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Tangible, anti-instant, antique-techniqued unique photograms: Antigrams. Read more

San Jose, CA Photography
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Tangible, anti-instant, antique-techniqued unique photograms: Antigrams.

San Jose, CA Photography
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About this project

Antigram

Above: Self-portrait in an elevator. Platinum palladium. 2007

Video coming soon.

Tangible, anti-instant, antique-techniqued unique photograms: Antigrams.

My friend on facebook recently posted:

«If you told people from 1960 that in 2010, everybody in America could have a pocket computer that tapped into a global worldwide communication network, they'd be floored. If you told them that computer[s] also took crystal-clear photographs that were instantly available for sharing with anyone in the world without any need for processing or developing, they'd be amazed.

But what would they think when we told them that someone just made a billion dollars by selling a program that makes those crystal-clear photographs look like they were taken with 50-year-old children's toys?

Monkeys in shoes, people. We're just monkeys in shoes.»

To which his friend responded:
« Professional photographers of today: mostly disgusted with things like instagram. Professional photographers of 1960, looking at the "crystal clear" photos of 2010 and beyond: "Wow, these are great, but kinda sterile, no? Where's the grain? Where's the warmth? Don't you miss film?" »

Yes, I do miss film, so I've made this project.

A picture of my favorite camera, a 4x5" Graflex press camera from my uncle.

With the popularity of Instagram and similar apps, something has been lost in translation. Some of these effects are very poor semblances of toy cameras or other alternative processes because they are imitations of imitations with no knowledge surrounding the history of the aesthetics. These effects are not just completely random filters that happen to look good. It's true that it takes more time to use film to print photographs and photograms (cameraless photographic prints). What is gained by compromising instant gratification is a fullness of character and uniqueness -- no single photo frame or border can ever be duplicated in the original physical medium.

I am slightly dismayed and surprised by how many photographers these days shoot solely digital, and with increasing frequency, have never even shot a single roll of film. In conversation, I discover many photographers who emulate pre-film and film aesthetics in their digital photography post processing effects are often convinced that low-tech old-fashioned analog photography has gone the way of the dinosaur. However, if that were truly the case, analog photography would not continue to inspire the digital age on such a profound and wide-reaching level as it has.

This project is devoted to the use of toy cameras (film) and alternative processes (usually pre-film or post-negative) that have fueled the popularity of "retro" digital photography, such as Instagram, in the hopes of providing source material to graphic designers, visual artists, and others who might find analog photos useful in the digital realm for their designs, apps, or filters, etc.  This may be of particular interest to any subcultures where alternative processes or the lomographic look match their visual aesthetics, such as Steampunk, Rockabilly, Burlesque, Retro / Pin-Ups, etc.  

Pinhole camera made from a shoebox, exposed directly on RC color photo paper.

I have the capacity to produce fine art photography, but because of the stark contrast between my day job and photography, I have not been afforded the time necessary to produce such works. A successful Kickstarter project would allow me to try to take that risky crossover into the world of professional fine art photography, my dream career.

The success or failure to fund this project will determine how I will spend my time working over the summer. If the goal is not met, I will not do this project because I will not have the time or resources with which to do it.

Phase 1: My main goal will be to create film negatives using toy cameras, my Graflex 4x5 press camera, and other film cameras, including handmade pinhole cameras.

Phase 2: As I develop a library of negatives, I can begin printing photographs from film. Even color photographs will be printed by myself in a true blue darkroom, not some impersonal machine at Costco. Additionally, I will be using alternative processes -- laying the negatives over art paper painted with photosensitive chemicals. The main photogram processes I would like to use are cyanotype and platinum palladium, which are renowned for their archival qualities (they have less degradation over time).

Phase 3: For prints on photographic paper, additional post processing can be applied using selenium, gold toning, sepia toning, solarizing, hand tinting, etc.

Fog rolling over Skyline in the Santa Cruz Mountains. (Digital)

I know I'm not the only one out there who's thinking this...
http://www.petapixel.com/2012/04/20/thoughts-on-what-professional-instagram-photography-will-be-like/
http://otherweis.blogspot.com/2012/01/enough-with-hipstamatic-thing.html
  

What products will come from this project? 
  • The final prints will be scanned and uploaded to a website for other artists and art-appreciators to purchase for use as digital materials or stock photography.
  • Additionally, they will be assembled through some form of print-on-demand book for anyone who might want a coffee table book of the prints made in this project. Depending on pledge amount, Backers can choose to vote on the digital images to help decide which prints will be in the book.
  • Backers, at varying levels of pledges, will receive postcards of prints, can request reasonable suggestions for photographic subjects, vote on suggestions made, or commission reasonable subjects to be photographed; as well as other perks.

How will the money be used?
It is difficult to give an exact amount for each expense as it will vary based on the quantity and magnitude of pledges, as well as the market economy to purchase certain materials (like platinum palladium chemistry, and gold based chemistry...GOLD! It's never worth nothing! Sorry, gold commercials...)

  • Camera equipment & maintenance
  • Film supplies
  • Darkroom & chemistry supplies
  • Archival art & photo paper supplies
  • Color darkroom rental costs
  • Register, create, & maintain a website for this project
    • Establish a submission & voting system
    • Possible costs of travel (if there are really awesome Backers!)

Jack the Beagle kindly requests you share Antigram with your friends. (Digital)

Thinking of pledging? That's great! Here are some things to consider:

  • Votes can be used interchangeably between suggestions and finalist entries for the book.
  • You will be provided with more information regarding guidelines for suggestions, commissions, and scheduling.
  • I appreciate all support, even if it's the smallest donation. Sharing this project with friends and family (in person, on facebook, etc.) is still a show of support and thank you for being a patron of the arts. Any and all help is appreciated.
  • This is an all-or-none contribution system. If I do not meet the funding goal by the end of May, I will receive exactly $0.

Benji the Bengal Cat gives you a Care Bear Stare. (Digital)

What if I exceed my goal?

  • First of all, that would be wonderfully amazing! I would be extremely flattered that enough people care about traditional photographic processes to fund this project.
  • Secondly, more prints and more images!
  • Gas & car maintenance; ultimately an increase in my travel radius for interesting photo locations. Example: I know of a really eerie and cool abandoned boy's school, which includes remnants and relics of a hospital ward.
  • It would extend the amount of time in which I could work on this project.
    • Momentary peace of mind and sanity derived from darkroom zen time.
    • If successful, I will be encouraged to try my other wishful photography projects after this one is completed. Examples: 
    • DIY corona discharge photography a.k.a. Kirlian photography - this will take more time and money, electrical supplies, and the circuitry knowledge of a friend to help build.
    • Collodion tintypes (Think: Civil War era)
    • And lastly, I would be one of the happiest persons on the planet doing what I love and I would be ever so grateful and appreciative.

I will look as happy as Hachi the Akita. (Digital)

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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    $1 reward

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    I think this is a worthy project. I am intrinsically reinforced by knowing I am a patron of the arts and do not require a tangible reward for my contribution.

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    $2 reward

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    Cast 1 vote for photo suggestions or voting prints into the final cut for the photo book.

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    $5 reward

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    1 postcard selected randomly, and 1 vote.

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    $10 reward

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    2 postcards selected randomly, and 2 votes.

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    $15 reward

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    2 postcards of your choice, can submit 1 reasonable suggestion, and 3 votes.

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    $25 reward

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    5 postcards selected randomly; 2 reasonable suggestions, and 4 votes.

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    $30 reward

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    5 postcards selected randomly; 3 suggestions, and 5 votes.

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    $50 reward

    1 backer

    5 postcards selected randomly, 5 suggestions, 10 votes, plus earlybird preview online and access to digitally scanned prints that will be shared on my website and password protected until the project is complete. Users with earlybird preview privileges will be permitted to provide feedback and comment on the prints as they are being developed.

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    $75 reward

    1 backer

    5 postcards selected randomly, 5 suggestions, 15 votes, earlybird preview.

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    $100 reward

    1 backer

    “Backer’s Pack”
    5 postcards of your choice, 5 suggestions, 20 votes, earlybird preview, and one 4x6” print selected at random.

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    $300 reward

    1 backer

    { One 4x6" print of your choice OR One 5x7” print selected at random. } AND Backer’s Pack, +1 suggestion or vote.

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    $400 reward

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    { One 5x7" print of your choice OR One 8x10” print selected at random. } AND Backer’s Pack, +2 suggestions or votes.

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    $500 reward

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    { One 8x10" print of your choice OR One commissioned suggestion, photographer chooses format and camera. } AND Backer's Pack, +5 suggestions and/or votes.

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    $800 reward

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    { A portrait session using 1 roll of film (35mm or 120 mm) OR 2 sheets of film (4x5” or 8x10”), you choose the camera, if you are located within the greater Bay Area (SF, Oakland, San Jose) or Santa Cruz region. } OR { One commissioned suggestion, you choose 1 film format. } AND Backer's Pack, +8 suggestions and/or votes.

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    $1,000 reward

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    { (1) 1-hour photo session, in the format and camera of your choice, with no maximum cap on exposures within the 1-hour session, if you are located within California. Format options: 35mm, 120mm, 4x5”, 8x10” } OR { One commissioned suggestion, you choose 1 film format, and 1 camera. } { For Bay Area / SC residents, (2) 1-hour photo sessions, can be gifted to others. } OR { Two commissioned suggestions, formats and cameras } AND Backer's Pack, +15 suggestions and/or votes.

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    $2,000 reward

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    { (2) 1-hour photo sessions, for no more than 2 consecutive days, multiple formats & cameras of your choice, if you are located on the West Coast (WA, OR, CA). } OR { Canada: (1) 1-hour photo session. } OR { California residents: (1) 4-hour half day of continuous photography services, or (4) 1-hour sessions, can be gifted to others. } OR {For Bay Area / SC residents: (1) 8-hour day of photography services or (2) 4-hour half-days, can be gifted to others. } OR { Three commissioned suggestions, you choose formats and cameras. } AND Backer's Pack, +20 suggestions and/or votes.

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    $5,000 reward

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    { (3) 1-hour photo sessions, for no more than 3 consecutive days, multiple formats & cameras of your choice, if you are within the US, US territories, or Canada. } OR { California residents: (1) 8-hour day, or accumulatively 8 hours of 4-hour and 1-hour sessions, can be gifted to others, and can combine the use of some digital photography. } OR { For Bay Area / SC residents: 16 accumulative hours in 8-hour, 4-hour, or 1-hour photo sessions, can be gifted to others, and can combine the use of some digital photography. } OR { Five commissioned suggestions, you choose formats and cameras. } AND Backer's Pack, +50 suggestions and/or votes.

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    $6,000 reward

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    { No more than 5 consecutive days, for no more than 8 hours of photography on a given day, for 16 accumulative hours of photography service, somewhere in the world commonly accessible by a combination of plane and car. (e.g. not the middle of the Amazon forest; not the South or North poles!) +50 suggestions and/or votes. } OR { For each additional $500: One commissioned suggestion and +10 suggestions and/or votes. } AND Backer's Pack

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Funding period

- (27 days)