Sunday, March 27, 2011

Toy Camera Work Shop

TOY CAMERA WORKSHOP – Illiterate Gallery mark sink speaks….

Posted in FINE ART on March 16, 2011 by shannonmcasey
Well known photographer, Mark Sink spoke at Illiterate Gallery – located on 82 South Broadway in Denver, Colorado. There is too much to say about his career and artworld. In a nutshell…..Mark is a well respected photographer, both in the fine art and commercial industry – locally and world wide. He is also a respected curator and highly responisble for Denver’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Lately, he’s been working especially hard on pushing the photography sceen in Colorado. He has a big hand in the photography buzzing around Denver this month.
It was a crisp overcast March afternoon. We all sat around the table as Mark pulled out loads of assorted toy cameras, which were carefully protected in bubble wrap. It was entertaining. What’s a toy camera you ask? Well….we looked at equipment, ranging from a 1901 Kodak Brownie (that’s not actually a toy but an old film camera), to a late 1980′s fisher price children’s camera that spits out fax paper with a photograph. I held a $1200 market value bugs bunny camera…. “what’s up doc”, and looked at various polariod cameras. Of course, Mark brought his infamous Diana camera. Mark and Diana go way back in time. He has his own chapter of photographs in the Diana Camera book. If you purchase a modern day Diana it comes with a nice little book with a display of impressive photography from photographers who have used the Diana. Of course, we were introduced to the slightly hilarious bioncular style Andy Warhol polaroid camera, (which everyone should own, just for party conversation) – the list of cameras went on and on. Mark has a history working with Andy Warhol, and we enjoyed some stories about that as well. His excitement about photography is wicked contagious. Everyone got to tinker with the cameras and take photos. We are all anxious to meet again and see what we’ve photographed. Selected images will be blown up and wheat pasted to an approved outdoor location. There are already photographs wheat pasted all over the Denver metro area. Wheat pasting is a process of adhering paper to buildings and other surfaces, and it’s being used in The Big Picture Show. The photographs are submitted in grayscale and then blown up on an architectural copier. After that, they are adhered to approved locations with the wheat paste, like buildings and walls. One location is the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art’s building. This process is not only happening in Denver, but also locations across the world, including Jamaica, France, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland, Netherlands. +more. There is fantastic photography to be seen in this show and it’s so different. You should not miss it. Every copy of the photographs are sold for $50, so people can afford to buy some really excellent art. Mark says that he’s seeing young kids purchase art and this is very exciting. Let the BIG PICTURE roll!
There is a lot of talk about what is photography anymore. Is digital a sham? Is it not valid? I don’t have the answer to that. I value photography’s ability to create “traces” and “memories”, rather than getting caught up on the medium.
Alternative processes like polariod transfers, cyanotypes, playing on xerox copiers, and just tinkering around with creating images is all photography as well. I believe I was provoked by my instructor, Craig Coleman to think about photography outside the box of pretty pictures. Anyone I went to school with loved Craig’s classes.
I’m going to bore you for a second here with a defination about photography.
The word photography is based on the Greek φῶς (photos) “light” and γραφή (graphé) “representation by means of lines” or “drawing”, together meaning “drawing with light”.
What does that mean?
First of all, it reverts back to the fact that the main element needed for photography is light, it doesn’t say anything about film or digital, but light and lines. hmmmmm… Secondly, you can’t honestly be a photographer if you aren’t keenly interested in light. Moreover, you can’t get serious about taking photographs without considering the light source. Photographers chase light, they study it, they know where it will be during different seasons and times. We genuinely think about light. Often noticing it’s beauty and making a mental note of the time of day. We bounce it around, turn it into colors, and eventually learn how to use strobes, and flash, and bounce natural light. This is true about photography. Lights and cameras go together like peas and carrots (it can be natural light too). There isn’t that old expression “Lights, cameras, action” for nothing ya know? This holds true to film and digital. Here’s the biggest common factor about film and digital cameras. A camera will screw you without notice, without an explaination or apology, and if you looooove photography, you’ll always forgive her. It’s like this sick relationship you’ll never end. haha I am being funny. In my opinion, all photography processes have an element of chance. I have a love and respect for film and darkroom. Anyone who’s worked with film knows it’s magical. Film has a fablous soul all of it’s own. In my fast paced mommy life, I enjoy my full frame digital though. Now I sit in my laundry room and flip loads of laundry while editing my photographs. I like it. I also print on awesome fine art papers at home, and then cover them with resin coating. My iphone has around 10,000 high resolution jpegs, which I carry in my pocket, carry in my purse, use to ring my husband….whatever. I continue to take photos everyday of random moments – driving my family crazy. Mostly of my kids, and stuff I would otherwise never catch. I miss working in a darkroom….it’s true, and I feel like a cheap digital tramp around my fine art friends (they’d laugh), but honestly, film and digital are each fascinating in their own ways.

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