Wednesday, 15 September 2010

On Film and exposure

There is a difference in intended results between purposefully over-exposing print film vs shooting it at a speed higher than the manufacturers rating. I base print film speed on the amount of exposure required to build a midtone density that hits a reference film supplied by the manufacturer.

Using the toe/heel method will drive you nuts and isn't practical with print films because of the different ways that Fuji and Kodak emulsions handle increasing density.

Notorious examples of print films that don't work well at their rates speed are NPH, VPS and to some extent older Reala.

Print films that do work well at their rated speed are Kodak Supra 100/400 and Kodak Gold 100. Most of the amatuer films handle well at their rated speeds, expcuding Superia-Reala which tends to prefer being rated at slower than EI 100.

Example: Shoot a grey card with Gold 100, and then NPH exactly two stops down. Now measure the density of those frames while subtracting the difference in the clear base. You'll find that NPH IS NOT two stops faster than Gold 100 and NPH will correspondingly suffer if shot at EI 400.

The other side of the coin is simply over-exposing print films to alter their inherent picture qualities. 10 years I might have agreed that halving the ASA of any print film will lead to better images. With current emulsion technology that's not the case, and too much over-exposure can get you into trouble, especially with higher contrast Kodak films like Supra. Fuji print films by nature of their built in compensation technology typically like a full stop of over-exposure. Kodak print films like the Portra series work well rated about 1/3 slower that their listed speed, but they gain less advantage than the Fuji print films in terms of deliberate over-exposure.

So, what's my point: The problem with rating all print films 1/2 of their rated speed is that doing so may result in several frames of random shots on that roll ending up much more over-exposed than a single stop. A stop of over-exposure is no big deal for print film, and even two stops. The problem is that a frame of print film two stops over-exposed is going to be a bitch to scan later on and throw off the color balance on any automated printer. Guaranteed that shots with proper exposure will have a different print color balance than shots one or two stops over. Most commercial printers can barely slope out a one stop bracket either way in terms of keeping linear color balance.

Increasing exposure with print film results in increasing saturation of the dye-clouds in the emulsion, and the net result is a "smoother", and in some cases more saturated color. The drawback is that you'll start to lose detail and sharpness because of halation effects, dye-coupler crossover, and other strange things that happen with more over-exposure. NHG I and Agfa Ultra 50 are two films that could not be safely over-exposed without some obvious loss of image quality.

The best way to get around all these variables is to shoot a test roll of any print film at various speeds, take notes of those speeds, and compare the proofs when you get them from the lab. Note where your proofs tend to "even in out" in terms of quality and this will be a good personal EI for that print film.

Photo by Yannick J.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Dora Maar

Dora Maar, most famously known as the sitter, muse and partner of Pablo Picasso, notably ‘The Weeping Woman’. Maar also documented Picasso’s iconic painting ‘Guernica’. She was however already a famous photographer when she met him in 1936. She supported herself in the 1920’s and 1930’s as a commercial photographer. She brought her own vision to an otherwise uniform genre. Her avant garde and Surrealist imagery made her famous within the art world.

This Is Not The Chelsea Flower Show (now on at Diemar/Noble Gallery London) displays work by seven world-class photographers including Dora Maar. Each photographer has explored the use of floral imagery in their own unique way, re-appraising our notions of the flower within the photographic image.


A glimpse at the life of French singer Serge Gainsbourg, from growing up in 1940s Nazi-occupied Paris through his successful song-writing years in the 1960s to his death in 1991 at the age of 62.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Utopia Matters

With more than 70 works of art, encompassing painting, sculpture, drawing, decorative art, design, photography, and printed matter, the exhibition examines the evolution of utopian ideas in modern Western artistic thought and practice, taking an international sequence of case studies that reveals some of the faces that utopia can assume when embraced by artistic movements—from the brotherhoods of the 19th century to the avant-gardes of the period immediately following World War I. The groups addressed are the French Primitifs, the German Nazarenes, the English Pre-Raphaelites, English polymath William Morris and the international Arts and Crafts movement, the American Cornish art colony, French Neo-Impressionism, Dutch De Stijl, the German Bauhaus, and Russian Constructivism. The exhibition includes loans from some of the most important museums in the world, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, Tate Britain, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. This exhibition is organized together with Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin where it was exhibited from January 22 – April 11, 2010.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

What goes around comes around - James Clar

James Clar’s work is a fusion of technology, pop art,street culture, and visual information. His work has been an exploration of media technology and often charts the common intersection that is light, the shared element between all visual mediums. Throughout his artistic career,through various developments of media technologies, a defining factor of his work has been a questioning of what we see and how it affects our behavior.His journey of creating, manipulating and shaping light began as an undergraduate film student at New York University (NYU), concentrating on animation. Under the influence of various media theory, and specifically the writings of Marshall McLuhan, James’ outlook on visual systems began to be stripped down to the basic idea of light.

Following his Masters at Interactive Telecommunication Program (ITP, NYU), he moved away from screen-based work and decided to work directly with light. He began creating his own systems with which to manipulate light - thereby doing away with a reliance on traditional systems such as television or film. James currently has three patents in the US for new engineering systems he created while developing his light art.
James’ early works dealt with understanding how people see, often times being represented by sculptures that manipulated light information. His relationships with new media technologies have also led to various site-specific and interactive architectural installations - 3D environments that respond to the viewer, or to the space.

Following a move to the Middle East in 2007, his unique vantage point as a new media artist from America has led to more conceptual works that deal with nationalism, globalism, and popular culture in the age of mass information. His two previous solo shows, ‘For Your Eyes Only’ and ‘Acceleration’ both dealt with human behavior in a hyper-tech world. ‘Acceleration’ in particular dealt with highly politicized themes such as xenophobia and violent nationalism. Recent works have been a mix of visual systems with socio-political ideas and popular culture.

Mood Fix

As with cocaine in Coca-Cola, lithium was widely marketed as one of a number of patent medicine products popular in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, and was the medicinal ingredient of a refreshment beverage, 7 Up. Charles Leiper Grigg, who launched his St. Louis-based company The Howdy Corporation in 1920, invented a formula for a lemon-lime soft drink in 1929. The product, originally named "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda", was launched two weeks before the Wall Street Crash of 1929.[12] It contained the mood stabiliser lithium citrate and was one of a number of patent medicine products popular in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. The beverage was marketed specifically as a hangover cure. Its name was soon changed to 7 Up. According to Gary Yu (UCSB) and researchers for the "Uncle John's Bathroom Reader", the name is derived from the atomic mass of lithium (approximately seven daltons). Lithium citrate was removed from 7 Up's formula in 1950.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Je suis dada

Je suis dada, an exhibiton on Surrealism and design, travelled to Turin, Vienna, Prague and Brussel. After Milano, it will travel to Oslo and Madrid.
It is no coincidence that Belgium is the country of surrealism; of René Magritte (1898- 1967), of visual paradoxes such as “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” in the painting La Trahison des Images (1928), of the mussel pots of Marcel Broodthaers (1924-1976), the female nudes of Paul Delvaux (1897-1994), the collages and controversial film L’imitation du Cinéma (1959) by Marcel Mariën (1920-1993), the poetry of Paul van Ostaijen (1896-1928)... It is also no coincidence that singer Jacques Brel (1929-1978) described Belgium as no more than a “state of mind. A dream, a fiction, a product of surrealism”...
Although Surrealism has not been around long as an artistic movement, its influence is here to stay and it continues to live on in all areas of art. Whereas James Ensor (1860- 1949), with his irony and unbridled imagery, can certainly be considered as a pioneer of Surrealism, Belgium still produces artists in the Surrealist tradition.

Belgians are raised on a certain form of stratification, of disorientation. This applies equally to design. This should not surprise, given that surrealist artists such as Dali and Magritte readily incorporate everyday objects in their compositions.
This is why Design Flanders decided to centre a travelling exhibition around the surrealist theme. The launch took place in November in Turin during the Torino World Design Capital event, where it attracted a great deal of interest.
Je suis dada shows objects with hidden meanings, full of emotion, poetry, irony and relativism. They get us dreaming, fantasising and smiling again, only nowadays there is nothing wrong in setting out to shock. Imagination reigns again.
Functionality and beauty are no longer specified as the only conditions, or even as conditions in themselves. These are generally limited-edition objects produced in small production runs, but industry too can fall for their sexy appeal.

The title itself refers almost literally to this drive towards freedom, it intrigues, raises questions, and carries the same weight as “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”. Je suis dada grew into something larger, in which not only the objects but also the graphic design (by Barlock), the scenography (by Pieter Boons and Annemie Lathouwers), the visuals and the music became part of the surrealist story the exhibition brings to you.
The exhibition will be extended with several innovations including Baobab by Xavier Lust for MDF Italia and a new version of the lamp Equilibre by Luc Ramael for Prandina.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

You Must Create

Pool Gallery is an artist run space in the heart of Mitte, Berlin and was founded in autumn of 2006 by Lars Dittrich and Sascha Ruby Anemic. Pool Gallery is dedicated to creating an enviroment in which the global art community is engaged. Under the artistic direction and curation of Ruby Anemic, Pools goal is to explore a cross continental dialogue with future plans to open spaces in Los Angeles and Tokyo. The current exhibition program is comprised of a group of emerging artists, whose range between the artistic disciplines not only encompasses the mood of the contemporary art world, but hopefully brings the project into new territories.

S. Ruby Anemic, who studied graphic design at Berlin-Potsdam and works as a fine artist with exhibitions in L.A. and Berlin is the curator and artistic director of Pool Gallery. Anemic - that is his artists name - is born 1975 in West-Berlin, Gropiusstadt, which is a modern suburb of Berlin build in the sixties and seventies of the last century. Grown up in this area and then experiencing the united city, Anemic is a energetic, open-minded, urban and ambitious curator and artist, who is not only working in Berlin, but also in London, New York and Tokyo.

The gallery made exhibitions with young emerging artists like Amy Stein, Mercedes Helnwein, Maggi Forster or James Gallagher under contract and is planning to work with Mike Mills and other young artists. Anemic is constantly trying to push the edge and looking for new artists. This year he also made a research tour in Japan, visiting several art schools in Tokyo and Kyoto. He seems to be not only interested in conventional fine artists, but also - as it should be the case - in graphic or fashion designers or musicians with artistic ambitions.

Lifestyle magazines like Lodown or Bang Bang Berlin did feature the pool-gallery earlier. The reason for this open mindedness lies maybe in Sascha Ruby Anemic's former activities also in the music business with a project called systemsearch. He made remixes with friends for K7 and Eskimo Records which represents artists such as Lindstrom and Price Thomas and the Glimmer Twins. Anemic is still collaborating with maximalism music label Gomma.

Monday, 14 June 2010


...was the title originally intended for Berlin Calling, movie in which professional Trance Music Disc Jockey Paul Kalkbrenner stars as D.J. Ickarus, a passionate & talented German trance spinning musician who also spins too many methamphetamines, hallucinogens, and narcotics in his daily social tunes. D.J. Ickarus drug-addiction downfall lands him in a Berlin psychiatric center, which Ickarus finds too icky for his taste. Ickarus does cause havoc in the psychiatric center a la Jack Nicholson's character in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest". Rita Lengyel effectively plays Mathilde, Ickarus' devoted but gradually frustrated girlfriend who tries excessively to help Ick get out of the icky ills of his drug addiction while at the same trying to salvage his career. Corinna Harfouch psyches up her acting portraying Professor Dr. Detra Paul, the authoritative psychiatric center director who is a cross between Nurse Hatchett and Dr. Phil. She feels that Ickarus is a danger to others and possibly himself so therefore she pulls her own mental control spins on him. Kalkbrenner's performance as Ickarus was mind-boggling and put me in a trance of acting endowment.

Moreover, the multi-talented Kalkbrenner's musical trance mixes caused me to want to get on "The Metro" and go "Dancing In Berlin" in Kalkbrenner's Tranceylvannia village! Writer-Director Hannes Stohr has many compelling and masterful plot lines & visuals stored for you in his imaginative film-making orchestration of "Berlin Calling". An innovative narrative of the music trance environment captured in film-making has been long overdue. I was elated that Hannes had the upper hand in its origination! "Berlin Calling" also called to my attention its chart-topping cinematography, art direction, and of course musical score. Hannes' "Berlin Calling" screenplay was also quite a comedic but yet gripping one that did not need "No More Words" to be regarded wordy adequate.

Download the OST here

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Man Ray

Man Ray, the master of experimental and fashion photography was also a painter, a filmmaker, a poet, an essayist, a philosopher, and a leader of American modernism. Known for documenting the cultural elite living in France, Man Ray spent much of his time fighting the formal constraints of the visual arts.
In 1914, Man Ray married the Belgian poet, Adon Lacroix, and soon after met the experimental artist Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp was to be one of Man Ray’s greatest influences as well as a close friend and collaborator. Together the two attempted to bring some of the verve of the European experimental art movements to America. The most energetic of these movements was “dada.” Dada was an attempt to create work so absurd it confused the viewer’s sense of reality. The dadaists would take everyday objects and present them as if they were finished works of art. For Man Ray, dada’s experimentation was no match for the wild and chaotic streets of New York, and he wrote “Dada cannot live in New York. All New York is dada, and will not tolerate a rival.”

Having broken with his wife, Man Ray left New York for Paris in 1921—marking a continuous stream of tempestuous and often doomed romances. Through Duchamp, Man Ray met some of the most exciting artists and thinkers in Paris. Though he didn’t speak a word of French at first, he was welcomed into this group and became its unofficial photographer. Among the many models from this period were Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, Gertude Stein, James Joyce, and the famous performer, Kiki of Montparnasse. For six years Kiki was Ray’s constant model, muse, and lover.

He died on November 18, 1976 at the age of eighty-six. One the great artists and agitators of his time, Man Ray will be remembered not simply for the fascinating and experimental works he left behind, but for the crucial role he played in encouraging the revolutionary in art.

Edward Weston

Edward Henry Weston was born March 24, 1886 in Highland Park, Illinois. He began photographing at the age of sixteen. His most famous work came out in the 1920's and 30's. He was one of the founding members of Group f/64 in 1932 with Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham.

His 50th Anniversary Portfolio was published in 1952 with photographs printed by Brett. An even larger printing project took place between1952 and 1955. Brett printed what was known as the Project Prints. A series of 8 -10 prints from 832 negatives considered Edward's lifetime best. The Smithsonian Institution held
the show, “The World of Edward Weston” in 1956 paying tribute to his remarkable accomplishments in American photography. Edward Weston died on January 1, 1958 at his home, Wildcat Hill, in Carmel, California. Weston's ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean at Pebbly Beach at Point Lobos.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Charlotte Gainsbourg

At only 38 years old, Charlotte Gainsbourg is already a legend in the making; tackling acting, music and fashion with equal grace, Gainsbourg has forged a path distinctly her own.

In a new creative collaboration with director and photographer Melodie McDaniel exclusively for AnOther, Gainsbourg, wearing the Balenciaga Pre-Fall collection, stars in an experimental video piece that documents her day-to-day life in Los Angeles amid the glamorous ghosts of Hollywood’s famed Chateau Marmont.

Having easily eluded the towering shadow of her parents’ fame – the combined force of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin – Gainsbourg is creating a legacy that may just prove to be greater than the sum of her familial parts.


Brothers Daniel and Jordan Askill and childhood friend Adam Linder share an aesthetic sensibility developed in a decade-long conversation while growing up together in Sydney, Australia. After a long period working as informal collaborators, their first major project together, commissioned by the Sydney Dance Company was a piece on show this past spring, entitled Are We That We Are, choreographed and performed by Adam with costume design by Jordan. "We used neutral, tight-fitting base costumes that allowed the audience to follow the performers’ movements whilst giving the characters a sensual allure," says Jordan. "They wore headdresses with bells, trinkets, flowers and chains to represent these heightened states of mind."

On the night after the final performance, the three men and friend Anne Ryan took to the streets to create a film tableau, drawn from Adam's performance – "a strange little nocturnal world of bodies and light," according to Daniel. "The shoot was me with a digital SLR and Adam, Jordan and Anne spasming, convulsing and running in the darkness with hand-held strobe flashes." As if members of a tribe partaking in a bacchanal ceremony, the dancers wore headdresses covered in hundreds of bells, designed to convey the physical sensation of their ecstasy pulsating from their minds through their bodies. "The costumes created a texture in this fast-paced nocturnal interlude and helped the viewer visually understand the mindset of the characters," says Jordan. All before morning came and the reverie subsided.

Karma - Book Download

Karma (Sanskrit: कर्म kárma, kárman- "act, action, performance"; Pali: kamma) in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect (i.e., the cycle called saṃsāra) originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies.

'Karma' is an Indian religious concept in contradistinction to 'faith' espoused by Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), which view all human dramas as the will of God as opposed to present - and past - life actions. In theistic schools of Hinduism, humans have free will to choose good or evil and suffer the consequences, which require the will of God to implement karma's consequences, unlike Buddhism or Jainism which do not accord any role to a supreme God or gods. In Indian beliefs, the karmic effects of all deeds are viewed as actively shaping past, present, and future experiences. The results or 'fruits' of actions are called karma-phala

Download "The Manual of Life: Karma" here

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Maison Martin Margiela ‘20’ The Exhibition

Following critical acclaim at the MoMu, Antwerp and Haus der Kunst, Munich, this exciting show from Maison Martin Margiela makes its London debut where it will be specially reconfigured for the Embankment Galleries at Somerset House.

Maison Martin Margiela ‘2o’ The Exhibition, celebrating 20 years of one of todays fashion most influential and enigmatic designers.

Curated by the Antwerp Mode Museum in close collaboration with Maison Martin Margiela, the exhibition captures Margiela’s unique aesthetic and vision, incorporating garments, installations, photography and film.

Be sure to pack your lab coat though,… just in case.

Maison Martin Margiela ‘20’ The Exhibition, from June 3 to September 5 at the Somerset House Embankment Galleries.


The piercing of the septum is probably the second most common piercing among primitive peoples after ear piercing, it's even more common than nostril piercing. It's probably so popular for the same reasons as nose piercing, with the added attraction that the piercing can be stretched and large pieces of jewellery can be inserted, i.e. pig's tusks, pieces of bone, feathers, pieces of wood, etc.

The septum piercing is particularly prevalent among warrior cultures, this probably has to do with the fact that large tusks through the septum give the face a fierce appearance. The use of septum tusks is very prevalent in Irian Jaya, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, pig's tusks being the most popular. Among the Asmat tribe of Irian Jaya the most prestigous septum tusk is the "Otsj" this is a large bone plug, which can be as thick as 25mm. They are usually made of the leg bones of a pig, but occasionally they are made from the Tibia bone of an enemy slain in battle.

The Septum piercing was beloved by the Aztecs, the Mayans, and the Incas. They wore a variety of jewellery, but jade and gold were the most popular because of their religous associations. The modern day Cuna Indians of Panama continue this practice by wearing thick pure gold rings in their septum.

The piercing is also popular in India, Nepal, and Tibet, a pendant "Bulak" is worn, and some examples are so large as to prevent the person being able to eat, the jewellery has to be lifted up during meals. In Rajasthan in Himachal Pradesh these Bulak are particularly elaborate, and extremely large.

Septum piercing was widely practised by many North American Indian tribes, the name of the Nez Perc, tribe of Washington state, stem from their practice of piercing the septum, Nez Perc, is French for Nose Pierced, and was given to the tribe by the French fur traders. Australian aboriginals pierced the septum and passed a long stick or bone through the piercing to flatten the nose, they believed a flat nose to be the most desireable.

Among the Bundi tribe of the Bismarck Ranges of Papua New Guinea the piercing is performed using the thin end of the Sweet Potato plant (Ogai Iriva), usually at age 18-22. The age at which the piercing is done varies greatly between different tribes, some tribes perform the rite at age 9-10.

"You were lost in the bush and now you have come back. You have come back mature; you are men. When you return to your hamlet many girls will come after you. But if you have lived well, and if they come after you, all the well. You will now have your noses pierced to allow you to sing with girls and lead a life like that of your elders. Your (Kangi Poroi) caused you to go to all this trouble, now it will be over."

Source: Field notes of David G. Fitzpatrick 1977 in "Bundi, the culture of Papua New Guinea people"