatic’s mission is to create community, build audience and expand economic development by transforming available space into a playground for artistic expression."
Artomatic opens March 24 and runs through May 6. Please look for Opulent Tarnish Photography on the 8th floor, space 8503/8504. I'm going to be going low-tech and showing a series of medium-format contact prints. Each print is only 2.25 inches square, and printed directly from the negative. I've posted a scanned print here, but very much hope you can come see it in person!
I'm very honored to have my photo "Capitol" displayed for the summer in the Crystal City FotoWalk Underground as part of Exposed DC's 10 year anniversary celebration. Exposed DC is a great resource for local Washington DC area photographers, and they hold an annual show that I always look forward to. "Capitol" was originally selected to be part of the 2013 Exposed DC show at the LongView Gallery. It was taken with a medium-format Lomography Diana+ camera, then scanned and printed digitally. (Original negative scan is below.)
I'm still working out the best way to use my Agfa Isolette. I've gotten some great images, but I thought I'd share one I wasn't that happy with. I was so excited to see this on the scanner thumbnail view, but when I looked a little closer it became apparent that I had the focal length all wrong. I'm guessing I was going for a shallow depth of field, with the statue in clear focus. With the overall soft focus, it looks more like a Lomography photo. I haven't yet decided if that's a happy accident or not. The hardest part of film photography for me is remembering to slow down, which is exactly why it's also therapeutic. Manually setting everything when you have a great shot lined up and the light is going is a true exercise in mindfulness and being in the moment.
Other than one roll of film just to make sure the thing worked, this was my first time experimenting with my "new" vintage camera, an Isolette "folder" from Germany. I picked it up from an antique/junk store in Cary, NC with no idea what I was doing or if it would work at all. I found some folks online who pointed me to Jergen at Certo6.com who unstuck the focusing ring and did an amazing job cleaning it up for me. I gathered up a few friends and went, where else, to a beautiful local cemetery. Despite the name, Congressional Cemetery is open to the public, and anyone can be buried there. It's well off the DC tourist trail but worth a visit if you're interested in history or old cemeteries.
Just posted a new gallery, with some 35mm and 120 photos of the abandoned trolley station lurking underneath Dupont Circle. Having lived in the DC area (on and off) since the 1980s, I'd heard of the Dupont Underground, and even remembered its ill fated stint as a food court, but I'd never actually been inside until recently. I was able to tour it as a donor to the initial crowdfunding drive to get it re-opened as an arts space. With only an hour to shoot, I loaded my Pentax K100 and Diana+ and grabbed my crappy tripod and just hoped for the best.
Opulent Tarnish specializes in lo-fi film photography. I use vintage, toy, and plastic cameras to take photos of my travels and my adopted hometown of Washington DC. Yes, I visit a lot of cemeteries.