Big Al – Conversation

Alec Soth photographed in San Antonio , Texas by Panos Skoulidas , April 6, 2011


On Apr 6, 2011, at 3:04 PM, David Alan Harvey wrote: 

many thanks for the transcribe anna…pictures? d


On 4/6/11 2:49 PM, anna maria barry-jester wrote:

Here you go…
There seems to be a little missing in the middle of the interview…I think a sentence cut off between clips you sent me…you should be able to fill it in very easily from the original file….I noted in bold where I think something is missing below.

Here’s the transcript of the Soth interview….this is unedited…this is a FOR REAL CONVERSATION

DAH – Alec Soth Interview

Nat sound (ringing)

DAH: Let me start with the most recent thing that I found out about, and that is Big Al’s printing. The thing that’s always fascinated me about you, other than your photography which of course is how I knew you in the beginning, is your versatility. I mean I knew your work only with Mississippi of course, Sleeping by the Mississippi, before having met you in person. And then very quickly you became a very popular blog person and you’re involved in a lot of stuff- soft industries as I like to call it. And then we’ve got Big Al’s printing. Tell me about this multiplicity of ventures for you, besides your photography.

ALEC SOTH: Well first of all, I mean, I’m talking to you from Minnesota, and I have this sort of midwestern sensibility in which I think everything is always going to come to an end, and I’m gonna fail. And I feel a need for job security. So the most secure thing has been diversifying everything so I don’t have all my eggs in one basket. So that’s where Big Al’s comes in. But I’ll tell you what led up to that is that I was in Alex Majoli’s place in Italy, and he’s got this set up where he’s got a studio, and then there’s this Chesura lab, which is this group of people that use his equipment, but have their own little printing operation as well as all sorts of other stuff that they do. And I thought that was really fantastic, and so I came back home, and I thought, this has always been an issue, where we have all of this stuff, all of this equipment, um, but it just sits there a lot of the time when I’m not using it, so it just seemed like it makes sense. I mean, the people who work for me use it, but why not have them expand that and let other people, charge other people to use it, you know, make a little bit of money. But also there’s this one guy, his name’s Eric, who wanted to do some work with me or whatever, so he can run that thing, it’s not really my business, I’m not that involved with it, a little bit involved with it, but it just made sense. But I’m not like Mr. entrepreneur, you know.

DAH : Well, you’ve definitely diversified, and of course I’m going to copy you on every single thing. Of course I’ve hated every minute of copying you.

ALEC: But that’s what it is, I’m copying Alex. (laughter)

DAH: I know, I know, he’s got an empire there. But it’s a very interesting model for all of us. So you’re main person I guess who was your printer for your shows ended up sort of creating his business through Big Al’s operation.

ALEC: …A little bit, we had a printer that worked up to a certain size, and then we had to outsource a bigger size. and so, at a certain point, it’s just like “I’m going to buy that printer, it doesn’t make any more sense.” But if i’m going to buy the printer we might as well use it, you know, that kind of stuff.
But the thing is, it was being exposed to Majoli’s way of doing things, which isn’t for me, I mean, I’m not gonna have…it’s like a commune out there. You know, they’re all sleeping in rooms above the studio, I don’t want to do that. I just want to pool our resources. I mean, that’s what it’s about, and when you talk about Magnum, that’s what it’s about. It’s pooling resources.

DAH: Right, is that the modus operandi for Little Brown Mushroom as well, is that the same kind of thing?

ALEC: That’s a little bit different. I mean, Little Brown Mushroom is about having fun. So, and, Big Al’s is, well, who knows what it is, it’s about we’ve got some equipment lets use it. Little Brown Mushroom is about having fun, and making cool things. And it’s not about the art world, it’s not about getting caught up in that, it’s not about trying to make money, and if it makes money fine, if not that’s ok, you know, I just want to break even ideally. But it’s about that spirit of when you’re a teenager and you’re just making stuff because you love it. It’s just remembering that feeling you know. When you get caught up in the professionalism of everything, you can forget about it.

DAH: Oh yeah, it ruins everything, right?

ALEC: Well, it’s a danger, and that’s what I would say about the blog. You know, I started the blog as a retreat from the art world, as a place to just talk about issues, and then all of a sudden it turned into another business, and so I dropped it. Little Brown Mushroom hasn’t yet, it’s still, it’s like we’re just having a lot of fun with it.

DAH: Yeah, it looks like it. Yeah, it’s great. Who did the design work, did you do that or did you have a designer do that?

ALEC: It started off, I mean, I don’t know anything about design. You know, I don’t know cmyk from… I’m an RGB, photoshop, that’s all I know. But I wanted to make little things, so I just started making little zines. you know, the kind of thing where you go to Kinkos, you know, staple-bound little things. And then one thing led to another and I met a designer named Hans Sieger, who lives in Wisconsin, and uh, it all kind of came together in my head. Little Golden Books was something I was interested in, do you remember those children books? They were published out of Wisconsin, and it just felt like something that was meant to be. And so here’s this really cool designer, who happens to live there, you know, he does most of his work in New York, really high end, but he lives in Wisconsin. And here’s Little Golden Books, and merging these ideas. And he works unpaid, he just works just for the fun of it too, he’s just into it, and so we collaborate on it, we print it in Wisconsin which is great. It’s a little cottage industry.

DAH: Yeah, well, that really is cool. That’s interesting. You say that you’re, that this was one of the things, Big Al’s, and then just your mentality in general is kind of a midwestern job security thing, which you know, I understand that. And the other thing is just to have fun and a little bit of an escape from the art world. On the other hand, you’ve busted your ass to make it in the art world. So is it just because…you don’t really want to escape the art world do you? I mean, isn’t that your mainstay?

ALEC: Yeah, that’s how i make a living. Um, it’s not that I want to escape the art world, but I have to keep it fresh, and it’s kind of like, uh, to use a music analogy, it’s like. Ok. Maybe I’m not playing arenas now, but I’m playing big venues. And sometimes you have to just go down to the club, and just play, and play some new stuff for a real audience. That’s what I mean, it’s just like keeping it fresh, you know, and also keeping the experimentalism alive so that you can try things. So maybe you can screw up at the little club with 30 people, it’s not that big of a deal.

DAH: Yeah, everybody loves the garage band. The garage band stage of anybody’s career is THE stage.

ALEC: Absolutely, right. Its just keeping some of that alive is all.

DAH: I understand that completely. That’s a pretty good analogy.

ALEC: You know, I want to play arenas, I mean, don’t get me wrong I want the big audience still, I just want to keep it fresh.

DAH: Now, you’re in the art world, you’re selling prints, you played the arenas so to speak. At the same time, you’re doing some editorial work. That certainly isn’t for the money, that editorial work. So is that just part of the fun thing? Or keeping yourself fresh? Or where does that come in? That’s more of the, why would you be in Magnum in the first place since you’re so successful in the art world?

ALEC: (audio missing between clips???) one iota. And if you think about what that collective artist could be, it’s gigantic. The thing is, I started big al’s last week, and I email some people or whatever and it goes around the little blogosphere. But I ask Magnum to put it on their facebook, and to do a tweet about it, and that’s a lot of people. And, we can access just a much larger audience as a group.

DAH: So distribution is still important, it’s just a different kind of distribution. It’s a twitter, facebook fanclub thing. Plus we bring our own audiences in there too.

ALEC: Yeah, absolutely. And bringing our own audiences into that is something that we haven’t really done, or figured out how to do. Um, but we’re working towards it.

DAH: Yeah, well, that’s what you and I are supposed to do. We’re on the committee. I’m a little bit out of the loop. I saw the note from Jonas this morning, but it’s the first time I’ve heard from him, so. There are a lot of reasons for that. I do wish we were a little more coordinated with those kinds of ideas and thinking, cause I think that if we actually really did get you and jonas and chris and I in the same room, even for a short time, we might be able to come up with a bunch of good ideas that could push us forward. Unfortunately we don’t really have the mechanism for that because we’re all out in different places all the time. That’s the bad part about Magnum. The good part is that when we’re together there’s magic often times. But then we go off in separate directions, it’s very hard for us to stay coordinated.

ALEC: For me, I mean, and I talked about this, I don’t know what’s
(rambling about what part of this conversation will be used)

ALEC: This is a real taboo, but it’s something I wanted to talk about…it’s the club element of it. And I hate the word club, but, I think it’s a significant part of what it is for people. You have this brand, you’re attached to this thing, and these other people, and I think so much of the business stuff, which actually doesn’t work, just gets in the way of all that.

ALEC: The retreat was really successful. And it was like, wow.

DAH: Well, I can see, I mean I couldn’t even be there but I was all over that psychologically from the very beginning because I thought, if I can have the Magnum crowd down here like where I’m sitting right now. I mean, I’ve got dunes, I’ve got water, and I’ve got a great front porch. I’ll just show you (sounds of david picking up computer and walking away). This is where I want to hang out with you guys. I’d like to invite a bunch of you down here, you know (sound of creeky screen door opening), and uh sit on my porch right, and look out at the sand dunes over there.
(sound too faint to hear). I would love it if you guys were sitting down here by the fire, and it would be a great meeting of the minds. The truth is that when I do meet Magnum photographers, like one on one, and on assignment, we really do have a lot of good stuff in common, and I’m sure you found that out on the retreat.

ALEC: The business stuff comes out of it too. I mean, like I said, just going to Majoli’s place, suddenly Al’s opens up 3 weeks later just from that experience. And it’s that kind of pooling of resources, which we don’t even have time for, and that’s how the retreat came about is my frustration that the AGM (??), at least for the younger generation, cause we used to not have to be involved, and now we have to be involved, and it’s just ruined it, where we don’t get to hang out.

DAH: It’s a slug, you never get to go out and just have a beer, and somehow you don’t even end up talking about the business stuff. You end up getting into spreadsheets instead of the business, and there’s a difference. Now listen, I know you have to go, and I think we probably have enough…
…wait, but I have to show you my window, just to see where you don’t want to visit. Let’s see if we can get the exposure right (laughing).

ALEC: I have this feeling that Magnum’s just going to turn into BURN.

DAH; No! I don’t mean…

ALEC: No, I mean it in a good way.

DAH: No, to be honest with you, what I really really want to do is probably quit burn in June, or have it evolve into something else, or have somebody else run it or,

ALEC: I know what you mean, but it’s just that the spirit of it, it’s just like funding Paolo’s thing..No, but it’s just like, that’s the kind of energy that we so badly need.

DAH: I know it, but the thing is what I don’t want to do, and I’m sure that you of all people can totally appreciate this, I don’t want to get so involved in minutia and local politics that it just burns up all of the energy. There’s x amount of stuff that we’ve all gotta do in our lives, we’ve all gotta pay taxes, you need to get your kids off to school, you need to fix the garage door. We’ve already got lots of stuff. And I can’t take on a whole other thing with Magnum beyond a certain point. Anyway, many thanks amigo..

Postcards from America

Little Brown Mushroom

Big Al’s

Alec Soth


423 Responses to “Big Al – Conversation”

  • I do so hope you have seen this.

    An english mans road trip to the south.

  • John; My favourite doco, have watched it soooooooooo many times :-) Have only one more Jim White CD to get! :-)

  • Hmmm…
    The Fuji X100 and having to adjust to a camera or work around it…
    just what I hate most about a camera and why I loved my M6 so intensely… it was designed with common sense. Same for all Leicas in general M, R and the new digital S so I’m told.

  • Please Canon will you please start designing a fixed lens camera a bit like a G10 with perhaps a Full Frame sensor or OK just the usual APS sized sensor…please don’t put the G10 viewfinder do something better and a nice fast lens.
    Well Nikon an Fm3a turned digital? Fm3d, I’m convinced it would sell like hot cakes.

  • Funny, my son keeps using my G10… it’s falling apart, the back cover is hanging and guess who makes the LCD screen?

  • Gordon, is it possible to pre-focus the X100? I seem to remember Michael reichmann’s review as saying that you can set the camera to auto focus via the AF button on the back of the camera i.e. the shutter release does not auto focus anymore. if so, can you pre-focus on a spot and then take photos via the shutter release without any further AF?



  • ^^^ Oh! Oh! Oh! I want to know that also.

  • Mike/Framer

    Yes, you can pre-focus using the af button or the focus ring. There is a very cool depth of field indicator on the distance scale which is also helpful.
    The issue is, even when pre-focused there can be a lag when you depress the shutter button as the lens and diaphram and viewfinder frame-line get themselves organized. Curiously this is most noticable in bright light. There is no lag if the shutter button is partially depressed before you actually take the shot.

  • Paul
    Canon execs stated in an indterview recently that they had no interest in producing a large sensor compact.
    Too bad, they would probably do a nice job. Canon is only interested in the mass market. Fuji have always produced interesting niche’ cameras. Remmember the 6×9 “texas leicas”?

  • The FujiFilm X100 is an absolute gem of a camera. It’s lightening fast and there has never been a camera so quiet. And the pictures stretch a very long way to make for gorgeous and huge prints.

    I spent many years longing for a camera such as this. I made much of my best work with the old fixed lens Konica Hexar and this Fuji unit approximates very closely indeed.

    I manually set focus at 3 meters when on the streets and it’s response is instantaneous. When needed, the auto focus is very quick just like the old Hexar was.

    There have been many complaints about this camera which are mostly rubbish. This camera can be set up in a multitude of ways to suit many styles of practice. Just read the manual and experiment.

    I also find the in-camera raw processing to be very capable while waiting for a decent raw processor for Aperture.

    I have finally found my dream camera. It’s the FujiFilm X100. See my new photo blog, The X100 Files.

    Paul Treacy.

  • Nice blog Paul, thanks.


  • Gordon…

    I remember very well the Texas Leicas! I’ve got a Fuji 6x7III sitting right next to me :))

  • texas leicas ………lol

  • @ PANOS thanks for the link.
    By the way: Who can imagine what a TRILLON USD is?
    I can’t, but some time ago an maths teacher said: Imagine that instead of $$$$ you have “time”,
    let’s say 1 month = 1000 USD (in the order of a monthly salary).

    3 Trillon USD = 3 Billion months = 250 Million years. Hence, to pay the war is like a “normal” human being, had work since Continents were glued till nowadays! That’s a lot (of time and money).
    …and remember George Orwell 1984… that guy was a visionary/realistic…unfortunately.

    Ok, basta por hoy. Pax. P.

  • I don’t know now! I popped into Jessops today and played around with the Panasonic Lumix GF2. Damn, that thing feels nice to play with, very intuitive and, for £720 for the camera, a 14-42mm and a 20mm f1.7 pancake lens, I’m very very tempted by that.

    I know Fuji has quite the rep for its sensors and optics, and I even have an old Fuji compact (dunno which, tbh) which I am quite pleased with for the occasional emergency camera, but the lack of availability to try one out before buying is an issue for me. Particularly so given the lens isn’t interchangeable – £1k for a small camera is a lot to put down, especially if there is no flexibility in changing lenses, or getting a lens/body upgrade at a later date without having to shell out for the whole system all over again.

    I just wish I could test drive one of them before deciding. The Lumix, being cheaper, available for in-store testing, and with the options for different lenses just seems like a more sensible option. But still, the x100 calls my name…

  • Sorry, I meant the Lumix G2. Damn these far too similar names…

  • Gf2 has better video than gf1, plus a little smaller body..other than that..samo..
    although i miss the gf1 dial button on top…gf2 also features touch screen but im not sure if thats a “good” thing or not!…best thing is that is $100 cheaper….$599 from B&H not bad of a deal

  • Framers Intent…
    Last week at had the last batch of GF1s on offer at special price with 20m lens.

  • Framers Intent.

    Just wait, dude. Believe me, you’ll be delighted.

    The fixed lens is actually very liberating. As is the silent shutter and the sumptuous files.

    I have an Olympus Pen Digital and though it’s a well put together little thing, it simply does not compare at all the the Fuji. The Fuji files are simply stunning, in my view.

    I’ve used Nikon primes on the Olympus and this produces substantially better photos than the Olympus lenses, believe it or not but still the Fuji just beats everything I have and I shoot Nikon pro bodies. Or used to. Haven’t used them for street photography or personal work since picking up the Fuji.

    I do love the Olympus for HD video and will continue to use it exclusively to that end for personal and pro work.

    Fuji are back to full production and the next batch of X100s are about to arrive so I’d suggest hanging in there. It’s worth the wait. I pre-ordered my ages ago without playing with one. It was a risk but it was the right decision. There’s really only one camera that compares to the X100 and that’s the Leica M9. I don’t factor the big Nikon and Canon pro bodies as they are completely different instruments but there are certain functions that these big cameras cannot touch where the M9 and X100 shine.

    I repeat, the Fuji files are very special. That little lens is special.

    THE X100 FILES

  • Paul i totally agree about Fuji…
    the main good thing about gf1 and gf2 , YOU CAN ACTUALLY USE LEICA Lenses or Zeiss (& nikon, canon of course )with a pretty cheap adopter mount (no glass in between)

  • Paul

    I’m surprised that you have an instantaneous response after a pre-focus

    In my experience, after pre-focusing in manual mode, optical or evf, camera on, there is an annoying lag between the shutter press and the shutter going off when shooting in bright daylight. In lower light levels, the lag is much less, and barely noticable. There is no lag at all if I have the shutter button partially depressed before making the exposure.

    If you look at the lens while releasing the shutter, you will see why. As the camera is pointed in different directions, or taken from bright light to low light, you will see that the iris diaphram is continually adjusting itself. I expect that this is for the benefit of the evf, even when you are using the ovf. When you release the shutter the camera has to do a bunch of stuff. I suspect the lens has to actually focus itself to the preset distance. At the same time, the aperture suddenly goes wide open, then down to shooting aperture, then the shutter closes, then opens and closes again to make the exposure, then opens again.
    I am guessing the reason that the lag is more prevelant out in bright light is that the aperture starts from a very closed position, then has to go wide open before it closes down to shooting aperture. In lower light, the aperture is wide open to begin with so only has to close to shooting aperture before the shutter closes and then makes the exposure.

    Anyone who has ever shot with a Hasselblad will identify with shutter lag. Hasselblads have a leaf shutter. When you are viewing through a Hasselblad, the lens is wide open, the shutter is open, the reflex mirror is down, and the auxillary shutter behind the mirror is closed. When you depress the shutter button, a bunch of stuff happens. First the shutter closes and the aperture closes to shooting aperture. The mirror swings up, and the auxillary shutter opens. Then the main shutter in the lens opens and closes to make the exposure. Thats a lot of stuff that needs to happen.

    Paul if your camera is set up in a way that eliminates the lag, I’d love to hear about it.

  • Framer/Panos

    The Panasonics and the Olys cannot be compared to the Fuji. Aside from a Leica, no other camera offers the viewfinder experience. Also keep in mind the sensor size difference, and the resulting difference in depth of field and the ability to achieve selective focus.

    Also, as Paul says, the lens, and the fuji files are very special. Fuji has always made superior sensors, in a whole lot different way than everyone elses. Thier pixels are octagonal, of two sizes, arranged in a honeycomb like pattern rather than a grid like all the others. One of the results is a higher resolution than it’s pixel count would have you expect. The other is an expanded dynamic range. Finally, there apparently is no anit-alias filter on this sensor, like Leica sensors and medium format sensors. This also results in better resolution and gradation.

    Despite my issues with the camera, you’d have to pry it from my cold dead hands like Charton Heston’s guns.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Happy New Year…JOHN VINK and to all who celebrate…rabbits!!!

    GORDON…BURNIANS…I love your lifes !!!

    Keep the tech talk…I follow slowly but steady…hmmm:)


  • Paul, I believe Framer is a dudette.

  • Gordon…
    One of the X100 images you uploaded was of some large tree, i don’t know maybe an a great oak? Anyway I noticed a lot of purple fringing in the branches…I was quite surprised, have you noticed this?

  • Dudette, but too chilled to be fussy about it. I call everyone “guys” so… ;-P

  • Paul
    That is a broadleaf Maple covered with moss. The trees all around are Alders, which this time of year produce redish catkins, which is producing that magenta/purple you are seeing.
    One of the remarkable thing about the images from this camera is the almost complete absence of colour fringing and remarkable sharpness edge to edge. Even my Canon L lenses, especially the zooms, produce abundant fringing.
    I’ve just printed a 16×24 in print from one of the tree files and it looks amazing.

  • gordon and paul..

    you do bring a very strong case for the x100.. and i can see whats good about it..
    for me though.. where i am and what i am shooting.. it’s not right.
    so it goes :o)

    enjoy as we all do.. and surely we who do, do.

    (ps to gordon.. one light reading every so often and i guess the rest.. the flash technique i use.. split second.. too fast for auto anything :o)


    YOU have it..
    you have it in regard to the damn bull that many a german friend of mine has to contemplate..

    and that paragraph of yours again –
    “And why the Germans? Because then we can tell ourselves that we wouldn’t do that sort of thing, only the Germans would do something like that. The rest of us wouldn’t do anything as evil as the Holocaust. This, of course, is absolute rubbish. Put the right circumstances together and the monster will come out in all of us. Khmer Rouge ideology, Ottoman Turk wartime paranoia, Serbian nationalism, Hutu tribal consciousness [and how, I wonder, is that different from Serbian nationalism? Not much, I think, except that Hutus are Africans and the Serbians are not] Take your pick. Believe in the justice of your cause enough and there is no enormity you would not be willing to commit in order to advance it. And the Germans lost both wars. It’s always important to remember that losers commit atrocities; winners commit regrettable lapses in the heat of battle.”

    could there be a direct relationship between “godwins law” and whatever nastiness the contemporary superpowers are indulging themselves in?

  • briefly, (and finally), on the x100..

    i want to like it..
    indulged in the pre-release fervor..
    all that jazz…
    and of course the picture quality is ‘good’ if you use high ISO.. which i tend not to..

    i just don’t need it..
    put another way..
    a friend was complaining about how long it takes to convert their raw files to jpg.. just waiting on the computer.
    i can have a roll of film.. 5 rolls of film.. with 16 base scans ready to email in an hour. (geographical location permitting)..
    so.. given that CF cards, or whatever you use, are the most secure storage.. and could be concluded as the modern ‘negative’, i’m not saving money shooting digital.. not if i archive my cf cards.. i’m not even saving time, given where i am living, when i can have film processed so swiftly..

    so today i thought – you know.. of course i use digital.. ‘have-digital’..
    yet, is there a ‘marketing-con’ of sorts going on concerning how ‘convenient’ or ‘cheap’ digital is?
    is that convenience worth the trade-off in resolution.. archival security.. quality of raw image data?

    i guess that depend upon us all..
    not for me right now..

    even shooting digital on location for ‘quick’ delivery to a client, i always tend to have a film camera somewhere within reach.. because i don’t need digital all the time, like ‘they’ want me to need digital all the time.

    my family and i already live a humble enough existence.. i’m completely unamused by the re-sale value of my digital kit and that kind of obsolescence has “profit’ written all over it..
    so yeah..
    i think the X100 has good potential..
    fresh viewfinder..
    “amazing” low light potential..

    really though, i don’t want anyone from fuji or anywhere else telling me it’s irresistible, because i just don’t buy it..
    although i probably will buy one 2nd-hand “as new” in 2 years when it is selling on ebay for just a couple of hundred bucks.. and for getting it a couple of years late, my photos will not have suffered :o)

  • and paulo – with respect, comparing the M9 with the x100 is like comparing flip flops with timberlands..

    the x100 does exist in it’s own space between high-end large-sensor compacts and the full frame M.. lets keep it real though..

    the fixed lens is tolerable.. cheap to manufacture, (as the x100 is a ‘test’ of sorts).. yet not desirable..

    okay.. kits boring again..

    x100../ yeah yeah.. i just spent a grand on a pair of woollen socks, so i have to tell you how amazing they are :o)

    (with respect)
    and on..


  • It’s just a tool. But a very, very good one. One I’ve been waiting a long time for. It hits ALL the marks for me. I could, and very likely will, stop at this camera. Certainly for quite some time.

    I’m just not interested in film anymore whatsoever. I love the immediacy of digital. And for my way of working, I can process the raw files in this thing is mere seconds.

    I just find the process of making pictures from film to be very wasteful. Wasteful of chemicals and wasteful of water. And most especially, wasteful of my time which is under so much pressure. That’s why I’m up late. I’m typing as my images upload to PhotoShelter.

  • I just posted some more test shots in tricky lighting at The X100 Files.

  • man – you ARE on a marketing drive.. how many hoit links is that now?

    wasteful can also be digital paulo..
    junkyard cameras after a couple of years.. think of the waste in terms of production, money, and physical detritus..

    honestly.. you’re one of the X100 religious – and that’s okay..
    but remember that easter and christmas are just tinsel pinned onto much older traditions..

  • .. and panos my good friend..
    obama is being hailed as worse than bush in some quarters..
    see chompsky from a thread or two ago..
    it’s horrible..
    dreams gone sour..
    who’d have thought it?
    guantanamo still open..
    military trials are go..
    a “surge” in afghanistan..
    and the village-idiot from texas is in good company.

  • David B

    You do good stuff, and am sure you would get good stuff no matter what gear you were using.

    Five rolls of film developed and scanned in an hour, whew!

    I of course really didn’t need the new Fuji for my , but am enjoying exploring the new possibilites it offers, the astounding image quality, and the new working method it offers. Wether or not I settle in to using it exclusivly for my personal stuff remains to be seen, I kinda miss shooting with my little Rebel with a 28mm lens, my previous personal kit. However I do shoot a lot in very low light, and there my older Rebel’s image quality falters above iso 800, so I was considering replacing it with one of the newer models.
    Expensive to keep replacing cameras? Naw. Just think of it as buying a camera with thousands of rolls of film and processing built in. When I was considering going digital in ’03 I had my bookeeper calculate my yearly film and processing costs. It was over $10,000 per year. I can buy a lot of gear for $10,000.

    Anyway, different srokes and all that. Borrow one of the fujis if you get an opportunity and give it a go. You may like it, or, horrors, even love it!


  • ..and panos.. skype soon.. the loft seems too remote these days and i’d love to ketchup..

  • gordon.. that made me smile..
    of course i would love it :o)
    no question..

    i just don’t need it.. none of us do unless we are in a position to..
    it’s the whole kit-or-photograph debate i guess..
    it’s really not the kit, as i know you know.

    money wise – since i lost 10 years worth of digital files a year or two ago, i’ve been astonishingly grateful for my negatives :o)
    real-raw.. highest believable resolution..
    and –
    cost wise.. since loosing my digital files and having to spend months contacts scanning… i would never again write over a cf card.. i would archive them.. and the cost of a cf card compared to film?

    damn gordon i like your input..
    the “different strokes” reference IS the killer.. and the leveler.. and the all-and-everything..

    here is a deal then – i’ll promise not to try and sell you on a 54 years old rangefinder if you please don’t try to sell me on a months-old one :o)


  • NB – 16 base scans, 3-5 rolls in an hour – or if i pushed the rolls through the letter box the night before.. ready by 10am monday.. regular as clockwork.

    “snappy-snaps”.. am. lab., nottingham, believe it or not…
    the best developing and scanning house i’ve ever used, (and i WASTED a fortune on the ‘metros’ of the world before i found them).. with the best maintained fuji machines in nottingham, BAR-NONE.. at the time..
    happy days. RIP. i moved.

    when my account turned over more than £200 a month film and smiles were free-and-plentiful..
    a relationship with a “good lab”, (that produced better results then a “pro-lab”), was unbelievably encouraging when i was back in U.K..

    the biggest downer for this little norsk island in the north sea where i work now, is the lack of a passionate lab..
    and the lack of more than one pub..
    and the lack of more than one street..

    film is plentiful.
    whats the rush… really.
    social democracy – works.
    fishing – a catch every 3 to 4 casts.

    we all just do what we enjoy.. different strokes..

  • I’ve been pretty frustrated lately – between hand-crafting with css (crap, sweat, and swears) my website, and then spending a week attending events and editing images for a commercial ‘tog, I’ve not been out shooting nearly as much as I’d like.

    Yet, strangely, during that time (okay, towards the tailend of it, well, okay, today mostly) I have brainstormed several potential (and potentially interesting) new projects. Probably enough, coupled with the two already planned, to keep me going well until the end of the year or start of next year. (Given my newness, so also my need to experiment a lot and take some time over this).

    No doubt, by tomorrow, I shall have declared all new ideas “utterly crap, contrived, and awfully basic” but, for tonight, I can sleep soundly on the comfort of dreams of the images to come.

    (sorry, I can only do grea-talk up to a point. Although internet investigations of that Lumix G2 do not bode brilliantly for it’s low light capabilities – apparently, the evf goes to crap, and I can see noise on web-samples of images at ISO 400…back to my bank robbing plans for the x100 it is, then…)

  • I can go both ways, but if I have to choose, I’m more with David Bowen. When it comes to cameras, best to love the one you’re with.

    I’m thinking I probably shouldn’t show this, but I think it’s interesting here because it’s a direct result of what I learned in David’s strobe class. Perhaps it’s not to your liking, but technically, at least lighting-wise, I did what I was trying to do with it. Fire and skin lit by fire have always been very difficult for me and all of a sudden I knew how to handle it. Sometimes this shit is just plain fun…

  • MW …………. u r thinking rite ………… u shldnt hav shown that ………. i dont wana c anything like tht again ……. laughing ………… :-) ;-) ;;;;;;;;;;;;; oh n yes kool technique

  • David B and Panos…

    I envy your faith in politicians as much as I envy those whose faith is religion and their excuse in life for failing is ”God wants it that way”. Makes life awfully simple with that attitude!
    I was very pleased to see Obama in the White House but always was quite sure this would go nowhere. Always felt these men are puppets and the strings are pulled from within the shadows.
    But I agree with David B. And his negatives and also prints, got pictures from the late 1800s must be great great grandparents I think…also a book of handwritten poems by some Parker early 1800. I doubt our Compact Flashes and Raw Files will survive as long…many will disagree but how many of you have family videos on VHS? Have you copied them to DVD i think not too many. So yes absolutely to David B. I like my 1dsII but Tri-X will still be around someway or another even if Kodak kicks the bucket.
    And on the subject of X100 it’s too early yet…lets wait to the furor dies away and the daily slog with a camera takes over, i remember people comparing G10 files with P45 diggy back… I’ve used both a lot the school where I teach has one, if you glance at the images maybe but once you stare things become aparent…and oh i wish my G10 DID look like P45 file, it’s good at 80 iso…comparing flip flops and Timberlands or Nke running shoes.

  • Obama’s getting into office was amazing. But it was bound to be a disappointment.

    He has achieved quite a lot but he’s held in check by the Legislature whose job it is to counter executive power.

    I got the impression watching all those fantastic episodes of the West Wing that the writers on the show were bemoaning the absence of a parliamentary system of governance.

    Having said that, he has failed to take the initiative on a number of occasions.

  • Harry crews.
    What he says about writing, especially at the beginning, ties up almost perfectly with my philosophy of making pictures.

  • John; We must have sioilar tstes, cos that particular clip is saved in my Favourites! :-)

  • Thanks for the Harry Crews link, John. I liked the way he states how metaphor is used to describe the two ‘biggies’ – love and beauty. Describing and expressing these (and sometimes incorporating them even by their absence), seems to be what the artistic process is all about. It has crossovers to documentary and photojournalistic work. Aren’t both of these pursuits about the “promise of future happiness”?

    But Crews bogs me down when he discusses the meaninglessness and failure to provide answers. His approach is shown to be faith-based, rather than fact-driven. I see this all the time when creative types discuss their work. Oddly, they have such an open attitude to the creative pursuit, but don’t seem to be able to incorporate the ways of other artists.

    This is something I’ve been thinking about lately. Eggleston began with the Democratic Forest; Soth comes along with the Democratic Jungle. (Isn’t Burn the Democratic Garden…where it all emerges? ;) The answers may just lie within the whole, universal work of all when we figure out the common that we share.

Leave a Reply

You must login to post a comment.