Moving

This is a heads-up post. We are moving my studio from Allston, MA, where it has been for almost ten years, to Acton, MA. 

Why? The new space is far closer to where I live and it is also larger, as the old space was feeling pretty tight.

The current studio a couple of years ago at Allston Open Studios

I have been searching for a new space since I moved to Acton almost two years ago.

Since open-heart surgery in June, my work has been in a kind of limbo. With some smaller projects in process but no shows on the horizon and no effort being made to create new shows.

The new studio is in an office building where I will be the only artist. In order to make it suitable, the owners are knocking down walls to open the space up. The move is February 1 and we will shut down printing and framing in Allston on January 1 to get things ready for the move.

The new space in Concord

To a career artist such as myself a studio represents more than just a place to work and perhaps house a career's art, it is one's identity, a visual and physical marker of the work made and the person that made it as well. An invitation to come to my studio and look at work allows me to share not only some portfolios of prints but also to share my workplace. A studio such as what's described should be a warm, quiet and attractive space with good light for it is where my ideas are brought to fruition, where shows are made and framed, where work is housed and made easily accessible and ideas are made real. 

An artist studio, whether in a backroom in your home, a repurposed garage or a separate small building on your property, says you've made a commitment to being an artist.  It speaks to a level of professionalism and that there is history, years of work represented there. 

Committed to your art? A dedicated studio space says just that.

I can't wait to get in the new place.

I welcome your ideas. Reach me: here

Topics: studio,Studio Move

Permalink | Posted November 18, 2021

RTP

This is a post about digital file housekeeping, part of a series on how I work.

RTP or Ready To Print is a term I use to designate a digital file as final and ready to send to the inkjet printer I use. By this time I have worked on the RAW files in Lightroom and Photoshop (and possibly some plugins as well). Chances are, for the particular series or group of photographs, these finished files sit in a folder marked RTP.

As far as I know, this is my designation or naming convention, although it is seen frequently as I taught this for many years before I retired. 

There are a few advantages to working this way. One is, I can return to the RTP file and print it exactly as I did years before. It is set up for the final print size as well, meaning that I can duplicate the print in exactly the same proportions years later. In sizing I never throw away pixels, always keeping the maximum amount of file size. RTPs also show the print in its cropped form, although I seldom crop.

The full folder often shows the series of photographs as I have exported them from Lightroom, ready for the final edit and sizing in Photoshop. Once that is done and I have sharpened them I do a "Save As" in PS into my RTP  folder for that series.

If you are in the business of making photographs and selling your work, you must have a system in place where you can reproduce them.  A common scenario is that an artist sells a photograph but doesn't replace it. They move on or made it years ago. Although reinterpreting earlier work can result in making better prints, the last thing you want is the inability to duplicate the original.

So, the RTP folder lives inside the overall folder for that particular project. Simple enough.

Do this. Think through how you keep your files organized.  Are they filed by date, place, project or keyword? Can you access older files as needed? Have you got a system of naming and filing that allows easy access to your work? Can you reproduce your photographs if needed? 

In my teaching, I would always tell intro photo students that the best time to get their act together is in the early days. If you've only shot a roll or two of film or a couple of hundred digital files, nothing could be easier to set than a naming and filing system. This gets progressively harder the more work you accrue. 

Being a "pro" entails certain responsibilities. RTPs work for me.

Topics: technical

Permalink | Posted October 24, 2021

My Negs

I feel as though I've had two separate careers, both bound together by a love of photography. One being in analog: darkrooms, negatives, chemicals, film holders, light-sensitive emulsions, handheld light meters, and mostly big cameras. The other starting in early digital days on up to my present practice of high-end capture, memory cards, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, an extraordinarily broad array of materials to print on, and inkjet prints of unsurpassed quality.

Ah, those analog days! I am often asked if I miss it all. Not one bit. Almost 40 years of it, long hours in the darkroom processing and printing, trying to eke out the best possible print. 

Yes, I have them all, boxes and boxes of negatives; 35mm, 120mm, 4 x 5, and 8 x 10. Probably 99% black and white as I didn't work in color most of those years.

I've written this before but will repeat it again. You've got nothing if you don't scan your analog work. No way for the world to see it, no way to talk about it, cite examples, or document your own photographic history.  Just negatives sitting in a box probably headed for the dumpster when you're gone.  Another way to look at it is to ask yourself how much effort, thought, and love did you put into making those photographs back then? Isn't that work worthy of seeing the light of day?

For some of us, of course, this is a massive undertaking and I do not pretend my job is finished. I would say I am about half done. It is an easier task to scan roll film formats than sheet film, for it can be automated to some degree. A few scan their prints and I have seen good results doing this although it is not for me. There are a few places that you can hire to scan your work and I would cite Digital Silver Imaging in Belmont, MA. They even have a (scan) van that can come to you! Highly recommended.

If you are of a certain age and a career photographer you most likely have some real work ahead of you. No time is better than now.


Topics: Black and White,Analog

Permalink | Posted October 4, 2021

Stephen Jareckie

Stephen Jareckie died this past week at 92 years old. Stephen was the Consulting Photography Curator at the Fitchburg Art Museum in Massachusetts. Before that for some 35 years, he was the Photography Curator at the Worcester Art Museum.

I didn't know him well, but what interactions I had with him were wonderful. I had shown him work over the years about the time he came to FAM (Fitchburg Art Museum). I would bring a few portfolios and we would sit at the Museum's large roundtable. The first time I went to see him I was with Jason Landry who was the gallery director at Panopticon Gallery in Boston. Then in his 80's, Stephen was always fully engaged and loved to look at new pictures. He was full of questions and energy and always had stories to tell.

Later, Nick Capasso, the director of FAM, and Stephen came to my studio in Allston to choose the Monsters work that would be shown at FAM the next year. Not only was I going to show at FAM but, as it turned out, even though I was in my 60's then, as I soon learned, I would get to work with Stephen. I felt like a newbie in the presence of a master. 

I learned something during that time about how quick and vibrant somebody can be who has lived so long.  What a pleasure. I remember when we laid out the show, unwrapping the framed prints from the foam wrap, leaning them up against the wall, playing with how they'd be hung. He had all kinds of ideas. We paired "Mona" and "Googly Eyes" as a couple. (Note: for the "Monsters" show at 555 Gallery a year earlier gallery owner Susan Nalband and I had nicknamed all the characters.) Stephen and I joked about what their first date together must have been like.

But later on, that same day, after we'd gone to lunch, we wrestled with the "Dorothy" issue. Close to the end of the hallway gallery, we'd placed the large Dorothy head (a picture of a mannequin made to look like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz) and then strung the small supporting images alongside. Stephen suggested we see if we could make up a whole "Dorothy" from her composite parts. As you can see, that's just what we did:

hand on hip, ruby slippers below, Toto in the basket and her very long legs, spray-painted different shades of skin tone

Monsters was never intended as a super-serious body of work and Stephen got that right away. I remember this was real fun, working with Stephen Jareckie to lay out this show at the Fitchburg Art Museum.

My sincere condolences to Stephen's family for the loss. I was privileged to work   with him and to get to know him a little.

Permalink | Posted September 29, 2021

Posters

What if you tried to represent a whole career's worth of photographs with one image? Impossible but a worthy challenge.

Almost two years ago we held a "poster party" at my studio. The idea was to have posters I had made and posters from past shows for sale. In preparation I found myself making new posters of photographs from different phases of my career.

Most of these are on the site: POSTERS.

And, oh yes. They are for sale at $50/poster (plus postage). This is a remarkable bargain as a signed print from me costs far more. Just drop an email to:  Maru

We'll make a print of the chosen poster, roll it up and send it to you in a tube.

Permalink | Posted September 17, 2021