Blog

The photographic blog of Sean Wood (aka motionid)

20 years of work

My good friend Tanaka san recently had an exhibition of 20 years of work. The collection consisted of every photo, digital and analog, printed on contact sheets. As always his art direction is stunning with the analog on traditional sheets in black and the digital on the opposite wall in white.

The images themselves are very industrial but you can't not be impressed by the consistency in his tones, persistence and variety of images in such a narrow subject focus.

The man and his work are truly and inspiration and if you have a chance to check his art direction work you'll find an attention to detail that will impress.

http://www.takahirotanaka.net/

Station life

A wasted evening wasting film. C41 shot in Shinjuku station through a rangefinder and a 50mm lens. This could have been shot yesterday or 3 years ago. It's now all the same to me.

Fragments of Tokyo

Watanebe san, Koga san, Thomas and Jon looking his usual self at the front
Watanebe san, Koga san, Thomas and Jon looking his usual self at the front

So I managed to visit the Fragments of Tokyo exhibition at M Place in Shinjuku Gyoenmae and have to say I was impressed. Four very different styles of photography and each with a wonderful and different perspective of Tokyo.

If you missed it you'll have to bug them to put on another show. Below is each members flickr stream although to really do any of these pictures justice you need to see them printed. It was really a different and exciting experience to see them printed and presented as a series. Congratulations to the four of you.

Toshiya WatanabeDairou KogaThomas OrandJon Ellis


Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi exhibition

Breaking wave - one of the 6 photos being exhibited at Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi department store

I've kept this exhibition pretty close to my chest thus far. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out. It's a very large group art selling festival (for want of a better description) which I've somehow managed to get myself involved in.Despite it having a very department store like feel I have to say I'm enjoying the experience. The range of people that travel past the exhibits every day is staggering. The other thing that has completely knocked my socks off is the price of some of the work on display. The most expensive piece I found was over $500,000US so there is quite a price range to be had. I have been lucky enough to be included as one of only 2 photographers to be exhibiting and Mitsukoshi is, for the first time, including photography in their art exhibition (so I guess I should be feeling privileged).

If you have any interest the event is on till the 18th located on the 7th floor of the main Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi store (Mitsukoshimae station on the Ginza line).

Possibly the end

Well, that was fun.Lots of work. Not a great deal of reward. A lot learned. A few friends made. LOTS of time wasted. Photography, I need a rest. Thanks for all the kind words over the several years. Time to get on with my life. Bye.

Sunrise at Enoshima

enoshima sunrise

Woke at 4am to arrive on the island at around 4:45am. After checking the perimeter I spotted a fisherman heading up a path. Follow the local knowledge. Sure enough I found the spot I was looking for although the sun was rising from behind the island. Unfortunately there was no way to get around and the view from that point is not as good anyway. Still, it was surprisingly busy with fishermen for 4:45am (I'm betting most of them get there at 4 or so).

Enoshima, Pan F and Diafine

Click the image to start the slideshow (2 slides)

On my little adventure to Enoshima last weekend at 4am, not only did I manage to get sick but I tried a Film / Developer combination I hadn't seen before.

I've used Ilford Pan F on occasion and, while expensive, have liked the results I've gotten so far. My trip to Enoshima was finally a chance to shoot something at ISO100 (developing with Diafine pushes it a stop to 100) so I thought I'd try it developed in Diafine.

Well, as you can see by the results, it's pretty damn dark. But, looking at the shot of the old man (second slide), I couldn't have really exposed it more or the shirt would have been blown. The background at the time was not at all dark and the day was overcast so there were no shadows so in theory more of the background should be visible.

If you are going to use this combination, make sure you don't have any dark area's in your shot or you're likely to get blacks.

Chiba Sea

chiba-sea

Went out the other weekend in search of a semi reasonable location to shoot something other than night city action. thoroughly uninteresting I have to say. Half a roll shot but some how I get the feeling that this place could have potential. Maybe because I walked 6km to reach this spot in the middle of a summers day my judgment of the place has been affected.

Great Quote

I’ve become increasingly nihilistic about photography... photography was much more interesting 50 plus years ago, and now there is just this overabundance of photography. It’s like saying “What type of art do you do?” “Oh, I do Twitter.”

-- Alec Soth Via http://www.aphotoeditor.com/

Out with the new and in with the old or out with it all?

So I started shooting medium format film for a few different reasons. I like the "look" of film. I like the mood it gives you. I like it's unpredictability. I like that it's not easy to get right. I like that it can give pictures a timelessness. I like that medium format photography is a slow process. It's manual focus. It's slow lenses and manual winders (most of the time). You can make big prints. And when you manage to get all of the details correct you can make a great picture (or so I've been told).Another reason I changed formats and mediums is because I realized that my old digital photos were easy to copy. And when I realized this I understood that what I thought were great pictures were not. Anyone could take them. So I thought I should try harder and set myself a challenge to try to shoot the same subject matter with a different camera. Give myself a challenge to see what I could achieve. And so after countless rolls of film and a huge amount of time trying I finally realized that I suck at medium format photography. A friend of mine took a look at my pictures recently and told me not to give up on the old stuff I'd done. I think I'm slowly starting to see his point. And what's interesting about this is that what he's saying not only is that my old stuff was better but, given it was so easy for anyone to replicate even the old stuff was not much good. I think I may need to revisit the whole idea of taking pictures.

and the point is?

I watched a video the other day about a man who came up with his own set of rules to live by. One of them was "always try to do your best" and another was "don't try to be better than anyone else". I like these. I think they would not be bad to adopt. And so, when I apply this to photography it appears that I've been encountering a few issues.One is, I genuinely believe my immediate friends take better pictures than me. So, this should be a good thing. I'm in the company of people with great skill and eye's that can see what I'll never be able to. This also inspires me to try to take "good" pictures. Unfortunately, out of the insane number of photo's I've taken within the last two and a half years I'd say that I'm happy with maybe 2 or 3 of them. I've poured a lot of time and energy and money into this and what is interesting is that, in the process I've managed to make more good friends than good pictures (I don't quite know why given the quality of my shots). Now I'm sure a few of my friends would argue that I've managed to make more than a handful of great shots and that would be nice of them to say but I don't think I have. And if the reason for doing this for me is, just that, to make me happy and for me to make pictures that I am happy with then is there a point in continuing when I have clearly failed? Have I really tried my best or could I do more? And what is ones best anyway? Where do we draw the line? What and how much do I need to sacrifice in order to really, genuinely do my best (the job, the wife, the friends?) Photography can be a bit on the evil side. You can try all you like and not make a good picture. But because of the nature of photography we're lulled into this idea that "maybe the next shot" will be the one. And so you continue in the hope that the next one will be better or be good. At what point do you stop and admit defeat?

What's also interesting about photography for me is the idea that pictures that are unique to an individuals perspective. This and the idea that no one moment in time is ever the same makes every picture (almost) unique. This is suppose to be one of the main attractors of photography. But what if no one finds your viewpoint interesting? What if, as you look around you discover many people have a more interesting view of the world than you do? Is there a point to continue when everyone passes you by, uninterested in your view of the world?

47 minutes

Jim O’Connell. The man seems to have a knowledge on photography that knows no bounds.I've been trying different developers for a while and have found the process a huge time sink. Half of me enjoys it and the other half just can't stand sitting around Agitating every minute. So, over a flickr on the Magnum group (no, the other one) where we seem to have all kinds of crazy discussions, the question came up about Rodinal by Jon about how long to develop for. Jim answers "For that, mix 1/100 with tap water, mix well, pour it in, shake it like a martini for 5-10 seconds and then let it sit for an hour before fixing and washing." but I remember hearing from either him or second hand that 1 hour didn't cut it when he changed to a new batch of chemical so he dropped the time to 47 minutes. So I tried it on 2 rolls of TMax 400 @400 and they "look" like they came out fine. Also tried it on 2 rolls of TMax 400 @800 and THEY look like they are ok too. The real test was to see if I could do a roll of TMax 100 and Tmax 400 at the same time. Result! I can't confirm this 100% until they dry and I've done a few scans but it's looking promising. I think the moral of the story is, if you have a question about B+W film dev just ask Jim. Stay tuned for results.