Julie Blackmon & Heidi Kirkpatrick @ G. Gibson Gallery

Autumn has arrived in Seattle. Its blustery weather and approaching holiday season means one thing for sure—you will be spending more time cooped up with your family. For better or worse, you are about to get some quality time with the ones you love.  So, now is a good time to get out of the house and head to the G. Gibson Gallery in Pioneer Square to view Homegrown and Lost and Found, two unique explorations of family, relationships and loved ones by photographers Julie Blackmon and Heidi Kirkpatrick.

The Hamster Handbook, 2014

The Hamster Handbook, 2014

New Chair, 2014

New Chair, 2014

If sly whimsy and a hint of irreverence is your thing, then you will enjoy Julie Blackmon’s latest series Homegrown. The work is an extension of her earlier series, Domestic Vacations, and continues the theme of modern family life in her signature cinematic style. Each image is a highly stylized moment in time. Carefully composed, they evoke feelings of chaos and potential dangers that are anything but careful. “The Hamster Handbook” is set during a lazy summer afternoon in a screened porch. Five preschool-aged kids look calm and content, each in their own little worlds. Meanwhile, a group of hamsters run amok, largely unnoticed, with the porch door slightly ajar. The feeling of anxiety is high, as if at any minute the hamsters will make a beeline for the door and the cacophony of a chase will soon begin. I had hamsters as kid and my daughter had hamsters too. It’s a rite of passage for children as well as their parents. This photograph, and others in the exhibition, timelessly illustrate these little moments of real life; like the highly anticipated FedEx delivery, or a wagon full of girl scout cookies. These small moments, when combined, tell the kind of honest family stories that are so often unrecorded in an era of perfectly polished Facebook posts. 

The exhibition celebrates the release of Blackmon’s new book of the same name, and is relatively small with just ten prints. Two of the prints on view (“The Hamster Handbook” and “New Chair”) are so fresh that you won’t find them among the book’s 40 photographs from 2009-2014. 

Withered Wish, 2013

Withered Wish, 2013

Hide and Go Seek

Hide and Go Seek

Also on view is the more intimate, fragile, and mysterious series Lost and Found by Heidi Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick meticulously crafts photographic objects d'art that lure you in with their ethereal beauty and diminutive size.  She infuses ordinary found objects with life by pairing them with photolith film photographs that touch on themes of love, loss, family, pain and the female form.

Krikpatrick’s new series deals with her father’s recent passing. I also lost my father in recent years, and these works have really resonated with me. A beautiful piece titled Withered Wish stands out in particular. It is a vintage black tray with an image of a clear glass of water that could be half full or half empty. The glass holds a wilted dandelion seed waiting to be blown with a wish. Other objects she has transformed include rectangular tins, vintage trays, dominoes and ma jong tiles as well as a ring, a pocket watch and a small book. Some are unique pieces while others are in small editions of five. The pieces on view are a small subset of the Lost and Found catalog that Kirkpatrick has previously shown in larger solo shows, but if you are new to her work, this is nice introductory selection.

Homegrown and Lost and Found are on view at the G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle through November 29, 2014.


Dan Shepherd was raised in the Pacific Northwest, enjoyed many creative years in New York City and Los Angeles now finds himself based in Seattle. He currently splits his time between the visual arts and working for conservation organizations.

Some Assembly Required: Jari Savijärvi

This series focuses on those who take the making of pictures a step or two further, creating their own photographic tools.

Wooden Path, made with 4x5 pinhole camera and lith film.

Wooden Path, made with 4x5 pinhole camera and lith film.

Jari Savijärvi, Finland

As a collector of historic cameras, Jari Savijärvi constructed his 4x5” pinhole camera to gain a deeper understanding of camera mechanics and the properties of film. Inspired by the pinhole photographs made by his friends, Savijärvi’s goal was to have the camera ready in time for this year’s Worldwide Pinhole Day.  He completed the camera far enough in advance to test it out and produce moody landscapes.

Savijärvi used pinewood, a circular table saw and wood glue to construct the simple camera body. The lens board attaches to the body with two lid locks and is made from plywood. For a clever modification, an extension piece can be added between the body and the lens board to extend the focal length to 75mm. Rather than attach the film to the inside of the back of the box, for a more sophisticated system, Savijärvi carved a groove for film holders and uses two rubber bands to hold them in place. The entire camera is made light-tight with a black velvet cloth secured over the film holders.

The pinhole itself measures 0.3mm in diameter (an aperture of roughly 1:206) and is drilled into a piece of aluminum. Black adhesive tape functions as a shutter, unless the camera is using slow ortho film, with a speed of 100, in which case Savijärvi is able to attach a real shutter to the lens board. The camera produces beautifully clear photographs on the 4x5 lith film he inherited, and which served as an impetus for the construction of his camera.

4x5 pinhole camera with shutter attached.

4x5 pinhole camera with shutter attached.

View more of Savijärvi’s work on his website.

Have you made or modified your own photographic equipment? Let us know at info@donttakepictures.com.

Promo of the Week: Eye Buy Art

Promotional materials are essential for photographers of all disciplines. Each week we feature an outstanding promo based on its design, cleverness, and ability to accurately reflect the photographer’s aesthetic.

Photographer: Alma Haser
Designer: Eye Buy Art

Many individual photographers have promotional postcards, but a card intended represent a gallery or other venue with the work of many photographers presents a different challenge. Eye Buy Art, an online photography gallery is moving out of cyberspace with this tangible, printed postcard. They chose to showcase only one image on the front of the card, and Alma Haser’s strange and intriguing photograph is a strong choice to pull the viewer in. 

Many individual photographers have promotional postcards, but a card intended represent a gallery or other venue with the work of many photographers presents a different challenge. Eye Buy Art, an online photography gallery is moving out of cyberspace with this tangible, printed postcard. They chose to showcase only one image on the front of the card, and Alma Haser’s strange and intriguing photograph is a strong choice to pull the viewer in. 

The back of the card is packed with information, yet remains uncluttered, leaving plenty of space for a short message and address. Eye Buy Art’s name, logo, and web address are prominently displayed and add a pop of color to the minimal white palate. In addition to listing the front image credit, the card includes a substantial write-up about the body of work as a whole. This is something we haven’t seen before, and it’s a nice touch.

The back of the card is packed with information, yet remains uncluttered, leaving plenty of space for a short message and address. Eye Buy Art’s name, logo, and web address are prominently displayed and add a pop of color to the minimal white palate. In addition to listing the front image credit, the card includes a substantial write-up about the body of work as a whole. This is something we haven’t seen before, and it’s a nice touch.

Want to have your promo featured? Mail your promotional materials along with your name and the name of the designer (if applicable) to:

Don’t Take Pictures, 49 Wyckoff Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11237

Crowd-funding Roundup: CineStill Medium Format Film

Crowd-funding is becoming increasingly popular among creatives. With more sites springing up and more artists asking for funds, Don’t Take Pictures presents a monthly roundup of some projects we find exciting. 

This month’s crowd funding roundup presents the reimagining of motion picture film.

CineStill Medium Format Film

As Hollywood moves away from motion picture film in favor of digital technology, another piece of cinema history is relegated to the past. Photographers who use film have a chance to breathe new life into the “movie-magic” with a new type of medium format film by CineStill. Previously unsuitable for still cameras due to inaccessible processing equipment, this company has refashioned ECN-2 motion picture film for use with still cameras and the C-41 processing technique. CineStill uses the same emulsion technology of motion picture film, creating a new material suitable for C-41 processing that is optimized for still photography printing. This creates more vibrant color and a low-light sensitivity equivalent to 800 ISO Tungsten C-41 film. If you love film, but are unable to make traditional C-prints, CineStill 800T produces high-quality negatives ideal for scanning.

To bring cinema film technology to still photographers worldwide, CineStill is raising funds through Kickstarter to develop a sustainable operation for manufacturing. The Kickstarter campaign will gauge the enthusiasm for firm, and, if met, will reduce the price tag of the individual rolls of film. Manufacturing costs include C-41 conversion equipment and lab costs, modifying the emulsion, creating special spools and paper backing, and product packaging.

This film currently exists in 35mm format, and with your help, can be made available in 120 format. 

Read more about CineStill's technology on their Kickstarter page.

There are 12 days remaining to fund this project.

 

Do you know of a crowd-funding project that benefits the art community? Let us know at info@donttakepictures.com.