Tuesday, March 3, 2020

From f295: La Fin du Monde

F295 was an international discussion forum begun and administered by Tom Persinger. Originally just about pinhole photography, it expanded into all kinds of alternative methods.  It was active from 2004 until 2015 but it remains on-line. Recently it disappeared from the web for a few days, and that prompted me to decide to reprise some of my favorites here at Pinholica, for backup if no other reason.

I don't have much of an exhibition record but, in addition to participating in the Oshkosh Public Museum's Then and Now exhibit, I also recently had a piece accepted into a regional juried art show at the Trout Museum of Art in Appleton, and I got an honorable mention award.

That brought to mind getting into the 6th International Pinhole Exhibition in 2012 which required a series of photographs on the theme “The End of the World”. I didn't post anything about it until after the show was done and then posted this under the title "Now it can be told" on May 25th, 2013.

I had a series accepted into the 6th International Pinhole Exhibition which took place in Barcelona last summer, and in Le Bourget this winter. Although there was no specific ban on it, and they posted the pictures on-line themselves, I felt funny about posting the pictures here and writing about them while the show was in progress. But, now it can be told.

When I first heard the theme was The End of the World, I didn’t think any of my pictures would really fit. I’m not much of a decay and disaster kind of photographer.

Then about two weeks before the deadline, I walked into the kitchen to get a beer and opened the door and saw this.

Sarah has a taste for double and triple beers. They’re not that common to find, so when we run into a liquour store that carries a selection, we buy one or two of whatever they have. Since Sarah very rarely actually drinks them, they stay around for a while. This one came from a store in Appleton and we’d had it for about 9 months. How it got so front and center in the refrigerator, I don’t know. I think I moved the end of a plastic bag out of the way, but this is pretty much what it looked like when I opened the door. The camera is on the table top tripod which is affixed to the regular tripod in sort of a boom and is extended about a foot into the refrigerator. The door was opened for the duration of the exposure (it had to be to keep the light on anyway). The exposure was three minutes and the door open alarm never sounded.

I knew I had to come up with a series to enter the exhibit, and I think I thought this up all at once, but I don’t really remember.

I usually open beer bottles with a wall mounted opener so it took me a bit to find the bottle opener for this shot.

I’m usually a little cavalier about not taking multiple shots of the same scene but I did take two exposures of the next two scenes, but I double exposed both of them! (Sorry, multiple exposure fans, I didn’t even keep the scans of these) After I finished, the bottle got recycled out to the big blue barrel the city has us use for mixed recycling. When I got the film back about Thursday, it was now about five days before the submission deadline. I pretty much decided to pack it in, but Sarah thought the idea was so funny she encouraged me to get it done. I went out to the garage, dug the bottle out (ick, BTW), and washed it off. The beer in the next two pictures is actually Leinenkugels.

This shot was pretty easy to hold still. I was reading a book, which you can see on the table. This is the image they used for the invitation and poster in Barcelona. I think this is kind of funny, but with me wiggling a little in the background, this almost looks like the flat depth of field of a wide open lens.

Then I moved the scene into the sun room. Since I was reshooting and had to get the whole roll shot and processed, I did numerous attempts to get a shot of me with the beer glass in several positions, or a moving arc from the table to my mouth, but they all ended up in undistinguished blurs. Here’s a special f295 bonus shot that wasn’t in the exhibit.

I settled on this more static shot.

Is this the end predicted by the label on the bottle? A really easy pose to hold I must say.

No, it turns out the story is about the bottle, not me.  Here it lies in the kitchen recycling container. Are blue bags an international designation of recycling or is that just in the U.S?  As mentioned, Oshkosh doesn’t use them anymore, but we had some left and continue to use them to line the bin.

All with the Populist, .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24x36 frame.

One more admission. My artist's statement for the catalog was: “It turns out the end of the world isn’t so hard to swallow.”

It’s Sarah’s line.

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