Gateway Arch

gateway_arch

Here’s an old shot of ‘The Gateway to the West‘ I’ve re-edited. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Cameron Tucker: “Sidenote: We’re very good friends with a couple named Lewis and Clark. Clark bought a big, sparkly belt in New Orleans that he calls his Louisiana Purchase.”

– Eric Stonestreet – Modern Family

About this image: digital photograph (Canon 300D) lightly modified in Adobe Photoshop

Donut No. 3

If you visited Laumeier Sculpture Park this weekend the boots sticking out from beneath various sculptures were not necessarily part of any instillation… just a dude taking random photos. More about the above sculpture below:

Fletcher Benton, Donut No. 3, 2002, COR-TEN steel

About this image: digital photograph, lightly modified

Statue to Painting

A few people have asked about my faux wet plate collodion photos, so I’ve included more info about them below (please feel free to skip my rambling). Either way, the above is ‘Statue to Painting’ by Louis Saint-Gaudens (it flanks the St. Louis Art Museum’s main entrance along with Daniel Chester French’s ‘Statue to Sculpture’). Both were done in plaster for the 1904 World’s Fair and later reproduced in marble. Have a great weekend, everyone!

About this image: digital photograph heavily modified to replicate wet plate collodion (see below)

Nothing holds a candle to real wet plate collodion, but until I can bankroll the set-up and find a place to store chemistry I have to ‘fake it’.

In-camera tips: In my opinion, you’ve got two choices… replicate ‘period’, or create an obviously contemporary image. Anything in between feels suspect to me (like someone tried to go old and missed). If you want to replicate a period image be sure to remove any/all modern elements from your shot. For interior portraiture, try using a tripod, natural lighting, shallow depth of field and a long exposure. Period lenses required long exposure times, so I think some blur from accidental sitter movement adds to the feel.

The plate: I use clear acrylic sheets (like those used for framing/glazing). They’re relatively cheap, and thin ones are easy to cut/break, too. I get mine from Blick Art Materials.

The ‘collodin’: I use a water-based polyurethane (from a home store – you could experiment with a fairly fluid gel medium, glue, etc., too). Basically all I do is ‘flow’ polyurethane over an acrylic sheet, and then dry it. That simple. How it dries creates various effects. Letting the whole thing dry slowly/completely produces a fairly smooth, translucent ‘pool’. Allowing the edges to dry and then rinsing off the center produces a perimeter ‘ridge’ and flow-like streaks (the longer the plate dries the further that edge creeps in). Using a hot hairdryer creates wrinkles. Other tips include pressing a finger into the polyurethane while tacky to create a fingerprint, and/or scoring/breaking off a corner. I then throw the plate on a flatbed scanner (using a black backdrop) and pull it into Photoshop where I ‘layer’ it with a photograph using various blending modes, curves/levels/contrast adjustments, etc. If you find there are too many ‘artifacts’ in your plate or a few distract from your photo you can airbrush those out/back.

Editing tips: Find a good example of a real collodion image for a guide to curves/levels/contrast/tint adjustments, etc. Mask off the edges of your photo along the polyurethane ‘edge/ridge/perimeter’. Also, some early lenses had an interesting swirly bokeh (when shot wide open), which can be replicated (kind of) with a Radial Blur (masked/faded off from the center outward). And the original images are/were mirrored, so don’t forget to ‘flip’ your photo (especially if it includes text, etc.).

As always, if anyone has specific questions, I’m happy to help if I can!

Piping Putti

Another… ‘unusual’  conversation heard only here:

Me: “Hey, Annabelle… does this look like a putti to you?”

Annabelle: *manages only a blank stare that means ‘not so much’.*

Me: ” It would probably help if he had wings… but…”

Annabelle: *gifts a putty pity pat before returning to her writing*

So… basically what we’ve got here is a short dude rocking a horn.

And apparently the singular of putti is putto.

Whatev.

The title stays.

About this image: digital photograph, moderately modified

Fountain Angel

I try not to get too much mileage out of other people’s work (sculptures, etc.), but every now and then I just can’t help myself. This piece, The Fountain Angel, 1902, by Italian sculptor Raffaello Romanelli was just too nice to pass up.

Although she appears to have sprung several leaks she’s really held up quite well!

About this image: digital photograph, moderately modified

Beethoven… (in progress)

I decided to change things up today and post something… unfinished. Well, the drawing is finished, but that’s only part of this project. Hopefully I’ll have the final product ready to show you in the next week or two. What a cliff-hanger. Wow.

Me: “Sorry I’ve abstracted your hair so much, drawing of someone else’s photo of a bust of Ludwig van Beethoven.”

LvB: “Whatev’. My hair is naturally stubborn. Like it’s made of marble.

Me: “Bummer, dude.”

LvB: “You’re telling me. I condition every 24 hours… still nothing. Lamesville.”

About this image: Charcoal on Bristol Board

Pour

Is it hot in here, or is it just molten metal?  This was one of my alma mater’s annual sculpture department bronze pours. It was a fun process to watch – and to try  photograph. Needless to say, my pour images were rather… poor images.  So I threw everything but the kitchen sink at this one (although sink tossing might have made for some interesting performance art).

About this image: Digital photograph of pour (center) combined with 35mm film scan of fish-eye camera/lens (perimeter) – both highly modified.