Sunday, October 23, 2011


Last night was the annual Photolust auction, held to support PCNW (Photographic Center Northwest), a non-profit school, gallery, and rental darkroom, where I have printed my black and white work for the last 9 years.  I had donated one of my color pieces, 3 Guineas, shot in Potter, Nebraska, and part of my From Above project tracing my family's immigration to the United States.

My piece was in the silent auction in the main gallery and was the first piece to be sold, and in the first 30 minutes of the night, an hour before the live auction portion of the night started. The piece was purchased by a member of the Nordstrom family, and I can say that I am very happy to be a part of the local family's collection, and very happy to help support a facility that I am here for the next 3 weeks to use, printing a large selection of my black and white images from my 6 months abroad this spring and summer.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Death of Analogue Photography

Took the subway down to the flat iron building today, sat on the curb and contemplated the history of photography and its slow death as an analogue medium. Ilfochrome(formerly Cibachrome) was officially cancelled by Ilford October 19th. The only dye destruction process that ever was will die in switzerland, the same place it was born, in an ectopic pregnacy so to speak.

Not suprising, since all the brilliant art school MFA students that universities spit out today do not even know what the process is, nor are they taught a proper appreciation for the craft of photography.

Photography has existed since Talbot and Daguerre as a physical process. Through Stieglitz, Steichen, W. Eugen Smith and Adams as well, and remains a physical process to some of us. But today, along with most other formerly analogue life experiences(dating for example), it is increasingly becoming a virtual process, creating virtual artists who only virtually make work. The physical process of making and working with materials, the mystery and spirituality that lye embedded in these anachronistic rituals, creates a more thoughtful and contemplative artist.

Photography without the physical processes is like online education, it pumps out the most possible results with the least possible regard for the nature of the learning process that the classroom/darkroom creates, not to mention quality.  Photography is being relegated to a mental process, cerebral and conceptual, like the rest of the art forms which have been butchered by people teaching them at universities and schools that are incompetent craftsmen and unsuccessful photographers, resorting to teaching other people how to be the same-I am reminded of Foucault's Birth of the Clinic, in which he describes the relationship of the doctor who wants to find disease and the patient that wants to be sick.

I am about to spend the next 3 weeks in the black and white darkroom in Seattle at Photographic Center Northwest. I will be printing on graded Oriental Seagull fiber paper on a cold diffusion head enlarger.

I am gazing at a 16x48 inch Ilfochrome print of mine mounted to white acrylic, floating in a shadow box frame, and can't help but feel like I am attending an open casket funeral, that I am visiting what amounts to maybe a mausoleum.

How long until my black and white paper disappers? How long until anyone realizes that inkjet prints are not a photographic process, and that C-prints are inferior to Ilfochrome? That losing an entire process is detrimental to the photographic gene pool, which in all honesty, could use a little chlorine.

Here is announcement from ilford-

Dear Customer,
ILFOCHROME Classic has been a flagship brand within the ILFORD range of products for well over forty years. The importance of this range is underlined by the fact that ILFORD has continued to manufacture this product even though overall demand has decreased significantly over the last few years. The reduction in volume has led to higher production costs that have been further exacerbated by the dramatic increase in the cost of silver.
Unfortunately, the combination of low demand and higher raw material and production costs has left us no alternative but to discontinue the ILFOCHROME CLASSIC materials and related P3/P3X chemistry.
The affected products are:
We understand the importance of these products to you and your business, and therefore, if there is sufficient demand, we are proposing a final production. We would like to offer you the opportunity to make a final purchase with the following conditions:
• An official purchase order will need to be placed by 30thNovember 2011.
• Will hold the pre-ordered rolls in storage until June 2013.
• ILFORD Payments for the order can be made in monthly installments.
As indicated, ILFORD has fully absorbed the high raw material and production and unfortunately we are unable to do this for the final production. Therefore, we will need to increase our supply price to you by 30% However, this price will be held
between now and June 2013 and covers all storage and inventory costs.
We would like to thank you for your understanding with this situation and if you have any questions or need any further information, please contact
Mr. Christian Neumann (Tel: +41 26 435 7504)
We look forward to continue serving you in the future Yours sincerely
Paul Willems CEO