End of an Era

I returned to Boston after a few days being away this week to find that New England School of Photography (NESOP) at its original Kenmore Square location is being torn down.

The front facade facing the Square is still there but the building itself is gone.

NESOP lives on for the next year or so in its new location in Waltham. However, the school will close for good the end of this coming academic year.

If you studied photography in the Boston area, if you went to photography exhibits, lectures, presentations, symposia or workshops over the past 50 years or so, NESOP was one of the places you frequented. 

NESOP gave me my first real teaching gig in 1975. 6-hour classes, long hours lecturing, critiquing, hanging out at the end of the gang darkroom evaluating students' work prints, end-of-the-year student shows along the hallway, openings, graduations, guest speakers, colleagues becoming friends,  students coming and going, the buzz of activity that was a community of people bonded by their love of the medium, students enthusiastic and charged, the school launching careers. Far more than just a two-year technical school, NESOP stood as a symbol for the community and culture of photography in the Boston region since the late 1960s. 

NESOP will live on in the hearts of many. 

As I was photographing the wreckage this morning I noticed that there were words written on a wall in the old building.

"I wouldn't be alive if this place didn't exist." 


"I became a photographer here."

Thank you, NESOP, for all that you gave and did for so many for all those years. You will be missed but not forgotten.

Permalink | Posted August 18, 2019

Quick Post

Just a quick post to say that I am up and running with the new printer. 

This makes me a truly happy camper. So much of my career-long artist identity is wrapped up in the prints I make that it is rewarding to be able to print. I am working on the new Wheat portfolio of imagery I shot in June.

One question I've been getting a lot: is the new printer making better prints?  Inkjet printing technology is no longer breaking new ground with major advances in each new iteration of printer. I bought my last printer, the Epson 9900, six years ago. The new printer, the p9000, looks almost identical, works exactly the same, is a little quieter (uses a different fan?), may be a little faster at 1440, and makes prints completely indistinguishable from the 9900. This is either a good thing, making prints of mine six years old as cutting edge as today's, or a little discouraging that technology hasn't improved the breed much or that Epson sees little point in investing in research and development for an area that is clearly not a big seller these days.

Topics: Prints

Permalink | Posted August 11, 2019

Printer Saga 2

Apologies for this blog going into some printer tech. Last week I wrote that my 9900 died and the Epson p9000 was on order. 

A few days later it was delivered by truck, slid on its pallette onto the loading dock at my  building, unpacked, assembled and rolled onto the freight elevator and up to my floor, rolled down the hallway into my studio and into its place, exactly where the old one was.

Epson p9000

I plugged it in and hooked it up, turned it on, fed it the startup inks, did a nozzle check and head alignment, updated to the newer Black version of the ColorByte Image print RIP software I use and then went to open it and a prompt came up that I needed the newest OS for my Mac. 

Uh oh.

This is a partial confession and not stated as an excuse but I have been busy with shows and new work. What I had was 2 large libraries still sitting in Apple's now ancient Aperture with 88000 files. Before updating I had to migrate these  to Lightroom or they might be lost, over 4 years of photographic output. 

Apple no longer supports Aperture. I could very easily just loose all those files with the new OS. A brief early morning session with Caleb Cole, my go to for all things Lightroom and I started the transfer. Four days later I had successfully migrated 88000 files to Lightroom.

Once I updated my OS to Mojave, which took a hour or so, I then was able to open Image Print Black. 

Yesterday I made my  first print with the new printer:

Here's a comparison from the six year  old Epson 9900 which was not able to clear its head in the yellow ink range:

to the p9000, the new printer:

where, clearly, it was firing on all cylinders  with yellow ink.

I will now work to reprint and finish printing the new Wheat portfolio, imagery made in June.

Topics: Color,technical

Permalink | Posted August 1, 2019


Kayafas Gallery in Boston current show is called Water. I am sure it is worth seeing. The show was curated by gallery owner Arlette Kayafas's husband, Gus. Gus and I go way back as we were classmates in graduate school in the 70's.

I didn't submit to be in the show but thought I would show a few of my "water" photographs here in the blog. 

Boys on a Dock, Martha's Vineyard 1982

from Mass Marshes 2013

San Francisco Bay 2018

South Shore Martha's Vineyard 2014

Half Mast, Oak Bluffs, MA 2018

Black Water Dam, NH 1994

Bermuda 1980

Connecticut River, Vermont 2017

Highlands, North Carolina 1988

Adams, MA 1994

That was little bit of a stroll down memory lane. Having worked so long, there is simply so much work. We are working these days in the studio to increase the  organization of it all.  It is a large task. 

Blogs can be so many different things. I find it challenging and rewarding to work to make mine a good read and to reinvent the form at times. While acknowledging this is primarily a platform in which to share my work, I try to bring you topics and photographs that are interesting, timely, and that inform you about the medium of photography as well.  Let me know what you think:

Neal's email

Topics: Commentary

Permalink | Posted July 26, 2019

The Printer

The title "The Printer" not only defines the inkjet printer I use to make my prints but also my career, for I am nothing if not a printer.

Darkroom days: countless hours printing in various darkrooms, many that I built myself. Before digital, computer displays and the internet photographs were, quite simply, seen by prints made on paper, whether published or actual prints.

My practice still is print based, although I gather much of the following of my work through my website and blog. Unfortunately, the presentation and craft of  prints that are exhibited these days is often lacking but still remains of paramount importance to me.

For almost 6 years virtually every print I have made came from my Epson 9900 44 inch inkjet printer. Though most friends and colleagues have moved on by now from theirs, mine kept on trucking, admittedly with more head cleanings and some banding from time to time. This is most likely attributable to a "single user", meaning me, and great care taken in preserving and maintaining the printer. Before it died last week it showed over 5000 prints made.

But returning from the recent trip out west to start editing files and print the work from the wheat fields of the Palouse, I ran into trouble right away. I could not get the yellow ink to give me much yellow at all. Think "wheat" in color. Yellow is the most important of colors.  I'd dial in more yellow, saturating it on screen and the subsequent print would only show a little. Nozzle checks bore this out. A significant gap in the yellow range. Several cleanings and what is called a "power clean" which uses a lot of ink, and the head was still clogged. These are sure signs that the head needs replacement. By the time you pay for a technician to come and replace the head and do the work to bring the printer up to specification you really just should purchase a new printer.

My new Epson 9000 arrives this week.

Stay tuned.

Topics: Commentary

Permalink | Posted July 22, 2019