Sunday, March 30, 2014

Photographing The Pupils - A New Personal Portrait Series

I'm starting a new portrait series entitled 'Photographing the Pupils.' These are some students of mine in a DSLR course I just finished teaching, and they graciously sat for an impromptu portrait session for me. There are a few more student portraits, but they're on an as yet unfinished roll. It's a bit ironic that I spent 12 hours teaching them to use their DSLRs, but then photographed them using an all manual, unmetered analog camera (Rolleiflex, in this case) on b&w film, which I then developed at home. Old school meets new school. Originally, I was going to call this portrait series 'Shooting the Students', but that had some bad connotations.

In my haste to shoot this set during a class break, I made numerous errors in light positioning, and harsh control of shadows. Perfect portraits these are not. Sorry, my pupil guinea pigs! My fault. Next round will definitely be better.

The portraits as a set:
Photographing the Pupils

The portraits viewed individually:
Photographing the Pupils - Susie

Photographing the Pupils - Maxine

Photographing the Pupils - Jay

Photographing the Pupils - Rachel

Photographing the Pupils - Steve

Photographing the Pupils - Graham

For the camera nerds: Taken with a Rolleiflex 2.8E on Fuji Neopan 400. Developed in Ilfosol 3, 1+9 at 68 deg. F for 8 min (that's pushed about a half stop, which may have contributed to the blocky shadows...?)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

AMP Radio: The Dick and Jane School of Troll Broadcasting

Warning: Angry ranting ahead. Many of you have probably heard about that crap radio station in Calgary that burned $5000 recently (literally, they incinerated FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS in bills) as part of a 'social experiment.' And then as to be expected, they got all kinds of criticism and flak from all corners for that stupid shameful act, where that $$$ could have done actual good for society. And then one of the co-hosts responsible for the stunt posted some shit to facebook in response to critics that has me STEAMED.

Katie Summers wrote:
"Part of me is glad we burned the money. A week ago, all of the same people and all of the same charities in this city were just as in need. Only now, after an awfully tragic social experiment, are they the forefront of everyone's mind. Maybe this sparked a conversation we needed to have. Maybe this will convince everyone on their soapbox to go & donate to these charities. Animal rescue groups, children's hospitals, mental illness awareness... I know I'm going to. It won't be $5000, but it will be something."

GLAD THAT YOU BURNED THE MONEY?!! You think you "sparked a conversation" about donating to charities?!! FOR REAL?!! Rather than owning up to your tasteless actions, you make yourself out to be a champion for social equality?! YOU ARE NOT THE FUCKING HEROIC MARTYR IN THIS STORY! Burning money to raise awareness of charities in need is like killing a puppy on live TV to raise awareness for the SPCA. It's despicable, and to defend it in the name of social awareness is a fallacy to all the crusaders fighting for so many underfunded worthy causes.

But no. Thank you Katie! You're right, all of us DO need to get off of our soapboxes. We're such dumbasses, putting all that soap in all those boxes anyways. What other nuggets of wisdom did they teach you in the Dick and Jane school of troll broadcasting you somehow emerged from?

Seriously, does anybody actually believe her justification that this publicity stunt gone wrong truly raised the profile for charities and social agencies? As if that was the original intent of this stupid 'social experiment' in the first place? If you do, please come to my house, my foot would be happy to give your ass a bit of re-educating. Because YOU.ARE.A.MORON (not unlike Katie 'I'm pretty much Jesus' Summers). Just making that clear, in case you didn't understand why I'm going to go all Professor Chuck Norris on you. It's likely because your moron-icity prevents you from realizing that fact. But don't worry, come over. It'll be quick and painful.

Holy FAAACK. I'm in a combative mood. /End rant.

We've seen so many degrees of poverty in our travels, it was difficult to pick photos to coincide with tonight's blog entry. I chose to go with ones I shot in Vietnam that don't necessarily depict abject poverty per se, but rather the realities of those living within the means of low income - these people do what they have to in order to survive and provide. Think of what $5000 could do for them? Or any of the folks living at the low income cutoff right here at home. Sigh...

Vietnam - More Street Scenes-2

Vietnam - More Street Scenes-1

Vietnam - More Street Scenes-3

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The 40 Day Smartphone Cleanse

I'm currently on a 40 day smartphone cleanse. Or I guess you could also call it a diet of dumbphone. It's Lent, and Anita is currently fighting her animalistic urge to consume copious amounts of ice cream for 6 weeks (no joke, she's an ice cream FIEND!!). As a gesture of solidarity, I figured I would partake in this ritual of self-denial as well, just for kicks. Last year, I lented myself of potato chips, and the year before, all things hot sauce (I literally can't get enough of it). This year is by far the most masochistic undertaking yet, as I have set out ground rules prohibiting myself from using any of my smartphone's functions. If I couldn't do it on an old Motorola dumbphone circa 2002 (ie: talk, text, and maybe a calculator function), then it's not allowed.

It's been 20 days now, and I was surprised during the first week by how little I missed mobile internet. However, like any proper substance dependency, it's getting harder to refrain, particularly from: 1) googling random facts (ie: who invented Lent?), 2) creeping on facebook and social media (cause I REALLY want to hear you bitch about the weather...), and 3) trolling through Kijiji camera sales (while waiting for Anita to peruse yet another shoe store).

I can now truly begin to appreciate what trying to break an addiction is like. Everytime I see someone gazing zombie-like at their smartphone screen, I feel a sudden urge to break mine out and indulge in some 3G goodness. Alas, there are only so many text messages one can send before running out of things to say, and no one uses a phone to actually make phone calls anymore. That leaves me with the calculator function. And in a fit of desperation, I maaaaaay have done some random number crunching to get my fix this week. Pathetic.

Anyways, on to more photos from Chile. These were taken in the Atacama Desert.

San Pedro de Atacama-18
Random Llama action.

San Pedro de Atacama-4
My goal of this trip was to ride or eat a Llama.

San Pedro de Atacama-6
Llama on the menu! But the restaurant was closed. Dammit, so close!

San Pedro de Atacama-9

San Pedro de Atacama-11

San Pedro de Atacama-10

San Pedro de Atacama-5
Rare Atacama desert fox

San Pedro de Atacama-13
Llama on a stick. Mission accomplished!

San Pedro de Atacama-7

San Pedro de Atacama-14
Hiking the Valle de la Luna

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San Pedro de Atacama-17
Drinking Pisco Sours, waiting for sunset.

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San Pedro de Atacama-8
Llama meal # 2. Just for good measure.

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Cute little Vicunyas!

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San Pedro de Atacama-3

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Sandboarding! Don't fall. The sand gets EVERYWHERE.

San Pedro de Atacama-20-2

Monday, March 17, 2014

Easter Island and Valparaiso

Sorry, no energy to write anything tonight. Gonna let the photos do the heavy lifting. Here's a set of photos from our time in Valparaiso, and some from Rapa Nui (Easter Island)... DRISTAN DRIISSTANN DRIIIISSTAAAAAN. Younger folks probably won't recognize that reference.










Rapa Nui-11

Rapa Nui-4

Rapa Nui-6

Rapa Nui-3

Rapa Nui-8

Rapa Nui-9

Rapa Nui-10

Rapa Nui-5

Rapa Nui-2
Ahhh... the good old 'Knob' doodle... transcends all cultural barriers.

Rapa Nui-1
We take a breather on our way up to the top of Rano Kau (one of the 3 main volcanoes forming Easter Island).

Rapa Nui-12
The crater of Rano Kau.

Rapa Nui-13
Anita's first overseas scuba dive.