Category Archives: Cool People You Should Know

The Photo Palace Needs Your Help

It all started in the early 1990’s as an idea to capture portraits of America but with the advent of digital photography, Anoton Orlov decided his traveling darkroom, called The Photo Palace Bus, could serve a higher purpose: to educate and spread the knowledge of traditional and silver based darkroom techniques. Now he and co-creator Ryan Kalem need your help to spread analogue love.

Orlov and Kalem, both graduates of San Jose State’s photography program, are trying to raise $16,000 by February 1, 2012 so they can take their 1978 vintage yellow school bus on the road. Visit their kickstarter site to support them. If they don’t reach their goal by February 1, they get ZERO DOLLARS so it’s important to get your pledge in before the deadline. This is a sketch of what they hope to create from the vintage bus.

The two main goals for The Photo Palace Bus, according to their kickstarter site are

• The Photo Palace will provide traditional photographic education and hands-on experience opportunities in every corner of the country. The goal is to preserve the traditions of analog photography.

• Using the north-light studio and incorporating street photography we will create a 10.000-negative portrait series about New Americana. From pop to fringe – all aspects of culture will be addressed via portraits accompanied by narration and quotes.

Impromptu and scheduled art exhibits; free lectures, demonstrations and workshops will be the core of The Photo Palace’s curriculum. Topics such as photo history, gelatin, silver and alternative printing techniques as well as studio and location photo techniques for portraiture and still life photography are just some of the subjects that will be covered.

The vintage yellow school bus will be equipped with darkroom equipment, a viewing area, a fold-out North-Light studio which can be installed on either side of the bus and living quarters on an upper-level, which will be created by installing the bodies of two VW buses on the roof of the school bus. Here are some Polaroids taken the day the two bought the bus.

Orlov and Kalem are following in the footsteps of some of the pioneers of the trade, most of which had no choice other than to have all their materials on-hand at all times. Early photo techniques, like wet-plate collodion, depended on having a darkroom set-up within feet of the place the photo was taken. Even after the invention of dry film photographers continued the tradition of setting up darkrooms in the field so they could be fully immersed and integrated with their projects.

Anton Orlov moved to California from Moscow when he was 17. His passion for photography has taken him to Central America, Asia and all across the continental US. He operates a darkroom facility in San Diego where he offers workspace to photographers and private lessons in analogue photography. His favorite camera is the Rolliflex TLR. These are a few of his works, which are being offered as thank you gifts.

Ryan Kalem works in primarily large-format photography. This format forces him to slow down the process and really think about all elements of the photo. During The Photo Palace’s tour, he will take up permanent residence in the bus, which will give him a deeper understanding of the area and people he is capturing. Here is one of his gelatin silver prints that is also being offered as a thank you gift.

You can follow the adventures of the construction of the project at The Photo Palace blog. This is a picture of their vision of the bus’ interior.

By becoming a backer you’re not only supporting The Photo Palace financially, you’re also helping to plan the route! Orlov and Kalem state that your pledge ensures that the vintage bus will be rolling into your town or wherever you want them to go. I don’t know about you but personally, I’ll be super-excited to meet the photographers and see the bus first hand when they roll into my little corner of the world. Until then, sit back and check out this video.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/351976604/the-photo-palace-bus/widget/video.html

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Lo-fi Thinkers Unite

Katie King is a very busy woman. Not only does she run a successful photography business called A Sense of Place with her husband, she’s also a very active member in the Female Photographers of Etsy (fOE) community AND decided to start-up a magazine this year. And all this activity takes place on a little tropical island in the middle of the ocean.

I met Katie through the very active and creative fPOE group. Her idea for a magazine featuring works from the fPOE ladies was tossed out in December 2010 and by April 2011, the first issue of Method Press hit the stands (so to speak) and was offered for sale on magcloud.com. The theme of that issue was “A Blank Stare” and it featured a collection of photos related to the theme as well as interviews with some unconventional artists, poetry and essays. Instead of just a photography magazine, Katie and her fabulous team have put together a very well-rounded lo-fi centered publication.

The ladies are hard at work on issue two, but Katie was generous enough with her time to answer a few questions for me:

For those unfamiliar with Method Press, explain a little about the magazine

Method Press is an art filled idea-magazine celebrating low-fi thinkers. It was made by me and some very rad fPOE ladies last spring.

Just got my first issue of Method Press in the mail and I must say bravo! Very well done from the layout to the artwork to the choice of paper. My impression is that it’s not only a visual arts magazine but also a literary one. Was that the original intent?
Grazie! Yes it was. I wanted it to be a literary journal / idea book hybrid, but more accessible than an academic publication. I had such a great pool of talent to pull from with the fPOE individuals willing to help that it seemed both obvious & resourceful to include a visual arts emphasis.
You’re a very busy woman, no doubt and creating a magazine is a time-consuming and ambitious endeavor. What inspired you to create a magazine in this day and age when book and periodical sales are slumping?
 I don’t know-I’m insane. I just get these ideas and run with them. In 2009 it was to self publish a poetry book, in 2010 it was to create a one woman show. This year it was to start a magazine. 
I LOVE that I can get a physical copy of the magazine in my hands. There’s nothing like flipping through the pages, smelling the paper and (as your first magazine suggests) creating new things from its pages. Was it always the intent to offer it for print? It seems to go along with the lo-fi way of thinking.
Yes that was the original intent. I’ve always liked feeling things in print. Its easier on the eye. I also enjoy making notes-circling underlining, making shapes as I read along. It makes me feel more connected to the material.  

How do you see Method Press riding the current wave of nostalgia for things analogue into the future, when retro may not be so cool?

I’m not too into nostalgia, myself. It gets sticky. I’m not sure how MP will do in the future or how it will be received because we’re just getting started, but we’re into talking about what kind of art is being made right now.  What I mean to say is that Method Press isn’t aiming to ride any waves at the moment that I’m conscious of. We just want to creatively present the methods of how people work, what makes them tick, and what helps them do what they do.

Now, let’s learn about you. How did you get started in photography?

I’ve tried answering this question 4 times so far and nothing feels right. The most decent answer I can give you is “I don’t remember.” Somewhere a long the line my sister told me I had a talent.
I was a little put off, actually. I had been studying theater & music my whole life but people just kept talking about what good photos I took when I hadn’t studied a single thing about it.

Since Method Press is about lo-fidelity thinking, I’m curious, do you like to use lo-fi/analogue cameras? If so, which ones? If not, what’s in your camera bag?

 Not as much as I used to. I have a Minolta SR-T303, a Polaroid Land Camera, several other Polaroids & a Diana but I use my Canon Rebel T1i most often (thanks, Kickstarter backers!)

Could you share with us a few of your favorite photos and give us a little info about each one?

Usually I love other people’s photos more than mine but, since you asked… 

These photographs were both taken as a part of a film swap in 2010. There is something about that first one that just gets me. Who knew sheep could embody such purpose. The second one has a theatrically powerful quality. Most people think it’s a horse; it’s a donkey. 



This one just cracks me up. It was all his idea.

Now for some delightfully unconventional questions….

1.     What do you use as a camera bag and what do you absolutely have to have inside it (besides film and a camera)?

I’m lucky if I can find the camera on time. I’ve never really had a fully functioning camera bag.

2.     You’ve suddenly been declared King of the World…what are the first three things you would do?

Call my mom, tweet about it, then call my psychologist 

3.     Not only are you King of the World but you’ve suddenly acquired a time machine. Where would you go and what would you do?

I’d charge admission but not use it for myself. I think now is important. 

4.     The ubiquitous desert island question with a twist…what kind of an island would you like to be deserted on and which five things must you have with you?

A cold one. A windy island with snow-capped peaks.

1. excedrin migraine
2. a ballpoint pen
3. a blank notebook
4. a really comfy blanket. Maybe electric.
5. twix 

5.     Look around and give us the title of the book that’s closest to your hands

How to trust God even when life hurts. 

6.     Name four people, living or dead, that you’d like to hang by the grill, BBQ and drink beer with

Gosh. Someone that could cook really well because I sure can’t cook but I love to eat. I love kabobs. Maybe a famous kabob chef. But then I would feel so awkward. Just me and this random chef, you know? Add Casey Abrams. Yeah. Plus Meatwad. And….Jesus. Totally.

Now for some ‘this or that’ questions…

Color or black and white

Color.

1940’s or 1970’s

40’s. 

Cash or Credit

Debit 

Beatles or Elvis

Yikes…that’s really tough. Elvis. 

Broccoli or Brussel Sprouts

Broccoli 

Markers or Pencils

Markers. 

Dogs or Cats

Dogs. 

Beer or Liquor

Liquor. Although I’m not much of a drinker. 

Goodbye or See Ya Later

See ya later 
“A Funny Story” is the theme for the magazine’s next issue and the crew is still accepting submissions so all you lo-fi writers, photographers and artists, pop on over to the Method Press blog and get all the details.
Here’s a list of links where you can find information on the magazine…..
methodpress@gmail.com
Blog: http://meetmethodpress.blogspot.com/
FB: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Method-Press/164023166984403
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/methodpress/

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