A look at some of the black and white infrared images coming out of digital processing. Images are from the recent road trip along Route 66, time in New Mexico and back through Mississippi
My friend Geoff Livingston, who was featured here in a photography showcase, has a podcast (also available as video) called the “Show me podcast” where he chats with folks about iconic photos and why they work (or not).
We caught up to talk about Robert Frank’s book, The Americans. And then we talked about the Roadside America project, Infrared photography and some of the thoughts behind PhotoNexus (at the 27 minute point) which I am organizing in Santa Fe, July 26 & 27.
Hope you can find the time to check out the podcast…and yes, a saxophone walks through it.
Behind PhotoNexus 2019
PhotoNexus 2019 launched today. It is a new, distinct and immersive weekend experience about the art of photography. PhotoNexus brings together curators, gallerists, photography educators and photographers to share their personal perspectives and behind-the-scenes insights with a small group of people who are curious and/or passionate about photography as art. Whether you are considering or already collecting photographs, or you want to understand more about the art form, the PhotoNexus weekend is an experience for you.
When I started BinhammerPhotographs, PhotoNexus was the idea and dream of doing something to support understanding and insights about the art of photography and the photograph as art. More than just sell small batch limited and personal exclusive edition prints, I thought it would be fun to create an experience where a small group of people could come together to explore the creation and realization of the photograph as art. It was first referenced and foreshadowed here. I’m excited that this idea and dream is now a reality.
Details and Registration are here.
The Idea of PhotoNexus and the Path to Reality: The thinking behind PhotoNexus was that I was a self taught photographer. Once I started down that path, I also became a self taught lover of photography as art. To understand photography as art (beyond making the photographs) I read books, such as: Why People Photograph; Core Curriculum; At the Edge of the Light; The Nature of Photographs; and, The Photographer’s Eye. I went to museum exhibits, read the wall plaques and looked at the photos on my own. Many of those (and the gallery visits) were focused on individual artists or thematic shows. You learned from them but not necessarily about the art itself in a more general way.
I went to galleries to see photography exhibits but not having the thousands of dollars to buy any, I never really asked the gallerist too much — thinking it would be kind of embarrassing to me, and since I wasn’t buying, sort of a waste of time to the gallery. One exception to that was a visit to the Andrew Smith Gallery (when it was in Santa Fe) years ago. The staff person welcomed me and my dog with open arms. I explained I was not in a position to buy an Ansel Adams worth tens of thousands of dollars. He said it didn’t matter, said he would show me around and after a little highlights tour, took me into the back room where the drawers of pictures are that are not on display opened them up and said, “OK who would you like to see” and what else can I answer.
With the Andrew Smith Gallery exception, all of my learning has been on my own…and sort of compartmentalized. PhotoNexus was an idea that we could bring together a diverse group of people involved in different aspects of the art of photography to share their insights and passion with a group people who would like to learn more about photography — and do it in a fun, engaging way.
The People and Program: Over the last several months, I have reached out, “cold-calling” and emailing dozens of private collectors, museum curators, private curators, photography and art critics, galleries and photographers. To all of those who replied and gave this event consideration or made referrals, I am extremely appreciative and thankful. Since December I have been reaching out wondering if the idea had merit. Along the way, there was a lot of encouragement and support, including from many who could not be involved for various reasons.
The result is PhotoNexus brings together an outstanding and diverse community of people across the “sectors” of photography in Santa Fe. I am excited by the talented and special people who have agreed to contribute to the event and share their talents and expertise. It is their personal perspectives, passions and talent that will deliver real insights and value to people who love photography and want to learn more about it as art. To them I say a huge thank you. To each and every one of them from my heart. There may be two or three others yet to be announced, but for now, this is an outstanding and generous group:
Mark Berndt is a photographer whose work celebrates people and the circumstance of life. He brings the experience of a long and varied career in the visual arts, including more than 20 years of private teaching. His commitment to the art and business of professional photography brings considerable knowledge to the art of photographing and photography. http://markberndt.com/
Reid Callanan has a deep passion for photography and has spent his entire adult life focused on it, especially as a photographic educator — the past twenty-eight years as Director of the world-renowned Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and before that working at Maine Photographic Workshops. Well known for his workshop “Cameras Don’t Take Pictures” he also makes time to photograph every day and for his ongoing projects. https://www.santafeworkshops.com https://www.reidcallanan.com/about
Natalie Christensen is a photographer and has shown work in the U.S. and internationally including London, Dusseldorf, New York and Los Angeles. Her photographs are in the permanent collections of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and the University of Texas at Tyler. In addition to pursuing her interests in art and design, Natalie also worked as a psychotherapist for over 25 years. https://nataliechristensenphoto.com
Anne Kelly is the director of the Photo-Eye gallery. Photo-Eye was founded in 1979 as a mail order photography book source. It is the world’s foremost online photography bookstore featuring more than 30,000 fine-art photography books. It has grown to include one of the world’s foremost websites devoted to contemporary photography. The Photo-eye gallery was established in Santa Fe in 1991 and has been selling prints online since 1996. https://www.photoeye.com
David Michael Kennedy has a body of work spanning over 40 years which is held in both private and museum collections including The National Portrait Gallery, The Smithsonian Institution and The Harwood Museum. His body of work includes iconic portraits of musicians, actors and artists. Leaving New York and commercial photography in 1986, David Michael Kennedy moved to New Mexico and focused on his fine art photography. His images are materialized through the traditional analogue technique of Platinum/Palladium printing, of which he is widely considered to be one of the best in the world. https://www.davidmichaelkennedy.com
Pilar Law has been in the business of photography and a photographer’s advocate for 14 years. She’s worked with photo stock agencies, technology companies and photo labs to bring them online and to develop new approaches to fine art printing, book making and exhibiting, social media marketing and sales. She is also a curator, gallerist and photographer. Her Edition One Gallery is a unique contemporary photography gallery specializing in editions of one both from emerging and established photographers. http://www.pilarlaw.com/about.html https://www.editiononegallery.com/
Sidney and Michelle Monroe maintain extensive personal connections with important photographers, clients, collectors, dealers, estates, auction houses, and archives world-wide. They advise private collectors, museums and corporations with an emphasis on building significant collections with a variety of prudent focuses. Their Monroe Gallery of Photography specializes in classic black & white photography with an emphasis on humanist and photojournalist imagery. http://www.monroegallery.com/
Alan Ross is an internationally respected master photographer and educator who worked side-by-side with Ansel Adams. He was personally selected by Ansel to print his Yosemite Special Edition negatives. As an artist, Alan is known for his tonally exquisite black-and-white photographs of the American west; his photographs hang in collections and galleries around the world including Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, The Yale Museum of Art and the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson. He teaches the art of seeing and is also a master printer. https://www.alanrossphotography.com/
Jennifer Schlesinger is the owner and director of Obscura Gallery. She is also a curator, educator and artist. Jennifer has approached her fine art photography with an interest in how the historical development of photography has influenced the contemporary artistic medium. Jennifer graduated from the College of Santa Fe in 1998 with a B.A. in Photography and Journalism. Jennifer has exhibited widely. https://www.jenniferschlesinger.com/ https://www.obscuragallery.net
Scheinbaum & Russek, are celebrating 38 years in business and they specialize in 20th century vintage and contemporary photography as well as representing the Estates of Beaumont and Nancy Newhall and Eliot Porter. Scheinbaum & Russek have approached the gallery world through their roles as educators, artists, and collectors and bring to their gallery an appreciation of photographers, the fine print and the history of photography. http://www.photographydealers.com
Join us at PhotoNexus and engage more deeply with the art you love.
- Discuss the creation of images, their realization in prints and the world of photographic art
- Meet Santa Fe’s premier gallery owners for professional perspectives about what to look for when viewing photographs
- Learn about photobooks and the evolution of online photography galleries
- Understand trends impacting the art, the market and a world awash in imagery with leading photography experts and educators
- Experience and explore fine art prints with a first-hand look at how they are made at one of the world’s leading platinum/palladium printers
- Take a photo walk with some of Santa Fe’s finest photographers and go behind the camera to take a look at what they see and why they are shooting. Bring your camera
- Engage in a dialogue with a panel of contemporary and internationally acclaimed photographers about their visions, fine art work and photography today
As noted in the Collectors Guide,
“New Mexico,” Ansel Adams said, is “the most completely beautiful place I have ever seen.” Everywhere, it seems, there’s a scene just waiting to have its picture taken: horses grazing in the shadow of Shiprock, the bustle of the SantaFe Plaza, the sunlight raking the adobe walls at the Ranchos de Taos church. Then there’s the photo scene itself. Galleries, museums, colleges, even bookstores, continually hang new photographic exhibits and hold openings, book signings, and lectures.
For photographers and those who appreciate their art, Santa Fe may be the most rewarding destination on the planet – and the third largest photo market in the country.”
Hoping you will join us for the experience to explore the art of photography with people behind the art. See the program and register here
A little photo compilation from ArtExpo New York including the new aluminum prints, the booth and the photography friends
The Infrared Image: what makes infrared interesting are the dream like qualities achieved because of the high contrast blacks and whites, such as the deep black sky and water and bright white foliage and clouds as they reflect the Infrared light. In color infrared the false colors result in a equally surreal and dreamy effect.
What is Infrared: People often ask about Infrared photography starting with a question that relates infrared to night-seeing goggles one sees the military using. In fact, infrared photography and night vision goggles have little in common. In infrared photography, the film or image sensor is sensitive to infrared light. In the case of photography, that infrared light is part of the spectrum referred to as near-infrared to distinguish it from far-infrared, which is the domain of thermal imaging. On the other hand, night vision goggles use image enhancement technology to collect all the available light, including infrared light, and amplify it so that you can easily see what’s going on in the dark.
Technical considerations for IR Photography: what makes infrared photography both interesting and challenging is that the near infrared light wavelengths (about 700nm to 900nm) are invisible to the eye, meaning that they are also invisible to the camera light meter. This also impacts focus and the image composition. Without practice you can never be sure how the image is going to come out in terms exposure. This also can impact the elements of the composition itself because how the elements of the composition interact with Infrared light on any particular day can be a tad unpredictable. In using Infrared film, it required bracketing every shot and with practice both the exposure and image composition become more predictable. Also worth noting that that sometimes the film negatives are going to be a little thin and require additional dark room attention.
Infrared Film: I began shooting the famous and wonderful Kodak High Speed Infrared (HIE) Black and White film (sadly, now discontinued). It featured a beautiful halation effect and glow, largely because of the absence of an anti-halation layer on the back side of Kodak HIE film. The film was susceptible to scratching in post production so negatives had to be handled carefully. The film was was also a tad grainy. It required loading and unloading the film in complete darkness. A piece of black electrical tape over the little film window in the back of the camera to prevent even a tad of light leaking into the camera which would ruin the film. I pushed the film to asa 1500 and used a deep red filter. Today, Rollei, Efke and Maco and Ilford sell Infrared film. The emulsions do not quite match the Kodak HIE film. If you want more detailed pointers for shooting infrared film check out this link to an Infrared Photography simple guide.
The Digital Era and Infrared
With the advent of the digital era and digital cameras came several issues for infrared photographs.
1. First, digital cameras manufacturers had to completely filter out infrared light because it caused a lot of noise. Therefore camera sensors had no capacity to access infrared light.
2. Second, to get around the camera sensor issue, you could use an infrared filter on the lens. However, given its opacity, you must focus before not focus or see through. Therefore, you had to set up the shot on a tripod, then screw on the filter and then take a significantly long exposure. That limited my desire to walk around and shoot from the hand.
3. Third, Lightroom and Photoshop had some work arounds (for example color channel swaps and/or infrared filters or actions). I thought they all did a poor job of approximating what I could get on film.
The Infrared Camera Conversion: So I was late to the digital until I found LifePixel. They, and now another company,Kolarivision, will convert the sensors in a digital camera, so that the camera can record the infrared light as opposed to having it all blocked out. Both companies offer several different kinds of infrared filters attuned to different colors and infrared wavelengths, as you can see here:
I was excited to begin the new digital infrared adventure when I got my digital camera converted by LifePixel. This did more closely approximate film. I no longer needed to load and unload in darkness. I could shoot on the go and in hand-held mode rather than setting up a tripod with a very opaque filter. I could see the image and histogram immediately after taking one shot and adjust accordingly, rather than wait and wonder how the film had reacted that day to my exposure guesses. I could process and print my own work.
I’m currently in the process of selecting a new camera and conversion to keep moving forward…as you can see the choices are plentiful so working through some of those technical decisions
For Photographers: If you go the converted camera camera route, understand that converted camera can only shoot infrared. Digital infrared photos also require paying careful attention to white balance. Some lenses are better than others for focusing. I also find that the digital darkroom processing works best with a unique camera profile. You might also find these resources helpful
This is just a quick overview. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have other questions or want additional details.
Photographer Showcase Introduction: In addition to my own photography, I also enjoy photography by others. Over the coming months I want to share work by photography friends.
Meet Geoff Livingston Photography: Geoff and I got to know each other in the early days of social media and business. We then discovered we both enjoyed photography and our friendship began to meld. Then I moved to Virginia. Geoff is in DC…and our time together became more frequent and more photographic. While I often go shooting alone, Geoff and I have gone shooting together in the Blue Ridge mountains, at the Appomattox court house where the civil war came to an end, in DC for Pride festival and cherry blossoms. We always have a blast shooting together and talking about our imagery, projects and gear…as well as about life. He taught me how to shoot at night and I tagged along on one his photography workshops on street photography. He is a generous teacher and a good friend.
On Geoff’s Photography: Geoff covers a broad swath of photographic genres including event photography, photojournalism, portraits, engagement shoots, and fine art photography. Most recently I was excited to follow along as he documented the government shutdown and its impact on people in DC. He also has a running photo series about the Trump resistance. His documentary photography has a voice and is all about change in the world. His landscapes represent serenity and peace…he bridges both the chaos and beauty in ways that make you want to look more. You can check out his site here. Hope you enjoy these photos from his “Isolation” project.
Be sure to click on the image for the story behind each…And here is Geoff’s commentary:
By Geoff Livingston: Isolation Project – Ten New Images
It is with great pleasure that I am publishing a new series of isolation street photographs with Binhammer Photographs. These are arguably my best 10 isolation shots taken in the past year.
In early 2018 I was fortunate enough to have ten of my street photographs featured in ExposedDC’s Crystal City Exhibit. These ten photos were hung on the wall as a photowalk through the city’s underground tunnels. The theme for the ten photos was isolation.
From that original series, I defined one of my approaches to street photography, creating a new modernist sense of isolation:
The current sense of alienation finds us alone in a crowd, both in the city and with social media. Our sense of self is exacerbated, a brilliant signal in a vast barren field of noise… When we are in the world, surrounded by crowds (and that person taking an over-contrived selfie to add to the digital noise) we feel relief, but see ourselves as a unique signal in the noise. The rest of the world doesn’t even see us, just more noise. I [try] to capture the 21st century sense of self, surrounded by millions, yet alone.
With that in mind, this is a new series of Isolation photos taken in the past nine months. Click on the image for the story behind each photograph.
Every Photograph Has a Story: The Photograph Itself, The Photographer’s and The Viewers’: Some of the prints available on the website include the story behind them. For example, “The Carnival Stopped” is from one of the “Roadside America” trips along Virginia’s eastern shore where I was regularly exiting the highway to check out the villages, sea marsh and fishing boats. In Wachapreague, Virginia, population 230, the fishing boats were either all out at work or gone forever. I am not sure. The docks and handling facilities appeared to be in a state of disrepair, worn out or shut down. But there at the corner of Atlantic Rd. and Ice Plant Street, was the carnival. Not a soul to be seen. But there it was…a carnival stopped – a place of fun and community gathering but a little eery and ghost-like. Much like the fishing town itself.
In Henry Carroll’s new book, “Photographers on Photography, How the Masters See, Think & Shoot,” I was struck by this quote:
“When a person looks at a photograph you’ve taken, they will always think of themselves” Jason Fulford
Henry Carroll in is commentary notes, “right after we interpret the literal aspects of the image…we enter into a second, much personal meaning. The second reading is informed by elements such as our memories, personal experiences, tastes and cultural backgrounds…this second reading is unpredictable and entirely outside the photographer’s control. For Fulford, this gap between what is pictured and what it might mean is where photographs come alive”
There is an image on the website whose owner described it “art that stirs his soul.” For yet another owner, their print has an intimate feeling, and a nostalgic tone with a sense of timelessness. It is their views that give the images meaning and excitement.
In a related story from Artsy about Keith Haring, they note,
“The quickest way to kill your art, according to Haring, is to rigidly define it. “There is no need for definition,” he wrote. “Definition can be the most dangerous, destructive tool the artist can use when he is making art for a society of individuals.” That’s not to say an artist can’t have certain concepts or themes in mind when creating an artwork. But the “artist’s ideas are not essential to the art as seen by the viewer.…The viewer does not have to be considered during the conception of the art, but should not be told, then, what to think or how to conceive it or what it means.”This idea went hand in hand with his belief that artists should consider more than just the art world. “The viewer should be able to look at art and respond to it without wondering whether he ‘understands’ it. It does not aim to be understood! Who ‘understands’ any art?.…Nobody knows what the ultimate meaning of my work is because there is none.…It exists to be understood only as an individual response.”
Bringing Images to Life with Real Meaning: It is these kinds of personal reflections that turn the literal stories behind the images into your art. That is what brings an image to life and gives it real meaning.
As the new year begins and the sun rises on 2019…hope you find all your days full of brightness.
I have some equally bright new initiatives coming so stay tuned ( or sign up for the newsletter for the insider track). Hope you join in
Art is very much a personal choice. Giving art as a gift can be a very memorable and meaningful way to recognize a special someone. Giving art to a family member, a valued friend or colleague can show how much they mean to you. It can brighten a home or apartment. It can also be difficult to choose for someone else.
Here Come the Holidays, Personal and Meaningful Gift Giving
As the holidays approach and we think about others, a work of art can be a unique and wonderful gift. It is a more personal gift than a tie, sweater, gift basket or kitchenware.
One of the most memorable gifts I ever received was art from a team I worked with. They consulted with a friend and artist, Jennifer Dickson, and selected a work called “The Dreamer”. To this day it hangs in my bedroom over my dresser where I see it every day.
As a young boy, I wanted to give something special to my parents and siblings for Christmas. I turned to art. At that age, I was not buying original art. The gifts of art took the form of a box of Vincent van Gogh cards for Mom, an art calendar or print for Dad’s office and an art poster for my sister.
How do you select a piece of art for someone else? You could start by considering their design sense or thinking about things they do with their free time as a way to find some art they might like. You could take them with you to a local gallery or engage with them in a discussion about a piece of art online to get a sense of their preferences. For some other thoughts, here is a link to a post on Saatchi art about tips for buying art for someone who means a lot to you.
However you go about deciding what art to buy, your buying options are plentiful: visit a local gallery or art fair; contact an artist you know; explore new artists and reach out to them on Instagram; or visit online galleries like Artsy,Artspace or SaatchiArt.
Making it Personal and Easy
Giving Limited Edition Prints
If you have someone special on your list who you think might like new art, I am making it easy for you to give the gift of Limited Edition photographs.
If you want to give art as a gift you can buy a gift certificate for a Limited Edition print for that special person and then link them to BinhammerPhotographs.com to pick the print they want. Or they can email me and I will search my archives to find a photograph they love, and deliver that memorable gift you wanted for them.
How it works: You contact me to let me know the size of print and who the gift is for. I’ll send you an invoice and a gift certificate. All they have to do is email me the name of the print they want and it will be shipped directly to them, with the certificate of authenticity and ownership in their name.
Book Ideas, Including Roadside America
Art books can also be a wonderful gift. For some of the best coffee-table art books, you might want to check out these ideas. For some of the years best photography books, The Wall Street Journal offers thoughts. If you would prefer to give a different type of gift my Roadside America photography book is available for purchase on Blurb.
Happy Holidays to You From the Digital Darkroom
Hope your holidays are off to a grand start.
At this time of the year, I also hope you find some time away from the daily grind of life to reflect and discover the beauty in our lives.
Enjoy some special time with friends and family doing whatever it is that this special season means to you
A random little collage, behind the scenes of making prints….