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...
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.